You may be familiar with rheumatoid arthritis and how it affects your body’s joints, but did you know that it can affect your feet? Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder and can affect many different parts of the body, and the feet are no exception. In fact, nearly 90% of people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis report having issues with their feet. We want to help educate our patients on how to identify signs of rheumatoid arthritis in the feet so that they can properly know when and how to seek medical care and prevent future flare-ups.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis will vary from patient to patient, but rheumatoid arthritis in the feet usually presents itself as soreness, swelling, and warmth in the joints of the feet. In some cases, the shape of the foot may be changed. The skin and nails on the feet may be altered as well, and many report poor circulation and nerve problems. It is important to be aware of what is “normal” for your feet so that you can accurately identify any abnormalities should they arise.
How can I alleviate pain?
Just as symptoms vary, so will your course of treatment. There are a number of “at-home” remedies for foot pain, but if you suffer from chronic foot pain due to rheumatoid arthritis you will ultimately want to seek professional care. Many advanced cases require surgery or steroid injections to help with inflamed joints, but a consultation with your podiatrist will help to establish a treatment plan that is right for you. In many cases, simple changes in your footwear and lifestyle can help to combat symptoms.
- Footwear- Many fashionable shoes are actually terrible for your feet. When choosing appropriate footwear, you will want to look for shoes that give your feet plenty of room. Ones that have a wide toe, low heel, and offer support to your foot are great options.
- Stay active- It is important to keep your joints mobile. If you struggle with foot pain while exercising, consider altering the type of exercise you are doing. Swimming and bicycling are great exercise options that help reduce the amount of pressure that is put on the feet and ankles.
- Rest- It is important to “take a load off” every now and then, especially if you are experiencing any swelling or pain. Try to avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time. Instead, take frequent breaks when working or take a walk around the office if you’ve been sitting for a long time.
- Try heat and massage therapy- Taking a warm foot bath or massaging the affected area can sometimes help you find relief. However, if the pain becomes a chronic issue you will want to seek the help of your podiatrist.
Where should I seek care?
Here at Kalamazoo Foot and Ankle Specialists, we take pride in helping our patients find the relief they deserve. If you are suffering from chronic rheumatoid arthritis pain in your feet, don’t wait another day to seek care. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.