Arthritis in the Foot
Arthritis can affect any of the movable joints in the feet. This can result in foot deformities such as enlarged swollen joints or toes becoming crooked and causing problems when walking in shoes.
Signs & Symptoms
In rheumatoid arthritis, the toes and the forefoot joints are the most commonly affected. These joints can become displaced and deformed and often the muscles and tendons shorten causing the toes to become hammer shaped or clawed.
Pain associated with arthritic changes in the feet will vary with the type and duration of the condition. The pain may be acute as in the initial stages of gout, with the affected joints inflamed and swollen.
The pain may present with morning stiffness and limited joint movement, which increases on weight-bearing in rheumatoid arthritis. Joint movements may be lost altogether due to bony deformity of the joints with osteoarthritis, resulting in limited movement and pain experienced with normal day to day activities.
It is important to recognize that arthritis can affect other areas of the body, which results in poor posture and restricted movements.
It is sometimes difficult for the feet to operate correctly as weight-bearing structures that support and propel the body forwards, when some of the key joints such as the hips or shoulders are affected.
Correct washing and drying of your feet is vital in maintaining foot health. It is most important to clean well between toes, lifting each toe and thoroughly clearing out any debris.
Foot exercises are essential to help keep the joints moving and reduce joint stiffness that can make a person unsteady and liable to fall more easily.
Nails should be cut regularly following the natural separation line of the nail plate and not cutting down at the corners. If you have corns and calluses that are painful, they can be treated professionally by Dr. Shumate.
The pressure and friction over these areas can be relieved by protective devices such as tubular foam and other padding. Cushioning soles can be used in all footwear to provide some shock absorption against all hard walking surfaces.