Posts for: December, 2020
By Dr. James DiResta, DPM, MPH
December 15, 2020
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis, and it is characterized by joint pain, inflammation, and damage. RA, like other kinds of arthritis, is progressive, which means that symptoms will gradually get worse over time if left untreated. So, how do you know if you might be developing RA in your feet? While a podiatrist can certainly provide you with a definitive diagnosis, here are some telltale signs of rheumatoid arthritis.
- You experience pain, inflammation, and stiffness in the joints of the foot, particularly the toes
- You experience aching feet, particularly after activity or long periods of standing
- Some parts of your foot may feel oddly warm to the touch or may emanate heat while the rest of the foot feels normal
- The joints of the toes and ankles may swell
Symptoms are often mild at first and you may not even think that you have arthritis. Those between the ages of 30 to 60 are more likely to develop RA. You may notice intense flare-ups that are characterized by bouts of remission (in which you don’t experience symptoms). Do not take these symptom-free moments to mean that you are fine. It’s important to see a podiatrist right away if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above.
What does RA do to the feet and ankles?
Along with painful joints and stiffness, you may also notice other changes to your feet over time. Some of these changes include,
- Hammertoes and claw toes
- Circulation issues (e.g. atherosclerosis; Raynaud’s phenomena)
How is rheumatoid arthritis treated?
Since RA is not curable, your podiatrist will focus on crafting a treatment plan that will help to alleviate your symptoms and slow the progression of the disease to prevent severe and irreparable joint damage. Prescription medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are biologics that can reduce inflammation and prevent the progression of the disease.
Of course, there are also lifestyle changes you can make along with taking prescription medication that can also ease symptoms,
- Warm soaks
- Custom insoles or orthotics
- Pain relievers
- Stretching exercises for the feet
- Steroid injections (for targeting severe inflammation)
Surgery is only necessary if there is severe joint or cartilage damage, or if inflamed tissue needs to be removed from around the joint.
Most people with RA will eventually develop foot and ankle problems, which is why it’s important to have a podiatrist on your team that can help you manage your RA effectively.
By Dr. James DiResta, DPM, MPH
December 01, 2020
Category: Foot Care
Here’s what you can do to prevent foot pain caused by high arches.
If you have high arches, you may notice them but not experience any problems; however, those with high arches bear more weight on the balls and heels of the feet. Over time, you may develop corns, calluses, hammertoes, painful calf muscles, or foot pain. If you have high arches, a podiatrist can provide you with a variety of ways to support your feet to prevent these problems.
Consider wearing custom orthotics
Orthotics are special devices that are placed inside the shoes to improve stability and to cushion the foot. These devices can reduce shock absorption while standing, walking, or running. While there are over-the-counter orthotics that you can buy, they aren’t specifically designed to fit your feet or treat the issues you’re dealing with.
A podiatrist can provide you with custom-fitted orthotics that can help to support the arches of your feet and distribute weight more evenly among the foot to prevent heel pain and pain in the ball of the foot.
Wear shoes that support your feet
You must be also wearing shoes that can accommodate your high arches, especially if you are on your feet most of the day or participate in physical activities. Those with high arches are prone to stress fractures and ankle sprains, and you must consider shoes that have,
- A high top that can cushion and support the ankles
- A spacious toe box that won’t put pressure on the toes or cause irritation to preexisting deformities such as hammertoes or bunions
- A midsole that has added cushioning to reduce pressure
- A high-abrasion rubber outsole that will provide more durability (especially important for running shoes and athletic footwear)
If you are prone to Achilles tendonitis because of your high arches you may also look for a shoe that offers a little heel lift, which can take the stress off the Achilles tendon and the arches of the feet.
Talk to your podiatrist about bracing
In some cases, your podiatrist may also recommend bracing the feet and ankles to help stabilize them and provide additional support. If your podiatrist has told you that you also have a drop foot, which means that you have trouble lifting the front of your foot, then bracing may also be a great way to manage this problem and provide a more natural and comfortable gait when walking.
While high arches alone aren’t a cause for concern it can be good to know about potential issues that it can cause along the way so you can take the necessary precautions now to protect your feet. If you are dealing with foot pain or other problems, a podiatrist can help.