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Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Foot and Ankle

Rheumatoid arthritis, a condition of the immune system that can attack joints throughout the body, commonly affects the foot and ankle. It can make walking painful and difficult.

The causes of RA aren't fully understood. It may be caused by inherited genetic factors, but environmental factors may also play a role in triggering the condition.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in the foot and ankle can include pain, swelling and stiffness in one or both feet, and walking may become painful and difficult. As the disease progresses, other conditions may develop, such as corns, bunions, hammertoes, claw toes or flatfoot.

Treatment options include anti-inflammatory medications, disease-modifying anti rheumatic drugs, and a class of drugs called biological response modifiers (biologics for short). Treatment for problems of the foot and ankle vary, but may include exercise, modification of daily activities, use of special shoes or orthopedic inserts, splints, braces, canes or crutches. In severe cases, surgery may be needed.

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