Take Regular Pit Stops
Dont drive for too long because your joints can become tight and stiff, says Domingues. Plan to stop and take a break at least once every two hours. Stop and stretch the areas of your body that are tight or tired. Give yourself extra travel time so theres time to stop and rest as needed.
There are also drowsy driver features in some vehicles that remind drivers to take a break on long trips. Getting out and changing position at intervals during a longer drive can help, adds Schold Davis.
Why You Have Arthritis
There are over 100 different types ofarthritis that can develop as you get older or following an injury. The many types of arthritis target your joints, causing pain, inflammation, and stiffness and limiting your joints flexibility.
The two most common types of arthritis that affect many adults in the United States include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
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How Does A Normal Joint Work
A joint is where two bones meet. Most of our joints are designed to allow the bones to move in certain directions and within certain limits.
For example, the knee is the largest joint in the body and one of the most complicated. It must be strong enough to take our weight and must lock into position, so we can stand upright.
It also has to act as a hinge, so we can walk, and needs to twist and turn when we run or play sports.
The end of each bone is covered with cartilage that has a very smooth, slippery surface. The cartilage allows the ends of the bones to move against each other, almost without rubbing.
The joint is held in place by the synovium, which contains thick fluid to protect the bones and joint.
The synovium has a tough outer layer that holds the joint in place and stops the bones moving too far.
Strong cords called tendons anchor the muscles to the bones.
Other Early Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Numbness or Tingling
This is most common in the fingers and extremities. It may progress to a burning sensation in some casesthis is called carpal tunnel syndrome. Another common sign is a squeaking or crackling noise from the hands or feet.
Inflammation is a big part of RA, and it is often mild early on. The joints may be larger than usual or warm to the touch, and this may last anywhere from a couple days to a few weeks. As the condition progresses, these episodes will increase in frequency.
Fatigue and Weight Loss
In some cases, the first symptom of RA is unusual feelings of tiredness. This may come weeks or even months before you see other symptoms, and may appear in waves before disappearing again for periods at a time. Fatigue may also lead to weight loss that has little other explanation.
Common in the morning for multiple forms of arthritis, stiffness may last anywhere between a few minutes to a few hours. Degenerative types of arthritis are usually short-lived, while longer periods of stiffness is more indicative of inflammatory arthritis and RA. In addition, joint stiffness in smaller joints generally signals RAthese symptoms can flare up seemingly at random, often beginning in the hands.
Range of Motion Limitations
A fever by itself is likely just a fever, but one that is accompanied by other symptoms may indicate the presence of RA. A severe fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, however, is likely unrelated.
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Can Numbness And Tingling Be Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory, autoimmune disease that mainly affects the joints. In some cases, joint inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis can spread to surrounding nerves, leading to nerve damage, numbness, and tingling sensations.
Symptoms like numbness and tingling shouldn’t be ignored as these are signs of a disease complication or that your rheumatoid arthritis is worsening.
This article discusses the connection between rheumatoid arthritis and numbness and tingling and how to find relief.
Peter Dazeley / Getty Images
What’s The Right Footwear When You Have Ra
Narrow-toed or pointy-toed shoes, as well as heels, are bad for the foot as they cause the wearer to put pressure on the ball of the foot and can cause marked deformities, Lightfoot says. An oxford-type shoe with a low heel, wide toe, and high ceiling that will not rub the foot is best.
Good arch support will help distribute the weight evenly on the entire foot, and orthotics special devices put into the shoe can alleviate foot pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis and possibly prevent deformities in the foot, Lightfoot adds.
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How Osteoarthritis And Rheumatoid Arthritis Differ
These two diseases have similar early symptoms. A U-M rheumatologist sheds light on the two most common types of arthritis.
It begins with a sort of deception. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis the two most common forms of arthritis closely resemble each other when symptoms arise.
While the common denominator is joint pain brought on by inflammation, other similar symptoms include limited range of motion, stiff joints, warmth or tenderness at the afflicted area, and intensity of symptoms first thing in the morning. And both diseases are chronic and have no cure.
Still, they have different causes, symptoms and treatments. What are the differences between osteoarthritis and RA?
Manage The Rheumatic Disease Manage The Foot Pain
Surgery is often needed to alleviate the pain associated with bunions, hammertoes, and nodules, according to AAOS. Foot surgery may involve resetting the bones or fusing joints to correct the position of bones and joints.
Local steroid injections are particularly beneficial for inflamed joints and plantar fasciitis. But before you schedule surgery or an office visit for injections, you might try non-invasive approaches such as braces, or choose shoes or inserts designed to support your feet, AAOS recommends.
Uncontrolled inflammation leads to joint bone erosions and other damage, which leads to foot deformities, said Lightfoot. Early use of the newer and much more effective remittive drugs to lesson or eliminate inflammation is key to preventing bone damage and resulting deformities, Lightfoot says.
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Myrateam Members On Peripheral Neuropathy In Ra
Members of myRAteam have described their experiences with peripheral neuropathy. As one member wrote, I have this in my feet and up to my knees. It started with terrible cramps. Another had a similar experience, writing, My neuropathy started in my feet, then went up to my knees and up from my fingers to my elbows. Another shared that peripheral neuropathy was my first sign that I had an autoimmune disease at age 24.
Members have also shared the variety of sensations they experience with peripheral neuropathy. One noted, Your feet are numb to feeling, yet there is awful nerve pain. Ive heard it compared to shingles pain. Another member shared, I have no feeling in my ring finger and pinky on both hands. Its strange to not have feeling in them. Makes them seem weaker than they are.
Other members have discussed the challenges that peripheral neuropathy poses to daily life. As one member wrote, I have this in my hands and feet as a side effect of RA. Its a bit difficult to walk some days, and I keep changing shoes throughout the day, which helps a bit.
Counseling And Other Support
Health care team
Any major disturbance in your lifesuch as illness or chronic painmay make you feel anxious, depressed, angry or even hopeless.
This is your first place to turn for help. The team includes your doctor and a nurse. It may also include an occupational therapist or a physical therapist, a social worker, counselor, psychologist and a pharmacist.
Talk to the members of the team about ways to cope with pain. They may be able to help you find services in your area. Dont be afraid to suggest to your doctor a pain management idea of your own or one from this program. You know yourself and your pain better than anyone.
Many people become depressed when they have severe pain. Some people feel so bad they cannot sleep or eat. In these cases, therapy or counseling may help.
Some people are afraid to admit they need help. They believe that others will think they are crazy if they talk to a professional about their problems. But its smart to get help when you need it. If you have the symptoms of depressionpoor sleep, changes in appetite, crying, sad thoughtstalk with your doctor.
Some psychologists or counselors are specially trained to work with the emotional side of chronic health problems like arthritis. These people can also teach you how to manage stress. Pain is stressful. If you have increased stress, you may feel more pain. So learning to manage stress can also help you manage your pain.
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Autoimmune Disorders That Cause Burning Joint Pain
Joint pain occurs as a symptom of many autoimmune diseases, in some conditions as a primary defining symptom of the disease, and, in others, as a secondary symptom that occurs in more advanced or longstanding cases, or as one of an array of possible manifestations. Burning joint pain is distinct from a stiff and aching quality of joint pain and can indicate nerve involvement, metabolic insufficiency or pronounced inflammation with swelling and elevated temperature around a joint.
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Peripheral Neuropathy In Ra
Some people with rheumatoid arthritis develop mild forms of peripheral neuropathy, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Their symptoms tend to appear symmetrically on both sides of the body, such as in both knees or both hands. Peripheral neuropathy in RA may occur in the upper limbs, the lower limbs, or both the upper and lower limbs.
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Coping With Arthritic Feet
- Steroid medications to be injected into the affected joints
- Custom-made shoes, shoe inserts, or arch supports to support your ankles and feet
- Physical therapy that includes foot exercises and stretches
Your doctor might recommend surgery if other treatments dont work to manage foot and ankle arthritis. Surgical options might include:
- Arthrodesis: Also called fusion surgery, this involves fusing bones together with rods, pins, screws, or plates. When bones heal, the bones will stay joined.
- Joint replacement surgery: Also called arthroplasty, this surgery is used only in severe cases. The surgeon will take out damaged bones and cartilage and replace them with metal and plastic.
Home remedies you can try to help you cope with arthritic feet include:
- Creams containing capsaicin or menthol: These creams may stop the nerves from sending out pain signals.
- Hot or cold packs in the affected areas
- Gentle exercises, including yoga and tai chi
Making changes to your lifestyle can also help you to feel better and keep arthritis in your feet from getting worse. Lifestyle changes might include choosing low-impact exercises like swimming rather than high-impact ones , maintaining a healthy weight to keep stress off joints, and reducing or avoiding activities that trigger symptoms in the feet and ankles.
Treatments And Management Of Numbness And Tingling
Specific muscles to focus on stretching to relieve muscle tightness and potential nerve compression include:
- Upper trapezius: The back of your neck to your shoulders
- Levator scapulae: The back and side of your neck
- Abnormal heart rhythms
Early diagnosis can prevent serious complications. Call your healthcare provider immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.
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How It Affects Treatment
The best way to treat mechanical back pain is to allow time to let things heal, try physical therapy, and use pain relief measures like NSAIDs or heat or ice therapy. Lifestyle changes, including losing weight, quitting smoking, improving posture, and exercising more, as well as steroid injections may also be recommended. Surgery is considered a last resort.
What Is Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy is not a disease in and of itself. Instead, it is a general term that refers to a group of disorders caused by damage to the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system connects the nerves from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. These nerves run to the limbs, hands, and feet, as well as the internal organs, joints, skin, and more. Damage on the peripheral nerves can cause symptoms like pain and numbness in the affected areas.
Peripheral neuropathy may be classified according to where nerve damage occurs. The most common form of the condition is polyneuropathy damage to many peripheral nerves at once. Mononeuropathy, on the other hand, refers to damage to a single nerve or nerve group.
Peripheral neuropathy may also be categorized by the type of damage and symptoms a person has. Carpal tunnel syndrome is perhaps one of the most well-known forms of the disorder. Carpal tunnel syndrome which is often caused by repetitive tasks, such as typing on a keyboard can cause numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand, wrist, and arm.
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Medical History And Physical Examination
After listening to your symptoms and discussing your general health and medical history, your doctor will examine your foot and ankle.
Skin. The location of callouses indicate areas of abnormal pressure on the foot. The most common location is on the ball of the foot . If the middle of the foot is involved, there may be a large prominence on the inside and bottom of the foot. This can cause callouses.
Foot shape. Your doctor will look for specific deformities, such as bunions, claw toes, and flat feet.
Flexibility. In the early stages of RA, the joints will typically still have movement. As arthritis progresses and there is a total loss of cartilage, the joints become very stiff. Whether there is motion within the joints will influence treatment options.
Tenderness to pressure. Although applying pressure to an already sensitive foot can be very uncomfortable, it is critical that your doctor identify the areas of the foot and ankle that are causing the pain. By applying gentle pressure at specific joints your doctor can determine which joints have symptoms and need treatment. The areas on the x-ray that look abnormal are not always the same ones that are causing the pain.
Skin Issues With Ra In The Feet
Changes in your foot shape can result in pressure spreading out unevenly across your foot as you walk. Excess pressure can result in skin conditions:
- Bunions are thick, bony bumps that develop in the joint at the base of your big toe or fifth toe.
- Corns are thick, hardened skin patches that may be larger and less sensitive than the rest of your foot skin.
If theyre not treated, both bunions and corns can develop into ulcers. These are open sores that result from skin breaking down due to a lack of circulation or tissue damage in the foot. Ulcers can become infected and cause further foot pain and damage.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis May Lead To Other Foot And Ankle Issues
Another foot problem experienced by people with RA is nerve pain. Peripheral nerve pain in the foot can cause burning, tingling, and tenderness, Dr. Lightfoot says. Continued pressure on the medial side of the foot can then result in nerve entrapment, or tarsal tunnel syndrome.
Foot pain often occurs in the joints or ball of the foot. In fact, for about 20 percent of people with RA, foot and ankle issues are the first symptom of rheumatoid arthritis, according to AAOS.
What Are The Symptoms Of Reactive Arthritis
Reactive arthritis may cause arthritis symptoms, such as joint pain and inflammation. It can also cause urinary tract symptoms and eye infection . Symptoms can last from 3 to 12 months. In a small number of people, the symptoms may turn into a chronic disease. Symptoms can happen a bit differently in each person, and may include:
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Early Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms
Like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune condition. That means instead of protecting your body from disease, the immune system turns against your body and attacks itself.
In addition to painful, swollen joints, the condition can cause rashes, eye redness and pain, and changes to the nails. Some people can get swelling of the whole finger or toe, which doctors refer to as sausage-like. This may help distinguish this condition from other types of arthritis.