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How Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects the Feet

Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis, and it is characterized by joint pain, inflammation, and damage. RA, like other kinds of arthritis, is progressive, which means that symptoms will gradually get worse over time if left untreated. So, how do you know if you might be developing RA in your feet? While a podiatrist can certainly provide you with a definitive diagnosis, here are some telltale signs of rheumatoid arthritis.

  • You experience pain, inflammation, and stiffness in the joints of the foot, particularly the toes
  • You experience aching feet, particularly after activity or long periods of standing
  • Some parts of your foot may feel oddly warm to the touch or may emanate heat while the rest of the foot feels normal
  • The joints of the toes and ankles may swell

Symptoms are often mild at first and you may not even think that you have arthritis. Those between the ages of 30 to 60 are more likely to develop RA. You may notice intense flare-ups that are characterized by bouts of remission (in which you don’t experience symptoms). Do not take these symptom-free moments to mean that you are fine. It’s important to see a podiatrist right away if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above.


What does RA do to the feet and ankles?


Along with painful joints and stiffness, you may also notice other changes to your feet over time. Some of these changes include,

  • Bunions
  • Corns
  • Hammertoes and claw toes
  • Bursitis
  • Circulation issues (e.g. atherosclerosis; Raynaud’s phenomena)

How is rheumatoid arthritis treated?


Since RA is not curable, your podiatrist will focus on crafting a treatment plan that will help to alleviate your symptoms and slow the progression of the disease to prevent severe and irreparable joint damage. Prescription medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are biologics that can reduce inflammation and prevent the progression of the disease.


Of course, there are also lifestyle changes you can make along with taking prescription medication that can also ease symptoms,

  • Warm soaks
  • Custom insoles or orthotics
  • Pain relievers
  • Compression
  • Stretching exercises for the feet
  • Bracing
  • Steroid injections (for targeting severe inflammation)

Surgery is only necessary if there is severe joint or cartilage damage, or if inflamed tissue needs to be removed from around the joint.


Most people with RA will eventually develop foot and ankle problems, which is why it’s important to have a podiatrist on your team that can help you manage your RA effectively.

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New Orleans Podiatry Associates
4.9/5★★★★★22 Reviews
Verified Patient Reviews
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K. D. (Verified Patient)
★★★★★Oct 05, 2021
Dr.Lang, and his staff are always extremely friendly , professional and helpful. This office is beautiful and I would definitely recommend it to everyone I know.
J. Z. (Verified Patient)
★★★★★Sep 23, 2021
Great Doctor and staff
T. J. (Verified Patient)
★★★★★Sep 16, 2021
Dr. Edward Lang has been my podiatrist since 2012. I could not have chosen a more compassionate, understanding and excellent doctor. The staff in his office is so accommodating and empathetic to each patients unique situation. If you are in need of a Podiatrist; do not hesitate to call Dr. Lang's office. You will not be disappoint
J. C. (Verified Patient)
★★★★★Aug 30, 2021
Mi esposo Carlos Cortez y yo estamos muy satisfechos 0 con el servicio del Doctor Lang, ya que mi esposo tuvo un accidente en su trabajo y se daño el tendón de su pie izquierdo, Él fue donde el primer doctor y este dijo que mi esposo no necesitaba cirugía, que solo con terapia podía repararlo, pero no nos convecimos de ese doctor y
S. W. (Verified Patient)
★★★★★Aug 30, 2021
I can't believe the luck I had in finding this place a few years ago. The sense of family between the staff is something you feel even as a patient there. Dr. Lang and staff work as a team, are very thorough and do everything imaginable to make you happy and comfortable. Everyone here cares about how you ate feeling and all of your n
M. B. (Verified Patient)
★★★★★Aug 30, 2021
Dr Lang and his office are the epitome of professional, kindness and caring.
A. W. (Verified Patient)
★★★★★Aug 30, 2021
I was so thankful I was referred to Dr. Lang for a foot injury due to tennis. Dr. Lang and his team made me feel welcome and took care of all of my needs. My foot healed great and I am so thankful to be back on the court!
M. L. (Verified Patient)
★★★★★Aug 30, 2021
Recently had an ingrown toenail removed. I was very anxious and nervous about the pain and getting it removed but the doctor and staff made me as comfortable as possible. The removal was not nearly as bad as I had anticipated. The doctor is very friendly and so gentle that I didn't even know he had started the procedure when he did.
B. D. (Verified Patient)
★★★★★Aug 30, 2021
Dr. Lang is an amazing podiatrist. Working in the service industry for over a decade ,took a toll on both of my feet. Dr. Lang, performed both bunion surgeries on me. Best decision I ever made, I am able to stand with out any of my feet aching. I can once again fit comfortably in my shoes. Thank You !!! Dr.Lang
A. E. (Verified Patient)
★★★★★Aug 30, 2021
The people running this place are amazing 🤩 people ! Leyla Aviles
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