dr jill Halstead talks about midfoot arthritis

Midfoot Arthritis: A conversation with Dr. Jill Halstead

Arthritis, a condition affecting millions worldwide, stands as a major public health concern. In an engaging and informative episode of the NK Active podcast, Lead clinician Nick Knight invited Dr. Jill Halstead, a renowned podiatrist and clinical research lead at Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust to talk about midfoot arthritis. Despite technical difficulties during the recording, the episode was packed with invaluable insights into managing arthritis, particularly focusing on the role of muscle strength in mitigating symptoms.

Jill’s background and Journey into Podiatry

Jill commenced her podiatry career over two decades ago, combining her passion for clinical practice with research. Her journey took her through various settings, from NHS clinics to private practice and community hospitals. Specialising in rheumatology, Jill’s research delved into the various types of arthritis, aiming to improve patient outcomes through evidence-based approaches.

The Link Between Muscle Strength and Arthritis

aOne groundbreaking piece of research that has significantly influenced clinical practice, as highlighted by Nick, involved the relationship between midfoot arthritis and muscle strength around the ankle and the inside of the foot. This study revealed that patients with midfoot arthritis often exhibit reduced muscle strength in these areas. By focusing on strengthening these muscles, practitioners have observed not only an alleviation of symptoms but also a marked improvement in muscle strength.


Utilising Dynamometers in Clinical Practice

A key tool in this research has been the dynamometer, a device that measures muscle strength. It has proven to be exceptionally beneficial, allowing clinicians to quantify improvements in muscle strength following tailored exercise programs. This approach underscores the importance of targeted exercises in managing arthritis symptoms effectively.

The Importance of Exercise and Strength Training for osteoarthritis

The interview really emphasised the critical role of remaining active and engaging in regular exercise. With the World Health Organisation recommending three strength training sessions per week, it’s clear that maintaining muscle strength is vital not only for managing arthritis but also for overall health and longevity.

Differentiating Between Osteoarthritis and Gout

The discussion also talked about the nuances between osteoarthritis and gout, two conditions that often confuse patients due to their overlapping symptoms. Osteoarthritis, characterised by weight-bearing pain, contrasts with gout, which can manifest as sudden, intense pain, often worsening at night. Jill pointed out that gout, unlike osteoarthritis, is treatable and potentially reversible with the right medical intervention.

The importance of early intervention and lifestyle adjustments

A recurrent theme throughout the episode was the importance of early detection and intervention in managing arthritis. Adjustments in diet, exercise, and lifestyle, coupled with professional guidance, can significantly impact quality of life. Especially for conditions like gout, where lifestyle factors play a considerable role, recognising symptoms early on and seeking professional help can prevent long-term joint damage.


The conversation with Dr. Jill Halstead provided so many insights into managing midfoot arthritis, highlighting the relationship between muscle strength, exercise, and professional intervention. This episode not only shed light on effective management strategies but also underscored the importance of bridging research and clinical practice to enhance patient care. Do be sure to watch the episode in full to find out more.

Listen to the latest episode of the NK Active podcast here on your chosen platform – https://kite.link/nk-active or watch the YouTube video below.

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