Posts for: June, 2017
Find out how to manage chronic arthritic symptoms to keep you on your toes!
Rheumatoid arthritis affects about 1 percent of the population, mostly affecting women between the ages of 40 to 60. If you’ve been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis then you probably are looking for answers regarding your condition and what you can do to improve the health of your feet.
What is rheumatoid arthritis?
This chronic, autoimmune disorder targets joints anywhere on the body, but mostly the hands and feet. Approximately 90 percent of patients diagnosed with this form of arthritis will develop foot or ankle symptoms at some point during the course of their disease.
What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?
Since this is an autoimmune disorder, the immune system actually attacks your body’s own tissue, causing inflammation and swelling of the joints. Those with rheumatoid arthritis also experience pain and stiffness in the feet and hands. While other forms of arthritis (e.g. osteoarthritis) only affect one joint, rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the exact same joints in both feet.
Different deformities (e.g. bunions; claw toes) and other problems may also develop, depending on what foot joint the rheumatoid arthritis inflicts.
What are the treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis?
While there is currently no cure for rheumatoid arthritis there are a variety of treatment options available to our patients to help reduce their symptoms and keep them living full, active lives. Certain medications can be prescribed to stop the immune system from attacking the joints.
Here are the most common types of orthopedic treatment options we recommend; however, remember that these treatments will not slow down or stop how the disease progresses, but it will help you to manage your symptoms:
Rest: This means reducing any movements or actions that make your rheumatoid arthritis pain worse. If you are naturally an active person, you may want to opt for lowimpact activities like swimming, which takes pressure and impact off the joints in the foot.
Antiinflammatories: Certain overthecounter antiinflammatories like ibuprofen can help reduce rheumatoid arthritis pain and inflammation. However, if your symptoms are severe then it might be time to talk to your podiatrist about prescribed pain relievers.
Icing: Apply an ice pack to the swollen, stiff joints for about 20 minutes at a time, three to four times a day. Icing can be particularly effective after you have finished any kind of physical activity.
Orthotics: If you experience a lot of issues walking or find that certain parts of your feet ache, then it might not be a bad idea to talk to your podiatrist about customized shoe inserts that can help correct foot deformities and take pressure off certain areas of your feet.
If there is severe joint damage, your podiatrist may recommend surgery to repair the issue. There are different types of foot surgeries to accommodate different rheumatoid arthritis issues and your podiatrist would be happy to sit down and discuss your surgical options.
If you have any questions about rheumatoid arthritis, call your podiatrist today!
Some people are unfortunately more concerned with the way that their shoes look than what’s happening to their feet due to wearing those shoes on a daily basis. Some “fashionforward” shoes, as nice as they may look on the outside, can actually be fungus traps, leaving the feet susceptible to the effects of foot and toenail fungi. Talk to a podiatrist about foot fungus and how your shoes can be creating the ideal environment for fungi to live on your feet.
What Is Foot Fungus?
A fungus is an organism that feeds and thrives on other organic matter. When it’s not controlled, it can lead to infections in parts of the body, like the feet. There are two types of fungal infections that commonly attack the feet:
- Athlete’s Foot
- Toenail Fungus
In both cases, overgrowth of fungus causes redness, itching, burning sensation and peeling of the skin. Toenail fungus also causes the nail to thicken, become yellow and flake. A strong, unattractive odor is also commonly associated with foot fungus infections.
Those FashionForward Shoes...
The problem with many fashionforward shoes is that they’re not designed to help your feet—they’re designed only to look a certain way for style. Some shoes don’t allow any room for your feet to breathe. Foot fungus thrives in warm, moist environments, so shoes that are enclosed or made of very restrictive materials (like plastic or pleather) often foster fungal infections. Fashionable women’s shoes often have pointy toes and very high heels (as high as six inches), causing the toes to push up against the front unnaturally. That pressure, combined with sweat, can also cause toenail fungus to develop.
Making Better Shoe Choices
If you are concerned about or have had past problems with foot fungus, it could be due to the choices you’re making in shoes. Here are a few tips for buying better shoes:
- Whenever possible, wear shoes that have an open toe to allow the toenails to remain dry and cool
- Pick shoes made of breathable fabric (like leather) and soles (ask your doctor about orthotic inserts that best manage moisture)
- Do not share your shoes with other people who may have fungus problems
- Ask your podiatrist about SteriShoe, an ultraviolet light that can kill fungus and bacteria that can form inside of your shoes
Your foot health should always trump your desire to wear fashionable shoes. Consult your podiatrist about better footwear choices that will both look good on your feet and prevent problems with fungal infections.