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Arthritis of the Foot & Ankle

Diagnosing Arthritis of the Foot

There are several types of arthritis which can affect the foot and ankle. Osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis occurs from “wear and tear”. Cartilage wears away and bone spurs can form. Pain can increase with time and be progressive. Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic autoimmune disease that affects multiple joints in the body. This is caused by your bodies and cells attacking the joints. Posttraumatic arthritis occurs after fractures or dislocations that cause damage to the joint surfaces. Symptoms of arthritis can include pain, especially with motion, stiffness, warmth and swelling of the joints. You may develop weather aches. X-rays will be ordered and CT scans or MRIs may be needed to confirm the extent of the arthritis.

Hallux rigidus, or “stiff big toe,” is the name given to arthritis at the base of the big toe. This condition can be especially painful because it causes pain each time you take a step and need to bend your big toe. If you find it difficult to bend your toes, feet, or ankles, book an appointment immediately as it is easier to treat arthritis when it is discovered early. If left untreated, bone spurs may develop and will complicate treatment.

Treating Hallux Rigidus, Midfoot and Hindfoot Arthritis, and Ankle Arthritis

Conservative treatment for arthritis and hallux rigidus begins with pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication, ice packs, alternating between hot and cold water soaks, braces, orthotics, specialized footwear, or steroid injections. Modifying her activities may help. When conservative methods are no longer effective, joint replacement surgeries, bone fusion surgeries, or bone spur removal operations are treatment options.