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Foot care health centre

Psoriatic arthritis and your feet

The feet are commonly affected by psoriatic arthritis, causing pain and affecting a person's quality of life.

However, treatments and footwear options are available to help manage the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis of the feet.

Psoriatic arthritis of the foot

It is common for the disease to strike some of the thirty-odd joints in the feet, especially the toe joints closest to the nail. When this occurs toes often become red and swell into a sausage shape that is characteristic of psoriatic arthritis of the foot. Inflammation in the toe joints may also damage the nail bed, causing nails to be pitted or ridged or peel away from the nail bed.

In some instances psoriatic arthritis symptoms include soreness at the points where tendons and ligaments meet bones, a condition known as enthesopathy. With psoriatic arthritis of the foot, this may result in soreness in your sole or heel ( Achilles tendon) that makes every step a painful proposition.

In rare instances psoriatic arthritis manifests itself as arthritis mutilans, a disfiguring form of arthritis that usually targets the hands and feet and leads to significant bone damage.

Whether your psoriatic arthritis of the foot is mild or severe, it is important to do everything you can to minimise inflammation. Left untreated, it may cause permanent joint damage or deformity.

You can help reduce your symptoms by making sure you wear shoes that fit properly, and by keeping your feet in good shape.

Shoes and psoriatic arthritis of the foot

When you have swollen toes caused by psoriatic arthritis of the foot, it may be painful or impossible to wear traditional shoes. If that is the case, look for shoes with extra room in the toe box to accommodate your toes.

If you can wear standard shoes, make sure you shop wisely to keep your feet happy.

  • Think sturdy and supportive.
    With psoriatic arthritis of the foot, it is essential to give your feet all the help they can get, and that includes a shoe that will support your heels, arches and the balls of your feet.
  • Cover up.
    When your toes are swollen and sore you need to protect them from any additional injury. Sandals that cradle your foot in a deep footbed, or full-coverage shoes, will provide a barrier between your toes and anything that might hit them.
  • Get the correct cushioning.
    Try to strike a balance between cushioning for comfort and rigidity for support. Shoes with shock-absorbing rubber soles are a good choice for psoriatic arthritis of the foot.
  • Not too tight.
    There should be wiggle room for your toes and about 1.3cm (half an inch) of space behind your heel.
  • Stay grounded.
    High heels may look attractive, but the effect they have on your feet is not nearly as pretty. Heels 7.5cm (3in) high subject your poor, aching feet to seven times more stress than a more reasonable heel only 2.5cm (1in) high.


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