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Arthritis is the inflammation of joints and can impact the small joints and surrounding tissue of the foot and ankle, making it challenging to move without pain. The joints of the feet enable a wide range of movement and are often surrounded by cartilage, which helps bones glide smoothly over one another when a person moves. Arthritis cannot be cured, however there are many options available to treat the symptoms and slow its progress to reduce pain. There are many types of arthritis which can impact the foot and ankle. Two common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It is a degenerative condition often experienced by middle-aged people. The cartilage in the joint disintegrates over time, becoming rough and minimising the protective space between the bones. As a result, the bones may rub together which causes the joint to become painful and inflamed.
In the foot, osteoarthritis most frequently impacts the big toe, although it occasionally occurs in the midfoot and ankle.
The below are common causes of osteoarthritis:
The condition develops gradually and results in pain and stiffness to the area that gets worse over time. People with osteoarthritis will usually find it difficult to walk, bear weight or bend the joint without pain. Bone spurs can also develop as a result of osteoarthritis.
Dan Everson Podiatry can diagnose osteoarthritis through history taking, a physical examination of the foot and ankle and a Biomechanical Assessment to study your range of movement, look for swelling in the joint and pain experienced through movement. An X-ray, MRI or CT scan may also be recommended to evaluate the stage of the illness.
Your podiatrist will typically suggest one or more of the following treatment methods:
Dan Everson Podiatry recommends the following activities to prevent osteoarthritis in the foot and ankle.