If you suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis, you know the symptoms usually associated with it. These can be unbearable pain, stiffness in the joints, fatigue, malaise, and more. However, there’s another aspect of rheumatoid arthritis that you may not be aware of. This aspect usually only presents itself to about twenty five percent of patients and it’s called rheumatoid arthritis nodules.
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where your immune system begins attacking its own tissues. What you’re left with is swollen and inflamed joints, the tissues around those joints could become inflamed and even some of your organs could be affected. With rheumatoid arthritis nodules, the sufferer gets an entire new list of complications that go along with the disease.
Rheumatoid arthritis nodules are non-tender subcutaneous nodules that develop around certain pressure points such as your elbow, the back of your forearm and the metacarpophalangeal joint. The nodules are usually the color of your skin and can either feel firm to the touch or they can feel squishy. Usually nodules only occur in chronic active cases of the disease and are typically reserved for those who suffer from joint deformity and serious extra-articular manifestations, such as the lungs and blood vessels. As far as the sizes of the nodules are concerned, they can vary from the size of a pencil eraser to the size of a mothball.
If you notice that you’re forming rheumatoid arthritis nodules on your body, you may also notice a new set of complications that go along with them. These can include more pain, limited joint mobility, neuropathy, ulceration, fistula formation as well as infection. The moment you see any nodules forming on your body, you should see your doctor immediately. That way he or she can put you on a treatment program so that you can hopefully find the relief you’re seeking.
Your doctor, after examining your rheumatoid arthritis nodules, may schedule a treatment program. In the case of nodules, there are a few treatments available. The nodules can be surgically removed but they tend to come back in as little as a few months. This is especially true if the rheumatoid arthritis nodules were present over an area that has experienced repeated trauma. Your doctor may also try intranodular steroid injections. These will usually reduce the size of the nodule, and thus bring you a little more comfort.
However, some experts advocate against treatment. That’s because some treatments may lead to infection or they may cause the nodule to return. Only your doctor should make this judgment, though, as he or she will know the best course of action depending on your condition.
Suffering from rheumatoid arthritis is bad enough without having to worry about rheumatoid arthritis nodules. So if you have nodules forming or you’ve had them for some time, make an appointment with your doctor and see if any of the treatment programs available can help you find the comfort you so desperately need.