Foot and Ankle Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the major causes for disabilities all over the world. Arthritis is an inflammatory disease of the joints. It is not necessary to lead an inactive and painful life after being affected from arthritis.

Foot and ankle joints are rarely affected by arthritis as compared to other joints. In ankle arthritis, the tibiotalar joint of the ankle is worn out.

Here is the list of the foot joints which are usually affected by arthritis are as follows

  • Tibiotalar joint
  • 3 hindfoot joints: subtalar or talocalcaneal joint, talonavicular joint and calcaneocuboid joint.
  • Metatarsocunieform or midfoot joint
  • First metatarsophalangeal or great toe joint

Causes of Foot and Ankle Arthritis:

There could be various reasons that can lead to foot and ankle arthritis. Below are few important reasons which causes foot and ankle arthritis.

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis:

    Patients with rheumatoid are more susceptible to foot and ankle arthritis. Rheumatoid disease damages the cartilage and causes joint inflammation.

  • Infection:

    Joint infection can damage cartilage cells. Since the cartilage cells don’t have regenerative property so the damage caused by the infection is permanent.

  • Body Weight:

    Overweight people put a large weight on their ankles, feet and hips. Overweight people are more prone to develop arthritis and the damage of the joint cartilage is accelerated.

  • Genetics:

    Although the connection between arthritis and genetics is still unknown. But it is observed that few people have inherited tendency of faster joints wear out than others.

  • Previous Injury of the Ankle or Foot:

    Any previous damage to the foot or ankle joint is the most common reason to develop ankle arthritis. Injury like ankle fracture can cause damage to the cartilage or can accelerate the cartilage damage.

Various Symptoms of Ankle Arthritis:

Like any other arthritis, the common symptom of ankle arthritis is the painful joint. Many a time’s patients seek treatment because of this painful condition. Other symptoms related to ankle arthritis are as follows:

  • Inflammation of the ankle joint
  • Inflexibility of the ankle joint
  • Lumpy looking joint because of bone spurs
  • Joint deformity
  • Joint instability

Rarely ankle arthritis can cause irritation of the joint nerves which may result into numbness and tingling in the toes and feet. Ankle arthritis is easily diagnosed with an X-ray and physical examination.

Treatment for Ankle Arthritis:

Treatment involved for curing ankle arthritis can be divided into two groups: non-surgical treatment and surgical treatment. Generally after diagnosis of the ankle arthritis treatment starts with simple steps included in the non-surgical category. Even after following the simple steps, if the patient is not relieved from the pain then the doctor may proceed for a surgical treatment.

Non-surgical treatment:

  • Change of the Footwear: This is the simplest step to alleviate the symptoms of ankle arthritis. Modifications of the footwear like insertion of the cushion or addition of rocker bottom to the sole can be helpful.
  • Modification of the activity: It is an essential part of the treatment. Patients are asked to reduce their activities which have an impact on the ankle joint like jumping and running.
  • Braces: To hold the ankle joint in correct position a brace is fabricated. Braces are known as AFOs or ankle-foot-orthoses, which help in supporting the joint and prevent extreme motion.
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines: Patients with reasonable ankle arthritis symptoms they can use anti-inflammatory medicines prescribed by the doctor.

Arthritis Foot Wear

An arthritic foot wear can provide the following benefits:

  • Deep and wide space in the toe area that allows to wriggle your toes
  • Removable insoles that can be replaced when needed, with option to insert orthotics
  • Rocker soles to ease walking and reduce stress from the ball of the foot

Surgical treatment:

If the symptoms are not alleviated then surgery has to be performed. The surgical options include

  • Ankle arthroscopy
  • Ankle fusion surgery
  • Ankle replacement surgery

If you find any of the above symptoms then it is better to consult an orthopaedician. Remember that home remedies only can relieve you temporarily from the pain but they cannot treat arthritis completely.