Rheumatoid arthritis, otherwise known as RA, is a chronic disease. The disease causes inflammation of the lining of the foot joints, and other boy joints. This disease can lead to long-term joint damage which, in turn, results in chronic foot pain, loss of foot function and disability.
RA advances through three stages:
The first stage of rheumatoid arthritis causes swelling of the synovial lining, producing pain, a warming sensation, stiffness, redness and swelling around the joint.
The second stage causes rapid division and growth of cells which causes the synovium lining to thicken.
In the third stage, the inflamed cells release enzymes that may digest bone and cartilage, often causing the infected foot joint to lose its shape and alignment. This also causes more foot pain and some loss of movement.
There is no cure for RA and frequent flares in disease activity occur spontaneously. RA can also begin to affect other organs in the body. However, studies have shown that early aggressive rheumatoid arthritis treatment can limit joint damage, somewhat eliminating loss of movement, decreased ability to work, and potential surgery.
Currently, RA affects 1.3 million Americans and many here in the areas surrounding Larchmont, New Rochelle, Mamaroneck, and Scarsdale. However, through the use of new drugs, exercise, foot joint protection techniques and self-management techniques, more people in our area are living with RA and leading happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives.