Symptoms and Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis | Orthopaedics

What is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can impact more than just your joints. In some people, the precondition can harm a variety of body systems, including the skin, eyes, lungs, and heart, and blood vessels. An immune system issue, rheumatoid arthritis inflammation happen when your invulnerable framework erroneously assaults your body’s tissues.

In contrast to the mileage from osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis inflammation impacts the covering of your joints, causing agonizing expansion that can at long last prompt bone erosion and joint deformation.

The aggravation related to rheumatoid arthritis inflammation is the thing that can harm different pieces of the body too. While new kinds of drugs have greatly improved treatment options, acute rheumatoid arthritis can cause physical disabilities.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease characterized by symptoms of inflammation and pain in the joints. These indications and signs happen during periods known as flares or intensifications. Other times are known as periods of remission when symptoms completely disappear.

While symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can affect several organs in the body, symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Joint pain
  • Joint swelling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Loss of joint function and deformities

Symptoms can vary from mild to severe. It’s significant not to disregard your manifestations, regardless of whether they travel every which way. Knowing the early signs of rheumatoid arthritis will help you and your healthcare provider better treat and manage it.

Causes of rheumatoid arthritis

RA is an autoimmune disease. Your immune system, like bacteria and viruses, is supposed to attack foreign bodies in your body by causing inflammation. In autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakenly sends inflammation to healthy tissues. The immune system causes a lot of inflammation to be sent to your joints causing joint pain and swelling.

If the inflammation persists for an extended period of time, it can damage the joint. Usually, this damage cannot be reversed once it has occurred. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown. There is evidence that autoimmune diseases run in families. For example, some of the genes you were born with may make you more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis.

Risk factors of rheumatoid arthritis

According to the Arthritis Foundation, women get rheumatoid arthritis two to three times more often than men. In women, symptoms tend to appear between the ages of 30 and 60, while men often develop symptoms later in life. There may also be a genetic basis for the disease. Cigarette smoking and periodontitis are also risk factors.

Diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis

In its early stages, rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult for a doctor to diagnose because it can resemble other conditions. However, early diagnosis and treatment are essential to slow disease progression. The CDC recommends an effective diagnosis and treatment strategy to begin within 6 months of symptoms appearing.

The doctor will look at the person’s clinical signs of inflammation and ask how long they have been there and how severe the symptoms are. They will also perform a physical examination to check for any swelling, functional limitations, or deformity. They might recommend some tests.

Blood tests:

  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR or sed rate): This test measures levels of inflammation in the body. It measures how quickly red blood cells in a test tube separate from blood serum over a specified period. If the red blood cells rapidly settle into deposits, levels of inflammation are elevated. This test is not specific to RA and is a useful test for inflammatory conditions or other infections.
  • C-reactive protein (CRP): The liver produces C-reactive protein. A high CRP level indicates inflammation in the body. This test is not specific to RA and CRP can occur in inflammatory conditions or other infections.
  • Anemia: Many people with rheumatoid arthritis also have anemia. Anemia happens when there are too scarcely any red platelets in the blood. Red platelets convey oxygen to the tissues and organs of the body.
  • Rheumatoid factor: If an antibody known as a rheumatoid factor is present in the blood, it can indicate the presence of rheumatoid arthritis. However, not everyone with rheumatoid arthritis is positive for this factor.

Imaging scans and X-rays: An X-ray or MRI of the joint can help the doctor determine the type of arthritis present and monitor the progression of rheumatoid arthritis over time.

Diagnostic criteria: In 2010, the American College of Rheumatology recommended the following criteria for diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Swelling is present in at least one joint, and it has no other cause
  • Results of at least one blood test indicate rheumatoid arthritis
  • Symptoms have been present for at least 6 weeks

Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis

The goals of treating rheumatoid arthritis are:

  • Control of patient signs and symptoms
  • Prevent joint damage
  • Maintaining the patient’s quality of life and ability to function

Joint harm, by and large, happens inside the initial two years of determination, so it is critical to analyze and treat rheumatoid joint pain in a “window of opportunity” to forestall long-haul outcomes.

Treatments for rheumatoid arthritis include medication, rest, exercise, physical therapy / occupational therapy, and surgery to correct the damage to the joint.

The type of treatment depends on many factors, including the person’s age, general health, medical history, and the severity of arthritis.

Non-pharmacologic therapies

Non-drug therapy is the first step in treatment for all people with rheumatoid arthritis. Non-drug treatments include the following:

Rest: When joints become inflamed, the risk of injuring the joint and nearby soft tissue structures (such as tendons and ligaments) is high. This is why sore joints should be relieved. However, fitness should be maintained as much as possible. Maintaining a good range of motion in your joints and good overall fitness is important in dealing with the general features of the disease.

Exercise: Pain and stiffness often cause people with rheumatoid arthritis to become lethargic. However, inactivity can lead to loss of joint mobility, cramps, and loss of muscle strength. These, in turn, reduce joint stability and increase fatigue.

Regular exercise, especially in a controlled way with the help of physical therapists and occupational therapists, can help prevent and reverse these effects. Useful exercises include a range of motion exercises to maintain and restore joint mobility; Exercises to increase strength, and; Exercises to increase endurance (walking, swimming, cycling).

Physical and occupational therapy: Physical and occupational therapy can relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and help maintain joint structure and function for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. Certain types of treatment are used to treat specific problems of rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Heat or cold can relieve pain or stiffness
  • Ultrasound can help reduce inflammation of the sheaths surrounding the tendons (tendinitis)
  • It can improve exercise and maintain joint range of motion
  • Resting and splinting can help reduce joint pain and improve joint function
  • Finger bracing and other assistive gadgets can forestall deformations and improve handwork
  • Relaxation techniques can relieve secondary muscle spasms

Occupational therapists also focus on helping people with rheumatoid arthritis to continue to actively participate in work and leisure activities, with special attention to maintaining the good function of the hands and arms.

Nutrition and dietary therapy: Weight reduction might be prescribed for overweight and hefty individuals to diminish weight on aroused joints. People with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to have coronary artery disease. High blood cholesterol (a danger factor for coronary supply route malady) can react to changes in diet. A nutritionist can recommend specific foods to eat or avoid in order to reach your desired cholesterol level.

Diet changes have been investigated as treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, but no diet has been proven to treat it. There are no herbal or nutritional supplements, such as cartilage or collagen, that can treat rheumatoid arthritis. These treatments can be dangerous and are not usually recommended.


There are many medications to reduce joint pain, swelling, and inflammation and prevent or slow the disease. The type of medication your doctor recommends will depend on the severity of your arthritis and how well you respond to the medications.

These include medicines:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen
  • Corticosteroids (oral and injection forms)
  • COX-2 inhibitor (celecoxib [Celebrex®])
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) such as hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall), sulfasalazine, and leflunomide

It may take four to six weeks of treatment with methotrexate, one to two months with sulfasalazine, and two to three months with hydroxychloroquine to see improvement in symptoms.

  • Biological agents, such as infliximab (Remicade), etanercept (Enbrel), adalimumab (Humira), certolizumab (Cimzia), golimumab (Simponi), tocilizumab (Actemra), rituximab (Rituxan), abatacept (Orencia) ), anakinra (Kineret), tofacitinib (Xeljanz)

Biology tends to work quickly, within two weeks for some drugs and within four to six weeks for others. Biopharmaceuticals may be used alone or in combination with other disease-modifying drugs. It is usually intended for patients who do not respond adequately to DMDs, or if a patient’s disease prognosis (outlook) is a problem.

Other precautions to be noted with these medications:

  • Cancer-modifying medications and biological agents interfere with the immune system’s ability to fight infection and should not be used by people with serious infections.
  • Anti-TNF agents such as infliximab, etanercept, adalimumab, certolizumab, and golimumab are not recommended for people with lymphoma or who have been treated for lymphoma. People with rheumatoid arthritis – especially those who are very ill – have an increased risk of developing lymphoma, regardless of the treatment used. Anti-TNF agents were associated with a further increase in the risk of developing lymphoma in some studies but not in others. More research is needed to determine this risk.
  • Tuberculosis (TB) test is required before starting anti-TNF treatment. People with evidence of TB should be treated earlier than TB because there is an increased risk of developing active TB while receiving anti-TNF treatment.

Some of these medicines are traditionally used to treat other conditions, such as cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and malaria. When these medications are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, doses are much lower and the risks of side effects tend to be much lower. However, the risks of side effects from treatment must be weighed against the benefits on an individual basis.

Whenever you have prescribed any medication, it is important to meet your doctor regularly so that he can monitor for any side effects.


When bone damage from arthritis becomes severe or pain is not controlled with medications, surgery is an option to restore function to the damaged joint.

Complications of rheumatoid arthritis

Since rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease, its inflammation can impact organs and areas of the body other than the joints.

  • The inflammation of the eye and mouth glands associated with arthritis can cause dryness in these areas and is referred to as Sjogren’s syndrome. Dry eyes can erode the cornea.
  • Inflammation of the white parts of the eye (sclera) is referred to as scleritis and can be very dangerous to the eye.
  • Rheumatoid inflammation of the lining of the lung (pleuritis) causes chest pain accompanied by deep breathing, shortness of breath, or coughing. The lung tissue itself can become inflamed and scarred, and sometimes inflammatory nodules (rheumatic nodules) develop inside the lungs.
  • Inflammation of the tissue (pericardium) surrounding the heart, called pericarditis, can cause chest pain that usually changes in intensity when lying down or bending forward.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with an increased risk of a heart attack.
  • Rheumatoid disease can decrease the number of red blood cells (anemia) and white blood cells.
  • Decreased white cells can be associated with an enlarged spleen (referred to as Felty’s syndrome) and can increase the risk of developing infections.
  • The risk of developing lymphoma (lymphoma) is higher in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, especially those with persistent active arthritis.
  • Hard lumps or hard bumps under the skin (subcutaneous nodules called rheumatic nodules) can occur around the elbows and fingers where there is repeated pressure. Although these nodules usually do not cause symptoms, they can sometimes become infected.
  • Nerves in the wrists can become pinched to cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis) is a rare serious complication, usually with chronic rheumatoid disease. Vasculitis can impair blood flow to tissues and lead to tissue death (necrosis). This often appears initially as small black areas around the nail bed or as leg sores.

Symptoms and Types of Ankle Arthritis | Orthopaedics

What is ankle arthritis?

Arthritis is a common term for a group of more than 100 diseases. The word “arthritis” means “inflammation of the joints.” Arthritis involves inflammation (swelling) in and around the joints. The inflammation can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling. Arthritis is an acute or chronic inflammation of the soft tissues of the joint and its surroundings.

In arthritis, progressive joint degeneration occurs and the soft “cushion” cartilage in the joints gradually disappears, causing the bones to wear down each other. The soft tissue in the joints also begins to wear out. Arthritis can be painful and eventually lead to limited mobility, loss of joint function, and joint deformities.

As you get older, your risk of developing arthritis will increase. Joint damage caused by this condition can cause swelling, pain, and physical changes in the feet and ankles.

Symptoms of ankle arthritis

 Symptoms of foot and ankle arthritis are usually:

  • Tenderness when touching the joint
  • Pain when you move it
  • Difficulty moving, walking, or putting weight on it.
  • Stiffness, warmth, or swelling of the joints
  • More pain and swelling when sitting or falling asleep after resting

Types of ankle arthritis

Arthritis is a common term for a group of more than 100 diseases. It can cause inflammation and swelling in the joints and surrounding soft tissues.

With many types of arthritis, your joints wear out over time. You will gradually lose the soft “cushion” cartilage within them. As a result, your bones rub against each other and wear out. The soft tissue in the joints also begins to wear out. After a while, the joint may not work or may not move as it should.

Several types of arthritis can cause pain in the feet and ankles, including:

Osteoarthritis, or “wear and tear” arthritis, is the most common type. Doctors also call it a degenerative joint disease or age-related arthritis. Osteoarthritis usually causes changes over many years. These are the most common foot and ankle joints:

  • The three joints of the heel bone, the inner midfoot bone, and the outer mid-foot bone.
  • The toe joint and foot bone.
  • The joint where the ankle and tibia meet.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most serious forms. It is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks the joint. It usually occurs in the same joint on both sides of your body.
  • Gout occurs when uric acid builds up in your diet. It is most common in the toe because it is the most distant part of the body from the heart.
  • Psoriatic arthritis can occur in one or more joints, including the ankles and toes. It can also cause an inflammation of the toes called dactylitis.
  • Post-traumatic arthritis occurs after an injury, especially after a dislocation or fracture. You may not notice problems for years.

Diagnosis of ankle arthritis

Doctors can often diagnose RA with a physical exam. They visually inspect the ankles for swelling or other signs and examine their range of motion.

Doctors primarily diagnose rheumatoid arthritis (RA)based on symptoms, but may also recommend other tests to get better details.

For example, doctors often recommend X-rays, ultrasounds, or sometimes MRIs to assess the extent and location of joint damage. This is higher when the doctor suspects RA in the ankle because the initial damage is more immediately apparent than in other areas.

Blood tests can help determine if antibodies in the blood indicate RA or have ruled out other conditions.

Treatment for ankle arthritis

Depending on your symptoms and the cause of your ankle arthritis, you may receive one or more of these treatments:

  • Steroids are injected into the joints
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs that help with inflammation
  • Analgesics
  • Supports pads or arch on your shoes
  • Cane or support braces
  • Shoe inserts that support the ankle and foot (orthotics)
  • Physical therapy
  • Custom footwear
  • Surgery for foot and ankle arthritis

Some people need at least one type of surgery to treat foot and ankle arthritis. Your doctor will prescribe the best treatment for you. Arthritis surgeries:

Fusion surgery: This is also known as arthrodesis. Fix the bones with rods, pins, screws, or plates. Once they heal, the bones stick together.

Joint replacement surgery: It is used mainly in severe cases. Your doctor will call it an arthroplasty. They remove damaged bone and cartilage and replace them with metal or plastic.

Home remedies for ankle arthritis

When you have arthritis in your foot or ankle, it is very important to wear comfortable shoes. Check out these details:

  • Shoes are shaped like your foot
  • Supportive shoes (for example, no slip-on shoes)
  • Rubber soles for cushioning
  • Flexibility
  • Proper fit; Ask the seller for help
  • Exercise helps keep your feet strong, straight, and painless. Good moves for your feet

Achilles stretch: Flatten with your palms against the wall. Take one step forward and one step back. Keep your heels on the ground and move forward. Pull the Achilles tendon on the back leg and calf. Hold for 10 seconds. Do this exercise three times on each side.

Big toe stretch: Put a thick rubber band around the big toe. Pull your muscles toward each other and the other leg. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Do it 10 times.

Pull the toe: Put a rubber band around the ball of each foot and extend your leg. Hold this position for 5 seconds and do the exercise 10 times.

Finger flexion: Remove the marbles with your foot.

Other home remedies for ankle arthritis

Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen. These can cause side effects such as stomach irritation, so consult your doctor before taking them.

  • Creams that contain menthol or capsaicin, which can prevent nerves from sending pain signals
  • Keep the area warm or cold
  • Acupuncture
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin medications
  • Gentle exercises like yoga, tai chi
  • Massage

Medications: It is very important to reduce inflammation so that a person can limit the inflammation in their ankles and control their pain. The following medications can help with RA symptoms and reduce chronic joint damage:

  • Pain relievers to control uncomfortable symptoms
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation
  • Disease-correcting antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
  • biology

Maintaining inflammation can help restore mobility to the ankle and other joints. If RA causes permanent damage to the ankle joint, medications will not reverse it, but they will help with pain, prevent further damage, and improve quality of life.

Doctors can also use corticosteroid injections in the ankle to quickly reduce acute inflammation and prevent damage or pain. Because they can suppress the immune system, people should know that they are more likely to get an infection if they take DMARDs and biologics.

Surgery: People with advanced forms of RA or people who do not respond well enough to treatment may need surgery. The surgery doctors offer depends on the type of arthritis and the extent of the damage. Some surgeries involve massaging the bones of the ankle to prevent inflammation and pain.

Ankle replacement surgery may be an option to reduce pain and restore joint mobility in more severe cases if fusion is not effective.

Lifestyle Changes for Foot Arthritis: Some changes in your daily life can make you feel better and prevent your arthritis from getting worse. If a specific activity triggers inflammation, try to keep it to a minimum. Instead of high-impact exercises like jogging, do less spin like swimming or biking. Maintain a healthy weight to put more stress on your joints.