Characterising the clinical and biomechanical features of severely deformed feet in rheumatoid arthritis
Deborah E. Turner and James Woodburn
Gait & Posture (Article in Press)
Foot deformity is a well-recognised impairment in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) which results in functional disability. Deformity can occur at the rearfoot, midfoot, forefoot or in combination and the impact that site-specific foot deformities has on functional disability is largely unknown. The aim of this study was to describe the clinical and biomechanical characteristics of patients with severe rearfoot, forefoot or combined deformities and determine localised disease impact.
Twenty-eight RA patients with severe forefoot (FF group n = 12), rearfoot (RF group n = 10) or combined deformities (COMB group n = 6) were recruited. Each patient underwent 3D gait analysis and plantar pressure measurements. Localised disease impact and foot-specific disease activity were determined using the Leeds Foot Impact Scale and clinical examination respectively. Comparison was made against a normative control group (n = 53).
Patients in the COMB group walked slowest and the double-support time was longer in the RF and COMB groups compared to those in the FF group. Patients in the RF and COMB group had higher levels of foot-related disability and demonstrated excessive rearfoot eversion and midfoot collapse compared to those in the FF group. Forefoot deformity was associated with reduced toe contact, high forefoot pressures and delayed heel lift.
Abnormal gait patterns were identified and were distinguishable among those patients with predominantly forefoot, rearfoot or combined foot deformity.