The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists are raising awareness of arthritis as part of their annual Feet For Life Month.
Arthritis has many forms with the two commonest being Osteotarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). OA is joint degeneration from trauma and stress or general "wear and tear", while RA is a complex immune process whereby the body turns on itself and inflames the linings of joints.
Arthritis is considered to be more prevalent with age; however, while you are more likely to develop it when older, it can occur at any age and usually developed between the ages of 20 and 50.
If you are experiencing problems with your feet, then a podiatrist is often the first port of call. Podiatrists can assess joint motion and function, and treatment may involve footwear, orthotics and mobilisation. Living with the pain is not inevitable - something can always be done to improve symptoms.
For those diagnosed with RA, early treatment is essential and patients will be under the care of a rheumatologist who will provide specific medication.
So what can you do to help?
Take regular exercise - low impact exercise prevents the joints from trauma. Exercise such as cycling and swimming are low impact and great for improving the range of motion in joints.
Footwear - shoes which make you unstable and/or provide little shock absorption can exacerbate the symptoms of arthritis. Look for a shoe with a small heel, supportive heel cup, round toe, cushioned sole and supportive fastenings. This will help your foot to function and reduces unnecessary trauma and stress on joints.
Weight loss - by remaining a healthy weight, less mechanical stress is placed upon the joints.
Diet - no conclusive evidence exists but experts have advised a mediterranean diet including olive oil and omega. Chondrointin and glucosamine may help the cartilage in the joint, however, studies are inconclusive.
Podiatrists are well place to help with all aspects of foot and lower limb care. If you have symptoms, why not contact Walk and see what we can do.
"Love Life, Love Feet, Love Walk"