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Is mental health tied to foot pain? Researchers in Australia believe so.

A new study published in Arthritis Care & Research suggests that poor mental health is a predictor of worsening foot pain. This study included 62 patients with foot pain, who underwent assessments for pain and mental health in 2008 and then again three years later.

Researchers from La Trobe and Monash University found that participants whose foot pain decreased in the interval were more likely to have better baseline mental health.

Authors found that age, gender, BMI, and physical disability were not factors with the change in foot pain. 

Baseline mental health scores for patients whose foot pain improved were in the normal range for the overall Australian population. This was in contrast to those whose pain deteriorated and had baseline scores far below normal.

"This study supports the theory that the outcome of foot pain may be affected by a person's mental status," the authors wrote. 

The psychosomatic response to pain is different for each individual and may explain how pre-existing conditions psychological factors influence the development of chronic pain conditions. 

It is also possible that chronic pain creates activity avoidance, which in turn perpetuates the persistence of pain.

More research would be needed to determine if mental health is the cause or effect of foot pain. 

Reference: Rheumatology Update

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