i recently thought that i had an infection in my toe after i trimmed an ingrown toenail. My toe swelled up a lot and got red and hot and painful. I was prescribed an antibiotic called cephalexin (sorry if spelling is wrong), which didnt really work and my toe eventually got worse. I was then prescribed clindamycin and a corticosteriod to help with inflammation, which i finished both of and my toe looks better but still not normal. I was also told to have bloodwork done which i did and it showed that i had a positive rheumatoid factor of 1 to 20 i believe is what he said, and also had signs of inflammation. Im concerned because im only 22 years old and dont have any serious health problems but am now worrying about the possibility of rheumatoid arthritis or some other autoimmune disease. Should i be concerned? Could the positive result just be from the infection in my toe and then not be positive once its healed?
I don't understand the lab result, but it is important to get the infection treated effectively. A podiatrist can also do a surgical procedure to control the problem. The procedure I would suggest is one that reduces the skin rather than the old procedure that reduces the size of the nail. The new procedure sounds much more effective with a quicker recovery. But always remember than a foot that is inflamed by infection or surgery or anything else needs to be elevated to heal.
Thank you for commenting. This was the podiatrist who put me on the meds and sent me for blood work. He also removed a tiny bit of my nail. Im just more concerned about the weird positive RF thing. He didnt seem incredibly concerned on the phone but im considering seeing the rheumatologist like he said to if this infection doesnt clear up. This infection started at the end of December and is still not completely healed. This is my last day of antibiotics and im hoping that after it heals on its own. I hope it just doesnt come back. All of this hoopla for a stupid toe!
The positive RF factor can be an indication that your body is having an auto-immune response. However, it can be caused by other things. Additionally, a person can have all the symptoms of arthritis, and have a negative RF factor. So, if your symptoms continue, then I would follow up with a rheumatologist. Usually, in order for a diagnosis of any auto-immune disorder, it takes a combination of blood work and symptoms, and even then, it is sometimes hard to find a diagnosis. If your symptoms are better, then perhaps you can just wait and see what happens. However, if you are like me, I wouldn't be able to "let go" of the blood test. Just being honest. I wouldn't be concerned, necessarily, I would just be curious. If you have insurance, you can find a doctor in your area that treats arthritis. Or, you could see an immunologist.
While you are young, arthritis (and other auto-immune disorders) are no respecter of age. My daughter is 15 and has JRA. It would be worth looking into, especially if your symptoms don't go away! Good luck--
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