Arthritis can cause pain in your feet as well as your knees, fingers and wrists. Arthritis is inflammation of a joint and is very common in the small joints of the ankle and foot, especially in the big toe and midfoot.

Several types of arthritis can affect the foot and ankle:

  • Osteoarthritis or “wear and tear” arthritis can occur with younger individuals but most often affects those during and after middle age. When the cartilage that protects the joint bones wears away, the bones rub against each other causing pain and stiffness. Other risk factors are family history and obesity.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the tissue covering the joint causing damage to the cartilage and bone. Joint deformity and disability are often the results.
  • Gout is a type of arthritis caused by a build-up of uric acid crystals in the big toe and other joints. Some risk factors include heavy alcohol intake, obesity and high blood pressure.
  • Arthritis can result from trauma to the foot or ankle such as fractures and dislocations.

Symptoms

  • Pain with motion
  • Tenderness
  • Joint swelling
  • Joint warmth
  • Difficulty walking

Treatment

There is no cure for arthritis, but once we have confirmed our diagnosis we can help you manage your arthritis to relieve your discomfort.

  • Custom-fitted orthotics can ease pain and minimize pressure on the foot.
  • Reduce excess weight to relieve joint stress.
  • Switch to low-impact exercise like swimming or biking.
  • Physical therapy can increase range of motion, flexibility and muscle strength.
  • Take anti-inflammatory medication to relieve inflammation.

If these conservative measures do not help, we will discuss surgery on the joint with you.  

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