Surgical management of rheumatoid arthritis

What is it?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a generalised medical condition that occurs when your immune system attacks your joint lining tissue. You may need surgery if you have the following symptoms:

  • Pain or stiffness in the toe joints and ligaments throughout the foot
  • Persistent aching and soreness in the feet, especially when standing for long periods
  • Swelling
  • Deformity

These symptoms can impact your ability to undertake your usual daily activities. Treatment aims to reduce painful symptoms by supporting the joints of the feet and improving foot function. In severe cases when other medical treatments have not reduced symptoms, surgery may be needed. 

Diagnosis and treatment options

Your consultant will examine you and ask you to demonstrate certain movements to check how well your foot is working. You might need some additional tests, which will be fully discussed with you during your appointment. This could be:

  • X-ray
  • Ultrasound
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan

Fusion is a surgical procedure which permanently joins the two bones either side of the joint together with screws. It takes approximately three months for the two bones to join together.

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