What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a long lasting autoimmune disorder that primarily affects joints. If you suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis, your feet and ankles may be one of the first areas to be affected. In about 20% of patients foot and ankle symptoms are the first sign of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
People who have RA may experience foot problems such as:
- Hallux Limitus – A disorder of the joint located at the base of the big toe. It can cause pain and stiffness in the joint and can limit the toe’s flexibility. Over time it may get increasingly harder to bend the toe. this condition is known as Hallux Rigidus.
- Morton’s Neuroma – This can flare when arthritis swollen joints are kept in shoes that are now too tight in the forefoot. RA can be a source of pain on the bottom of the heel. This can mimic the classical heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis.
- Fallen arches (osteopenia)
- Hammertoes and bunions
Treatments can vary and may include: physical therapy, joint mobilisation exercises and custom orthotics.