Arthritis is a destructive condition which effects the joints of the body. There are many types of arthritis, known by their differing characteristics. The inflammatory types are often marked by episodes of stiffness, heat, redness and/or swelling, and pain. The end result of arthritis may be limitation of movement in the involved joint(s), which has negative effects on normal movement and gait. For most people, arthritis means living with pain.
As a day-in, day-out companion, pain is exhausting. That's why many medical professionals dealing with arthritis are turning to Foot Support - both to help their patients function better and to help relieve their patients' pain.
Effects Of Arthritis
Arthritis can affect the body in several ways. When the disease strikes joints of the foot, walking can become difficult and painful - and a decrease in ambulatory capacity ultimately affects the rest of the body. This effect is compounded if other joints are also affected by arthritis. When painful arthritis attacks an upper body joint such as hip or spine, people try to compensate by standing, walking or sitting differently. This changes the distribution of their body weight, which in turn affects their feet.
Normal use of joints is tied to maintenance of the muscles, ligaments and other supporting structures for each joint. As pain in a joint worsens, people avoid movement in an effort to protect the damaged joint - and this contributes to an ongoing cycle of pain, limited motion, loss of flexibility, further joint deterioration, and increasing pain.
Two of the most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition, which worsens gradually over time. It often affects the hips, knees, spine, or finger joints, causing pain and deformity. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis. Both types are destructive and disabling. An acute phase with extreme swelling, heat and pain can occur early; later, as the disease "burns out," deformity is a larger problem.
Increasingly, doctors recommend activity or exercise for their arthritic patients, to maintain flexibility and cardiovascular fitness. And because doctors understand that arthritis has many ripple effects that spread to or from the feet, they increasingly prescribe pedorthic assistance to help their patients retain or enhance mobility.
Foot Support uses shoes and foot orthotics to accommodate change, improve function and/or relieve pain. A certified practitioner is qualified by education and experience to make, reshape and fit shoe and/or to fabricate and fit orthotics according to a doctor's prescription. Pedorthic results can sometimes be immediately apparent, in walking or standing. Other times, positive results come with wearing the appropriate orthotic device properly, over time.
Arthritis sufferers may be so use to pain in their feet that they simply don't realize treatment is possible. Foot Support can suggest another shoe style, or a length, width or depth change, that can make a significant different. A practitioner can also modify a shoe's interior or exterior to improve the fit. If the physician prescribes a foot orthotic, Foot Support - through familiarity with shoe construction, orthotic fabrication, and the materials, fabrics and components appropriate in addressing a foot condition according to a prescription - can handle both fabricating the orthosis and fitting it properly to both foot and shoe.
For people with severe arthritis, shoe modifications and foot orthoses may be crucial in allowing pain-free walking and in preventing infection. In less severe cases, proper shoes combined with prescription orthotics often allow more comfortable participation in regular activities, from simple ones like walking to more vigorous ones like sports.
Foot Support can also play a role in body areas other than the feet. Appropriate foot orthoses, properly fitted, can cushion and redistribute weight to shelter other joints above the foot. Modifications to shoe fastening devices can help people whose hands have trouble with lacing or tying, or who have difficulty bending.
Wherever arthritis grips people, it affects their ability to move and to live a normal life. Pedorthics can't cure arthritis, but a certified practitioner can help people who have arthritis stay participants instead of becoming observers. Pedorthics can enhance mobility - and for people with arthritis, the potential benefits are enormous.