Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the tissue in the body. It causes the joints to swell and become inflamed and eventually can destroy the joint. This disease can affect the entire body including the feet and ankles and causes chronic pain.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
According to our DFW podiatrist, symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can appear anywhere in the body but will typically appear in both feet at the same time. RA can affect the same joints of each foot. Symptoms may be mild at the beginning and worsen over time and may flare up separately. RA symptoms can vary, and each person’s experience may differ based on the extent of their condition.
If you have any of the following rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in your feet, consult with your DFW podiatrist immediately:
- Pain or stiffness in the joints and ligaments
- Aching in the feet that is persistent
- Feeling of warmth in areas of the feet
- Swelling in the joints of the toes or ankles
Diagnosing Rheumatoid Arthritis
To diagnose rheumatoid arthritis, consult with your DFW podiatrist who will examine your feet and ankles. In addition to an examination, your foot and ankle specialist may order imaging tests such as an X-ray, a CT scan, or an MRI to confirm the diagnosis. Your doctor will look for the following:
- Foot deformities. With RA, other deformities such as bunions, hammertoe, or flat foot may be present. Callouses may appear on areas of the feet where there is abnormal pressure such as the ball of the foot.
- Flexibility. As RA progresses, the joints become stiff and less flexible and motion decreases.
- Tenderness. Areas of the feet may be tender to pressure.
Often changing your lifestyle can help lessen symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Losing weight and eating a healthy diet can help improve your condition. Some other treatment options for RA include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication
- Steroid injection
- Fusion surgery
A safe and effective option to consider for chronic arthritis pain is an implantable neurostimulator pulse generator. This technology provides pain relief without narcotics. It sends a gentle electric current in short pulses through the nerves of the body to help alleviate pain.
Contact Our DFW Podiatrist With Questions
If you have questions about rheumatoid arthritis and have chronic pain in your feet and ankles, our DFW podiatrist at Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists can help. To request an appointment in our Grapevine or Keller offices, fill out our convenient online contact form, or call our office today.