Arthritic Conditions: Arthritis of the Foot

Updated 12/21/2017
Arthritis of the Toes and Feet - University Foot and Ankle Institute

The term arthritis denotes joint inflammation and soft tissue swelling. Arthritis is a far-reaching description of 100 different diseases and divided into three categories:

 

Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Post-traumatic Arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is known as degenerative arthritis and affects many people when they reach middle age. Symptoms include inflammation, swelling and joint pain. 

RA is when a person’s own immune system attacks and destroys cartilage. Symptoms may abate for a time, but RA eventually causes joints to deform and shift out of place. Post-traumatic arthritis develops after an injury to the foot or ankle. Pain and inflammation may develop many years after the injury.

Because there are so many joints in the feet, there are various types of arthritis of the foot so proper diagnosis is very important.

 

Diagnosing Heel Arthritis

Your doctor will begin your visit by taking a medical history of the painful heel joint. The doctor will inquire if there has ever been an injury to the heel, if the pain is in both feet, and want to examine your footwear.

 

In addition to a gait analysis, x-rays will tell your doctor if there have been changes to the joint. He may also take a CT scan or MRI to define areas of arthritis.

 

Non-surgical Heel Arthritis Treatments

In most cases a period of relief may be available with conservative care. Options include:

  • Orthotics and bracing
  • Anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling
  • Physical therapy
  • Weight reduction
  • Steroid injections into the joint

 

However, the arthritic process will continue to get worse and, in most cases, surgical correction is required.

 

Surgical Heel Arthritis Treatments

Surgical correction of heel arthritis is aimed at relief of pain and continued use of the foot at its optimal level. There are three types of surgical treatment:

 

Arthroscopic debridement

This minimally invasive surgery removes loose, excess cartilage and inflamed tissue from the ankle joint.

 

 Arthroplasty

This procedure replaces the ankle joint with an artificial implant.

 

Arthrodesis

Also know as joint fusion, this procedure fuses the bones of the joint to make one continuous bone.

 

In most cases surgery does relieve pain, but the recovery period lasts as long as nine months.

 

Midfoot Arthritis / Lisfranc Arthritis

Arthritic Foot - University Foot and Ankle Institute

What causes midoot arthritis?

Lisfranc (midfoot) arthritis is due to two differing problems. The first is due to trauma or sprain of the midfoot which results in partial dislocation and arthritis over time. The second cause is degeneration or loss of cartilage due to abnormal wear and tear, looseness or chronic abnormal motion.

 

Non-surgical Lisfranc treatment

Common treatments for midfoot arthritis include physical therapy, orthotics, bracing to limit abnormal motion and steroid injection therapy. In most cases a period of relief may be available with conservative care. However, the arthritic process will continue to get worse and, in most cases, surgical correction is often required.

 

Surgical Lisfranc treatment

Surgical correction of midfoot arthritis is aimed at relief of pain and continued use of the foot at its optimal level. In cases of arthritic spurs, the spurs can be removed with little to no downtime, with rapid recovery.

 

In cases of severe arthritis, a fusion of the arthritic joint(s) is required to relieve pain. A limited amount of motion loss may be noted, but most patients relate a high level of pain relief and improved function after surgical fusions of the midfoot.

 

University Foot and Ankle Institute, The Best Choice for Arthritic Foot and Ankle Care

 

University Foot and Ankle Institute is proud to be one of the leaders in the treatment of ankle arthritis and ankle replacement surgery. We pride ourselves on cutting-edge research and the personal care.

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