Foot Arthritis

Condition

Condition

What Is Foot Arthritis

Foot arthritis is the inflammation and degeneration of the joints in the foot, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. This condition can affect any of the foot’s joints, but it most commonly impacts the big toe and midfoot.

Arthritis in the foot can be caused by wear and tear (osteoarthritis), autoimmune conditions (rheumatoid arthritis), or injury (post-traumatic arthritis). Over time, the cartilage within the joints deteriorates, causing bones to rub against each other, which results in pain and swelling. 

Foot Arthritis

Causes Of Foot Arthritis

Foot arthritis can develop due to various factors contributing to the deterioration of joint health.

Osteoarthritis

The most common form, caused by wear and tear on the joints over time, leading to cartilage breakdown.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

An autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system attacks the joint lining, causing inflammation and joint damage.

Post-Traumatic Arthritis

Arthritis that develops after an injury to the foot or ankle, such as fractures or sprains, which can damage the cartilage and joint structure.

Gout

A form of arthritis caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints, leading to sudden and severe pain and swelling.

Genetics

A family history of arthritis can increase the likelihood of developing the condition.

Obesity

Excess body weight puts additional stress on the foot joints, accelerating wear and tear and increasing the risk of arthritis.

Foot Arthritis

Symptoms Of Foot Arthritis

Foot arthritis can manifest through various symptoms that impact daily activities and overall foot health. Common symptoms include:

Foot Arthritis

Diagnosing Foot Arthritis

Diagnosing foot arthritis involves a comprehensive approach to understand the extent and nature of the condition.

Physical Examination

A thorough examination by a physician to assess swelling, tenderness, and range of motion in the foot joints.

Gait Analysis

An evaluation of how you walk, which can reveal abnormalities or patterns caused by arthritis affecting your movement.

Imaging Tests

Techniques such as X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans are used to visualise joint damage, bone changes, and cartilage loss, providing detailed insights into the condition.

Blood Test

Laboratory tests are conducted to detect markers of inflammation or autoimmune conditions, which may be contributing factors to the development of arthritis.

Foot Arthritis

Foot Arthritis Treatment

The goals of treatment for foot arthritis are to reduce pain to increase mobility and to prevent further joint damage. The type of care needed can vary between non-surgical and surgical approaches, depending on how serious your symptoms are.

Non-surgical

Non-surgical treatments for foot arthritis focus on managing symptoms and improving joint function without the need for invasive procedures. These treatments include:

Medications:

Anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain associated with arthritis.

Physical Therapy:

Exercises and therapies designed to improve joint mobility, strengthen the muscles around the joints, and reduce pain.

Orthotic Devices:

Custom-made shoe inserts or braces can provide support and reduce stress on the affected joints, helping to improve function and reduce pain.

Lifestyle Modifications:

Weight management and low-impact exercises can help reduce the strain on the joints and improve overall joint health.

Assistive Devices:

Tools like canes or walkers can help reduce the load on the affected foot, making it easier to move around and perform daily activities with less pain.

Surgical

Arthroscopy:

This minimally invasive procedure involves inserting a small camera and instruments into the joint to remove debris and damaged tissue, helping to improve joint movement and reduce pain.

Joint Fusion:

In this procedure, the surgeon fuses the bones in the affected joint together using screws, plates, or rods. By eliminating painful movement, joint fusion can significantly reduce discomfort and improve stability.

Joint Replacement:

This involves removing the damaged joint surfaces and replacing them with artificial implants made of metal, plastic, or ceramic. Joint replacement surgery aims to restore function, alleviate pain, and improve quality of life for individuals with severe arthritis.

Osteotomy:

During this procedure, the surgeon strategically cuts and repositions the bones around the affected joint to correct deformities and improve alignment. Osteotomy can help redistribute weight-bearing forces and reduce stress on damaged joint surfaces.

Excision:

In excision surgery, the surgeon removes damaged joint surfaces, bone spurs, or other abnormalities contributing to pain and inflammation. By addressing these issues, excision procedures aim to improve joint function and relieve discomfort.

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