Epidemiological studies report foot pain affects more than 90% of people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Most data about foot involvement in RA were collected prior to the availability of novel treatments such as biologics. The objective of this study is to compare the prevalence of foot symptoms, frequency of foot examination, and access to foot care services among RA patients currently treated with anti-TNFα to those not receiving biologics. This study is a cross-sectional epidemiological study: a 28-item self-administered questionnaire was posted to 1,040 people with RA throughout the UK. Overall, 585 (55%) useable replies were received, and 120 (20.5%) respondents were currently taking anti-TNFα medication. Prevalence of current foot pain was 99% among the biologics group compared with 76% not treated with biologics. Stiffness, swelling, and numbness in the feet were all significantly more common in the anti-TNFα group (P < 0.05). Most respondents (90%) taking biologics discussed their foot pain with their rheumatologist, but only 70% were receiving podiatry (compared to 78% not taking anti-TNFα). Subjects reported that their feet were examined significantly less frequently (P < 0.001) than their hands. Foot complaints are common in this group, and allied health professions could enhance rheumatological care by undertaking foot assessment.
Rheumatoid arthritis Foot pain Anti-TNFα
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The authors wish to thank the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society for their support, those who took time to complete a questionnaire, and the research assistants for their help with running the project.
Conflict of interest
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