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Rheumatoid Arthritis and your Feet

Rheumatoid Arthritis and your Feet

What is rheumatoid arthritis and how does it affect your feet?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a condition where your own antibodies mistakenly attack your healthy tissue, joints, and organs. This is a long-term condition that causes pain, swelling, loss of function, and stiffness of the joints.

In your feet, RA mainly affects the joints, which are specifically designed to absorb shock and ensure efficient movement between bones. When your antibodies attack your own healthy tissues, it causes inflammation. This inflammation in turn results in bone and joint damage, reduced range of motion, joint damage, and deformity. You can also get lumps under your skin called, rheumatoid nodules.

RA affects different people to a different extent, with some people having relatively few problems, and some having more severe cases. It is more common in older people and women, but can affect anyone at any age. It can flare up and settle down at different times.

Rheumatoid vs Osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that actively attacks your own healthy tissue. In comparison to this osteoarthritis is a non-inflammatory joint disease, which is caused by wear-and-tear, injury or damage resulting from longer term functional problems with the way you move.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Joint warmth
  • Reduced joint range of motion
  • Limping
  • Joint deformity
  • Joint stiffness
  • Fever
  • Anaemia
  • Loss of energy

What can you do?

When there is flare of pain and inflammation of the joints it is recommended that you rest joints, however, when the inflammation decreases gentle exercises such as slow walking, yoga, tai chi, and water walking is advised to reduce joint immobility and stiffening.

How can your podiatrist help?

Podiatrists can help in lots of ways for those with rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Footwear advice
  • Suggestions for exercise/stretching
  • Orthotics to relieve pain, keep you mobile and help you to walk better
  • Laser therapy
  • Surgical correction of deformities and rheumatoid nodules.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, come in and see us to see how we can help.

 

 

 

 

 

Treatment Benefits of Low Level Laser Therapy

Treatment Benefits of Low Level Laser Therapy

Low Level Laser Therapy Options and Relief for Soft Tissue Injuries of the Foot and Ankle

What Is Low Level Laser Therapy?

A laser is a device that emits light. Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) or ‘cold’ laser uses low intensity, coherent light in specific wavelengths to penetrate into tissue without hurting or heating the skin or body tissue.

How Does LLLT work?

Laser TherapyLLLT has numerous positive effects on the body tissues. The three main effects are:

Reducing Inflammation

LLLT increases production of nitric oxide, which increases the width of blood vessels and brings oxygen and other molecules/metabolites to the injured tissue, promoting cell healing and reducing inflammation.

Pain Relief

This treatment stimulates the body’s own production of endogenous opioids, serotonin and other pain-reducing molecules. It also has an inhibitory effect on pain receptors. Studies have shown that the pain-relieving effects from LLLT two hours post-treatment are equal to or better than NSAIDs, or anti-inflammatory medication.

Stimulation

LLLT also stimulates production of a chemical called ATP. This is an important molecule used for cellular energy and can reduce cellular oxidative stress (cell damage).

What Conditions Benefit From LLLT?

  • Tendinopathy/tendinitis
  • Soft tissue injuries such as sprains or strains
  • Joint conditions
  • Arthritis
  • Post-surgical healing
  • Wound healing
  • Neuropathic (nerve) pain

When/Where Can’t You Use LLLT

  • Eyes
  • Thyroid gland
  • During pregnancy over the uterus
  • In cancerous areas, although it may be used for pain relief in terminal cases with the permission of the treating physician
  • Over tattoos

Is LLLT Safe?

LLLT has been in use since the 1960’s and there have been over 3,000 published trials on its application and effectiveness. To date, there is no published evidence to say that LLLT is harmful, or that any person has been injured from using or receiving treatment from it.

How Many Treatments Are Required?

For acute conditions (less than 48 hours post-injury), three-to-six treatments are generally needed. For chronic injuries, up to 15 treatments are required. Treatment is often twice a week, but can be given every day if required.

Benefits of LLLT

•           Safe

•           Drug free

•           Painless

•           Non-invasive

•           Treatment times are relatively quick

I Think I Can Benefit From This!

We are located across the road from Garden City Shopping Centre in Booragoon. Phone 08 9316 3010 to book one of our podiatrists, who can assess and treat you as required.

Low Level Laser Therapy for Achilles tendon pain

Low Level Laser Therapy for Achilles tendon pain

Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is a Western form of treatment used internationally and is supported by scientific literature, including research from Harvard University and NASA. The drug-free pain relief and healing benefits are described by Professor Michael Hamblin of Harvard University below:

“The use of low levels of visible or near infrared light for reducing pain, inflammation and oedema, promoting healing of wounds, deeper tissues and nerves, and preventing cell death and tissue damage has been known for over forty years.”

How does it work?Low Level Laser Therapy for Achilles tendon pain

LLLT aims to biostimulate cells in the body without heating or cutting tissue like high intensity lasers. Instead it uses low powered wavelengths of light which are absorbed by injured cells, turning into biochemical energy which fuels tissue repair and has no adverse effects on normal-functioning cells. Laser therapy has been shown to stimulate the regeneration of bone, tendon, blood, the lining of blood vessels, cartilage, nerve muscle and much more. Moreover, it has been documented to enhance the quality of healed tissue such as post-operative scars.

How will it help my painful Achilles?

Low level laser therapy has the potential to powerfully reduce pain and inflammation, and promote healing of painful tissues in the foot and leg. Achilles tendinopathy (or tendonitis as it is often called) is a common ailment seen in Podiatry clinics, and a recent study by Stergioulas et al. found LLLT “accelerates clinical recovery from chronic Achilles tendinopathy when added to an eccentric exercise regimen”.1In other words, LLLT is used in conjunction with other therapies such as orthotics and rehabilitation exercises to ‘fast-track’ the healing process in many patients with Achilles tendinopathy seen at our clinic.

How many LLLT treatments will I need and is it safe?

The number of treatments required varies from patient to patient and depends on several factors including severity of injury and response to rehabilitation, but three-to-six treatments would generally be required with some patients with chronic injuries needing up to 15. Regardless of the number of treatments LLLT has no know side effects, and is safe no matter how many sessions are required. By treating the underlying problem LLLT results in permanent pain relief and restoration of function.

To see how Low Level Laser Therapy can help your condition contact us for more information or to make an appointment.

References

Stergioulas A, Stergiolas M, Aarskog R, Lopes-Martins R, Rodrigo AB, Bjordal JM. Effects of low-level laser therapy and eccentric exercises in treatment of recreational athletes with chronic Achilles tendinopathy. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2008, pp881-7.