Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that typically affects the minor soft tissues and joints in the feet and hands, causing immobility and severe pain. Many people who experience it say the symptoms worsen when the weather gets colder. So in today’s post, Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich, and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen of greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center share information regarding more about the condition and 4 common symptoms to look out for.
While some scientific data suggests weather may have an impact on a person’s RA symptoms, experts don’t understand precisely why this connection exists. Some theories include:
- Lower temps may thicken the joint fluids, so they become harder to move and stiffer.
- Changes in barometric pressure cause the muscles, bones, scar tissues, and tendons to contract and expand, causing pain in the tissues affected by arthritis.
- Intense weather can affect a person’s mood, which, in turn, makes RA symptoms worse.
- People may be less active in colder weather, which worsens symptoms.
Although RA typically attacks several joints and bones throughout the whole body, almost 90 percent of cases cause pain in the ankles or feet. But with timely diagnosis and more aggressive treatment options, there is less damage and deformity to the feet and ankles.
Because it affects more than just your joints, including those in your ankles and feet, it’s important to get an early diagnosis from your podiatrist if you feel like the pain in your feet might be a symptom of RA.
Symptoms of RA include:
- Pain and swelling in the feet
- Pain on the sole or ball of the feet
- Stiffness in the feet
- Joint shift and deformation.
Early diagnosis of RA in the feet is important so your podiatrist can treat it effectively. Your podiatrist will question you about your occupation, lifestyle, and medical history to determine where the condition originated.
If you’re living with RA, you need to include a podiatrist on your healthcare team. They are proficient in all areas related to the health of your feet and can help lessen the effects of RA on your feet so you can live more comfortably.
If you have any questions free to contact Greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center to schedule your next checkup. You can click here to locate contact information for the office nearest you to book your appointment.