Psoriatic Arthritis: 9 Ways to Protect Your Feetby Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Writer
Nearly two-thirds of individuals with psoriatic arthritis report foot pain according to the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases. Unfortunately, this can lead to high levels of impairment and disability. Despite the risks, only about one in five people with psoriatic arthritis receive foot care. The following nine tips will help keep your feet as healthy as possible.
Know the health secrets your feet keep
Our feet hold clues to our overall health. For example, one of the simplest ways to check for a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries is for a doctor to check for pulses in the feet. Our feet and toes can also reveal one of the first signs of psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis can cause a condition called dactylitis, where a finger or toe becomes swollen and looks like a little sausage. Early detection of your disease could depend on your feet.
Make sure your shoes fit
Our feet support all of our weight day after day. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, shoes that are too tight, too loose, or without enough support can cause unwanted stress on the feet, ankles, lower leg, hip, and spine. Because joint soreness is related to psoriatic arthritis, it is especially important that your shoes fit as well as possible.
Include your feet in your psoriatic arthritis and health exams
Sometimes the saying, “out of sight, out of mind” is true. If your feet are always covered at your doctors’ appointments, you might be tempted to leave them out of the discussion. However, because your feet potentially play a large role in your disease, it is important to come to your appointments with loose fitting shoes that can be removed easily. If your doctor forgets or is in a hurry, a gentle reminder for him or her to take a look at your feet is perfectly acceptable.
Make your feet a part of your beauty routine
Whether we realize it or not, we all have a beauty routine. For some, it may include weekly trips to the spa, while others may focus on what they can do at home to look and feel their best. Either way, it is important to include your feet in your beauty routine if you have psoriatic arthritis. Exquisite nail care, massages, and moisturizing crème can all improve the health of your feet and your overall health.
Wash and dry your feet every day
According to the American Academy of Dermatology,you should use soap and warm water every day to wash your feet. Dry your feet after washing with a soft towel, including between the toes. This is especially important if your feet have been sweaty all day. Keeping your feet clean and dry can help reduce the chance of catching athlete’s foot or another virus. Because there are almost always skin issues with psoriatic arthritis, it is especially important that you reduce the odds of contracting an additional skin problem.
Spend more money on your shoes
Shoe technology has come a long way. If you work on your feet or walk long distances, it is important that you embrace the latest in shoe support. Extremely supportive shoes can be pricey to purchase, but they are a good investment for the health of your feet. High quality shoes usually last longer than cheaper shoes so in the long run they may be similarly priced.
Stand on a mat
Because foot pain is so common in those of us with psoriatic arthritis, we sometimes have to do things differently than others without psoriatic disease. For example, when I worked as a college professor, I asked my dean to provide a cushioning mat for me to stand on while I taught. Now, retired from that job, I have my own mat that I stand on when I blend smoothies. Your nearby home supply store will have a variety of mats to make standing easier on your feet.
Stretch your feet
The foot is a complex mixture of tissues, all of which can be involved in psoriatic arthritis. According to the National Arthritis Foundation, stretching particularly benefits those with arthritis by lubricating joints and enhancing and maintaining range of motion.
Keep your weight down
Increased fat mass is significantly associated with foot pain and poor foot function. Carrying around even a few extra pounds can make it more likely that your feet will hurt. While there is no specific diet for psoriatic arthritis, eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can help you feel your best and keep your weight in check.