DISCUSS THE AETIOLOGY AND PATHOLOGY OF RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS WITH RESPECT TO ITS PRESENTATION IN THE FOOT

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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints. RA is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints, frequently symmetrical (if one foot has it, the other one will)…

Introduction

The disease, which lasts over a long period of time, can cause damage to cartilage, bone, tendons and ligaments (DynoMed.com, 2000).
Foot deformities are very common in RA. These deformities may affect patient functional foot, especially hallux rigidus and calcaneal valgus (Bal, et al. 2006). Human foot is more susceptible to arthritis because the human foot contains 33 joints. About 90 percent of RA patients will complain of problems with the midfoot and forefoot while 67 percent will have problems with the hindfoot and ankle. The ankle is usually the last joint to be involved with RA (DynoMed.com, 2000).
RA causes inflammation in the lining (synovium) of joints, most often the joints of the feet. The most common symptoms of RA in the foot are pain, swelling, and stiffness. Symptoms usually appear in several joints on both feet. The signs of inflammation can also include a feeling of warmth around affected joints. In some patients, chronic inflammation results in damage to the cartilage and bones in the joint. Serious damage can lead to permanent joint destruction, deformity, and disability (FootPhysicans.com, 2007). With the progress in the disease the feeling of pain in the joint or in the sole or ball of the foot will increase. The joint may be warm and the way the patient walk may be affected. ...
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