My patients often ask what measures I can assist them with to care for their osteoarthritis pain, and what steps can be taken for lowering pain. Very often this pain has become anywhere between acute to long term, often referred to as chronic pain if it has been over three months. There are multiple levels of strategies we take for managing osteoarthritis pain. It must always begin with a full podiatric medicine examination and assessment. From here I can form a provisional diagnosis of the pain to formulate a treatment and management program.
You may have had radiological investigation done by your GP or Specialist, or radiological and/or other reports by an Allied health professional. (i.e., Osteopath, Dietician, Exercise Physiologist, Occupational therapist, Physiotherapist, Psychologist or Remedial massage therapist). It is always best to bring these investigations or reports with you. We then assess your vascular function and neurological function as required and do a physical function assessment. I may do a biomechanical assessment to see if there is any restricted movement or biomechanical dysfunction present.
It is important to understand that there are factors we must assess you for that may have influenced the development and the potential control or reversal of the symptoms that you are experiencing, concerning your osteoarthritis pain. How well you are eating, your level or lack of physical activity, how well you are sleeping, your stress levels, your social connection and substance use all effect the symptoms that relate to osteoarthritis pain. It is especially important to create an ongoing social and medical network to ensure the necessary support you require throughout your treatment.
Engagement with our social activities and with those we love is crucially important in our podiatric lifestyle medicine management. So is our activity level important to reduce our risk of chronic disease development. How we are feeling about ourselves affects every single moment of our busy lives and must receive equal attention to all other factors. Pain control, mobility and daily performance all relate to our ability to deal with cognitive demands placed on us throughout the day. Getting you more mobile is an important part of my work.
When considering this, we look at the frequency, intensity type and time you need to be active, and work with the best ways to achieve this. Often orthotic control in your shoes or sandals (a podiatric medicine prescription orthotic (some call this an insole, which is 3D scanned and purely made to your prescription). I practice Advanced Musculo-skeletal medicine interventions of very gentle corrections of bones in your feet that may be impacting on the experience of pain in your feet, and throughout your body. Sometimes, but not always, prescribing analgesic medicines or ant-inflammatory medicines may be conducted.
When additional dietary changes are necessary for a more anti-inflammatory diet, I can advise you and refer you to a Dietician for further evaluation. (Such as the presence of another medical condition). It is hugely, hugely important not to give up on pursuing ongoing treatment and management of your osteoarthritis pain. Very often modifications in our diet, our ability and capability to introduce better levels of activity, assessing our sleep quality, our happiness, our social integration, and connection with the things most important to us, are all part of the journey to our need for homeostasis and balance in our lives, and to reduce our pain.
I will dive deeper and guide you step by step, for my recommendations for your treatment and management throughout your visits, to understand how we will care for your pain. And do not forget that we should treat ourselves just like we treat those we dearly love, with gentleness and compassion. Self-compassion is vitally important. So, forget about waiting for making a new year’s resolution to make our osteoarthritis pain levels lower, lets work on it in the present! This holistic approach will apply to all other issues that relate to your feet and locomotion.
I wish you a happy, peaceful, and safe day!