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Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis affect your foot health, but there are ways to treat these problems.
Click on 'watch the video' to watch a video on rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a condition that causes inflammation in many joints of the body, including the feet.
The sooner it's diagnosed, the more effective your treatment can be. Don't ignore joint pain, as RA often shows up in the feet first. You can be referred to an arthritis clinic by your GP. NHS rheumatologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and podiatrists (foot specialists) can also help.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is often called the 'wear and tear' arthritis. It usually appears in people over 40 when the cartilage between bones has become worn and is no longer cushioning the joint as well as it used to.
OA affects joints that have been under pressure and is common in feet, especially in the joint at the base of the big toe.
'It's important to keep moving as you get older'
Christine Lawrence, 63, is a retired teacher and lives in Cornwall. She has osteoarthritis in her feet
"I first noticed aching in both my ankles and a stabbing pain in the joint at the base of one of my big toes about three years ago. My GP arranged an X-ray and we found I had osteoarthritis in both my ankles and my big toe, where I'd had a bunion since childhood.
"I firmly believe it's important to keep moving as you get older. So I've tried everything I can to minimize the pain and allow myself to be active despite osteoarthritis.
"I use ibuprofen tablets if I'm going for a long walk, and Ibuleve gel, which reduces pain and swelling. I've had acupuncture and ultrasound treatment, which I've paid for privately through my health insurance. I make sure I choose sturdy, supportive shoes and have stopped wearing sandals. I take supplements – glucosamine and chondroitin – which seem to help.
"The pain is now under control and doesn't stop me doing anything I want to do. I'm even off on holiday to India this month to walk the foothills of the Himalayas."
A rheumatologist describes the effects of rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory disease of the joints, its most common symptoms and the treatment options available.
Toetoes are really comfortable. They prevent toes touching each other and seem to keep the area between the toes dry so that the skin is now smooth.
I love to wear them because they are fun. My red socks with red sandels looks as though I've painted my feet. When you've retired you are allowed to be a little mad!.
Last year in the Himalayas I lived in my woolly hiking socks and gave some of the children a bit of a fright when I removed my boots. They are now worn through and I immediately ordered replacements.
Ruth Reeves - Retired