Arthritis comes in several forms, but the two main forms are Rheumatoid arthritis and Osteoarthritis. Whilst they are different in their nature, they cause similar symptoms have similar debilitating effects on the health and lifestyle of sufferers and indeed loved ones.
The role of a podiatrist in arthritis management can be simplified into two aspects; Symptom Management and Disease Control. There is no cure for arthritis, but it can be managed where the goal is generally to keep you active and avoid surgical intervention. Please note, the involvement of your doctor is always an important step, as pharmaceutical intervention is often utilised to reduce pain and disease activity. Surgery should generally be a last resort if conservative measures fail.
When it comes to lower limb arthritis, managing the pain and dysfunction that affects the joint(s) is crucial. The use of hands-on therapy based treatments like mobilisation and soft tissue massage, can improve joint health and function. Structural therapies can also be useful, for example shoe selection and orthotic inserts to improve joint stability. The management of uncomfortable hard skin and corns can also be an important factor to consider, as these can alter walking patterns. All methods used are all designed to keep you moving as smoothly and freely as possible, and of course with less pain.
We now have conclusive evidence that demonstrates significant benefits of exercise and muscle strengthening in relation to pain, function and quality of life. If we can:
control your pain,
keep you active (or increase your activity),
improve control and muscular strength around affected joints
We know that life as you know it is set to improve!
So if you think, or have ever been told “Exercise is bad for your arthritis” - that is wrong. Sure, we need to be realistic and every scenario is different. However, exercise is good for arthritis. Strengthening is good for arthritis. It just needs to be performed appropriately.
Ed is passionate about helping anyone become more physically active, and when it comes to arthritis there couldn’t be a better medicine. The health benefits are countless. So if you have arthritis that is currently not well managed, if you suspect you might be developing arthritis, or maybe you’re just interested in how the treatments described can help your overall foot and leg function, please book in to see Ed, he’d love to help you.