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Relationship between Foot Pain/Deformities and Risk of Fall in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis



Objective: Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have an increased risk of falls. Foot pain/deformities affect the majority of patients with RA. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of foot pain/deformities on risk of fall in patients with RA.

Methods: This study comprised 89 patients (75 female, 14 male) with RA. Patients were queried about pain in the hip, knee and foot. The diagnoses of foot deformities were based on clinical and radiographic evaluation. Patients’ risk of fall was assessed using the Tinetti Performance Oriented Mobility Assessment (TPOMA).

Results: Mean age and disease duration of the patients were 46.84 ± 13.20 and 7.82 ± 7.01 years, respectively.Twelve (13%) patients had risk of fall. The patients with risk of fall had a higher numeric rating scale (NRS) for foot pain (4.08 ± 1.44 vs 2.62 ± 2.51; p = 0.012) and number of foot deformities (1.41 ± 1.67 vs 0.55 ± 1.11; p = 0.009) than those without risk of fall. There were correlations between the TPOMA scores and NRS for foot pain (r = -0.264; p = 0.013) and number of foot deformities (r = -0.374; p = 0.001).

Conclusion: The results of this study demonstrate that RA patients with foot pain/deformities have a higher risk of fall. We suggest that early diagnosis and better control of disease activity prevent foot pain/deformities in order to reduce the risk and the burden of falls. 

January 7, 2015
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