There are three types of arthritis that commonly affect the body: Osteoarthritis (OA), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Gout.
OA is also known as wear and tear. This is simply because it occurs when the cartilage that lies between the bones and joints starts to wear away through daily usage. In some people the cartilage rebuilds itself and they have no symptoms. However, in most people when the cartilage deteriorates, the bone underneath can thicken, causing pain, stiffness and swelling. The joints most affected are the knees, hips, hands and big toes.
OA is uncommon before the age of 40 and is more common in women than men. Though the exact cause of OA is unknown, it is probably due to the fact that as we age, we tend to put on weight and thereby put more pressure on our joints, so our muscles become weaker and our body loses its ability to heal itself. When OA occurs in younger people, it is usually because the joint cartilage has been damaged through injury (such as a sprain or fracture), a bacterial or viral infection or even through overuse of a particular joint as is common in farmers (hips), plumbers (knees) and footballers (knees and ankles). Arthritis Research UK estimates that 8 million people in the UK are affected by OA but only 1 million seek treatment.
RA is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the synovial membranes within the joints. The synovial joint lubricates the joints and because of this we have thousands of them all over our body. Therefore, any joint can be affected but RA particularly affects the hands, feet, wrists, ankles, knees, and tends to occur symmetrically. RA tends to affect the smaller joints such as the fingers and toes first, so feet are often one of the first places to be affected. Symptoms usually strike the toes first and may then affect the back of the feet and the ankles. The joints may enlarge and even freeze in one position so they can’t extend fully.
Unfortunately, RA is the more aggressive type of arthritis, as the immune system is essentially attacking the joints for no reason. RA often results in more severe deformity of both the hands and feet. However, the lungs, heart and liver can also be affected.
Due to the feet being a complex part of your body, they can not be, and should not be, looked at in isolation. Your feet are placed at the bottom of the skeleton tree. Therefore, any problems within the the lower back, thigh muscles, knee joints, and lower limbs will contribute to your foot pain. Due to this, a condition cannot be solved simply by consultation, and a thorough hands-on assessment is required.
By carrying out a Biomechanical Gait Analysis Assessment, the Podiatrist will consider your foot condition, but also take into account symptoms being experienced further up the skeleton. The assessment will provide an accurate diagnosis, allowing the Podiatrist to prepare a suitable treatment plan, which may include recommended stretches, custom made orthotics, and footwear advice.
During these uncertain times we continue to monitor advice issued by Public Health England, and guidelines provided by The College of Podiatry. In the meantime, we are open for to all patients, by appointment only.
We will continue to maintain health & safety to the highest level, and are unable to offer walk-in services. Patients can find out more about the changes we have implemented on our website under ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) Clinic Policy & Procedure’.
If you need to see a Podiatrist, please contact us and we will carry out a quick health check over the phone. We will provide up-to-date information on our website, by email and via our social media channels should the guidelines change again.
Appointments will only be offered to patients who we feel are no risk to others!
You can contact us by telephone on 0203 327 0194, or by email at email@example.com
If you wish to discuss anything, require advice, or just want to have a chat, please feel free to get in touch with us. We are here to help!
Don’t give up… continue to stay safe, hopeful and happy. We will get through this!
Looking forward to returning to absolute normality and seeing all our lovely patients soon…