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 hindfoot (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 Gotham Footcare, our physicians will base 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, measures stride, and tests 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 molded orthotics, custom-made shoes, strappings, and padding
- An ankle-foot orthosis (AFO)
- A brace or a cane
- Physical therapy modalities and exercises
- Weight control or nutritional supplementation
- 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 needs will be discussed between you and your doctor. It will depend on the type of arthritis, the impact of the disease on the joints, and the location of the arthritis. Surgery for arthritis of the foot or ankle is performed using arthroscopic debridement, arthrodesis (or fusion of the joints), and arthroplasty (replacement of the affected joint).