Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis can be described as a chronic autoimmune disease “that affects 1.3 million Americans, the majority of whom are women.” If left untreated, the condition can lead to eventual disability of the joints. However, early diagnosis and proper treatment can help with prevention of symptoms. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when our body’s immune system begins attacking healthy tissue, particularly in the joints. This leads to stiffness, swelling, pain, and warm sensations in the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect anyone of any age.
Understanding where RA starts will help treat and prevent the condition. If you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, contact Dr. Andrew H. Cohen, D.P.M. of Mid-Michigan Foot and Ankle Center. Dr. Cohen will treat your foot and ankle needs.
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. Severe pain and immobility are caused by an inflammation of the lining of your joints, and in worse cases the destruction of the joint’s cartilage and bone can occur.
Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Feet
Although RA usually attacks multiple bones and joints throughout the entire body, many cases result in pain in the foot or ankle area. Pain will often initially present in the toes before the condition worsens and spreads throughout the entire foot.
- Swelling and pain in the feet
- Stiffness in the feet
- Pain on the ball or sole of the feet
- Joint shift and deformation
Quick diagnosis of RA in the feet is important so that your podiatrist can treat the area effectively. Your doctor may ask you about your medical history and lifestyle to help determine possible causes of your RA.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for RA, so treatment options are designed to specifically target the symptoms of it, most notably the pain it causes. Two types of anti-inflammatory drugs – non-steroidal or NSAIDs and corticosteroids – may be prescribed by your doctor. In some severe cases where the joints are too badly damaged, surgery may be an option. As always, speak with your podiatrist to help determine the appropriate treatment options available to you.
If you have any questions, please contact one of our offices located in Saginaw and Essexville, MI. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.