5 Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis

5 Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Every day, you rely on your feet to carry you to where you need to go. So when issues arise, they can have a significant impact on your life. One of these problems might be rheumatoid arthritis (RA) — in fact, 90% of people with RA develop symptoms in their ankles and feet.

To help you determine whether RA is affecting your feet, the team of foot health experts here at Neuhaus Foot and Ankle, with 10 locations across Tennessee, wants to outline five of the more common signs of a potential problem.

Rheumatoid arthritis at a glance

If you’ve been diagnosed with RA, you know that this form of arthritis is an autoimmune disease. With RA, your body mistakenly attacks sensitive tissues that line your joints. As RA progresses, it can cause irreparable damage in your joints, making mobility and function more difficult.

RA and your feet

As we mentioned, an overwhelming majority of people with RA develop symptoms in their feet and ankles. Here are the top five:

1. Pain and inflammation

When your immune system attacks the linings of the joints in your feet and ankles, one of the first indications of a problem is pain, stiffness, and swelling. These symptoms typically develop in both feet and ankles, and you may experience trouble with inclines and uneven ground.

2. Collapsing arches

If your RA advances to your midfoot, the ligaments that support your arches can weaken, causing them to collapse. Over time, that collapse can lead to bony protrusions that make wearing shoes uncomfortable.

3. Bunions

Many people with RA develop significant bunions where the big toe shifts to such a degree that it crosses over your second toe.

4. Hammertoes or claw toes

As RA destroys tissues in your joints, they can become dislocated, which can lead to severe claw toes. As your toes curl upward, it can make wearing footwear uncomfortable.

5. Pain in the balls of your feet

People with RA often develop metatarsalgia — a condition that can lead to considerable discomfort in the balls of your feet, especially after activity.

Treating RA in your feet and ankles

One of the keys to managing RA in your feet and ankles is early intervention. The sooner we spot an issue in your lower extremities, the easier it is to avoid irreversible foot deformities like bunions and claw toes. 

Some of the treatments we can use include:

Whether your RA has already presented symptoms in your feet and ankles or not, it’s essential that you get an experienced team in your corner to help preserve your mobility and the structure of your feet.

Such a team can be found at any of our offices in Hermitage, Brentwood, Nashville, Mount Juliet, Waverly, Smyrna, Gallatin, Columbia, Pulaski, or Lebanon, Tennessee. To set up an appointment, simply click here.

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