The foot and ankle consist of a lot of joints and there can be a lot of problems associated with them as well. Arthritis in the foot and ankle area can cause pain and movement problems so visiting a podiatry clinic is important. Here is what to know.

Foot And Ankle Arthritis

Arthritis is essentially the inflammation of the joints in the body. There are many joints in the foot as well as the ankle, so arthritis can cause stiffness and pain in these areas as well.

Arthritis that takes effect in the ankles and feet is known as foot and ankle arthritis. Arthritis, even though it may seem insignificant on the surface level, can cause a lot of problems in your daily life. You can face extreme difficulty in walking, the pain might be unbearable at times, you will not find comfort in anything and that can be a frustrating and uncomfortable situation to be in.

The foot and ankle are the main supporting things when you’re walking. They, in combination, provide stability, shock absorption, and balance whenever you stride forward. Along with the bones, there are also muscles, cartilages, and ligaments in the foot that prevent friction and let the bones glide over each other smoothly, without any grinding or forceful impact on the neighboring bones or muscles. In the foot alone, there are more than 30 joints.

This means that there are 30 ways by which arthritis can compromise your foot and ankle, so that’s quite scary to think about.

Causes Of Foot And Ankle Arthritis

Arthritis can either be caused because of age. It can also be genetic or familial. Another common cause of arthritis is a bad accident or improper healing that can cause problems in the bones of the feet and ankle.

There are a lot of types of arthritis that can occur in the ankle and foot and their causes are different too. They are described as follows:


Osteoarthritis is essentially a degenerative bone disorder. Your bones start to become very weak, fragile, and weary and there’s a lot of internal wear and tear in them. The areas that are affected the most are the heel of the foot, the ankle, and the toes. Moreover, hands are also commonly affected by it. If needed, set an appointment with a hand injury doctor Woodbridge as well.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This is probably the most dangerous type of arthritis that can cause detrimental effects on the bones. It is an autoimmune disease that can cause the immune system to suddenly attack your bones. This can cause severe deterioration in bone health and excruciating pain. Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis can’t walk either, so they need support at all times.

Psoriatic Arthritis

This type of arthritis also occurs in the joints, especially near the toes and the ankle. The main indicator of this psoriatic arthritis is the appearance of swelling in the toes. This condition is known as dactylitis. In many cases, psoriatic arthritis can lead to extreme swelling in the toes, and you can notice your toes being very tender and painful. This can also lead to the inability to walk.

Post-Traumatic Arthritis

As the name suggests, this type of arthritis can occur after a bad accident or trauma to the foot and ankle. If you let it go unnoticed for too long, then it can cause a lot of issues down the line like pain and inability to walk altogether.

Symptoms Of Foot And Ankle Arthritis

Here are some common symptoms that people with foot and ankle arthritis can experience:

  • You won’t be able to rotate your foot without feeling stiffness.
  • There will be a lot of pain when you try to walk.
  • Your toes will feel tender to the touch and when you press on them, the feeling will be uncomfortable, to say the least.
  • You won’t be able to lift any weights.
  • If you’re sitting or standing in one position for too long, then it can also cause pinching pain in the joints and the foot.
  • Along with swelling, there might also be a warm sensation when you touch your foot and it will be tender to the touch too.

Diagnosis Of Foot And Ankle Arthritis

Now that you know the key symptoms of foot and ankle arthritis, you need to know how it is diagnosed. Whenever you feel any of these symptoms surfacing, you need to go to your doctor as soon as possible, so that everything can be handled.

Here is what you can expect when you go to the doctor’s office:

  • First, the doctor might conduct a physical examination of the ankle and foot. The doctor usually checks for any swelling, deformity, and other alarming signs.
  • The doctor might also ask you about the history of the pain, like how long you’ve been feeling this way, whether you did anything that might have aggravated the pain, and other relevant questions.
  • You might also need to get some blood tests done. Rheumatoid arthritis needs to be diagnosed through a blood test, so that’s a good indicator for doctors as well.
  • X-rays, MRI scans, and CT scans are also important tests that need to be done. The doctor can only tell so much from a physical examination. These imaging tests are the real deal and they will help to tell you as well as the doctor what’s going on underneath the skin.
  • After these tests are done, you can discuss treatments and other modes of managing the pain. Usually, rheumatoid arthritis is a different classification and it needs to be dealt with by a specialist in the field, so if you have it, then you will be referred to a rheumatologist for further evaluation of your condition. Arthritis isn’t curable, however, there are certain general treatments and managing methods that one can use to get rid of the pain and discomfort.

Treatment For Foot And Ankle Arthritis

Here are some treatment options for foot and ankle arthritis:

Non-Surgical Treatments For Foot And Ankle Arthritis

  • Pain medicine and injections can be prescribed to you for pain management. This is done when the arthritis can’t be surgically treated, so non-invasive treatment needs to be implemented.
  • Physical therapy and exercises will also do wonders for the feeling of pain and discomfort. Also, lifestyle modifications are necessary to make, if you don’t want to be in the throes of pain at all times.
  • Foot braces can help to distribute the force evenly throughout the foot. It makes walking a breeze for your foot and ankle.

Surgical Treatments For Foot And Ankle Arthritis

  • Arthroscopic surgery can also be done, especially if the arthritis is in the very early stages. The degenerated bones and tissues are removed by debridement and this can make a significant difference in the pain and your overall strut.
  • Ankle replacement surgery can also be done to remove the faulty bone from the body altogether. It is replaced by a metal prosthetic and the difference will be clear as day. However, this is an invasive surgery and proper healing may take some weeks, so try to take it easy.


Foot and ankle arthritis can be hard to deal with, but it’s completely curable as long as you catch the symptoms and get the problem treated. So, see a podiatrist Woodbridge if you feel joint pain in the foot or ankle.