Relieving The Pain Of Rheumatoid Arthritis Of The Foot

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By Dr. Parul K. Patel

seniorjoggerRheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic disease affecting more than 1.5 million people in the United States. While the disease can affect any joints in the body, small joints in the feet and hands are often the first affected. About 90% of people with RA eventually develop symptoms in the ankle and the foot at some point, according to a study in The Open Rheumatology Journal.

Rheumatoid arthritis leads to an oversensitivity in the lining that lubricates joints and helps them move. This leads to inflammation that causes damage to the joint as well as ligaments and surrounding tissues. As the ligaments weaken, it may lead to joint deformities in the foot as well as bone softening and collapse. RA usually affects both feet and the same joints in each foot. Areas of the foot affected by RA include:

• The hindfoot or heel. As RA develops, you may have trouble walking on uneven surfaces and experience pain beneath the fibula outside the foot. Eventually, the alignment of your foot can shift and lead to flatfoot as well as more pain on the outside ankle and the tendon inside the ankle.

• The midfoot or top of the foot. RA weakens the ligaments supporting the midfoot, potentially causing the arch to collapse. As you lose the arch of your foot, your foot may collapse and the front of your foot may begin to turn outward. Rheumatoid arthritis can also lead to cartilage damage that causes pain.

• The forefoot or the ball and toes of the foot.
People with RA often develop deformities in the toes and forefront of the foot such as claw toes, bunions, and pain under the ball of the foot. Bunions can become so serious that the big toe actually crosses over the second toe. The small toes may dislocate and deform into clawtoes that make it painful to wear shoes.

Treating RA Foot Pain

While there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, there are treatment options that can reduce the pain and discomfort of foot symptoms. RA foot care generally begins with wearing correct footwear. This means avoiding narrow-toed shoes and heals and choosing shoes with a low heel and high ceiling. Orthotics can also reduce foot pain, support the arch, and potentially prevent many common foot deformities.

Steroid injections into affected joints can also relieve pain by reducing inflammation of the joint lining. A foot specialist can recommend the best course of action to treat your pain and may recommend a special exercise regimen that avoids excessive pressure on the foot.

Surgery is often required to alleviate RA pain and correct foot deformities like bunions and hammer toes. Depending on the problem, surgery may involve correcting the position of joints and bones, fusing or resetting joints, or removing boney growths.

If you are dealing with RA symptoms in your feet, it’s important to see a foot specialist before the problems worsen and lead to serious deformities or an inability to walk.

– Dr. Parul K. Patel, DPM of Infinity Foot & Ankle is a podiatric specialist who offers comprehensive podiatric care in the Greater Dallas area. Dr. Patel treats a wide variety of foot conditions including rheumatoid arthritis with a combination of preventative, medical, and surgical care.

Tips For Preventing Boot And Foot Odor

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By John Harmata

askmredgeGreetings everyone! Figure skating is a great sport and can be loads of fun for the entire family. Ice skating has many health benefits for the body as well, but just like any other sport, there are risks involved.

Believe it or not, much of that risk comes from not having the proper equipment, i.e. skates. In the coming months Mr. Edge will be sharing with you important information about boots and blades, injuries, and injury prevention. If you have a skater in the family, or know someone who does, then you might want to share this information with them.

With summertime in full swing let’s take a few moments to talk about taking care of your boots and feet during the hot summer months. You can also take the same precautions when wearing your everyday shoes as well.

6 Tips for Preventing Boot and Foot Odor

Here are 6 quick tips that will help reduce or remove altogether the odor from your skating boots, everyday shoes, and feet:

* Wash feet daily with an antibacterial soap. Scrub thoroughly using a soft brush to remove any dead skin cells.

* Completely dry feet after washing. Use a hair dryer if necessary. Apply foot-specific antiperspirants or antibacterial gels to control moisture and bacterial growth. Antifungal powder also can be applied to help prevent athlete’s foot.

footodor* Wear absorbent cotton socks rather than nylon ones. Change socks daily, or twice a day, if necessary.

* Wear shoes that breathe, such as sandals or shoes made from mesh or canvas. Bacteria love warm, moist, dark places in which to grow, so these types of shoes help prevent bacterial growth.

* At the end of the day, remove insoles from skates and allow them to air out. Twenty four to thirty-six hours is a good drying time. Also loosen the laces and pull the tongue forward to allow the inside of the boots to dry.

* Dryer sheets, such as Bounce, placed inside the boots also will help eliminate odor.

If anyone has any other suggestions in caring for stinky boots, by all means, try them. What may work for one, won’t necessarily work for another.

Well everyone, that about wraps things up for this column. Till next time, have a great skate……..

If you have any questions for Mr. Edge, you can e-mail him directly by clicking on the authors name at the end of this article. All your questions will be answered directly and will also be featured in the following month’s column as well.

– Guest author, John Harmata,