New research: Experiences of foot health in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a qualitative study

Abstract

Purpose: 

The aim of the study was to explore the experiences of foot health and the factors that hinder or facilitate foot health self-care in patients with RA.

Materials and methods: 

A descriptive qualitative study design was used. Individual interviews were conducted with patients who had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (n = 20). The interview data were analysed using inductive content analysis.

Results: 

The participants highly valued their foot health. The factors that hindered their foot health included physical characteristics (such as the progression of rheumatoid arthritis), personal traits (such as lack of motivation), inequalities in access to professional foot care and problems with finding suitable shoes. The factors that facilitated their foot health included professional care, physical activity and practising foot self-care.

Conclusions: 

Patients with RA value their foot health. It is important to identify the factors that hinder or facilitate this in order to support their rehabilitation and respond to their foot-health needs. Patients’ foot health should be promoted, and equal access to professional foot care should be provided.

  • Implications for rehabilitation
  • Active foot self-care supported by professional health are facilitating factors for foot health.
  • Maintaining and promoting physical activity is integral part of foot health.
  • Regular assessments of foot health in patients with RA in addition to an evaluation of their footwear and education about caring for their own feet is needed.

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