A survey of foot problems in juvenile idiopathic arthritis

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Abstract

Background:

Evidence suggests that foot problems are common in juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), with prevalence estimates over 90%. The aim of this survey was to describe foot-related impairment and disability associated with JIA and foot-care provision in patients managed under modern treatment paradigms, including diseasemodifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologic therapies.

Methods:

The Juvenile Arthritis Foot Disability Index (JAFI), Child Health Assessment Questionnaire (CHAQ), and pain visual analogue scale (VAS) were recorded in 30 consecutive established JIA patients attending routine outpatient clinics. Foot deformity score, active/limited joint counts, walking speed, double-support time (s) (DS) and step length symmetry index % (SI) were also measured. Foot-care provision in the preceding 12 months was determined from medical records.

Results:

Sixty-three per cent of children reported some foot impairment, with a median (range) JAFI subscale score of 1 (0-3); 53% reported foot-related activity limitation, with a JAFI subscale score of 1 (0-4); and 60% reported participation restriction, with a JAFI subscale score of 1 (0-3). Other reported variables were CHAQ 0.38 (0-2), VAS pain 22 (0-79), foot deformity 6 (0-20), active joints 0 (0-7), limited joints 0 (0-31), walking speed 1.09 m/s (0.84-1.38 m/s), DS 0.22 s (0.08-0.26 s) and SI ±4.0% (±0.2-±31.0%). A total of 23/30 medical records were reviewed and 15/23 children had received DMARDS, 8/23 biologic agents and 20/23 multiple intra-articular corticosteroid injections. Ten children received specialist podiatry care comprising footwear advice, orthotic therapy and silicone digital splints together with intrinsic muscle strengthening exercises.

Conclusion:

Despite frequent use of DMARD/biologic therapy and specialist podiatryled foot care, foot-related impairment and disability persists in some children with JIA. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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