Arthritis Q&A by Dr. Shiel

My mother has rheumatoid arthritis in her feet and ankles. Are there any non-medicinal treatments for RA? She won't take medicine.


If your mother truly has rheumatoid arthritis (RA)--there are many forms of inflammatory arthritis that mimic RA--it is absolutely necessary that she understand more about the disease because treatment is very important. RA is an immunological condition in which the immune system is misguided, resulting in inflammation in the tissue that surrounds the joints. The result of the inflammation goes beyond just the pain, swelling, redness, and warmth that your mother may be having; it leads to permanent destruction of cartilage and bone, as well as deformity that can be crippling. Fortunately, we have extremely effective medicines to stop progression of the disease and prevent destruction of the joints. It is essential that your mother understand this. While home remedies, such as cold packs, rest, and elevation, may make her feel somewhat better, they will not prevent the progressive destruction of her joints.

For more information, see's Rheumatoid Arthritis article.

Thanks for your question.

Last Editorial Review: 2/26/2007

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