Arthritis of the Foot and Ankle

Arthritis is inflammation of one or more of your joints. It can cause pain and stiffness in any joint in the body, and is common in the small joints of the foot and ankle. There are more than 100 forms of arthritis, many of which affect the foot and ankle. All types can make it difficult to walk and perform activities you enjoy.

Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are many treatment options available to slow the progress of the disease and relieve symptoms. With proper treatment, many people with arthritis are able to manage their pain, remain active, and lead fulfilling lives.

Symptoms

The symptoms of arthritis vary depending on which joint is affected. In many cases, an arthritic joint will be painful and inflamed. Generally, the pain develops gradually over time, although sudden onset is also possible. There can be other symptoms, as well, including:

  • Pain with motion
  • Pain that flares up with vigorous activity
  • Tenderness when pressure is applied to the joint
  • Joint swelling, warmth, and redness
  • Increased pain and swelling in the morning, or after sitting or resting
  • Difficulty in walking due to any of the above symptoms

Treatment

Nonsurgical Treatment

Initial treatment of arthritis of the foot and ankle is usually nonsurgical. Your doctor may recommend a range of treatment options.

  • Physical therapy
  • Assistive devices (such as wearing a brace or using a cane)
  • Medications including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications

Surgical Treatment

Your doctor may recommend surgery if your pain causes disability and is not relieved with nonsurgical treatment. The type of surgery will depend on the type and location of the arthritis and the impact of the disease on your joints. In some cases, your doctor may recommend more than one type of surgery.

  • Arthroscopic debridement
  • Arthrodesis (fusion)
  • Total ankle replacement (arthroplasty)

In most cases, surgery relieves the pain of arthritis and makes it easier to perform daily activities. Full recovery can take from 4 to 9 months, depending on the severity of your condition before surgery and the complexity of your procedure.

If you you are experiencing arthritis of your foot or ankle, contact TOCA to schedule an appointment with one of our expert orthopedic physicians.