4 Ways Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects Your Feet

4 Ways Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects Your Feet

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) develops when your immune system mistakenly attacks the cells in the lining of your joints. This causes inflammation, leading to a range of issues in the joint.

If you get rheumatoid arthritis, you have a high likelihood of developing symptoms in your feet and ankles. By some estimates, 90% of people with RA end up with inflammation in their feet. 

That’s particularly problematic because you rely on your feet to get around. When something as simple as getting up to use the bathroom becomes painful, RA can seriously interfere with your quality of life. 

Fortunately, William T. DeCarbo, DPM, FACFAS, and our team are here to help. As experts in addressing arthritis in the feet and ankles, we work with you to develop a treatment plan that eases your discomfort and improves your mobility. If you have RA affecting your feet, visit us at Greater Pittsburgh Foot & Ankle Center, in Wexford, Pennsylvania. 

So, should you pay us a visit? Here are four signs rheumatoid arthritis is affecting your feet. 

#1: Pain and tenderness

Inflammation often translates into pain in your body, and the joints in your feet and ankles are no exception. It’s fairly common to experience discomfort as you stand and walk when you have RA. 

Fortunately, we can help you find treatment to ease that pain. Many people find relief with medications like disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Dr. DeCarbo also offers corticosteroid injections, which reduce inflammation to soothe your discomfort. 

#2: Loss of mobility

As your immune system attacks the joints in your feet and ankles, it can make it harder for you to get around. If the RA affects the joints in your ankles, for example, you might notice that you have a difficult time navigating ramps and other inclines. If the RA impacts your heel, you might feel less steady as you walk over uneven terrain like gravel or grass. 

Some people benefit from using a cane or walker to overcome the mobility problems from RA. 

#3: Stiffness

Stiffness is a key symptom of rheumatoid arthritis. As your immune system attacks the lining of your joints, it makes it harder to move those joints. You might notice that it’s harder to curl your toes or to move your ankle, for example. 

RA-related stiffness is usually at its worst after periods of inactivity. You might most notice this symptom first thing in the morning. 

#4: Foot deformities

Over time, RA can lead to a number of unwelcome changes in your foot, including:

  • Your arch collapsing and developing a bony bump on top
  • Bunions
  • Claw toes

If you catch this condition and start treating it early, you might be able to prevent issues like these. But if they do develop, Dr. DeCarbo can help you manage — and potentially even eliminate — them.

Bunions are fairly common when rheumatoid arthritis affects the feet, for example. As an expert in 3D bunion correction surgery called Lapiplasty®, Dr. DeCarbo can correct the misalignment in your big toe joint with a minimally invasive procedure. 

If these changes in your feet sound familiar, don’t wait to visit our team. We can help you find out if it’s rheumatoid arthritis and, if so, develop a treatment plan to manage your symptoms and protect your joints. Call our office or book your appointment online today.