Rheumatoid Arthritis

People with rheumatoid arthritis often experience a significant amount of problems with their feet. The arthritis affects the majority of the bones in the ends of the feet. This causes migration of the toes and pain in the forefoot.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This means that the body’s own immune system attacks the joints and causes them to break down. Over time this breaking down of the joints causes significant arthritis and deformities. Bunions and hammer toes are often associated with rheumatoid arthritis. This makes the metatarsal heads extremely prominent in the ball of the foot. The rheumatoid process also breaks down the fat pad under the ball of the foot which is your body’s natural cushion when walking.

Persons with rheumatoid arthritis should be seen by not only their primary physician but usually a rheumatologist who deals with this type of arthritis. These physicians will treat the rheumatoid arthritis with medications designed to decrease the breakdown of the joints and the other pathology’s that go along with rheumatoid arthritis. Persons should also see a podiatrist for proper accommodative shoe wear to decrease the progression of deformities. The progression of deformities can be slowed down by wearing proper shoe gear and arch supports. The more you’re able to slow down the process the less severe the deformity will be later in life.

In some cases surgery is required to treat the deformities caused by rheumatoid arthritis. These procedures are usually to correct individual bunions or hammer toes. In some severe cases the entire forefoot needs to be addressed at the same time to correct the deformities and provide the patient with pain-free walking. The specific procedures chosen are specified by the deformities present and severity of them.

Though rheumatoid arthritis normally affects the forefoot it can also affect the joints of the rear foot and ankle. In these cases the first step is to provide a stable range of motion for the joints. This is accomplished through braces. These braces can either be prefabricated or made custom to the patient’s foot and ankle.

Again if you have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis I would advise you to be seen by the Florida Foot Specialist to provide you with stable and supportive shoe wear and bracing. The physicians will also evaluate and treat you for any other problems that may be arising in your feet.