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What more can I do to help strengthen my feet and ankles?

Q) I was interested to read of the foot and ankles studies carried out in Leeds by Dr Tony Redmond. I have osteoarthritis in both knees, but my mobility is limited more by the lack of muscle tone in my legs and feet, to such an extent that they don't support me reliably when walking. I'm currently having physiotherapy and have been recommended exercises to do at home and am waiting to see a podiatrist. In view of the latest research is there any more I could be doing to strengthen my feet and ankles?
Miss D Gilmore, Shanklin, Isle of Wight (Winter 2008

A) I am sure Dr Redmond will be pleased to know you have taken so much interest in his research. The Leeds foot and ankle group has a breadth of research interests in this area which will enhance the way we treat foot problems in rheumatology. Interestingly, my mother says exactly the same things as you do. I tell her to do her exercises while watching television at night and for 30 minutes every morning. You both really have to work hard at building muscle in order for it to have the desired effect. There's no magic pill or short cut. It really does require a lot of effort to replace lost muscle strength, taking months rather than days to see a benefit.

This answer was provided by Dr Philip Helliwell for the Winter 2008 edition of our magazine, Arthritis Today, and was correct at the time of publication.

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