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Foot and ankle arthritis


Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis, typically developing gradually with aging. Cartilage in the joint begins to break down, resulting in dull, throbbing pain which may also be accompanied by joint weakness. Eventually, osteoarthritis in the ankles or feet may result in changes to the way you walk.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Women are four times more likely than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis. This condition most often affects smaller joints in the hand and feet, and over time the joint may become deformed with loss of range of motion. Initially, however, the affected joint may be stiff, particularly in the morning. Rheumatoid arthritis can be crippling and often develops much more suddenly than other forms of arthritis.

Gouty arthritis

When the salts from uric acid collect in the joints, gouty arthritis may develop. it is typically quite painful and far more likely to affect men. The most common area affected is the large toe, and typically only in one foot.

Psoriatic arthritis

Psoriasis is a condition most commonly associated with the skin, but it also often affects the joints. One in 20 patients with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis. Often it is mild and frequently affects the ends of the fingers and the toes.

Traumatic arthritis

Traumatic arthritis occurs due to an injury to the affected joint, often involving abnormal movement of the ligaments around the joint. The most common injuries implicated in traumatic arthritis include sprains and fractures resulting in damage to joint cartilage.

Symptoms of foot and ankle arthritis

Although there may be other causes for your foot or ankle pain and stiffness, the most common symptoms include:

  • Joint swelling
  • Red or hot joints
  • Limited, or reduced, range of motion of a joint
  • Stiffness, particularly in the morning
  • Recurrent joint pain
  • Skin changes, including rashes or skin growths
  • Difficulty walking due to any of these symptoms

Early intervention helps preserve function

Be sure to see your podiatrist as soon as symptoms appear. However, if you have suffered from pain and stiffness for some time, you may still benefit from podiatric intervention. In the early stages of arthritis, different shoes, orthotics, and medications may help. In more advanced stages, surgery may eventually be required in order to avoid becoming disabled by arthritis and to preserve the function of the feet and ankles.

Is surgery a viable option for ankle and foot arthritis?

For patients not helped by other therapies, surgery might be the only option left to address joint pain. In significantly advanced arthritis, fusing or replacing the joint may be suggested. Although artificial ankle and toe joints have come a long way, they aren’t for everyone. Your podiatrist will discuss the pros and cons with you based on your particular needs. For patients that are good candidates for arthritis-related surgery, they may be able to look forward to a significant reduction in pain, improved range of motion, and the ability to return to many everyday activities that were limited by arthritis.

Instead of continuing to suffer due to arthritis in your feet and ankles, or to be evaluated for any other foot or ankle problems, call Kansas City Foot Specialists today at (913) 338-4440 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping you to stay on your feet and moving forward.