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Ankylosing spondylitis is a long term inflammatory joint condition which frequently affects the back, but can impact all joints in the body and also various other organ systems. The term ‘ankylosing’ is the term for a fusing of the joints and ‘spondylitis’ indicates the spine. The problem impacts on close to 0.1-0.2% of the population and usually affect males more often. It generally just starts out as an pain in the back that is actually the same in signs and symptoms to almost every other frequent low back problem so is commonly treated as such. Generally, this approach will fail and other methods get used. Inevitably, when additional symptoms develop in various other joints there might be additional investigation resulting in the diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis. This process could take a long time before the diagnosis gets made. The typical approach to treatment for this is to use medications to cope with the inflammatory process in the joint and physical therapy to keep the spine mobile and flexible.

Ankylosing spondylitis impacts the feet in several ways. The first way is that the arthritis process may affect the joints in the feet and cause pain there. Heel spurs or plantar fasciitis is quite prevalent in those with this disease. This sort of heel pain is not the regular one that you get as it is part of the disease process, so tends not to respond effectively to the traditional methods of managing heel pain. Like the arthritis that affects the joints in the feet, the therapy is usually directed at the medication that decrease the inflammatory response. The other way that ankylosing spondylitis impacts the foot is indirect. As the principal signs and symptoms of the disease are in the spine, the lower as well as upper back become very limited in motion, so those with ankylosing spondylitis generally have difficulties bending down to reach their feet. Because of this they are unable to even do straightforward things like cut their own nails or self-care for their feet. They are also going to have issues managing different problems that affect the foot. They could need to visit a foot doctor regularly for foot care and maintenance of foot health and for the ongoing management of any foot conditions that could develop.


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