Orthotics For Patients Living With Arthritis

When people think of orthotics, the first issue that comes to mind is likely some kind of general foot pain, especially as it pertains to the arches of the feet. These are common reasons to seek custom orthotics, but the devices themselves extend beyond those limits. Orthotics are capable of providing relief in a wide array of scenarios, including pan that stems from rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.

Most people with arthritis will experience discomfort and swelling in the joints of the feet and ankles. By properly utilizing custom orthotic devices, arthritis patients will be able to increase their level of activity without putting undue stress on their joints. Arthritis doesn’t have to win when it’s battling against the right orthotic devices and a proper care plan.

The Types Of Orthotics For Arthritis Patients

The type of orthotic device an arthritis patient will need is best determined on a case by case basis. Like this any kind of orthotic device, a long list of variables will come into play. There are soft, medium and hard orthotics that are ready to go, but most people will find that these premade solutions don’t work for them because they were not tailored to their needs.

Custom orthotics are virtually always a better solution, because general orthotics are really only designed to make walking long distances comfortable for people who are frequently on their feet. Everyone’s journey with arthritis, whether it be rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, is unique. Combining that unique journey with other factors, such as the sole of the foot and any other injuries that might exist, makes it nearly impossible to find an effective solution sitting on a shelf somewhere.

A great orthotics provider will consult with an arthritis patient’s history and care providers to design and create a device specifically for the patient. The devices can be adjusted or entirely replaced with time, depending on the needs and lifestyle of the patient. Some of these devices may require periodic maintenance to keep them in proper working order, even if they don’t require adjustment or replacement. This assures the best results can be achieved and the arthritis patient will feel less limited in life.

The Issues That Orthotics Can Address

Orthotics offer a valuable set of benefits to people who live with rheumatoid or osteoarthritis. Outside of just providing support, orthotics can significantly reduce the pain associated with daily physical activity and stop the progression of issues like foot deformity that may lead to greater problems later on. Orthotics can become an important step in helping arthritis patients regain some control.

Pain In The Feet

Most people living with arthritis aren’t as active as they’d like to be. Even things like grocery shopping or simply walking to the mailbox can be uncomfortable. This is because the plantar pressure, which is the sensation of the soles of the feet bearing weight against the ground, can be very unpleasant for people experiencing joint pain in the feet. Putting weight on a joint that’s already swollen is painful and can actually prolong the joint’s recovery time due to the added stress.

Since orthotics are designed to reduce that pain, people with arthritis are able to enjoy a better quality of life. Light exercise is necessary for maintaining health and preventing circulatory problems and the comorbidities caused by those problems. Exercise also promotes the release of serotonin, a natural hormone that improves overall mood and acts as a natural pain reducer. By removing those barriers, patients with arthritis are able to fully immerse themselves in a comprehensive wellness plan.

Preventing Issues From Worsening

The frequent inflammation of the joints in the feet can lead to deformity, especially if no preventative or counteractive measures have been put into place. People with arthritis are more susceptible to common deformities like bunions due to the nature of their condition. The use of orthotics for preventing bunions from worsening or slowing their progression almost always has positive outcomes, although severe cases may require surgical intervention.

Orthotics cannot act like an “undo” button for foot deformities that already exist, but they can act as a “pause” button for manageable deformities. The combination for the support provided by an orthotic device and its ability to reduce pain can essentially freeze most common deformities. As long as existing deformities are monitored and the arthritis patient follows the orders of their care providers, orthotics can become an important part of deformity and pain management plans.

Finding A Care Provider

If you are an arthritis patient and you feel that orthotics may be a valuable solution for you, we encourage you to contact us. We’ll be able to discuss your options and help design custom orthotics to address the discomfort and foot deformities that occur as a result of your osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.