Rheumatoid Arthritis

Overview

Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease. It attacks multiple joints throughout the body at the same time. Approximately 90% of all people who experience rheumatoid arthritis develop symptoms that affect the foot or ankle. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms can usually be found in the toes and forefeet first, then in the hind feet or the back of the feet. Finally, the symptoms appear in the ankles.
Doctors at the Florida Hospital Celebration Health Sports Medicine Program employ a range of non-surgical and surgical treatments to treat rheumatoid arthritis so that you can continue to enjoy an active lifestyle, both on and off the field.

 

What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?

The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, but researchers continue to look into its origins. Some people may be more likely develop rheumatoid arthritis for genetic reasons. However, it is usually a chemical or environmental cause that triggers the disease. In rheumatoid arthritis, the body's immune system turns against itself. Instead of protecting joints, the body produces substances that attack and inflame the joints instead.

 

Treatment

With proper treatment, rheumatoid arthritis can often be controlled through non-surgical means. These include:

  • Medication and exercise.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAIDs).
  • Injection of a steroid medication into the joint.
  • Special shoes that provide comfort and reduce pain.
  • Soft arch supports with rigid heels.
  • Molded ankle-foot orthotics, canes and crutches.

Exercise is essential in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. FHCH Sports Medicine Program doctors or physical therapists may recommend that you engage in stretching as well as functional and range of motion exercises.

If you have questions about rheumatoid arthritis or want to make an appointment with us, please contact one of our Patient Care Coordinators and they'll be happy to help you.