Rheumatoid Arthritis is one of many destructive inflammatory joint diseases that can affect people of any age. Unlike the more common Osteoarthritis, which increases in prevalence with age and is primarily “wear and tear” on joints, inflammatory arthritis can present due to genetic predisposition, following viral infection, or in some cases a cause cannot be found. These diseases also differ in pathogenesis as they are erosive in nature and attack the smooth cartilage surface, in many cases eventually causing severe joint damage and ultimately total destruction of the joint.
There have been great advances in the treatment of these diseases in recent years, particularly with the advent of Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARD’s) and increasing awareness leading to earlier diagnosis. Often early intervention with DMARD’s can retard or even stop the progression of the disease. Joints of the foot and ankle are frequently involved and may in fact be the primary manifestation of the disease. Early intervention by specialist Rheumatologists is necessary, but your Podiatrist also plays a valuable role.
Podiatrists can help people with Rheumatoid arthritis remain both mobile and comfortable. As staying mobile is an essential component of managing the disease process, having pain free feet is part of the big picture. Treatment may include:
- Improve structural alignment of heel, arch of forefoot
- Reduce strain from Achilles, plantar fascia (arch), ankle and toes
- Redistribute force from the forefoot (ball of the foot)
- Help ease the pain associated with bunions and clawing/hammer toes
- Cushion sensitive calluses and corns that form under the foot
- Remove calluses and corns that form
- Trim back thickened toenails and perform nail surgery if required
- Help heal pressure ulcers or sores that won’t heal on their own
- Supplement a loss of natural plantar foot padding
- Soft full length orthoses
- Ultra-soft cushioned and rebound materials – such as Slow Release Memory Poron, plastazote, silicone and neoprene for the ultimate in softness!
- Full equipped surgical rooms for effective immediate treatment of corns, calluses, toenail problems and ulcer debridement.
- Video Gait Analysis to properly evaluate even the most subtle stance and walking problems not always obvious to the naked eye.
- Assess and digitally record joint ranges of motion and quantitatively measure this with sophisticated tailor made Podiatry software.
- These state-of-the-art Video Gait Analysis and Joint Range of Motion studies are saved as video recordings and highly detailed still images on our advanced multimedia computer server and can be later re-assessed for relevant changes from year to year. This means that your Podiatrist can immediately establish and comprehensively report if your condition has improved, stabilized or deteriorated.