There are numerous varieties of arthritis, but the main ones include psoriatic arthritis, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune ailment that attacks body joints. The majority of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis will have to experience symptoms at the ankle or foot. Usually, cartilage plays the cushioning role between the bones, allowing them to move smoothly.
In the presence of arthritis, the cartilage wears away, causing the bones to rub against each other painfully. Individuals who develop rheumatoid arthritis at the feet report painful feet, severe stiffness, edema, and foot deformities.
Each foot has over 30 joints, and arthritis may affect any, making it very painful and hard to walk. Most arthritis effects in the foot occur on the big toe, the middle part of your foot, and ankle. As your condition worsens, your physician may recommend custom orthotics.
Few options are available for managing arthritis on foot. Your physician may prescribe steroid shots or pain relievers to reduce the discomfort or swelling. You may also choose to contact a physical therapist to learn about activities that can keep your foot mobile.
A cane or braces will allow you to walk confidently with better stability. In the absence of these treatments, you may consider a surgical procedure to replace or fuse damaged joints.
The right Shoe for Arthritis
Note that arthritis does not only affect the joints but can also bend the foot out of shape. It may create larger bumps that do not fit into the shoes properly. Squeezing your feet into uncomfortable shoes may exacerbate arthritis pain.
Putting on the correct shoes will allow you to walk quickly and reduce the pain associated with arthritis. A good shoe for rheumatoid arthritis is an extra depth shoe having removable insoles. Adjustable strap shoes are the most suitable because of the effect of rheumatoid arthritis on the feet.
Researchers compare choosing the right shoe when you have arthritis to consuming a nutritious diet. The right shoes play a crucial role in improving the quality of life in patients with arthritis. Wearing uncomfortable shoes may lead to more severe complications associated with arthritis.
Consider Low and Comfortable Heels
The ideal shoes have thick, low-heels like wedges. The shoe height should allow your foot to be at a natural and relaxed angle. Ensure that there have rubber soles in the shoes. It will play the role of shock absorbers and protect you from slipping.
Additionally, it would be best if the boots had a wide toe box to give enough space for your toes to move freely.
The shoes have cushioned mid-soles and heels to inhibit your foot from rolling inwards. The mid-soles are also sound shock absorbers. The shoes may not be the most suitable for individuals with osteoarthritis at the knee because they may increase the load on your knee.
However, the shoes may be considered by individuals with ankle, foot, or hip arthritis. More so, those who roll their feet inwards as they walk.
Soft Flexible Sneakers and Dress Shoes
Individuals with knee arthritis are advised to consider soft and flexible shoes that can expand and not constrict their foot, causing worsening pain. Soft and relaxed sneakers are designed to mimic the bio-mechanics of walking barefoot.
A study carried out with 16 participants who had knee osteoarthritis and wore flexible sneakers for about six hours daily for six days revealed improved load on the knees. The participants had a changed walking style, and it continued after the removal of the shoes.
Flip-flops are also recommended for people with osteoarthritis. The shoes are fine mechanically. However, they can cause falls, which have been reported in older patients with knee osteoarthritis.
As compared to pieces of leather and soles, sandals offer a little more in keeping your foot in place. In case of arthritis in the lower extremities, it is advisable to go for sandals with more support. Straps allow you to adjust shoes for a custom fit. Ensure that one of the straps goes across the ankle back.
In the absence of the back straps, toes will over-grip the shoe edge.
It may predispose one to hammertoes or foot strains. Physicians discourage sandals with straps crossing sensitive parts of the foot.
If you have swollen feet, stretchable shoes such as bunions with flexible sides are the most suitable. They will comfortably accommodate changes in the shape and size of your foot.
Patients with osteoarthritis of the knee are advised to consider the following when shopping for shoes:
- Minimal arch support
For individuals with ankle conditions such as arthritis, boots can be healthy and stabilizing. However, high-heeled boots are unsuitable. Consider boots with a low, stable, rubber-soled wedge. Flatter boots with enough arch support are also preferable.
Some people prefer hiking boots because they are sturdy and provide better ankle support. Although sturdiness is vital, hiking boots require flexibility because they may hinder you from flexing your foot if they are too stiff. The outcome is a distorted motion.
Avoid High Heels
Experts agree on the effect of high heels in patients with knee arthritis. The most unsuitable are those more than two inches. High heels are hard on the arch and may cause wearing down of the joints. Studies have revealed that wearing heels such as stilettos may worsen arthritis and the associated pain.
A study on women who regularly wore high heels revealed that they suffered knee joint and knee osteoarthritis degeneration. The participants also reported lower back pain which worsened with the heel height. Studies indicate that women who regularly wear high heels experience severe foot pain later, unlike those who go for healthier shoes.
For individuals with severe knee osteoarthritis, walking barefoot could be better than wearing uncomfortable shoes that may worsen the pain. As you walk barefoot, there is a reduction of load on the knee joints. You may consider flip-flops if you cannot manage barefoot.
Studies have revealed that flexible, low-heeled flip flops are as good as walking barefoot because of reduced load on the knee joint. Osteoarthritis shoes are effective in reducing discomfort associated with osteoarthritis. You can also find relief by wearing knee braces