The Impact of Foot Problems in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Maeve Boyle, Michelle McHenry
Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast
Foot problems in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) are extremely common, estimates range from 32% to 75% (1) However, in busy outpatient clinics foot problems are often neglected and some secondary care centres do not have access to a foot care service. According to NICE guidelines all patients with RA and foot problems should be reviewed by podiatry (2).
To assess the prevalence and severity of foot problems in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis attending routine Rheumatology Outpatient Clinic in the Royal Victoria Hospital over a 3 week period.
Patients with RA completed an anonymous questionnaire of 61 questions, assessing the type and severity of foot symptoms, taken from the Salford Rheumatoid Arthritis Foot Evaluation Tool (3).
46 patient questionnaires completed. The results show the high proportion of patients with RA who experience foot pain. They also highlight specific problems such walking difficulty, low mood, a feeling of being restricted in activities and hobbies, self-consciousness about their feet and an overall large impact on their quality of life.
Recent years have seen major improvements in treatment of RA, with the ability to achieve early and sustained disease control in the majority of patients. However, foot problems continue to have a significant impact on many patients’ quality of life. There is a large variation in the standard of foot care received by patients and many have an unmet need for podiatry input. These results highlight the need for closer attention to foot problems when reviewing patients and the need a foot care service in secondary care for patients with RA.