Stop Pushing Through Your Rheumatoid Arthritis: See a Specialist for Relief

Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the many forms of the disease that affects the joints throughout your body. It's an inflammatory condition that sometimes causes permanent damage to the joints and surrounding tissues.

Living with RA is tough, but weathering through the pain isn’t the best idea. Without the proper treatment, RA wreaks havoc on the joints in your body, especially your feet.

If you're tired of struggling through the ups and downs of RA, Dr. Jeffrey E. McAlister and the Phoenix Foot and Ankle Institute team have the tools to help. Dr. McAlister is a board-certified foot and ankle specialist offering various cutting-edge treatments for RA in the feet and ankles.

Understanding rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition in which the immune system malfunctions, attacking the joints. It’s still not fully understood why this happens to some people and not others. It’s possible environmental factors and genetics may play a role.

RA can affect any joint but most commonly targets the hands, feet, knees, and wrists. It usually involves more than one joint at a time and often goes through periods of remission and flares.

The most common symptoms related to RA are pain and stiffness in multiple joints. You may also experience swelling, tenderness, or redness in the affected joints.

Unfortunately, RA is a lifelong condition that goes through ups and downs, even with treatment. However, treating RA early on is the best way to prevent long-term damage and complications in the joints.

How RA affects the feet and ankles

Many people with RA experience symptoms in their feet and ankles. It often affects the joints near the front of the feet, also known as the forefoot, although it can affect any joint.

When RA strikes, it wages war on the protective membrane in the joints called the synovium. The result is painful inflammation and warmth around the affected joints. This is especially problematic in the feet because the pain makes walking or wearing shoes difficult.

Long-term RA without treatment may lead to permanent cartilage and bone damage around the delicate foot and ankle joints. It causes an overproduction of synovial fluid, which, in turn, causes more inflammation and pressure on the joints.

Signs it's time to see a specialist

When RA first develops, you may notice swelling and joint pain on both sides of the body. And you may notice swelling, warmth, and general fatigue or fever if it affects your feet and ankles. You may want to push through the discomfort, but that only leads to more significant problems.

Getting treatment for RA as soon as possible is the best way to avoid long-term joint damage in the feet and ankles. Without treatment, you could develop issues that include:

Untreated RA in the foot and ankle can result in any of the above conditions. You can avoid these complications by seeking treatment from a specialist as soon as you notice symptoms such as swelling, redness, or pain.

At your appointment, Dr. McAlister evaluates your feet and ankles for RA to determine the best treatment route. He offers both conservative and surgical options for long-term relief. He may suggest an ankle brace, PRP/amniotic membrane injections, or an ankle fusion to repair the damaged joints.

Call Phoenix Foot and Ankle Institute at 602-761-7819 to schedule a consultation, or use our online booking tool to request an appointment for RA treatment.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Shockwave Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis: What to Expect

Shockwave Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis: What to Expect

Heel pain has many causes, with plantar fasciitis being at the forefront of the problem, but what treatments are available? Read on to discover when you need shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis and what to expect during treatment.