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Podiatry's Role in Managing Autoimmune Conditions



Our feet carry out various activities every day, supporting our body weight and facilitating movement. However, for individuals grappling with autoimmune conditions, the impact on the feet can be particularly pronounced. Podiatrists, specialists in foot and ankle care, play a crucial role in managing various autoimmune conditions. In this blog, I will discuss how podiatry can provide hope for those with conditions such as Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gout, Raynaud's disease, Psoriasis, and Lupus.



Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: Taking initiative in managing Diabetes

Let's talk about Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, one of the more common autoimmune conditions we podiatrists deal with. This is because Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus poses unique challenges to foot health due to its potential to cause peripheral neuropathy and impaired circulation. Podiatrists become an integral part of the patient's life in managing diabetes. Regular foot examinations, education on proper foot care, and early intervention for any issues can prevent complications like diabetic foot ulcers and amputations. By addressing foot concerns promptly, podiatrists contribute significantly to enhancing the quality of life for individuals with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus.


Rheumatoid Arthritis: Redeeming comfort

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition that primarily affects the joints. However, the feet are often one of the first areas to exhibit symptoms. Podiatrists could provide conservative symptomatic relief to the joints affected through correct footwear fitting, and biomechanical joint and soft tissue support through orthotics.

Source: https://www.thefeetpeople.com.au/symptoms-we-treat/rheumatoid-arthritis/

Podiatrists can also maintain the skin integrity of the feet because, with the progression of RA, the clients often develop extra calluses due to the nodules that emerge.





Gout: Getting Ahead of Joint Pain

Gout, characterised by sudden and severe joint pain, commonly affects the feet, especially the big toe. When gout progresses to a severe stage, urate crystals may form between joints, causing excruciating pain for the affected individual. Podiatrists help individuals manage gout by providing advice on lifestyle modifications, off-loading high-risk areas, and offering strategies to prevent gout flare-ups. After each flare-up, the bone positioning might change its shape, causing the affected individual to sometimes get a bone spur or fused-up joint. By addressing foot-related symptoms, podiatrists contribute to reducing pain and discomfort, enabling individuals with gout to lead a more comfortable life.


Source: https://www.verywellhealth.com/gout-7105787

Raynaud's Phenomenon: Warming Up to Foot Health

Raynaud's Phenomenon, which causes reduced blood flow to certain areas of the body, often affects the feet and hands. Some patients find it difficult to trim their toenails with their hands. Podiatrists help manage complications associated with Raynaud's, including chilblains, ulcers and blister management. Through recommendations for appropriate footwear and hosiery, podiatrists contribute to enhancing blood flow and minimizing the impact of Raynaud's foot health.


Psoriasis: Putting the Best Foot Forward

Psoriasis, an autoimmune skin condition, can affect the feet, leading to pain, swelling, and skin changes. It can also affect nails, often giving the same appearance as Tinea/fungal nails. Podiatrists can work with dermatologists to manage psoriatic foot symptoms. Topical treatments, orthotic interventions, and lifestyle recommendations can help individuals with psoriasis experience relief from foot-related discomfort, supporting an improved quality of life.


Source: https://balancehealth.com/resources/foot-psoriasis-causes-symptoms-and-treatment/foot-and-ankle-associates/foot-and-ankle-associates/


Lupus: Leaping Towards Comfort and Functionality

Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease that can affect various organs, including the joints and skin. Podiatrists assist individuals with lupus in managing foot pain, joint stiffness, and skin manifestations. By providing personalised care plans that may include orthotics, physical exercise plans, and footwear recommendations. Podiatrists can also refer individuals back to their GP for further testing such as a seronegative blood test, helping them detect early onset of Lupus.


In the realm of autoimmune conditions, podiatry emerges as a beacon of hope, offering specialised care to alleviate foot-related symptoms and improve the overall quality of life for affected individuals.


Podiatrists are usually the first line of defence, picking up anything unusual and referring onto appropriate specialists. These autoimmune conditions often come hand in hand, for example; a client with diabetes might have weak kidneys making them more susceptible to gout. Therefore, clients with autoimmune diseases should consult any foot concerns by seeing a podiatrist. By addressing the unique challenges posed by conditions such as Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gout, Raynaud's disease, Psoriasis, and Lupus, podiatrists play a vital role in supporting individuals on their journey towards comfort, functionality, and well-being.

If you are experiencing any of these issue or wanting to get an opinion about how your condition may affect the feet, you can book an appointment with one of our podiatrist here at Foot Body Sole. We are open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm and 9am-1pm on Saturday. You can call us on (03) 8648 7678 or book online by clicking the button below.







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