Medications, urgent care and the rheumatoid foot

print_iconLeaflet number: 659
Review due date: May 2018



Medications used to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) such as steroids, Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) and biologics, aim to decrease disease activity and prevent joint damage by reducing inflammation.

Steroids can have an effect on the skin and underlying tissues, making them more vulnerable to damage, infection and delayed healing.

It is important that you are able to tell healthcare professionals what medications you are taking in order that they can manage any potential problems appropriately.

Please notify your Podiatrist of any changes in your medication.

Daily care

Your feet should be checked daily − This will allow you to notice any changes, damage or infections. If you discover any breaks in the skin, minor cuts or blisters, cover these with a sterile dressing. Do NOT burst blisters, keep skin intact and seek a professional opinion.

Urgent care

If you develop any of the following signs or symptoms relating to possible infection contact any of the following: your local podiatry department, your local health centre, rheumatologist/rheumatology nurse or Minor Injuries Unit (MIU), as a matter of urgency:

  • A new open wound/breaks in the skin
  • Sudden swelling with increased pain/tenderness
  • Redness – this may appear light pink and the area will be hot to touch
  • Excessive heat
  • Discharge or fluid leaking through a dressing
  • Malodour (smell) from a wound
  • Sudden change in joint shape
  • Development of nodules
  • General malaise, fever, flu like symptoms
  • Changes may be subtle

Emergency contact numbers and email

Podiatry Department
Tel: 01392 356 126

Rheumatology Podiatrist

Tel: 01392 405 157


Rheumatology Specialist Nurse

Tel: 01392 403 502


If you do not receive a swift reply, contact one of the alternative numbers provided or your GP surgery for advice. Remember to show your Emergency Access Card.

Further information

Podiatry Admin Office

Tel: 01392 356 126

Address: Podiatry department, Newcourt House, Newcourt Drive, Old Rydon Lane, Exeter, EX2 7JQ

Useful Links

Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists –

National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (UK) –

Arthritis Research UK –

National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), Rheumatoid Arthritis


  1. Arthritis Research UK, Patient Advice-Rheumatoid Arthritis, Reactive Arthritis and Palindromic-Rheumatism
    Available From:
  2. National Institute for Clinical Excellence Guidelines for Rheumatoid Arthritis, CG79 and Quality Standard 33,
    Available From:
  3. Guidelines for the management of foot health for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis, developed by Northwest Podiatry Services Clinical Effectiveness Group – Rheumatology, University of Salford
    Available From:


Posted in Patient Information Leaflets, Podiatry and tagged .

Last updated: October 10, 2019