What are the types of arthritis that affect the foot and ankle?

Osteoarthritis – a degenerative or "wear and tear" arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis - an autoimmune disease where the patient's own immune system affects the tissues, organs, and synovial joints.
Post-traumatic arthritis - develops after an injury to the foot or ankle.
The joints that are most often affected by arthritis in the lower extremities include:
  • The ankle (tibiotalar joint).
  • The three joints of the rearfoot (subtalar or talocalcaneal joint, talonavicular joint, calcaneocuboid joint)
  • The midfoot (metatarsocuneiform joint).
  • The great toe (first metatarsophalangeal joint).
Common symptoms include pain, stiffness, limited range-of-motion, swelling, or difficulty walking.


How is arthritis in the foot diagnosed?

At Chiltern Wellbeing our Podiatrists will formulate a diagnosis using your medical history, symptoms, a physical examination, and additional tests if necessary. Additional tests can include a gait analysis to show how the bones in the leg and foot line up with walking and tests of  the strength of the ankles and feet.


How is arthritis in the foot treated?


Treatment can depend on several factors including the type, location, and severity of the arthritis. Treatment can include any of the following:

  • Oral and topical anti-inflammatory/ pain relieving medications
  • Steroid injections
  • Custom made orthotics, onward referral for custom-made shoes, strappings, and padding
  • A brace or a cane
  • Physiotherapy modalities and exercises
  • Onward referral for Weight control or nutritional supplementation
  • Onward referral for Surgical treatment

If the arthritis doesn't respond to any of the conservative treatments, surgery may be necessary. The choice of surgery is something that will need to be discussed between you and your Doctor or Consultant.

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