Foot problems like plantar fasciitis and tendonitis are common in psoriatic arthritis. Here’s how to cope.
Long before an official diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis, certain patients may begin experiencing the telltale symptom of foot problems. In particular, athletes may develop tendonitis or plantar fasciitis and shrug it off as a sports injury, when in fact it’s an early red flag for psoriatic arthritis.
Here are the three most common foot problems doctors see in patients with psoriatic arthritis, according to rheumatologist Leah Alon, MD, of the Harlem Health Center and Queens Health Center in New York City.
Plantar fasciitis: This causes pain in the sole of the foot, especially first thing in the morning, due to inflammation of the tissue.
Achilles tendonitis: The patient will feel pain in the back of the lower leg, near the heel.
Dactylitis: This appears as swelling and puffiness along the toes.
Not only can these foot problems trigger debilitating pain for many patients with psoriatic arthritis, but without proper treatment, these issues can progress and cause long-term damage in the form of clawed toes, overextension of the big toe, and in-rolling of the ankle, according to Dr. Alon.
While making sure your psoriatic arthritis is well managed overall, such as by adhering to your medication regimen, certain lifestyle changes can also help relieve foot pain. Here’s what doctors recommend to cut down on foot pain caused by psoriatic arthritis.
Get shoes that fit. This starts by having your feet measured by a trained salesperson and finding the right size. Consult with the salesperson to find shoes with proper arch and heel support. If your shoes do not have this, consider buying orthotic inserts. (Learn more about how to find the right orthotics for you here.)
Ice your foot. For plantar fasciitis in particular, you might find it soothing to roll the bottom of your foot back and forth across a cold or frozen water bottle.
Cut your toenails. If you keep them short, they’re less likely to irritate the nail bed.
Keep nails naked. Covering up your toenails with colorful polish may mask potential signs of infection. You may be tempted to hide a yellow nail, but that’s not a symptom you should ignore.
Ditch the heels. Stilletos push feet forward and cramp the toes, which aggravate the symptoms of common psoriatic arthritis foot problems.
Even if you’re following all these lifestyle habits, it’s wise to see a podiatrist to make sure you’re taking proper care of your feet. Every case is unique, and it’s worth it to invest now to avoid long-term damage.
Looking for more tips? Here are 8 rules for an anti-inflammatory diet to reduce psoriatic arthritis pain.
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Foot pain is a big issue
in psoriatic arthritis.
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Here are three main problems
I often see with my patients.
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One is plantar fasciitis, which causes
pain in the sole of the foot that results
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from inflammation of
the supporting tissue.
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You might feel pain near the bottom
of your foot, near the heel,
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especially first thing in
the morning when you get out of bed.
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Another is achilles tendinitis,
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which causes pain in the back
of the lower leg near the heel.
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Dactylitis, or swelling along the toes,
is another red flag,
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your toes might look
puffed up like sausages.
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Some people will develop these issues and
relate them to sports injuries.
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But over time, and
as more symptoms appear,
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we realize they may actually have
psoriatic arthritis instead.
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Foot pain is one of the most debilitating
symptoms of psoriatic arthritis for
00:48.928 --> 00:49.830
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And without proper treatment,
your feet can experience long-term damage,
00:55.063 --> 00:58.788
such as cloved toes,
overextension of the big toe, and
00:58.788 --> 01:03.958
in-rolling of the ankle, which happens
as your foot's arch flattens out.
01:03.958 --> 01:06.626
If your foot pain from
psoriatic arthritis is severe,
01:06.626 --> 01:10.396
foot doctors may recommend treating
it with localized steroid injections,
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in addition to other
treatments you may be getting.
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Making sure your overall condition is
well managed, whether with NSAID drugs,
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or DMARDs, or biologics,
will ease foot pain, too.
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Lifestyle tweaks can help.
01:23.767 --> 01:26.992
Consider getting your feet
measured at a shoe department so
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you can make sure you're
buying the right size.
01:29.644 --> 01:33.957
Ask salespeople to help you choose
shoes with good arch and heel support.
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When your feet ache,
ice them with a bag of frozen veggies, or
01:37.517 --> 01:38.825
ice in a zip-top bag.
01:38.825 --> 01:42.737
For plantar fasciitis,
roll the bottom of your foot back and
01:42.737 --> 01:45.585
forth across a cold or
frozen water bottle.
01:45.585 --> 01:50.066
Keep your toe nails cut short, so they're
less likely to irritate the nail bed.
01:50.066 --> 01:55.217
Steer clear of high heels, which can push
your feet forward and cramp your toes.
01:55.217 --> 01:59.282
Finally, you might wanna consider seeing
a podiatirst, to make sure you're taking
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good care of your feet, and avoiding
things that can cause long term damage.
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Foot, heel & toe care. Atlanta, GA: Arthritis Foundation. (Accessed on January 1, 2021 at http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/where-it-hurts/foot-heel-and-toe-pain/foot-heel-and-toe-care/.)The Psoriatic Foot. Hertfordshire, UK: The Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance, 2020. (Accessed on January 1, 2021 at https://www.papaa.org/learn-about-psoriasis-and-psoriatic-arthritis/further-resources/the-psoriatic-foot/)