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The Arthritic Foot

Arthritis is a very general term which is used to describe any disorder that effects joints – and in this context, joints of the lower limb and foot. Symptoms generally include redness, swelling, warmth and a decreased range of motion of the affected joints.

In the Oxford Foot and Ankle Centre we see different forms of the arthritic foot but most commonly we treat those with a rheumatoid foot or an osteoarthritic foot.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic, inflammatory condition that affects many tissues and organs but mainly attacks joints, and many people with RA have the disease in their feet which can cause swelling, deformity and the collapse of the structure of the foot. Corns and callus may form over the points of high pressure.

The podiatric approach can look to ease the pressure points by off-loading with specially designed orthotics, advise on specially designed footwear. Regular treatments can keep the pressure areas more comfortable and prevent more serious problems occurring and above all seek to keep the rheumatoid foot mobile and pain free.

Osteoarthritis arthritis is a degenerative or “wear and tear” form of arthritis that affects the cartilage in joints, and those of the foot. Cartilage covers the end of bones and provides a form of cushioning and helps the joints work smoothly against each other. Where the cartilage starts to break down those affected by the disease begin to feel stiffness which is worse after resting or after a period of not moving.

At the Oxford Foot and Ankle Centre we can investigate the degree of severity and the reduced range of motion in affected joints and can prescribe exercises that will assist in keeping the foot as mobile as possible. We can assess where there are weaknesses so that we can prescribe orthotics that can help correct foot posture that is exacerbating foot joint pain, accommodate pressure areas so that walking is more comfortable, aiding mobility and everyday activities.

Our arthritic foot clinic at the Centre would be happy to assess your foot and advise on the most appropriate treatment and care plan.