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Open Rheumatol J. 2012;6:290-5. doi: 10.2174/1874312901206010290. Epub 2012 Oct 4.

Foot problems in a group of patients with rheumatoid arthritis: an unmet need for foot care.

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  • 1Ankara Training and Research Hospital, Clinic of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Cebeci, Ankara, Turkey.



The aim of this study was to evaluate the foot involvement in a group of RA patients in regard to symptoms, type and frequency of deformities, location, radiological changes, and foot care.


A randomized selected 100 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients were recruited to the study. Data about foot symptoms, duration and location of foot pain, pain intensity, access to services related to foot, treatment, orthoses and assistive devices, and usefulness of therapies were determined by the questionnaire. Radiological changes were assessed according to modified Larsen scoring system. The scores of disease activity scale of 28 joints and Health Assessment Questionnaire indicating the functional status of RA patients were collected from patient files.


A total of 100 RA patients (90 female, 10 male) with a mean age of 52.5 ±10.9 years were enrolled to the study. Eighty-nine of the 100 patients had experienced foot complaints/symptoms in the past or currently. Foot pain and foot symptoms were reported as the first site of involvement in 14 patients. Thirty-six patients had ankle pain and the most common sites of the foot symptoms were ankle (36%) and forefoot (30%) followed by hindfoot (17%) and midfoot (7%) currently. Forty-nine of the patients described that they had difficulty in performing their foot care. Insoles and orthopedic shoes were prescribed in 39 patients, but only 14 of them continued to use them. The main reasons for not wearing them were; 17 not helpful (43%), 5 made foot pain worse (12.8%), and 3 did not fit (7.6%). Foot symptoms were reported to be decreased in 24 % of the subjects after the medical treatment and 6 patients indicated that they had underwent foot surgery. Current foot pain was significantly associated with higher body mass index and longer disease duration, and duration of morning stiffness. The radiological scores did not correlate with duration of foot symptoms and current foot pain (p>0.05) but the total number of foot deformities was found to be correlated with Larsen scores (p<0.05).


In our study, foot involvement and foot symptoms were seen frequently in RA but there is an unmet need for provision and monitoring of foot care in patients suffering from this chronic disease.


Rheumatoid arthritis; foot; foot care.

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