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Arthritis and Footwear

There are over 43 million people who suffer from arthritis in the United States, approximately one person in every seven. Although people with arthritis often suffer chronic pain, their doctors want them to exercise and enjoy life. Arthritis in the feet can make this more difficult. Richey & Co. can help by providing footwear solutions that provide comfort and support.

There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, and the cause of most types is unknown. In general, arthritis means inflammation of a joint resulting from any cause. This inflammation is usually accompanied by pain and swelling. There are 66 foot and ankle joints that work together to handle the tremendous weight-bearing load on the feet. When arthritis occurs in the feet, it can result in a painful loss of mobility and independence. But that may be avoided with early diagnosis, proper medical care provided by a physician and/or physical therapist and footwear and orthoses made to the prescriber’s specifications!

Footwear Can Help
Because there are more bones and joints in the feet than in any other part of the body, footwear plays an important role in maintaining an active life and comfort level for the arthritic person. Forefoot problems such as hammer toes, claw toes, mallet toes, and bunions often develop as a result of arthritis, particularly Rheumatoid arthritis.
      Richey & Co. provides you with a team of Pedorthists and footwear specialists to assist arthritis clients with their footwear. Working with your doctor, we can provide you a shoe and orthosis solution that will accommodate the sensitive areas of your foot and provide comfort and support. We also provide modifications to the shoe and orthosis to reduce the movement in the painful joints while providing range of motion through the shoe. Because Richey & Co. is not a one-brand concept store, we can offer you the very best from many brands to address your individual needs.

Rocker Soles

Controlling Arthritis Pain
One of the best ways to manage arthritis in the feet and control the pain it causes is to control the stress of impact. Here are some ways this can be accomplished.
      Activity Modification. The most conservative, least intrusive way to control the pain caused by arthritis in the feet is to simply reduce the activities that cause impact to the feet. Replacing activities such as walking or running with low-impact activities such as bicycling or swimming is a great way to maintain fitness and manage foot pain.
      Weight Control. The bones and joints of the foot and ankle are subject to a force of three times the body’s weight during walking and up to five times the body’s weight during running. Maintaining one’s recommended weight is critically important since even the gain or loss of a few pounds can make an important difference in comfort.
      Footwear modifications. Shoes and socks can help control pain by dissipating impact. Footwear modifications as simple as adjusting shoe closure pressure can help certain mid-foot arthritis or reduce pressure of shoes on bone spurs or other deformities caused by arthritis. Padded socks provide extra cushion. Simply choosing a shoe with a deep, wide toe-box and no internal seams can prevent rubbing and the pain it can cause, too. Sometimes more complicated modifications such as rebuilding a shoe with a rigid rocker bottom sole or rigid forefoot support can reduce joint movement in the forefoot and, therefore, reduce pain.
      Surgery. Advanced progression of arthritis might result in your doctor recommending surgical intervention. Sometimes joints are surgically fused to limit mobility and, consequently, pain. In some cases of advanced arthritis, a joint will fuse spontaneously and reduce mobility. When this occurs, shoe modifications—most notably rocker soles—can restore some of the range of motion lost in the joint. After surgery, there are a host of post-surgical and temporary footwear options to allow the foot to heal correctly. Orthoses are generally required to properly support the foot after surgery and to prevent reinjury.
      Whether simple or complex, footwear solutions for people with arthritis can be an important part of reducing the pain arthritis can cause. For this reason, it is important to work in concert with your physician, physical therapist, and Certified Pedorthist to accomplish the most effective therapeutic benefit!

Your Health Care Team
Your doctor is the best person to explain and diagnose your symptoms. If you have questions, make an appointment and tell your doctor your concerns.
      Increased mobility and proper footwear are integral to your ability to exercise. Many doctors and physical therapists are recommending exercise for arthritis sufferers because it helps lessen pain, increase joint range of motion, and reduce fatigue. Your doctor or physical therapist can show you stretching and strengthening exercises that are good for arthritis.
      Richey & Co. interacts with local foot doctors and physical therapists on a daily basis. We would be happy to provide you with a current listing of local foot doctors and physical therapists with whom we interact regularly.

The bones and joints of the foot and ankle are subject to a force of three times the body's weight during walking and up to five times the body's weight during running.

Because the foot is such a frequent target of arthritis, foot doctors are often the first physicians to identify some of the symptoms -- inflammation, pain, stiffness, excessive warmth, injuries.

Common Types of Arthritis

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. This is the wear and tear damage to joint cartilage, the soft tissue between connecting bones, that comes with age. Osteoarthritis can also develop following a traumatic injury in a joint such as a broken bone or torn ligament. The degenerative process involves a steady thinning of the joint cartilage causing extreme stiffness and pain. 37% of adults have some degree of osteoarthritis, particularly postmenopausal women.
      Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition caused by an irritation of the joint lining. People who have rheumatoid arthritis for at least 10 years almost always develop arthritis in some part of the foot or ankle. Pain, swelling, and deformity ensue creating limited movement and mobility. Women are three times more frequently affected by rheumatoid arthritis than men.
      A third common type of arthritis is gouty arthritis (gout). Gout is a condition caused by deposits of sodium uric crystals in the joints due to a problem with metabolism. A symptom of gout often includes pain in the big toe joint. Men are 8 to 9 times more likely to be affected than pre-menopausal women and gout often runs in families.

Warning Signs!!!

Swelling in one or more joints
Recurring pain or tenderness in any joint
Redness or heat in a joint
Limitation of motion in a joint
Early morning stiffness
Skin changes, including rashes and growths

If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, please see your physician!


Additional Sources of Information
Arthritis Foundation: (1-800-283-7800)
American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons: (1-800-421-2237)
American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society: (1-206-223-1120)
American Physical Therapy Association: (1-800-999-2782)
American Podiatric Medical Association: (1-800-275-2762)
Pedorthic Footwear Association: (1-800-673-8447)
Prescription Foot Orthotic Laboratory Association: (1-800-347-6585)

The information provided by Richey & Co. should never take the place of advice and guidance from a doctor. Be sure to check with your doctor about changes in your treatment plan. If you don’t have a doctor, we would be happy to provide you with a list of several health care providers near our facilities.

We Encourage Patients With More Complex Cases To First
Make An Appointment.

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