Getting treatment early


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — While the pandemic has created some fear over going to see your doctor, a local woman wants to remind people that you shouldn’t wait to get care.

About 8 months ago Emily Simons started noticing pain in one of her toes, followed by some swelling.

What she thought was an injury from working out, ended up preventing her from doing just that.

“I thought maybe that I just hurt myself at the gym. And over time, a very short period of time that swelling and pain became very intense. And I went from living a very active life to not being able to really walk,” Simons said.

With rare presentation of a rare disease, Sanford Health rheumatologist Dr. Vivek Joseph says a diagnosis wasn’t easy to come by.

“We were able to diagnose the patient with what we call peripheral spondyloarthritis. So peripheral spondyloarthritis is an inflammatory condition that affects 1% of the population,” Joseph said.

Simons began receiving treatment in May, and already is feeling the difference. Now she’s sharing her story in hopes of reminding others that if you’re in pain, don’t wait to get care due to fear of the pandemic.

“I wouldn’t wait. I am very happy that I looked past COVID and went in,” Simons said.

Not only does she have some relief, but Dr. Joseph says other issues that can develop from delaying care is now prevented.

“Since that is an active inflammatory state, it increases the risk of heart disease and strokes down the line. So treating the inflammatory arthritis, makes people more comfortable, reduces their risk of joint damage, but also live longer and there is less risk of heart disease and strokes down the line,” Joseph said.

Which is why he hopes anyone experiencing joint pain won’t let COVID-19 stop them from reaching out to their doctor for care.

“Obviously with precautions, wearing a mask, all the doctors and nurses here wear masks and face shields. The patients will be wearing masks too. Because there is plenty of data that shows that the earlier we treat these patients, not only do they get better initially but they also, it also prevents development of other manifestations down the lines,”Joseph said.

If you’re experiencing any joint pain or stiffness, call your doctor.

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