Medical Information

Explore detailed information about a range of joint problems and treatments, including medications, surgery, physiotherapy and rehabilitation. Reading this will help you understand more about your own condition. There is also a glossary with explanations of many medical terms used in orthopaedics. You can find out even more by following the links page to other related websites, journals or professional medical associations.

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Feet Footwear and Arthritis

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

If you have arthritis, and you also have problems in your feet, this booklet will help you to understand why some of these problems arise. It will explain how these problems can be treated, what you can do to help yourself, how to choose the best shoes for your feet, and where to go for help when you need it.

Structure of the foot
The foot is a complex structure. It contains 26 bones, more than 30 small joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and blood vessels. These must all work together so that your foot can do all that you need it to. Most people take a million or so steps per year, so the foot has a lot to do.

While babies’ feet generally all look similar, adults’ feet change over time with constant use. Most feet have a moderate arch which spreads the weight of the body evenly over many bones and joints. Some people have feet with a lower arch (known as pes planus), which means the foot tends to be more flexible. Other people have higher arches (pes cavus), which means the foot tends to be less flexible. Higher or lower arches are not necessarily a problem, but may increase your chances of developing other problems such as hammer toes, bunions, or corns and calluses.

Editor: David P Johnson MD.
St Mary’s Hospital. Clifton Bristol. BS8 1JU.
Web site:
© OrthopaedicsOpinionOnline 2011
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