Arthritis is a general term for a group of more than 100 diseases. It can involve inflammation and swelling in and around your joints and the nearby soft tissue.
With many kinds of arthritis, your joints wear down over time. You slowly lose the smooth “cushioning” cartilage inside them. As a result, your bones rub and wear against each other. Soft tissues in your joints also may begin to wear down. After some time, the joint might not work or move the way it should.
Symptoms of foot and ankle arthritis often include:
Tenderness when you touch the joint
Pain when you move it
Trouble moving, walking, or putting weight on it
Joint stiffness, warmth, or swelling
More pain and swelling after you rest, such as sitting or sleeping
Your doctor will ask about your medical history and do tests that might include:
A physical exam
MRI or CT scans
Foot and Ankle Arthritis Treatment
Depending on your symptoms and what’s causing your arthritis, you might have one or more of these treatments:
Steroid medications injected into your joints
Anti-inflammatory drugs to help with swelling
Pads or arch supports in your shoes
Canes or braces for support
Shoe inserts that support your ankle and foot (orthotics)
Surgery for foot and ankle arthritis
Some people need at least one kind of surgery to treat foot and ankle arthritis. Your doctor will suggest the treatment that’s best for you. Surgeries for arthritis include:
Fusion surgery. This is also called arthrodesis. It involves fusing bones together with rods, pins, screws, or plates. After they heal, the bones remain joined.
Joint replacement surgery. This is mostly used in severe cases. Your doctor may call it arthroplasty. They’ll take out damaged bone and cartilage and replace it with metal or plastic.