How to Manage Your RA Symptoms (With Custom Orthotics)
If you are one of the 1.5 million Americans suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) today, then you may be relieved to know that there are many options available to help manage your condition! In fact, conservative treatment methods may be all you need to get back to an active lifestyle – without foot or ankle pain.
And since RA can be especially problematic for the lower limbs, you may have started feeling the effects of this painful condition in your feet first. Surprised? You shouldn’t be – with 33 joints in your feet and ankles, there’s a lot of opportunity for RA to attack. Throw in the fact that your lower limbs will endure force impacts of up to several tons combined on just an average day, and you can see why RA “loves feet so much.”
But that doesn’t mean there’s no hope. You can find some of the best treatment options right here at our Sierra Foot & Ankle office that will help put a pep back in your step – and it all starts by understanding how RA affects the feet in the first place.
Understanding RA (and How it Affects the Feet)
Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that causes cells of the immune system to malfunction and attack healthy joints, resulting in inflammation. Because of this, patients often experience pain, swelling, redness, joint stiffness, and unusual warmth around the affected joint(s).
Next thing you know, even simple, routine tasks like going grocery shopping or walking the dog become nearly impossible.
But ignoring the pain is definitely not the answer – in fact, when left untreated, RA symptoms will only become worse, causing chronic inflammation and damaging the cartilage and bones in the affected joints.
What’s worse, serious damage can even result in permanent joint destruction, deformity, and/or disability. In these cases, surgery is often needed to restore healthy function and provide relief from painful symptoms.
So don’t wait until your condition is literally keeping you off your feet! Instead, take steps to prevent its progression, and come visit our office for the treatment you need today.
Stopping RA in its Tracks
When you come visit Sierra Foot & Ankle, we will perform a thorough evaluation of your lower limbs in order to determine the severity of your condition and provide the most beneficial treatment for you.
Some other options we may incorporate into your treatment plan include:
- Regular exercise. Now, we know it might seem counterintuitive to recommend you move more often when your joints are stiff and painful. But the truth is exercise is one of the best ways to manage the effects of RA. We can coach you on exercises to perform that provide maximum benefit with the minimum possible discomfort.
- Medications. We will either prescribe or recommend OTC medications to help relieve pain and reduce inflammation in affected joints.
- Vitamin C intake. Recent studies have shown that vitamin C plays a huge role in managing inflammation in the body, including in arthritic joints.
- Weight management. The less your body weighs, the less force will be placed on joints affected by RA.
- Proper footwear. Wearing shoes that accommodate already existing foot deformities, like bunions, and that support and protect affected joints will also help reduce further wear and tear.
Speaking of support and protection, we are proud to offer yet another conservative treatment option for patients suffering from RA – custom orthotics. Let’s talk about these amazing versatile medical devices for a second …
Custom Orthotics for RA
Most patients will develop painful foot deformities as a result of RA, such as metatarsalgia, rear foot valgus, arch collapse, and others. Since the nature of orthotics therapy is to support and protected those areas of the feet which need it most, wearing them is a great way to treat these consequential problems.
Custom orthotics will cushion your feet and provide enough room for any potential deformities, as well as hold and stabilize the foot and prevent further joint destruction.
Need deeper heel cups? Custom orthotics can do that for you. Need extra arch support? These awesome medical devices can do that, too! They can even help redistribute pressure on your feet to relieve painful pressure points from other areas in the foot.
And when it comes to making and adjusting orthotics for conditions such as RA, we’re proud to say we’re one of the best around. We employ computerized gait analyses, digital scanning, and even 3D printing to help achieve the perfect fit for our custom orthotics. (Most podiatry offices are still using foam boxes and plaster molds.) Our Carson City offices also features an advanced on-site orthotics lab where we can make same-day precision adjustments to both prefabricated and custom orthotics.
We’ll work closely with you to make sure your orthotics are as good as they can possibly be, so you can minimize your RA symptoms and keep them from holding you back.
Start Managing Your RA Today!
As you can see, the ultimate goal of treating RA is to manage painful symptoms and avoid the need for surgery. You should keep in mind, though, that severe cases often require surgical procedures for optimal pain relief and functionality. If this becomes the case for you, we will discuss exactly what this looks like so you can move forward feeling confident.
So give us a call to schedule an appointment today at (775) 783-8037, or simply fill out our online request form to have a member of our staff reach out to you.