Arthritis is a chronic disorder that can affect any joint in the body, including feet and ankles. The majority of people who are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis will develop foot and ankle problems during the course of the disease. If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, you should visit a podiatrist or foot and ankle specialist near Sugar Land for treatment that may slow the progression of the disease.
The primary symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in the foot or ankle are pain, swelling, inflammation, and stiffness of the joint. These symptoms typically occur in both feet at once, and affect the same joints in each foot. Early indications of arthritis in the ankle include increased difficulty walking up ramps and stairs. As the disease progresses, walking and standing can also become painful and difficult. Early indications of arthritis in the foot include difficulty walking on uneven ground, flat feet, bone spurs, and bunions.
Rheumatoid arthritis has no cure, but a foot and ankle specialist or podiatrist near you can provide a variety of treatment options that may ease your symptoms. These treatments may include medication, rest, physical therapy, orthotics, and steroid injections. You will typically have a treatment team of foot and ankle specialists that consists of a rheumatologist, physical and occupational therapist, an orthopedic surgeon, and a rehabilitation specialist.
Your foot and ankle specialist will recommend foot surgery if non-surgical options have proven unsuccessful, or if you have extensive cartilage damage. Surgical treatment typically involves a surgical procedure called fusion, during which two bones that form a joint are fused together to create one bone. During the healing process, a new bone will grow between the two fused joint bones. This surgery limits joint motion, which reduces the pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. It is particularly effective for the ankle joint, as that tends to be the most painful joint when affected by arthritis.