Often considered an affliction of the aged, arthritis can strike any age group. There are more than 100 forms of this chronic condition. One of the most common strikes the foot. If not treated and managed it can have a devastating effect on daily life.
While it is more common among older people, arthritis can develop after injury to the foot or ankle, usually through a sporting incident. Pro Health Care has clinics around Adelaide with specialists trained to help sufferers manage their condition.
“Pain associated with arthritic changes in the joints of our feet is something we are presented with and treat on a daily basis,” says Craig Pitt, Podiatrist at Pro Health Care’s Mitcham and Stirling clinics. Craig, a specialist in foot and ankle mobilisation, developed a particular interest in high-risk foot wound care while working at the Flinders Medical Centre.
He explains how arthritis develops in feet: “After decades of standing and walking, the cartilage between the joints can slowly break down until there is no cushioning between the bones. This can lead to pain, stiffness and reduction of motion, which inhibits daily activities.”
While there is no cure, treatment is available to slow its progress and relieve symptoms. This includes lifestyle changes, special exercises, assistive devices, such as braces and shoe inserts, and a range of medications.
However, not all foot pain is caused by arthritis, so it is critical that a specialist is consulted. The pain could be due to muscle or tendon injuries or even a problem in the back, hips or knees.
“We perform a thorough assessment, highlighting what to address to ease discomfort and maintain function and movement,” says Craig. All Pro Health Care podiatry staff are trained in footwear assessment and modification, mobilisation techniques and customised orthotic therapy.
All orthotic devices are made in house by the Pro Podiatry team. Josh Kinsman, Podiatrist at the Hope Valley clinic, explains: ‘Having our own orthotic laboratory gives us the ability to customise the fit of the orthotic extremely accurately, creating the right combination of support and cushioning ensuring greater comfort.”