My feet have been through a lot as you can see by the picture below. Depending on what condition they are in: swollen, tender, dry can also serve a sign of a deeper problem with my body. I’m not sure whether it’s the fact that I’m getting older, the years of taking steroids, my issues with gout , or a combination of all of the above but my feet hurt at the end of the day. They hurt to the point that at the end of some days I can barely walk, and need to be off of them for a day or two to recover. I know that part of the holidays involves constantly being on your feet whether it’s wearing heels for holiday parties or endless walking in malls and shopping centers.

People with chronic health conditions need to be especially careful about foot problems. For healthy people, a blister is going to heal fine, but for anyone else, it’s usually recommended that they see their general practitioner. If they’re on an immunosuppressant, they’re at high risk for developing a worse infection because their immune system is suppressed.

Inflammation can affect the joints, tendons and ligaments in the feet and/or ankles causing the arch of the foot to reduce in height. An indication that this could be happening is if the heels of your shoes wear out heavily or the upper of the shoe becomes distorted. People may experience pain or aching associated with these changes even if there are no obvious signs of inflammation or swelling. So how do we protect the health of our feet? Here is a guide to caring for your feet during the holidays and beyond.


my feet during high dose steroids and after

Foot Care For Chronic Illness Patients:

  • Choose appropriate footwear- It’s important to choose your footwear with comfort, support, and utility in mind. Appropriate shoes will provide support and comfort for the weight-bearing foot with room for the toes to extend fully and to broaden out during weight bearing. Ideally shoes should have a thick, soft cushioned sole, a pliable yielding upper and fasten firmly around the instep, preferably with laces. There should be no high-pressure areas on the feet which rub the skin but plenty of support around the sides of the heel. Seek professional advice in finding shoes suitable for you if necessary.Do not wear shoes that cause pain or fatigue. Do not wear women’s high heel shoes or flats. Do not wear sandals or flip flops, or go bare foot. Do not wear shoes tapered or pointed at the toes (i.e., wear shoes with a squared “toe box”). Soft slippers are not helpful as they provide very little support.


  • Get supportive insoles- Orthotic inserts can provide needed support and positioning assistance. Consult an experienced professional about the choice of an orthotic, whether having it custom made or obtaining it over the counter.


  • Plan ahead- Try to plan appropriate resting time for your feet and avoid excessive walking when your feet are painful. If you work in a job that involves a lot of walking, you may wish to see what support or adjustments may be available to help you manage in your role. You can learn more about this in our employment guides which are available to read and download


  • Maintain an appropriate weight- Your feet and ankles carry the weight of your body, so if you are overweight it will add more stress on them. If you need assistance in maintaining a healthy weight you may wish to speak with your GP.


  • Exercise- If you’re experiencing a muscle or joint problem which is affecting your foot, there are exercises you can try to get you moving normally and safely. NHS Inform has an excellent guide with video demonstrations. 


  • Look after your skin and nails-
  1. Wash and examine your feet for damage or problems every day.
  2. Keep your feet clean and dry them carefully afterwards (especially between your toes).
  3. Look for blisters or pressure sores. Change your shoes or get professional advice if these signs of stress develop.
  4. Any dry skin should be kept moist with a good moisturising cream to prevent cracks from occurring.
  5. Professional guidance should always be sought about self-treatment of hard skin and corns – DO NOT use pedicure blades, corn plasters and paints on these areas.

**In the general population, problems associated with feet are common, but they can have more impact for those people with conditions such as lupus. Generally, lupus does not cause major foot problems but it is good to develop a routine of looking after them. It is important to understand and recognize any changes to the feet and report them to your consultant, specialist nurse or podiatrist. This should result in appropriate treatment and advice in order to prevent any possible deterioration.