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The use of ‘off-the-shelf’ orthoses in the reduction of foot symptoms in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis

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  • Medicine


Background Foot pain in patients diagnosed with early rheumatoid arthritis is common. Objectives To investigate effects of off-the-shelf foot orthoses on outcomes of swollen and tender joints, and pain, in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis. Methods Thirty-five patients with painful and swollen foot joints were recruited. None had previously used foot orthoses or had contraindications to their use. Any patients with concomitant musculoskeletal disease, endocrine disorders, and neurological disease, were excluded. At baseline, participants were prescribed a customised off-the-shelf foot orthosis with chair-side modifications. Data was collected at baseline, three and six months. Foot pain (using Visual Analogue Scale) and the number of tender and swollen foot joints was measured. Results There was a trend towards a reduction in the number of swollen and tender joints by 3 months with a further improvement by 6 months. Statistically (p<0.05) and clinically significant reductions in pain levels was also noted. Conclusion Patients diagnosed with early RA may benefit from using off-the-shelf foot orthoses with the majority of their pain reduction occurring within the first 3 months of use, but with some small further symptomatic improvement up to 6 months. Their was a tendency to a reduction in swollen and tender joints although more studies are required to substantiate these findings.

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