If you’ve been experiencing toe pain, you might be wondering whether you’re seeing the signs of arthritis or of something else. Early signs of rheumatoid arthritis often show up in the toes, which contain many small bones and joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious condition, and early detection helps you and your medical team treat it more effectively. This article will cover a few of the most common signs of arthritis in the toes, though when arthritis appears in other body parts, the symptoms are often similar.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Before examining the symptoms to watch for, let’s discuss the nature of rheumatoid arthritis. This is an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation in your body. Your immune system attacks your own cells, thinking that they’re harmful or invasive.
Due to this attack, your joints’ protective coverings become inflamed and irritated. You may be in constant pain, and affected joints may become visibly distorted. You might also struggle with mobility or with keeping your balance as the condition progresses. Over time, the condition wears away at the integrity of your bones.
Unfortunately, rheumatoid arthritis doesn’t only affect your joints and bones. It can impact a host of other body systems, including your circulatory system, your respiratory system, your endocrine system, and much more. Early signs of arthritis may be irritating, but the condition can become debilitating as time goes on. If you experience any of the symptoms below, get in touch with Best Foot Doctor NY so that we can assess your condition.
You have many joints that connect your toes to the larger bones in your feet. Signs of arthritis include pain in these joints. It may improve when you start moving around in the morning. Often, the pain becomes worse after you have been sitting or lying down for a while.
Since the joints in your toes are smaller, they’re more likely to be affected first, before larger joints. This means that early signs of rheumatoid arthritis in the toes may soon spread to other areas of the body.
If you only experience pain in one specific joint, it could have another cause. You may be straining that joint as you perform a repetitive motion. You may also have uncomfortable shoes that are compressing the joint. However, rheumatoid arthritis usually affects multiple joints at once, even in the early stages.
Rheumatoid arthritis often causes joints to become visibly swollen. However, early signs of arthritis often don’t include noticeable swelling. Instead, your joints may simply be tender to the touch. Tenderness that lasts over six weeks may point to arthritis as a cause.
Your tenderness might be accompanied by warmth around the affected joint. Your pain and tenderness might be relieved when you apply something cold, like ice packs or cool water. Heat may also help your joints feel better. Tenderness and pain typically affect the body in a symmetrical pattern. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, it’s likely that the toes that are tender on your right side will be tender on your left as well.
Weakness and Fatigue
When you’re suffering from an autoimmune condition, your body is under attack from within. Your energy resources become more limited. Early signs of arthritis often include feeling very tired. Of course, when it hurts to move your feet and toes, daily activities can also become more exhausting.
Tiredness often comes and goes with other symptoms, in a cycle known as “flaring.” When you’re experiencing a flare, you’re likely to have painful, tender joints as well as fatigue. When the pain clears up, your fatigue will probably improve too.
However, doctors often recommend that people with rheumatoid arthritis keep trying to move as much as possible. It’s been proven that exercise will not make the condition worse, although you may be more comfortable doing low-impact activities. It’s usually best to stop and rest throughout the day as needed, but try to get some exercise each day as well. Your doctor can offer specific advice about the best practice in your case.
One of the most confusing early signs of rheumatoid arthritis is a low-grade fever. Most acute bacterial or viral conditions that cause fever come with other symptoms. These often involve gastrointestinal upset or respiratory problems. You may be tested for Covid-19 or other conditions that typically cause a fever, but get negative results. If so, it could be an early sign of arthritis.
Fever is often a response to inflammation, so it makes sense that your body would respond this way to arthritis. If you’re experiencing a fever above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, get in touch with your doctor right away to ask for advice.
Risk Factors For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis strikes most often in middle age, and it affects more women than men. If you are overweight or have had children, you may also be at an increased risk for the condition. A history of smoking, family members who have the disease, or previous injuries to your joints can also raise your chances of getting rheumatoid arthritis.
However, even if you have no risk factors, early signs of arthritis should be taken seriously. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect young people as well as older people. Don’t ignore symptoms, even if it seems unlikely that you could be affected by this condition.
What If I Have Rheumatoid Arthritis?
When you find out about your arthritis early, aggressive treatment can start sooner. This can help improve your quality of life and control the spread of inflammation to your vital organs and throughout your body.
If you’re experiencing early signs of arthritis in your toes, contact Best Foot Doctor NY at (718) 291-9020. Dr. Emmanuel Fuzaylov and the team of podiatric specialists at our facility can help to diagnose and treat your pain properly. With proper medical treatment, physical therapy, and support, your life with rheumatoid arthritis can improve dramatically. If you suffer from hammertoes, a surgery called arthroplasty is one of your best treatment options and can dramatically improve your quality of life. Don’t wait until things get worse–give us a call today!