Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic (long term) auto-immune disease (a condition where your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body) that progresses over time. Around half to three-quarters of a million people (with three times as many women as men) in the UK are affected.
It’s not certain what causes rheumatoid arthritis, although it has been linked to smoking, infections and viruses as well as genetic factors. It can, however, affect any joint in the foot and ankle.
At first symptoms may be mild, with swelling, but these can become worse as joint surfaces develop arthritis and become stiff and deformed. Even putting the foot into a normal shoe can be difficult due to swelling and pain.
It is usually diagnosed by monitoring your symptoms, along with a medical examination. Blood tests can also be taken to show whether there is inflammation in the body, but these are not always guaranteed to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment can involve a combination of different therapies including:
Important: This information is only a guideline to help you understand your treatment and what to expect. Everyone is different and your rehabilitation may be quicker or slower than other people’s. Please contact us for advice if you’re worried about any aspect of your health or recovery.