Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease which causes Joints in the body to become painful and inflamed. This inflammation and pain is caused by an increase in blood flow to the joint causing it to redden and feel warm and an increase of synovial fluid within the joint causes pain as the joint swells.
Inflammation in the joints is usually produced to destroy things such as bacteria but with Rheumatoid Arthritis the inflammation attacks the tissue around the joint. This can cause damage to cartilage and sometimes bone. The amount of damage caused varies from person to person but once the joint has been damaged it is very difficult for it to heal back to its original state, causing lasting destruction within the joint.
Sufferers of Rheumatoid Arthritis often report periods of ‘flare ups’ these are usually unpredictable, trying to suppress the inflammation in the early stages is an important way to treat the disease. There are several different types of medication that can be taken to treat the pain and inflammation in the joint. Including DMARDS (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs),NSAID’s (non-steriodal anti inflammatory drugs) or a course of steroids to calm the inflammation.
Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect the joints in the feet, usually the joints in the toes. They can be very painful and become disfigured due to the inflammation, this can cause problems getting shoes to fit or even walking. Podiatrists form an integral part of the management team of a person with Rheumatoid Arthritis, enabling mobility and preventing wounds and ulceration.
For example, Insoles and Orthotics can be prescribed to cushion the shoe and accommodate any foot deformities.This is a simple technique that can make a big difference in a person’s day to day life. Podiatrists can also help with things that can become a struggle including toe nail cutting, corns and callus treatment, and advice on shoes and other footwear.
People who suffer with Rheumatoid Arthritis need to take care of their own joints through regular exercise. This however is a balancing act, not enough exercise and your joints will stiffen, too much and you will be doing harm to the joints. There are particular signs you should look out for: if the joint becomes warm or swollen then it is time to stop. Swimming is my top tip for people suffering with Rheumatoid Arthritis, it is the exercise that puts the least strain on your joints but utilises the muscles well.
The Arthritis Care Helpline 0808 800 4050 can offer you help and support with any issues regarding your Arthritis that you may have, or call us at WalkRight Podiatry on 01706 655 110 or visit www.walk-right.co.uk to book an appointment and discuss any issues that you may have.
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