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According to recent findings, falls might be a problem that has no correlation with the characteristics of the foot and ankle for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, independent of previous falls.

In a 12-month prospective study, researchers enrolled eligible participants from three rheumatology outpatient clinics in the Auckland region of the North Islands in New Zealand. The participants of the study were 18 years old or over and had a diagnosis of RA according to the 2010 American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism (ACR/EULAR) classification criteria.

A single researcher with 5 years of podiatric assessment experience evaluated all participants in a single baseline study visit. The parameters evaluated were:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Ethnicity
  • Weight
  • Height
  • BMI

Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnoses were confirmed through patient records, as well as the duration of the disease, the presence of erosive foot disease on plain radiography, prior foot surgery, blood tests, medications and comorbidities and the fall history within  12 months prior to the study. The patients reported general pain, foot pain and patient global assessment of current health using a 100 mm visual analog scale (VAS).

The foot and ankle assessments made in this study were foot type, or foot related score (FPS), plantar sensation, foot and ankle muscle strength, ankle range of motion, toe strength, gait speed, peak plantar pressure, postural instability and footwear.

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