My very first signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis were swollen, painful feet. On hindsight, it made sense to me. Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center says frequently RA starts in the small joints. The hands, the feet, the wrists are likely candidates as starting points. The foot has 26 bones. Many of those bones are small bones with small joints. Imagine all those little guys in your feet each with joint lining inflamed and swollen. Ouch!
Image by NEFCA
My feet frequently feel like two giant Rice Crispies Cereal. Several toes on each foot are in pain. My left ankle can be a painful problem. My feet lend a certain feeling of instability to my stance. My feet hurt more when I go to bed.
I am very careful with my feet. My shoes have good support. I can wear sandals. I do not go barefoot and I always loved being barefoot. In the house I keep something on my feet too. I do my own pedicure. I examine my feet as I soak them, trim nails and do all the same things performed at the salon.
I had issues with my feet for about two years. My Primary told me the pulses in my feet were fine. That was the end of story. I figured some sort of neuropathy. My diagnosis came after a full blown flare affecting many joints: hands, wrists, left shoulder and feet. I ended up in the ER on IV steroids. My official diagnosis came soon after. So I do believe that the RA had been simmering, undiagnosed for two years. When I had my big polyarthritis flare, the medical community took action. My diagnosis did not come through my Primary. It started in the ER and was investigated by a Rheumatologist.
As I read the stories of others with RA, I do see problems with feet being a starting point for RA with many. Watch your feet!