Article

Plantar sensitivity, foot loading and walking pain in rheumatoid arthritis

Funktionsbereich Bewegungsanalytik Klinik und Poliklinik für Allgemeine Orthopädie, Universitätsklinikum Münster, Domagkstr. 3D-48129 Münster, Germany.
Rheumatology (Impact Factor: 4.44). 02/2006; 45(2):212-4. DOI: 10.1093/rheumatology/kei137
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The aim of the present study was to investigate the tactile sensitivity of the plantar surface in rheumatoid feet and its relationship to walking pain and plantar foot loading characteristics.
In 25 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and 21 healthy controls, Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments were used to assess tactile sensitivity in six foot regions. Walking pain was examined clinically. Pedography was used to analyse foot loading parameters during barefoot walking.
In RA patients, plantar sensitivity was significantly decreased under all foot regions examined compared with the control group (P<0.05). A loss of protective sensation was found in a total of 10 regions in seven patients but not in the control group. In the RA patients, foot loading was reduced in the hindfoot (P<0.05) but was slightly increased in the forefoot (not significant). Average walking pain was 3.8 +/- 2.1 on a scale from 0 to 10 but did not correlate with the sensitivity levels.
In patients with RA, no direct relationship between pain intensity and plantar foot loading was found. The decreased tactile sensitivity may be indicative of a disturbed sensation for high plantar pressures. Therefore, pedography can be useful as an additional tool in the detection of excessive forefoot loading before complications are manifested.

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