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Rheumatoid Arthritis and Foot Health

Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints. In RA, the immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the joints, causing swelling, pain, and potentially severe joint damage. This can cause problems in any of the 30 foot joints, but it most commonly affects the toes and ankles. RA can also lead to deformities such as bunions, claw toes, or severe flattening of the foot, as well as pain and difficulty walking. Chronic inflammation can weaken the ligaments and tendons in the foot, leading to instability and increased risk of injury. Podiatrists, or foot doctors, can help manage RA-related foot issues by providing targeted treatments. Among them are orthotics to support the joints, advice on proper footwear to reduce stress on the affected areas, and exercises to maintain joint function and mobility. They also monitor for changes or deterioration in foot health that might require more aggressive interventions, including injections or surgery. If you’re a rheumatoid arthritis patient with problems in the feet and ankles, it is suggested that you add a podiatrist to your care team. 

Because RA affects more than just your joints, including the joints in your feet and ankles, it is important to seek early diagnosis from your podiatrist if you feel like the pain in your feet might be caused by RA. For more information, contact one of our podiatrists of Princeton Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctors will assist you with all of your podiatric concerns.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s own immune system attacks the membranes surrounding the joints. Inflammation of the lining and eventually the destruction of the joint’s cartilage and bone occur, causing severe pain and immobility.

Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Feet

Although RA usually attacks multiple bones and joints throughout the entire body, almost 90 percent of cases result in pain in the foot or ankle area.

Symptoms

  • Swelling and pain in the feet
  • Stiffness in the feet
  • Pain on the ball or sole of feet
  • Joint shift and deformation

Diagnosis

Quick diagnosis of RA in the feet is important so that the podiatrist can treat the area effectively. Your doctor will ask you about your medical history, occupation, and lifestyle to determine the origin of the condition. Rheumatoid Factor tests help to determine if someone is affected by the disease.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Princeton and West Windsor, NJ . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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