The Odd Connection – Feet and Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis pertains to a chronic disease involving the immune system, in which joints undergo inflammation, thus causing pain and stiffness.  People with rheumatoid arthritis generally find difficulty in performing simple movements that involve the joints, such as walking, standing up, and sitting down.

This condition has also affected individual performance at work or school, thus prompting the medical field to identify an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.  Having this inflammatory condition affecting the joints may also be responsible in certain emergency visits to the hospital, especially when a person suffers from a decreased ability to operate a motor vehicle or machine.  In other cases, visits to the emergency room may be due to extreme pain experienced by a patient with rheumatoid arthritis.

Feet and the Immune System Implication

Common treatment schemes for rheumatoid arthritis include anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.  It is also possible to prescribe disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, although this type of treatment may also increase the risk of developing severe side effects, which may also require emergency medical attention.  More recent improvements in treatment include the use of biologics, which are proteins that influence the immune system to slow down the progression of rheumatoid arthritis.

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In extreme cases of rheumatoid arthritis in which drug treatment appears to be ineffective, surgery may also be recommended.  It is important to understand that this disorder involving the immune system and the joints may also decrease the ability of a person to move, thus it is possible for a person to have accidents while performing routine tasks.  Majority of emergency calls involving the elderly usually show rheumatoid arthritis as a causative factor for slips and falls.

Why is This an Emergency?

Based on the severity of rheumatoid arthritis and its association with emergency medical treatments due to accidents, health groups and researchers have looked into specific signs and symptoms that could be detected at an early stage.  Using this information, people who are at a higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis may thus be educated on how to maintain their healthy bodies at an earlier age and possibly prevent the development of this immune system-related inflammatory disease.  This information may also decrease the incidence of emergency visits to the hospital and ultimately, lower the need for aggressive treatment of the disease.

According to a recent medical report, the features of the feet may serve as a reliable indicator for signs of rheumatoid arthritis at its early stages and the condition of an individual’s immune system.  For example, the ankle is composed of several joints and generally responsible for the stability of the body while standing upright.  Any signs of stiffness, swelling, and pain in the ankle may thus indicate that this foot area may need emergency treatment in order to prevent further deterioration.

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Feet and Arthritis – The Connection

The report presented the findings involving approximately 100 individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, who were interviewed in terms of foot symptoms during their earlier stages of the disease.  The results of the study showed that the earliest symptoms of foot problems involved the ankle, followed by the forefoot.  Years after, these individuals also experienced pain and stiffness in the hindfoot and midfoot.  The study participants also admitted that they used insoles as primary treatment of the pain they encounter in their feet.  The report also showed that aside from early foot problems, these patients also presented higher body weight and thus it is possible that the rheumatoid arthritis development was faster due to this specific body feature.

This recent medical report provides a direct proof that certain foot features could serve as indicators of an impending disorder, such rheumatoid arthritis.  The findings of this report may guide physicians and patients on how to care for their health, even based on the simple experiences with their feet.  Recognizing the earliest symptoms of this joint disorder may also decrease the chances of accidents during movement, which often result in emergency visits to the hospital.





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