According to the Arthritis Foundation in the US, nearly half of people in their sixties and seventies suffer from arthritis foot pain. Some experts believe that the damage often starts in the forties as feet begin to show wear and tear.
The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, which develops gradually over time (but can be exacerbated by overuse during some physical activities), causes the cartilage between the bones at pivotal joints like hips and knees to wear away. As a result, bones grind against each other, causing pain and swelling. Osteoarthritis often causes degeneration of the cartilage at the base of the big toe leading to pain and reduced mobility.
When arthritis pain affects the feet, it can make walking extremely uncomfortable. Although arthritic feet are a chronic condition that won’t go away, there are effective ways of managing them and achieving relief.
Wearing comfortable, supportive footwear is key. Shoes should be wide enough so that they don’t aggravate other issues like bunions or calluses. High heels should be avoided because they put more pressure on the balls of the feet.
Arch support is essential to stabilize joints that are moving more than they should, which can happen with arthritis.
Arch supports work by redistributing weight and relieving pressure on sensitive areas of the feet, thus providing cushioning which reduces stress and biomechanical load, on the lower body, and correct gait and structural abnormalities.
According to Marian Hannan, of Harvard Medical School and co-director of Musculoskeletal Research at the Harvard-affiliated Institute for Aging in Boston, data suggests that arch supports ‘…affect the foot’s very fine, or micro-, control of gait, subtly altering muscle activity and reducing stress on the lower extremity’
For more advice on footwear and custom arch supports, please drop in to your local Foot Solutions Store or Book an Appointment now.
Written by Blanaid Farrell, owner Foot Solutions, Stillorgan, Co. Dublin