Foot and Ankle Arthritis

If you are struggling with arthritis in your foot and ankle, help is available. This inflammatory condition can impact flexibility, mobility, and comfort, but it doesn’t have to control your life. With the right treatments, Midwest Podiatry can offer you a personalized plan that restores functionality and reduces pain, tenderness, and swelling.

Before we get started, we’ll meet with you to do a formal assessment of your arthritis, looking into your medical history, symptoms, and lifestyle factors that may contribute to your condition.

Then, we’ll recommend a treatment model based on the most effective solutions for your foot and ankle pain. Before we begin, let’s examine the causes of arthritis and how it can affect your daily life.

Woman with arthritis pain in toes and foot

What is Foot and Ankle Arthritis?

Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that causes the joints in one or more parts of the body to swell. Some people may only experience arthritis in one foot and ankle, while others have it in both.

With over 100 types of arthritis, many can impact your foot and ankle. Although there is no definitive cure, many treatments are available. These treatments can help you reduce the severity of symptoms, manage your condition, and lead the best life possible.

How Do You Get Foot and Ankle Arthritis?

Several main causes contribute to foot and ankle arthritis. Three of the most common types of arthritis that affect the foot and ankle are osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis.

Being overweight can lead to osteoarthritis. This condition stems from the bones and joints being worn down over time. A higher body mass index (BMI) creates greater strain on the joints, which can wear down cartilage and lead to painful bone spurs and arthritic symptoms.

Autoimmune disorders can also put people at a higher risk of developing arthritis in their lifetime. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic health condition that often begins in the foot and ankle.

This condition causes the body’s immune system to attack its own tissues, leading to degeneration and damage to the cartilage and connective tissues.

A history of foot and ankle injuries may lead to post-traumatic arthritis. Repeated injury can damage cartilage, leading to less protection on the joints. Over time, this creates painful symptoms and stiffness that may impact your daily life.

Woman with ankle arthritis has less pain after treatment

Treatment Options for Foot and Ankle Arthritis

Your foot has 28 bones, 30 joints, and over 100 muscles. This can greatly influence how the location of arthritis influences your mobility and range of motion.

By thoroughly assessing your foot and how arthritis is affecting it, we can decide on which form of treatment will benefit you the most.

1. Change in Activity and Physical Therapy

Physical therapy, using a cane, or wearing braces can all help relieve pressure on joints and alleviate arthritis symptoms. If you experience or participate in sports, we may suggest you alter your activities to reduce damage to your affected foot and ankle.

If obesity is contributing to your osteoarthritis, then a gentle exercise plan that promotes progressive weight loss can reduce pain and stiffness over time.

2. Cortisone Injections

Our doctors can inject cortisone directly into your affected joint(s) to alleviate pain and swelling. Cortisone is a steroid hormone that stops inflammation. Injections can last between six weeks to six months, depending on the location and severity of your arthritis.

Regular cortisone injections help many people manage their symptoms easily.

3. Joint Supplements

Some joint supplements can help reduce swelling, tenderness, and inflammation around the joints. These supplements also include ingredients that promote bone and joint health, such as glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids.

Our doctors can prescribe the right supplement based on your type of arthritis, symptom severity, and medical history. We don’t advise taking any supplements without first consulting with a physician.

4. Custom Orthotics

Custom orthotics are a great way to ease the pressure put on your arthritic joints, and add support and cushioning to alleviate your foot and ankle pain. Our team can show you exactly how custom orthotics can realign your foot for maximum comfort and ease.

5. Surgery (For Severe Cases Only)

If your arthritis is so severe that it causes disability, our doctors might recommend surgery. While our doctors will recommend first nonsurgical treatment options, some severe arthritis cases may only improve after surgical intervention.

Surgery for foot and ankle arthritis may include arthroscopic debridement or arthrodesis. Arthroscopic debridement removes loose cartilage, bone spurs, and inflamed tissues. It’s most helpful in cases of early-stage arthritis.

Arthrodesis, however, fuses the bone and joint together. This reduces the motion of the affected joint, which eliminates pain and inflammation.

Get Treatment for Your Foot and Ankle Arthritis 

Reach out to us at Midwest Podiatry today to discuss your arthritis treatment options. We are happy to answer any questions you have. You can call us at (612) 788-8778, or fill out our online form to book an appointment with one of our compassionate podiatrists.