If you suffer from arthritis, you may feel like you have the short straw when it comes to footwear, but according to www.arthritiscare.org.uk one in five people in the UK lives with arthritis, so you are not alone and will find many specialist services available to cater to your needs. If your arthritis is quite severe in your feet, you may need to seek the help of bespoke footwear manufacturers, like us here at Websters, but even if your symptoms are fairly mild at the moment, you would be wise to take a moment to re-evaluate your feet.
Even though there are many different kinds of arthritis, most people suffer from one of these two types: osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. See www.arthritisresearchuk.org for more information on the other less common varieties.
Osteoarthritis is probably the most common condition and is a degenerative joint disease for which there is no cure. Each of our joints is normally lined with a smooth, cushioning surface called cartilage. With wear and tear and increasing age, this surface roughens and bony spurs grow at the periphery of the joint. The joint becomes inflamed, swollen and painful and movement becomes more restricted. You may experience pain toward the end of an active day and your joints may be stiff after a period of rest. In more severe cases, your pain may be constant.
With rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system becomes compromised and inflammation attacks the tissues in the joints. The cause is unknown, but the inflammation rapidly attacks the soft tissues (tendons and ligaments) surrounding the joints causing stiffness, swelling, irreparable damage and deformity. Because of the systemic nature of the condition, the flare-ups can occur in different joints around the body. Pain is intermittent and the joints are characteristically stiff and painful first thing in the morning.
If you have been diagnosed with or suspect you have arthritis in your feet or even your lower limbs, you should take greater care with your footwear choices. Features you should look for include:
- Thick, soft soles that will provide shock absorption for your joints
- Low, broad heels for your everyday activities
- Good arch support to stabilize your feet
- Adequate width and depth to avoid additional pressure on your toe joints which may become deformed under pressure
- Removable insoles to accommodate orthotics if required
- Soft, leather uppers that will stretch over any bony prominences
- Rocker bottom soles to reduce stress on the ball of the foot
- Velcro straps or no-tie laces for easy on/off, especially if you have arthritic hands
In case you were wondering, slip-on footwear is not suitable for feet with unstable joints because it will not only provide insufficient support, but will allow your feet to slide into the front of the shoes as you walk, causing more discomfort for your toes. Websters is a great resource for people with arthritic feet; the company offers a number of different styles that match all the criteria described and even offers a bespoke service so that you can have your shoes altered to accommodate any irregularities. Websters provides an easy-to-follow fitting guide and the ordering process is straightforward. Add in the fact that the footwear is handmade in the UK and delivered free of shipping charges and you might just forget your pain momentarily as you jump for joy at having found a company that understands arthritis!