Diabetic and Rheumatoid Arthritis Foot Health

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

How does RA affect my feet?

 

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease of the joints and soft tissue that causes inflammation, pain and stiffness which affects the hands, feet, wrists, ankles and knees.  It also affects the blood flow and nerve sensation (peripheral neuropathy) to the foot and ankle.

 

One in five people have mild rheumatoid arthritis and one in 20 have a more severe progression leading to severe joint damage (Source: Arthritis Research UK).  It affects more women than men, usually over the age of 40.

 

You may have the same symptoms on each side of your body, for example, in both feet, which are often the first place to be affected.  Signs to look out for include hallux valgus (where the big toe drifts out of alignment ), and hammer toes (claw like toe- usually the 2nd toe), collapsed arch leading to flatfoot, pain in the balls of the feet and heel pain associated with the flat foot.  Foot deformity caused by rheumatoid arthritis results in uneven pressure distribution when walking and causes corns and callus, areas which may be prone to ulcerate.

What treatment can we offer?

 

We will assess your level of risk and create a personalised care plan which may include regular appointments for toenail cutting and treating corns and hard skin. Regular assessments can be conducted on the nerves leading into your feet and Doppler tests to listen to your blood flow into your feet. We are also unique in the sense that we have   a specialised underfoot pressure plate analysis to monitor areas of high pressure that could lead to long term complications.  The results can be sent to your doctor.

 

We can create bespoke orthotics to help you manage and decrease pain by minimising pressure on your affected joints and make walking easier.

 

Your podiatrist can also help and advise you to find correct footwear and can measure and order some to fit from certain suppliers.

 

Follow this link to read about the signs and symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Diabetes and foot health

How does Diabetes affect my feet?

 

Over 4 million people in the UK have diabetes and are at much greater risk of developing problems with their feet, due to the damage caused by raised blood sugars. This damage results in delayed wound healing and a loss of sensation (peripheral neuropathy) so you might not notice if your foot is injured or sore.  You may also be prone to foot ulcers and infections. However, most foot problems can be prevented with good health care at home and regular checks with your trained podiatrist at the Foot & Lower Limb Clinic.

 

Diabetes itself is managed by your doctor but your podiatrist plays an important role in diagnosing problems and maintaining healthy feet. We offer regular diabetic check-ups to look for the danger signs indicating that further investigation or urgent medical treatment is required.

What treatment can we offer?

 

We will assess your level of risk and create a personalised care plan which may include regular appointments for toenail cutting and treating corns and hard skin. Regular assessments can be conducted on the nerves leading into your feet and Doppler tests to listen to your blood flow into your feet to monitor any changes. We are also unique in the sense that we have a specialised underfoot pressure plate analysis to monitor areas of high pressure that could lead to long term complications.  The results can be sent to your doctor.

 

We will also advise on correct footwear and can measure and order shoes to fit from certain suppliers. We can create bespoke orthotics to help you manage and decrease pain by minimising pressure on your affected joints and make walking easier.

 

Experts advise diabetic patients not to walk barefoot or sit with crossed legs to avoid constricting blood circulation.  Smoking can also worsen foot and leg problems.

 

Here is a website where you can read about Diabetes