Osteoarthritis - OUCH!
One of the most common forms of arthritis, Osteoarthritis affects the cartilage in your joints causing pain and stiffness when moving.
More common in women over 40, Osteoarthritis most often affects the hands, hips, knees, ankles and big toes. So, it goes without saying that your Podiatrist can be your best friend when it comes to learning how to manage this condition!
It’s Not All Doom And Gloom
In addition to seeking help from your trusted health professionals, there are a number of things that you can do yourself to ease the lower limb effects of your Osteoarthritis.
Correct Footwear Is Key
Correct footwear plays a large part in easing the stress on your joints. You should look for shoes with lace-up fastenings or an adjustable strap to keep the heel in place and prevent the toes from being pushed to the front of the shoe. Ideally, your feet should keep their natural shape when wearing shoes, with 1cm of space allowed between the end of your longest toe and the tip of the shoe. You should also be ensuring there is enough room to accommodate any swelling across the day (which is common!), so deep and wide shoes are best.
Shoe Brands Matter
We highly recommend the Anodyne and Revere shoe brands that we stock at our Northpoint practice. They are podiatrist approved brands that work with your feet, not against them, making them the perfect choice for our clients suffering with the lower limb effects of Osteoarthritis.
Exercise Makes The World of Difference
When it comes to our toes, we don’t often think of them as an ‘exercisable’ body parts… BUT, by stretching and strengthening them regularly you can help to nourish the joint cartilage and strengthen the muscles and tendons around the joint.
A Simple Exercise That We Recommend
For arthritis in the big toe, it is recommended that you put your feet side by side (you can do this while you are in the bath, on the couch, at your desk etc.) and try to move your big toes towards each other. You should do this regularly, three or four times per day.
It’s Not Just About The Toes Though
You should ideally also exercise your whole body to keep your joints flexible, your muscles strong and your bone and cartilage tissues healthy. Yoga is a great exercise for all your joints, including your toes. Swimming is also great because it doesn’t put any pressure on your joints and can easily be suited to any fitness level.
Let’s Talk Pain Relief Options
When it comes to pain relief, there are a few options if you suffer from Osteoarthritis. Your GP may recommend painkillers or steroids, and in addition to these there are a number of creams and gels that can be absorbed into the bloodstream to help ease the pain and assist with everyday movement.
Working With A Team Of Health Professionals Is Important
It is important that you seek out the advice of a range of healthcare professionals to help your address the varying effects of the condition including your GP and/or rheumatologist, physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist and of course your Podiatrist!
Your Podiatrist Can Play A Big Part In Helping You Live With Osteoarthritis
Although there is no known cure for OA, your Podiatrist can help when it comes to reducing the pain and discomfort you can be experiencing through everyday activities like walking. We can provide advice around footwear, OA suitable exercises, padding, strapping and foot orthotics in order to relieve pressure on affected areas and correct any problems that may be aggravating your Osteoarthritis.