Arthritis affects millions of Australians, significantly impacting mobility and quality of life. While many may seek treatment from their general practitioner or other specialists, one often overlooked avenue for relief is the power of podiatry in managing arthritis. We spoke to Plena Podiatrist Kade Anderson to understand the invaluable role podiatrists play in managing arthritis in the feet and lower limbs, exploring the benefits and importance of seeking podiatric treatment for arthritis in Australia.


Understanding the Role of Podiatrists in Arthritis Management


Podiatrists are key in the comprehensive care of arthritis sufferers. They specialise in addressing foot health concerns and understand the intricate relationship between foot biomechanics and overall well-being. Arthritis commonly affects the joints, muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments in the feet and ankles, leading to pain, stiffness, and mobility issues. By focusing on the feet, podiatrists can alleviate discomfort, improve mobility, and enhance quality of life for those grappling with arthritis.

In the words of Kade Anderson, “Podiatrists play a crucial role in managing arthritis in the feet and lower limbs and improve mobility and quality of life for those suffering from arthritis.” A podiatrist’s expertise extends beyond mere foot care, delving into the intricate interplay between foot mechanics and overall well-being.

Why Podiatry Matters for Arthritis Patients


Plena podiatrists work primarily with older clients, in both residential aged care and in community settings. According to Kade, “the vast majority of our clients suffer from arthritis, making up more than half of our caseload.” Arthritis in the feet can lead to joint deformities, increased pain, limited mobility, and circulation problems. Left untreated, it may result in complications such as wounds, ulcers, and painful corns and callouses. Podiatrists play a crucial role in identifying early signs of arthritis, implementing preventive measures, and providing tailored treatments to alleviate symptoms and prevent further deterioration.


Identifying the Need for Podiatric Treatment


Recognising the symptoms of arthritis in the feet is the first step toward seeking appropriate care. The following symptoms may be indications of arthritis;

  • Foot pain
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • Stiffness
  • Changes in gait
  • Difficulty with footwear

Additionally, conditions such as hammertoes, claw toes and bunions may signal underlying arthritis. Podiatrists employ various diagnostic techniques to assess foot health and develop personalised treatment plans tailored to each client’s needs.


Effective Podiatric Interventions for Arthritis


Podiatry offers a range of interventions to alleviate arthritis-related symptoms and improve overall foot health. These include manual therapies such as joint mobilisation and manipulation, footwear assessment and education, custom orthotic inserts, toe props, splints, and bracing. “Tailored inserts such as toe gadgets and Otoform wedges can effectively separate toes and provide relief, which clients find beneficial” explains Kade.

Podiatrists also prescribe manual exercises to improve strength and flexibility and may collaborate with other healthcare professionals to ensure holistic care for arthritis sufferers.


The Holistic Approach of Podiatry


One of the strengths of podiatry is its holistic approach to foot health. Podiatrists consider the entire lower limb and foot extremity anatomically, addressing issues related to joints, muscles, bones, tendons, nerves, and ligaments. By treating foot health problems comprehensively, podiatrists contribute to the overall well-being and quality of life of their clients. Their specialised knowledge and expertise in foot care make them invaluable members of the allied healthcare team, particularly in managing chronic conditions like arthritis.


Collaboration with Other Healthcare Professionals


Podiatrists work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals to ensure coordinated care for arthritis patients. They review medication histories, care plans, and medical records to tailor treatment plans that complement other modalities such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy. This multidisciplinary approach ensures that arthritis sufferers receive comprehensive care addressing their unique needs and circumstances.


Podiatry plays a pivotal role in managing arthritis in older Australians. By addressing foot health concerns, podiatrists can alleviate pain, improve mobility, and enhance the overall quality of life for arthritis sufferers. If you or someone you know is grappling with arthritis-related foot issues, don’t hesitate to seek podiatric care. Your feet deserve the best, and podiatrists are here to help you take a step towards a pain-free, active life.


To learn more about Plena’s Podiatry services, visit our Podiatry page : Aged Care Podiatry | In Home Podiatry | Plena Healthcare