Recognizing and Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis

arthritis

As we age, many of us just accept joint stiffness and pain as an unavoidable part of getting older. But, at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, we want to encourage patients to bring those symptoms to our Long Beach office as soon as they start to notice them. Arthritis can be treated, and its progression can be slowed. It’s also important to have our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria M. Foley or Dr. Constance Ornelas examine your feet and properly diagnose your condition because there are multiple kinds of arthritis and they require different treatments.

Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arthritis is actually a category that contains over 100 different conditions. The two major forms of arthritis, however, are osteoarthritis (the “wear and tear” kind) and rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most serious of the two. It is actually an autoimmune disorder that causes the body’s immune system to attack its own cells. This leads to an intense inflammatory response within the body. Symptoms may include:

  • Joint pain
  • Stiffness
  • Redness and warmth at the joints
  • Swelling

These are also common signs of osteoarthritis. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis may notice additional symptoms, including:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Symmetry of symptoms—meaning that what is going on in one side of the body is also going on in the other side, i.e., joint pain will occur in both hands or both feet
  • Weight loss
  • Nerve damage that results in numbness or tingling
  • Decreased range of motion

Because rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic condition that can also affect other symptoms in the body, a patient with this disease will need a rheumatologist or other physician to coordinate and mange their care.

Podiatric Help

The foot doctor is part of the care team for a patient with rheumatoid arthritis will help with treatment designed to relieve foot pain caused by the arthritis. Some options may include:

  • Steroid injections
  • Accommodative shoes
  • Orthotics

If you have begun to experience joint discomfort, soreness or pain, it’s important that you make an appointment as soon as possible. Contact us by calling: (562) 420-9800.