Ankle arthritis happens when there is a loss of cartilage lining the ankle joint. The most common cause of ankle arthritis is an injury that has occurred in the past, such as a fracture or a bad sprain. The ankle or sa joint loses cartilage slowly over a period of years after injury, and hence ankle arthritis takes time to come out.
Individuals could also develop ankle arthritis related to generalized arthritis problems such as rheumatoid arthritis or related to other diseases such as diabetes or hemophilia.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a systemic disease that attacks multiple joints throughout the body. About 90% of the people with rheumatoid arthritis eventually develop symptoms related to the foot or ankle. Usually, symptoms appear in the toes and forefeet first, then in the hindfeet or the back of the feet, and finally in the ankles. Other inflammatory types of arthritis that affect the foot and ankle include gout, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and Reiter’s syndrome.
- The exact cause of RA is unknown, but there are several theories
- Some people may be more likely to develop RA because of their genes
- However, it usually takes a chemical or environmental “trigger” to activate the disease
- In RA, the body’s immune system turns against itself. Instead of protecting the joints, the body produces substances that attack and inflame the joints
Signs and symptoms
The most common symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis in the foot are
Symptoms usually appear in several joints on both feet.
- You could feel pain in the joint or in the sole or ball of your foot
- The joint may be warm and the way you walk may be affected
- You may develop corns or bunions, and your toes can begin to curl and stiffen in positions called claw toe or hammer toe
Because RA affects your entire system, you may also feel feverish, tire easily, and lose your appetite. You may develop lumps around your joints, particularly by the elbow.
The first step to diagnosing Rheumatoid Arthritis is to consult a doctor. It would be great if you could consult your family doctor.
- The appearance of symptoms in the same joint on both feet or in several joints is an indication that RA might be involved.
- Your doctor could request X-rays to see how much damage there is to the joints.
- Blood tests will show whether you are anemic or have an antibody called the rheumatoid factor, which is often present with RA.
- Many people with RA can control their pain and the disease with medication and exercise.
- In some cases, an injection of a steroid medication into the joint can help relieve swelling and inflammation.
- You could be prescribed to wear special shoes. In more severe cases, you may need to use a molded ankle-foot orthotic device, canes, or crutches.
- Exercise is very important in the treatment of RA.