Rheumatoid arthritis can be present in many areas of the body, but it is commonly found in the feet and ankles. However, just because you experience symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, this doesn’t mean that you definitely have it – you could have other types of arthritis, including gout, Reiter’s syndrome, or psoriatic arthritis.
Medical experts often debate about the cause of RA, but it is generally thought to be a genetic condition that needs some kind of trigger for it to be activated. RA causes a fault in the immune system – it ends up attacking joints rather than protecting them.
If you have RA in the foot, you may experience swelling, continuous foot pain in the joints or sole of your foot, and general stiffness. You could feel this throughout one foot, in several joints, just in one area, or in both feet.
The way you walk might change due to the pain and stiffness, and you might notice your shoes wearing down more often or differently to normal.
You may also notice an unusual warmness in your feet.
You could develop bunions or corns in your feet, and notice your toes unusually curling or stiffening.
Depending on where exactly your foot is affected, you could experience the bottom of your foot collapsing as your bones shift. This could cause extreme pain and trouble walking.
Even if your RA is just isolated to your feet, it affects the rest of your body as well. This means that you might feel an immune response, such as a loss of appetite, extreme tiredness, and you may have a fever.
If you experience any kind of continuous foot pain, swelling or stiffness, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor. They might refer you to a foot and ankle specialist (so if you want to save time, you could book an appointment with a foot doctor directly), who will examine your feet and ask some questions about your lifestyle and medical background.
You’ll also do blood tests and X-rays, to fully assess the damage and confirm that it is RA that you are suffering from, as well as to check you for any underlying health conditions. If it is RA, the doctor will give you an appropriate course of treatment.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an unpleasant condition, but it is one that many people live with, and that foot and ankle doctors have lots of experience dealing with. If you are struggling with RA symptoms, it’s essential to contact Foot and Ankle Center of the Rockies and book an appointment and begin the road to recovery.