Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease of the joints that affects as many as 1% of the population, with more women diagnosed than men. Symptoms typically develop between the ages of 40 and 60, often beginning in smaller joints in your hands and feet.
It’s an autoimmune disease, meaning your body’s immune system attacks tissue throughout your body, including cartilage and ligaments, and softens your bones. Rheumatoid arthritis particularly inflames the tissue lining of your joints, slowly destroying the joint altogether.
In this blog, we’ll be looking at the following:
- Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
- Diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis
- Causes of rheumatoid arthritis
- Orthotics for rheumatoid arthritis
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Typical symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include pain sensations, swelling, and stiffness around your joints, usually affecting pairs of joints instead of only one.
You may have difficulty walking inclines and stairs if it’s affecting your ankles, which is an early sign of arthritis in the ankle joints.
If rheumatoid arthritis targets your heels, you’ll likely have difficulty walking on uneven surfaces, grass, rocks, etc.
When it affects the top of your foot, the ligaments that support your midfoot weaken, and your arch collapses, causing pain whether you’re wearing shoes or not. Ultimately, the shape of your foot will change, making it difficult to wear any shoes at all.
Diagnosing Rheumatoid Arthritis
Doctors will physically examine your feet and ankles and perform necessary imaging tests, including X-rays, CT scans, and or MRIs. Callouses, bunions, claw toes, flat feet, tenderness, pressure, and flexibility are symptoms a doctor can use to diagnose whether your foot is affected by rheumatoid arthritis.
Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The root cause is unknown, although it’s possibly considered genetic and hereditary.
Orthotics for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Foot orthotics, or shoe inserts, are a common treatment for rheumatoid arthritis in the feet or ankles as it relieves pressure on your bones and overall pain in your foot. However, they will not reshape any physical deformities. Custom orthotics are designed to provide cushioning for cases of arthritis in the feet, as opposed to rigid material orthotics.
AFO-style orthoses are also available for treating and supporting hindfoot and ankle pain. AFOs have proven to be effective and can prevent someone from needing surgery altogether.
Get State-of-the-Art Orthotics with Pongratz
Treating chronic foot and ankle pain is pivotal to restoring your quality of life. Pongratz knows first-hand the life-changing power of innovative orthotics and prosthetics.
Don’t wait any longer to take back your life from pain and discomfort – contact us today!