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September 2019

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Managing Arthritis Day-to-Day: How Canadian Certified Pedorthists can help you improve your quality of life

Canadian Certified Pedorthists across the country see people every day that struggle with foot and lower limb pain as a result of their arthritis. Arthritis is a collection of conditions affecting the body’s joints and other tissues. It can cause pain and inflammation in joints, restrict mobility and diminish one’s quality of life. There are more than 100 different forms of arthritis, many of which affect the foot and ankle.

Did you know that 1 in 5 Canadians have arthritis and experience pain every day as a result of their arthritis? Arthritis is more common in women than in men (1 in 4 women, compared to 1 in 6 men). Arthritis remains one of Canada’s most prevalent chronic health condition for which there is no cure. According to the Arthritis Society, by 2040 the number of Canadians living with arthritis is expected to grow by 50%. The Arthritis Society also says that in 40% of Canadians living with arthritis, their pain is severe enough to limit their daily activities. This means that significant foot and lower limb pain and discomfort disrupt the lives of millions of people living with arthritis in Canada.

Common Types of Arthritis

The two most common types of arthritis include Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).  Foot and lower limb pain is often more prevalent among people with certain types of arthritis, including RA and OA of the knee, hip, ankle and foot. Arthritis can affect people of all ages and becomes more common at older ages. While it is more common at older ages, more than half of Canadians with arthritis are younger than 65.

Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease that is caused by inflammation, breakdown, and loss of the cartilage in joints that occurs as one ages. Osteoarthritis affects over 60% of people in our population and is commonly referred to as degenerative arthritis. The prevalence of OA increases with age. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis affecting millions of Canadians. The joints most commonly affected by OA are the knees, hips, big toes, hands and spine. Osteoarthritis can affect people of all ages. Age is not a cause of OA but the prevalence of OA increases with age.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an inflammatory disease that causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the joints. It can occur at any age, but tends to develop between the ages of 25 and 60. The joints commonly affected by RA are the small joints of the hands and feet.

Can Orthotics Help with Arthritis?

Pedorthic Treatment for Osteoarthritis:

  • Custom made foot orthotics or over the counter arch supports
  • Recommendation of appropriate and proper fitting orthopedic footwear
  • Off-the-shelf orthopedic footwear with built in rocker sole feature
  • Modifications to other footwear such as rocker sole to help reduce pressure to forefoot

Pedorthic Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis:

  • Custom made foot orthotics can help reduce plantar pressures under the feet of patients with RA
  • Off-the-shelf orthopedic shoes with rocker soles
  • Rocker soles modification is beneficial in reducing plantar pressures on the forefoot
  • In shoe accommodations can be used to relieve pressure on specific painful metatarsal heads by removing material from the inside of the shoe directly under the affected area
  • Footwear may need to be modified with Velcro closures, or alternative closures to help accommodate hands/fingers of patients with RA

Pedorthists can offer alternative or complimentary treatments to medication for people with arthritis to help improve mobility and flexibility in their feet and lower limb joints through the use of custom-made foot orthotics and footwear. Custom-made foot orthotics can improve the alignment of the lower body, reducing abnormal stresses on the body. They can also provide optimal cushioning to improve shock absorption and reduce pressure on any painful areas on the feet. Footwear is an important treatment option for reducing pain and improving mobility and function in people with arthritis. Footwear with a firm forefoot rocker sole is particularly beneficial for people with painful arthritis in the forefoot and toes as it promotes forward motion during gait while limiting toe flexion and pressure on the foot.

If you suffer from symptoms related to any form of arthritis, it is important to educate yourself on the condition so that you can help manage it and live your life to the fullest. Talk to your health care provider and visit your local Pedorthist to discuss treatment options. To find a Canadian Certified Pedorthist in your area visit

By Amanda Bushby, HBKin, Dip. Ped, C. Ped (C)




Delzell, E. (n.d.). Feet Hurt? Slip in Some Relief With Shoe Inserts [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Irish, Lisa. (2018). Rheumatoid Arthritis. Pedorthic Association of Canada Clinical Practice Guidelines (Second Edition).

Loranger, L. (2014, September 1). 7 Common Arthritis Myths Busted [Blog post]. Retrieved from

McColman, M.; Archer, G; Tso, D; Bajic, T; Pagtakhan, E. (2018). Osteoarthritis – Foot and Ankle. Pedorthic Association of Canada Clinical Practice Guidelines (Second Edition).

Arthritis Society. Arthritis Facts and Figures. Retrieved from and figures

Meet a Pedorthist – Christy Shantz

Christy Shantz, C. Ped Tech (C), C. Ped (C)

Christy Shantz always thought she would be a chiropractor – but when she took a job in a pedorthic clinic to make money after school, she knew the pedorthic profession was for her.

“After a year of working in the clinic, I realized that I really enjoyed working with the patients in a hands-on setting and helping to make a difference in their lives,” says Christy, who has now been in the profession for more than 16 years.

She earned a degree in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo, and after her experience at the pedorthic clinic, Christy went on to become a Canadian Certified Pedorthist, and is now the owner of the clinic where she first started out.

Throughout her career, she has remained passionate about her work and loves many aspects of her job.  She adds that her work has been very rewarding throughout the years, and says it feels great to know she has made a difference in her patients’ lives.

“I love the feeling when a patient comes to me in so much pain and I’m able to make a difference in the quality of their lives,” Christy says. “Knowing that I’ve helped people enjoy their activities more comfortably, and in some cases avoiding surgery, it’s an awesome feeling.”

Christy has been a mentor for 12 budding pedorthists, and has enjoyed working with students in the pedorthic program at Western University and helping them earn their certification.

As a self-described “tom-boy,” Christy says she has always loved sports and continues to play in her spare time. She used to run track in university and play soccer, and now plays football, and enjoys golfing with her children.

September: A Focus on Arthritis

September is Arthritis Awareness Month and Canadian Certified Pedorthists – C. Ped (C) – across Canada are ready to deliver top tips and advice on what you can do to prevent arthritis from slowing you down. Here are some facts about arthritis and footcare to start off the month:

  • Arthritis is a condition that can create chronic pain and cause problems with walking, standing and balance.
  • The term Arthritis is an umbrella term for more than 100 related diseases affecting joints, tissues, or even the entire body.
  • Although arthritis is common, affecting about 20 percent of Canadians over age 12, it is not a generally well understood condition.
  • Arthritis can affect people of all ages. In fact, arthritis affects three of every 1,000 Canadian children, and three out of five Canadians diagnosed with arthritis are of working age.
  • When it comes to arthritis in the feet, ankles, knees and hips, Pedorthists can offer alternatives to medication to help improve mobility and flexibility in lower limb joints through the use of custom-made orthotics and footwear.
  • Exercise helps arthritic joints: physical activity can build muscles, which supports and protects joints in the long run.

And speaking of staying active, here are some tips for  you to get fit this fall:

  • Try to work in some physical activity every day into your daily routine
  • If you’re just starting out again after taking the summer off, start slow and easy until you are more comfortable incorporating more intensity
  • Be sure to combine low-impact aerobic exercise, muscle-strengthening activities, and balancing exercises into your workouts.

Check back frequently this month as we share more facts about arthritis, footcare and staying active. And be sure to use #PACArthritis when you share related content on social media!