Is Your Foot Pain a Sign of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

May is Arthritis Awareness Month, and if you ask anyone living with Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), they will tell you that it’s a devastating diagnosis to receive because it is an incurable disease that can cause joint deformity and severe pain. Today, Dr. Hubert Lee of CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists is delving deeper into a painful condition.

The good news is that today the treatment options available are the most advanced they have ever been, and they are actually allowing many people with arthritis to live full and active lives.

Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis in the Feet

With arthritis, the immune system assaults the body’s joint tissues, causing inflammation, which can result in gradual damage to affected joints. The immune system attacks the fluid within the joints as well as the joint lining, which then becomes acutely inflamed, causing a swollen and warm joint.

If left untreated, continued inflammation eventually causes bone and cartilage to erode, which leads to deformed joints and diminished range of motion. Additionally, the muscles, ligaments and tendons that surround and stabilize the joints may weaken.

Parts of the Foot Affected by Arthritis

When it comes to the feet, RA typically affects the toe joints, causing a gradual outward shift in the toes and bunions to develop. It may also cause the forefoot to shift, resulting in a loss of stability, which leads to conditions such as hammertoes.

These changes in toe-joint flexibility often cause calluses and pain under the ball of the foot and make finding comfortable shoes more difficult, resulting in the need for custom orthotics.

Other Foot Conditions Associated with Arthritis

Heel pain: This is a common problem for people with arthritis that can strike at the back of the heel resulting in plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, or bursitis.

Nerve entrapment: When the joint lining becomes inflamed, the swelling can cause symptoms of a pinched nerve, also referred to as nerve entrapment.

Rheumatoid nodules: This typically appears as a bump located beneath the skin, usually over a bony lump or tendon. It can grow over the Achilles tendon or on the side of the big toe if a bunion is present.

Skin rash: The inflammation associated with RA can cause wounds or rashes on the lower legs.

A close relationship with Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists – who will work to stop joint damage, alleviate pain and inflammation, and improve your sense of well-being – will ensure the best possible outcome throughout the course of your disease. Call our office today at (425) 455-0936 to book your next visit or schedule an appointment online so we can discuss your treatment options.

8 Ways That Aging Affects Your Feet

Aging affects your feet just as it does the rest of your body. When you consider the amount of stress we place on our feet throughout our lifetime, it’s easy to see why these issues develop. Today, Dr. Hubert Lee of CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists is sharing information regarding 8 effects that aging has on your feet.

Watch out for these aging issues that can occur with your feet!

  1. Dry Skin: Dry skin, particularly on the soles of the feet, is a problem that may necessitate the daily use of moisturizer to prevent cracking. The gradual reduction of collagen, worsened by the absence of proper foot care, can lead to cracked heels and calluses. When left untreated, the cracked skin around the heel can make it uncomfortable to walk or even stand.
  2. Seborrheic Keratosis: Another condition affecting older adults is called stucco keratosis due to its barnacle-like appearance. These raised lesions are often mistaken for warts and they usually affect the top of the toes, feet, and ankles. Although they are not painful, they can be itchy or cause irritation when wearing shoes.
  3. Flat Feet: As you and your feet age, ligaments can begin to stretch out, thereby lessening the height of your arch and leading to a condition referred to as flat feet. The pain tends to increase with activity and is often accompanied by inflammation along the arch and inner ankle. Flat feet can increase the risk of foot and ankle sprains.
  4. Shortened Achilles Tendon: Tendons connect bone to muscle, and if these are shortened due to water loss, you can end up flat-footed because you won’t be able to flex your toes, ankles, and midfoot as well. This is especially true of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscle to the heel bone.
  5. Changes in the Toenails: Toenails typically become brittle and thicker as you age, making them more difficult to maintain. One reason for this is that nails grow slower when hormonal production is decreased.
  6. Hammertoe: Hammertoe is the irregular bend in the joint of one or more of your toes. It is typically the result of wearing high heels or narrow shoes that force the toes deeper into the toe box. They are prone to calluses and corns, and once they mature, they are essentially permanent unless surgery is utilized to realign the toe joints.
  7. Arthritis: Osteoarthritis (OA) also referred to as wear-and-tear arthritis, affects approximately 10 percent of men and 16 percent of women over the age of 60. Risk factors include hammertoe, bunions, obesity, or a previous foot or ankle injury.
  8. Circulation Problems: One of the most common foot and ankle symptoms in older people is inflammation, which is commonly connected with poor circulation, especially in the ankles and feet. Diabetes can also affect circulation, particularly as you get older. Diabetic neuropathy is an additional consequence of long-term diabetes.

If you or a loved one is having issues with the effects of aging feet, contact the office of Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists to schedule a consultation. Call our office today at (425) 455-0936 to book your visit or schedule an appointment online.