Osteoarthritis in the foot can be painful. The most common joint in the foot to become osteoarthritic is the big toe joint. The condition is called a hallux limitus (limited movement) or a hallux rigidus (no movement).

But, the foot contains twenty-six bones, each of which articulates against one or more of its neighbours, and each articulation has the potential to degenerate through injury or time.

Treatments include orthoses (insoles), mobilization techniques and, if required, surgical referral.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (Rha) is different to osteoarthritis. Rha is an inflammatory disease that affects joints and soft tissue.

If an individual suffers with Rha, the loads and forces that the feet naturally undertake can become too much and present as pain.

Helping the feet cope with the inflammatory changes is part of the skills of the Deal Podiatry Clinic podiatrist.

Achilles tendinitis/tendinopathy

Achilles tendinitis/tendinopathy is a common injury for sports enthusiasts. Some individuals are more prone genetically to achilles injuries than others.

Without professional advice and treatment achilles tenidinitis (acute) can become an achilles tendinopathy (chronic).

Rehabilitation will involve a course of stretching/strengthening exercises and if implicated orthoses (insoles).

Leg length discrepancies

Leg length differences (LLD) can occur in all age groups and is not necessarily always due to odd bone lengths but commonly due to soft tissue tightness. For example, hip and knee operations may cause LLD and tightness to the lower back muscles that insert into the pelvis could cause a pelvic tilt and, hence, a LLD.

Treament involves a comprehensive musculoskeletal examination and often a single insole to go inside the shoe to raise the shorter limb.

Knee and hip pains

The feet, knees and hips cannot be thought of as individual components, therefore, if you suffer with knee or hip pains, there is a strong likelihood that the feet will be compensating for the problems above or instrumental in exacerbating the knee and hip pains.

After a musculoskeletal examination orthoses (insoles) may be used to reduce the stresses to the knees and hips by altering the forces of the foot and ankle.

A prescriptive course of exercises may also be used.

Paediatric pains

Growing for most children is pain free however for some children musculoskeletal development is not always straightforward.

There are too many conditions to document but the most common conditions seen at Deal Podiatry Clinic are hypermobility, heel and knee pains.

Often treatment is simply parental and child reassurance. Occasionally, orthoses (insoles) are be used to reduce the impacts of the developmental stresses.

Flat feet

Arch heights vary. Someone who has a low arch profile is not necessarily flat footed and does not incur more pain or injuries compared to a person with a higher arch. A true flat foot usually presents with muscular weakness, foot and lower limb fatigue and a lack of stability.

Orthoses (insoles) can reduce the forces to the flat foot and place the foot into an alignment more able to cope with the loading forces.

Specific strengthening exercises are used to strengthen muscle weakness in the flat feet.

Excessively pronating foot

Pronation is the term used for a normal movement of the foot as it loads to the floor and adapts to the terrain the foot is loading onto.

When the foot pronates there is an elongation and flattening of the arch. Excessive pronation can occur because the foot is compensating for another underlying problem (imagine if the wheels of a car always drove on an adverse camber, they initially would be able to compensate but before too long some mechanical failure would occur).

Excessive pronation of the foot and the detrimental forces to the foot can be reduced using orthoses (insoles). They can be relatively simple in design or prescriptive to the individual and his/her needs.