Treatment by the Foot & Ankle Surgeon
While treatment of RA focuses on the medication prescribed by a patient's primary doctor or rheumatologist, the foot and ankle surgeon will develop a treatment plan aimed at relieving the pain of RA-related foot problems. The plan may include one or more of the following options:
When Is Surgery Needed?
- Orthotic devices - The surgeon often fits the patient with custom orthotic devices to provide cushioning for rheumatoid nodules, minimize pain when walking and give needed support to improve the foot’s mechanics.
- Accommodative shoes - These are used to relieve pressure and pain and to assist with walking.
- Aspiration of fluid - When inflammation flares up in a joint, the surgeon may aspirate (draw out) fluid to reduce the swelling and pain.
- Steroid injections - Injections of anti-inflammatory medication may be applied directly to an inflamed joint or to a rheumatoid nodule.
When RA produces pain and deformity in the foot that is not relieved through other treatments, surgery may be required. The foot and ankle surgeon will select the procedure best suited to the patient's condition and lifestyle.