How does rheumatoid arthritis affect how people see themselves? Topic for July @  

In this series of article, I will share my side of the Arthritic Warriors Foot Wear predicament.

When you have RA your footwear choices can make a big difference. Over the years I have realized that healthy choices for your feet is like having nutritious diet or getting regular exercise which adds up to big improvements in quality of life… My foot wear mindset is like I think of my shoes as a tool that can modify to help minimize pain and maximize my ability to get out and do things.

Wrong foot wear are not only uncomfortable but they aggravate joint problems, bunions, hammertoes, even further.

For people with conditions that affect the feet such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, the right footwear is essential to maintaining function, resting symptomatic joints and preventing or limiting our structural foot problems.

We are all aware each foot has more than 30 joints. Arthritis that affects any of these joints can make it difficult — and painful — to walk.

Just a bit of concise medical description from an arthritic warrior’s window collated from various workshops I have attended.

RA affects the smaller joints such as the fingers and toes first, so feet are often one of the first places to be affected. Symptoms usually strike the toes first and may then affect the back of the feet and the ankles. The joints may enlarge and even freeze in one position, so they can’t extend fully. During my flareups my small toe sometimes is so painful and inflamed that even a whiff of air that passes by can make me scream…during these times I wear thick and cushioned socks thereby covering it from external pressure and it works for me.

The metatarso phalangeal joints  are often affected (where the long bones of the feet meet the toes), and can result in Hal lux vagus (the big toe is angled excessively towards the second toe) and hammer toe deformities (the toes curl up in a claw-like shape). Each of these deformities can cause further problems, for example, if you have hammer toes, you’ll be more likely to develop corns on the tops of your toes.

If the joints in the middle of the foot are affected, the arch can collapse leading to a flatfoot deformity and spreading of the forefoot (where the front section of the foot becomes wider). The fatty pads on the balls of the feet may slip forward, causing pain on the balls of the feet and backs of the toes. If this happens, it can feel as if you are walking on stones. During these days I am always moving around the house in my double padded house slippers.

If the joint where the heel bone meets the ankle (the joint that lets you rotate your ankle) is affected, it can lead to a condition known as vagus hind foot (where the heel bends outwards), making it difficult to walk.

Finding a safe and comfortable environment for your feet is not always as easy as you might imagine. I have always noticed selecting shoes can be quite difficult when you have rheumatoid arthritis: A lot of stylish shoes aren’t an option because they don’t fit right or you can’t put special insoles in them. I am always on the look for deep and broad shoes that can be secured on to my feet with Velcro’s and straps. Deep and broad shoes as feet can swell and have a flare up anytime. I also, consider avoiding shoes with laces. RA flare ups sometimes leave hands swollen making it difficult to tie shoes.

Velcro, elastic shoelaces and zips fastenings these become easier to do up. There are also many devices to help put on shoes and do up fastenings.

For some of us with sickness, pain, or mobility issues, fashion can be scary, and it can sometimes be bleak. There have been times in my journey with rheumatoid arthritis , where fashion and I found ourselves at odds with one another. In my corporate career days, I saw an automatic change in my footwear once I was diagnosed with RA, to all the comfortable shoes without laces or just Velcro bound… I have not regretted my stilettos era …just accepted my new footwear era!

I have gone through all this with a smile and with me there was an acceptance of the condition hence it became a cake-walk to walk! I constantly am on the lookout for comfort and pain free foot wear rather than the look and fashion and have found my SOLE MATE in various shapes and designs.

To summarize I would say we need to realize as Arthritis Warriors, our feet provide support for our entire body and are the first things to go forward when we move in any direction. They take us everywhere, so it is best for us not to neglect them. Take care of your feet by putting them in the best foot wear for rheumatoid arthritis.

Let us step out in the right direction….








1 reply
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