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Arthritis of the Foot

What is Arthritis of the Foot?

Arthritis is a broad term for several conditions that create pain in healthy joints. Tens of millions of people in the United States suffer from this malady. Pain and discomfort in the feet, mainly due to aging, might be arthritis. If left untreated, this discomfort can worsen over time, ultimately making it challenging to walk. Severe arthritis can severely limit mobility; however, with proper treatment from a doctor or surgeon specializing in foot problems, pain can be reduced, dramatically improving the quality of life.

Causes of Arthritis

Arthritis may occur in a variety of ways.

Heredity has an impact. The possibility of arthritis increases with age, but it also seems to have a hereditary factor. When an injury to the foot is ignored, it can develop into arthritis. Bacterial and viral infections can target the joints, resulting in arthritis. Arthritis may manifest as a result of an immune deficiency of unknown origins.



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The foot is comprised of twenty-eight bones and over thirty joints. The typical joints that arthritis tends to affect are the joint where the ankle and shin connect, the 3 joints that comprise the heel, the inner middle of the foot, and the outer middle of the foot bone, and the joint connecting the big toe to the foot.

Some symptoms of foot arthritis include:

  • Pain or tenderness
  • Impaired capacity to move or walk
  • Joint stiffness
  • Swelling


There are many different types of arthritis. The most common type results from wear and tear to joint cartilage, which is the cushioning between joints that allow them to perform efficiently. Cartilage degeneration can cause swelling, inflammation, and joint pain.

A trauma such as a torn ligament, ankle sprain, or broken bone, can make the damaged joint arthritic. Another type, rheumatoid arthritis, is an inflammatory ailment caused by an inflammation of the joint lining. A foot specialist can determine the type of arthritis and offer treatment options. A combination of a physical examination, X-rays, and laboratory tests will usually diagnose the nature and scope of arthritis. Additional testing, such as a bone scan, CT scan, or MRI, may be employed to assess the condition.


Once arthritis is confirmed, a treatment plan will be decided—conventional treatment of foot arthritis targets both pain and joint issues. Injections that release medication straight to the involved joints are a typical treatment for arthritis. A potent anti-inflammatory medication called cortisone is a regularly used remedy for joint pain. Depending on the joint, alternatives to cortisone may be used, such as an artificial joint lubricant.

When common medications are not sufficient, surgery may be required. If left untreated, the arthritic foot may eventually become deformed.

If foot pain persists, it is wise to consult with a doctor as soon as possible. Early detection of the potential for arthritis can make a difference in recovery. You don’t have to live with pain.