Why Add A Chiropodist To Your Rheumatoid Arthritis Health Care Team?

If your rheumatoid arthritis is causing pain, inflammation and swelling in your foot joints, you may want to add a chiropodist-- like one from Lakeshore Foot Clinic of Mississauga-- to your health care team. This foot doctor can help you relieve pain and stiffness, and prevent joint deterioration.

About Chiropodists

Chiropodists treat problems with the lower legs, ankles and feet. They have completed a doctoral degree, but are not doctors of medicine. This is similar to the way a person completes a doctoral degree to become an optometrist, or an eye doctor who is not a medical doctor. 

No doubt you are working diligently with your family practice doctor and a rheumatologist to prevent your disease from worsening and to keep symptoms at bay. Prescription medication is the first line of treatment, but you can do more to prevent foot deformities, and to avoid and relieve joint pain and stiffness in your feet and ankles.

Orthotic Device Prescriptions

Your chiropodist may prescribe foot and ankle braces that keep your feet straight. When your feet feel sore, you may want to wear soft cushioning devices in your shoes that have been custom-made to fit your feet. Both of these items are medically known as orthotic devices.

Shoe Recommendations

Your chiropodist can help you select the best shoes for your particular circumstances. A high-quality pair of gym shoes is advantageous, and orthopedic shoes can help as well.

Don't blanch at the thought of orthopedic shoes; these items have come a long way since the days when they were obvious and ugly. With about 24 percent of adults suffering from foot ailments, shoe manufacturers have stepped up and designed a wide variety of stylish products.   

Treatment of Complications

Even minor changes in the joints can cause friction between the interior of your shoe and parts of your feet. That can lead to calluses, corns and ulcers. Your chiropodist treats all these problems and can help you prevent further occurrences with a change in your orthotic devices and footwear.

You also may need to learn whether you've made a habit of walking with an abnormal gait to accommodate pain and stiffness in your feet and ankles. This habit may linger even during periods when you don't have discomfort, and you'll need to adjust back to a normal gait.

Vascular Evaluation

People with rheumatoid arthritis are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. During your appointments with your chiropodist, the doctor will evaluate your lower legs for signs of vascular problems. The sooner any signs are discovered, the faster you can address the issue.

What Can You Do Now?

Ask your family practice doctor or rheumatologist for a referral to a chiropodist, or seek one of these specialists out on your own. With this health care practitioner on your team, you'll have an added asset to help you prevent and relieve symptoms and complications.