Hope For Arthritis Patients ‘Walking On Marbles’

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Article Date: 29 Nov 2012 – 1:00 PST

Hope For Arthritis Patients ‘Walking On Marbles’

Researchers at the University of Southampton are to undertake a new stage of a study aimed at improving the health and mobility of those suffering from the common complaint of ‘walking on marbles’ associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) in the feet.

RA is the second most common form of arthritis in the UK, affecting almost 600,000 people, which results in the destruction of joints around the body caused by inflammation.

Forefeet often contain some of the first joints to be affected and those with the condition often say that they feel like they are ‘walking on marbles’. Mostly, people have thought that this was due to walking on foot joints that are affected by the RA.

The Health Sciences’ FeeTURA study however, developed new ways of assessing the forefeet through the use of diagnostic ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging techniques. From this work, the team discovered that some of the swellings and associated feeling of ‘walking on marbles’ were related to inflamed bursae (a fluid-filled sac usually found in areas subject to friction) that had developed underneath the forefoot joints. These inflamed bursae were rarely detected by clinical examination.

The exact cause of the inflamed bursae is not known and a cure is yet to be found, however, the team is now looking at identifying inflammatory and mechanical markers to find the best ways of treating this complication in people suffering with RA. They will evaluate foot health treatments, such as targeted steroid injections, as well as medical management through the use of new drugs (called biologics).

This new stage of the study will be funded through a partnership between Solent NHS Trust and the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Southampton and supported by a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) clinical academic fellowship.

During the first stage of the study, which took place between 2006 and 2009, researchers at the University of Southampton developed a technique to better evaluate the forefeet and diagnose the ‘marbles’ using diagnostic ultrasound. Participants’ who were assessed at the NIHR Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility (WTCRF), based at Southampton General Hospital, returned for re-assessment in the second stage of the study which discovered the changes that had occurred in the condition.

A third stage used an MRI scan to visualise the anatomical structures and ‘marbles’ more clearly in the forefeet and resulted in researchers developing the first ever atlas to categorise the swellings originally identified in stage one.

Led by senior lecturer for Advanced Clinical and Expert Practice, Dr Catherine Bowen, this new stage of the treatment study will be carried out by clinical academic researcher, Lindsey Hooper, who recently won a prestigious special award from Wessex HIEC for the previously completed MRI work.

Dr Bowen comments: “Although more common in the UK than leukaemia and multiple sclerosis, awareness of the severity of rheumatoid arthritis is limited.

“Our linked study aims to significantly improve the lives of those affected by the condition in their forefeet, reducing the severity of the symptoms including pain, inflammation, poor sleep, fatigue and depression, and therefore helping improve their mobility and wellbeing.”

Lindsey Hooper adds: “This is an amazing opportunity to be involved in a study that is potentially life-changing for the many people suffering from this progressively debilitating condition.

“As I am maintaining my clinical role as a rheumatology podiatrist whilst also completing the research it means the findings can be fed directly back into clinical practice, so that local patients receive the most up-to-date care options.”

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
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n.p. “Hope For Arthritis Patients ‘Walking On Marbles’.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 29 Nov. 2012. Web.
29 Nov. 2012. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/253302.php>
n.p. (2012, November 29). “Hope For Arthritis Patients ‘Walking On Marbles’.” . Retrieved fromhttp://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/253302.php.

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Arthritis Patients’ Lives Improved By Complementary And Alternative Therapy

Main Category: Arthritis / Rheumatology
Also Included In: Complementary Medicine / Alternative Medicine
Article Date: 31 Oct 2012 – 3:00 PDT

Arthritis Patients’ Lives Improved By Complementary And Alternative Therapy
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Nearly a quarter of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis used complementary and alternative therapy (CAT) to help manage their condition, according to a study in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing.
Researchers interviewed 250 patients aged between 20 and 90 years of age. More than two-thirds (67%) had rheumatoid arthritis and the remainder had osteoarthritis.
They found that 23% used CAT in addition to prescribed drugs and that just under two-thirds of those (64%) felt that the therapy was beneficial, reporting improvements in pain intensity, sleeping patterns and activity levels. “Our study underlines the importance of healthcare professionals being knowledgeable about the potential use of CAT when providing medical care to patients with arthritis” says lead author Professor Nada Alaaeddine, Head of the Regenerative and Inflammation Lab in the Faculty of Medicine, University of St Joseph, Beirut, Lebanon.
“Although CAT might have beneficial effects in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, patients should be cautious about their use and should tell their healthcare providers that they are using them to make sure they don’t conflict with their existing treatment.”
Key findings of the survey included:

  • CAT users had an average age of 45 years, significantly younger than the average non CAT user, who was aged 57 years.
  • CAT use was higher in patients with osteoarthritis (29%) than rheumatoid arthritis (20%).
  • The most common CAT used was herbal therapy (83%), followed by exercise (22%), massage (12%), acupuncture (3%), yoga and meditation (3%) and dietary supplements (3%).
  • Just under a quarter of the patients using CAT (24%) sought medical care because of possible side effects, but they were not serious and were reversible. The most common side effects included skin problems (16%) and gastrointestinal problems (9%).
  • The majority did not tell their healthcare provider about their CAT use (59%).
  • CAT users were asked to rate the amount of pain they felt and the percentage who said that they experienced no pain rose from 12% to 43% after CAT use. The number who slept all night rose from 9% to 66%.
  • CAT users also reported an improvement in daily activities. The percentage who said that their pain did not limit them at all rose from 3% to 12% and the percentage who said they could do everything, but with pain, rose from 26% to 52%.

“CAT use is increasing and this study shows that it provided self-reported benefits for patient with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis” says Professor Alaaeddine.
“It is, however, important that patients discuss CAT use with their healthcare practitioner and that they are made aware of possible side effects, in particular the possible interactions between herbal and prescribed drugs.”

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our arthritis / rheumatology section for the latest news on this subject.
“Use of complementary and alternative therapy among patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.” Alaaeddine et al.Journal of Clinical Nursing. 21, pp3198-3204. (November 2012). doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2012.04169.x
Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

n.p. “Arthritis Patients’ Lives Improved By Complementary And Alternative Therapy.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 31 Oct. 2012. Web.
31 Oct. 2012. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/252181.php>
n.p. (2012, October 31). “Arthritis Patients’ Lives Improved By Complementary And Alternative Therapy.” . Retrieved fromhttp://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/252181.php.

‘Arthritis Patients’ Lives Improved By Complementary And Alternative Therapy’

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Rheumatoid arthritis, sometimes referred to as rheumatoid disease, is a chronic (long lasting), progressive and disabling autoimmune disease that causes inflammation (swelling) and pain in the joints, the tissue around the joints, and other organs in… Read more…

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