Rheumatoid Arthritis affects more than the Joints

According to Dr. Scott Anderson of Daily Republic, several compounded studies on rheumatoid arthritis have shown that the disease affects much more than just the joints in your body. Being more and more referred to as a systemic disease, RA has been linked to lung damage, stroke, and heart disease. The article chronicles the increased risk of patients who smoke cigarettes, but also points out that even non-smokers can find themselves at risk.  

Understanding where RA starts will help treat and prevent the condition. If you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, contact Dr. James M. McKee of Podiatry Group of Annapolis, P.A. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s own immune system attacks the membranes surrounding the joints. Severe pain and immobility are caused by an inflammation of the lining of your joints, and in worse cases the destruction of the joint’s cartilage and bone can occur.

Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Feet

Although RA usually attacks multiple bones and joints throughout the entire body, many cases result in pain in the foot or ankle area. Pain will often initially present in the toes before the condition worsens and spreads throughout the entire foot.


  • Swelling and pain in the feet
  • Stiffness in the feet
  • Pain on the ball or sole of the feet
  • Joint shift and deformation


Quick diagnosis of RA in the feet is important so that your podiatrist can treat the area effectively. Your doctor may ask you about your medical history and lifestyle to help determine possible causes of your RA.


Unfortunately, there is no cure for RA, so treatment options are designed to specifically target the symptoms of it, most notably the pain it causes. Two types of anti-inflammatory drugs – non-steroidal or NSAIDs and corticosteroids – may be prescribed by your doctor. In some severe cases where the joints are too badly damaged, surgery may be an option. As always, speak with your podiatrist to help determine the appropriate treatment options available to you.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office, located in Annapolis, MD. We offer the latest in diagnostic and treatment technology to meet your needs.