Exploring the Red Flags of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Knee pain - runner injury

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that is characterized by joint pain and stiffness, in addition to systemic symptoms. This chronic inflammatory disorder can gradually destroy the tissue of your joints and interfere with your ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. If you notice any of the red flags of rheumatoid arthritis, it’s a good idea to visit an orthopaedic doctor as soon as possible for an evaluation. Your orthopaedic doctor can recommend medications and lifestyle changes to help you manage the disease.

Joint Pain

Many patients with rheumatoid arthritis are first motivated to see an orthopaedic doctor because of joint pain. This type of arthritis is characterized by morning joint stiffness and persistent joint pain that gradually becomes worse. More than one joint is likely to be affected. Those joints are likely to appear red or swollen, and they may feel hot or tender to the touch.

Nodule Development

Often, people with rheumatoid arthritis develop nodules . These are firm bumps under the skin that typically develop near the affected joints. The bumps may be moveable or they may be fixed; they can range in size from the appearance of a pea to that of a walnut. These nodules are sometimes painful and in rare cases they may interfere with organ function.

Mobility Impairment

Another common red flag for rheumatoid arthritis is a decline in mobility. You may find that the range of motion in your affected joints has significantly decreased. If the nerves become damaged, you may suddenly be unable to lift your foot or hand. If this occurs, you’ll need to seek emergency orthopaedic care.

Systemic Problems

Systemic health problems are often noted with rheumatoid arthritis, such as a fever, fatigue, and weight loss. If the disease affects the heart muscle and coronary arteries, shortness of breath and chest pain can occur, and patients are at a higher risk of heart failure and heart attack.

If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms, you can schedule an evaluation at MK Orthopaedics. Our highly trained team of orthopaedic doctors and surgeons can perform comprehensive diagnostic tests and recommend treatment options to help you live well with this orthopaedic condition. You can connect with our practice by calling (815) 741-6900 or exploring our orthopaedic services on our website.

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