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Rheumatoid Arthritis Toll from Toe to Ankle

The 27th Annual Indianapolis Jingle Bell Run/Walk is coming up on December 12th. It’s only a good hour away from Bloomington, and you still have time to plan your holiday costume, get jingle bells for your shoes, and help Rheuby the Reindeer have some holiday fun.* You’ll be supporting a good cause, too: raising funds to cure rheumatoid arthritis (RA).How arthritis affects your feet

The disease is insidious, making your body think the linings in your joints are an enemy that needs to be destroyed. Most people who get it will have problems in their lower limbs at some point. We’ll take you on a point-to-point tour to explain.

Toes. RA causes 3 main problems in this area. 1) The joint lining where the big toe joins your foot becomes inflamed and the joint deteriorates, leading to a painful bunion. 2) Your smaller toes can become dislocated and curl up into hammertoes that press against the tops of your shoes and develop sores. 3) The degraded joints allow the metatarsals to push down against your shoes, causing bumps, calluses or ulcers, and metatarsalgia (forefoot pain).

Mid-Foot. With this form of arthritis, the tendons and ligaments that hold your arch in place can become weak and the arch collapses. The inner edge of the foot lowers, the toes point out more, and eventually the joints where the long bones and midfoot bones meet move out of position, causing a visible bump along the arch.

Heel Area. As the foot structure continues to collapse, the heel leans over and it becomes difficult and painful to walk on uneven, stony, or unstable surfaces (like grass). The tendons and ligaments are painful when overstretched, too.

Ankle. When RA reaches this area, pain from your weight on the joints make it difficult to walk on stairs or ramps, or eventually even to walk or stand at all.

There are many things we can do to help alleviate the swelling, stiffness, and pain of arthritis in feet. Please call Kevin Powers, DPM at 812-333-4422 when you first notice the symptoms and schedule an appointment at our Bloomington, IN office. We also welcome patients from surrounding cities like Kirby, Woodbridge, Harrodsburg, and Bedford, IN. You can set up an appointment using the form on our website.

*For more information, go to, print a picture of Rheuby, and take selfies with her at fun places you go.

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