Living with arthritis can be tough especially when you are someone who enjoys being active. Just ask Vivian, a 65-year old from Kitchener who suffers from Osteoarthritis of the knee and big toe joints. Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disorder and typically occurs due to age or wear/tear on joints. For people that enjoy being active the resulting pain associated with the affected joints can make simple activities such as walking and standing troublesome. Vivian enjoyed walking and playing darts with friends. She said her “knees become so sore and painful that I could hardly stand to play darts let alone enjoy walks”. The pain eventually became so severe that she elected to have the right knee replaced. Following surgery, Vivian tried to be moreactive to help with the recovery but still had pain in her knee and was recommended custom made orthotics by her family physician.
I remember when Vivian walked in the clinic for her assessment; you could tell she was experiencing discomfort. The first problem I recognized was her current footwear, which did not provide much support and allowed her foot to roll inward or pronate far too much. As the foot overpronates the lower leg rotates inward and can place extra forces on the knee. One way to help reduce the amount the foot rolls inward and reduce shock at the joints is to wear a good supportive shoe. We discussed the features to look for in a shoe, such as medial support, rocker soles, extended heel counters and a thick midsole. To help provide additional support, cushion and correction we casted Vivian for custom made orthotics. Keeping in mind that she suffered from osteoarthritis, the orthotic was composed of a soft top cover and forefoot extension to absorb shock with a semi-rigid shell to correct the foot position.
A week later Vivian picked up her custom made orthotics and purchased a pair of orthopaedic walking shoes. Within a month she had already noticed a great improvement. “My feet feel so good that I never take my orthotics and shoes off, I even wear them in the house”. Since then, Vivian has purchased additional footwear and orthotics, as she never wanted to be without the comfort and support saying “orthotics, are my life”. Success stories like Vivian’s are why I enjoy being a Pedorthist. I was so pleased that she could once again enjoy everyday activities and the occasional dart game.
Submitted by Shawn Duench BSc. Kin., C.Ped.(C) Kitchener, ON