There are 28 bones and more than 30 joints in the foot. Tough bands of tissue, called ligaments, keep the bones and joints in place. If arthritis develops in one or more of these joints, balance and walk may be affected.
Signs and symptoms of arthritis of the foot vary, depending on which joint is affected. You may also notice that you develop bone spurs in the area, or that the joint itself becomes deformed. Common symptoms include pain or tenderness, stiffness or reduced motion, and swelling. Walking may be difficult. Another symptom of this type of arthritis is the feeling that the joint will give out, or you may feel that you are not completely stable on your feet. If you are noticing any of these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor about the possibility that you have ankle arthritis and begin weighing your treatment options.
While ankle arthritis may be one of the less common types of arthritis, it can be a very painful one for those who suffer from it. There are a number of causes of ankle arthritis, and a case of this condition can often be attributed to a specific event or injury. This means that if you suffer an injury to your ankle in your earlier years of life, arthritis is a condition that you should be on the lookout for as you age. The good news is that there are a number of possible treatment options for this condition, and they can range from changing your footwear to a variety of surgical options. Your doctor will be the best source of information in diagnosing and treating your ankle arthritis.
There are a number of reasons why you might be diagnosed with ankle arthritis, and one of the most common is a previous injury to the area, such as a sprain or fracture. These types of injuries can lead to damaged cartilage in the ankle, and may result in accelerated arthritis in the joint as well. It is also possible to develop arthritis in your ankle if you are overweight and placing undue stress on the joints. Another possible cause of ankle arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis that can spread to any of the joints of the body, including the ankle joint.
Treatment for ankle arthritis can range from gentle strengthening exercises, to medication and cortisone injections, and even surgery in some cases. One of the first treatments that you can try is a simple modification of your footwear. Many who suffer from ankle arthritis find relief from the pain by simply using cushioned insoles inside of their shoes. If a simple process like this does not help to ease your discomfort, your doctor can advise you in the use of anti-inflammatory medications and may prescribe cortisone shots for particularly severe pain. In some cases, surgery will be the best treatment for ankle arthritis, and this can range from arthroscopy to fusion surgical procedures.
Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling
Shoe inserts, such as pads or arch supports
Custom-made shoe, such as a stiff-soled shoe with a rocker bottom
An ankle-foot orthosis (AFO)
A brace or a cane
Physical therapy and exercises
Weight control or nutritional supplements
Medications, such as a steroid medication injected into the joint
If arthritis doesn't respond to non-surgical treatment, surgical treatment may need to be considered. The choice of surgery will depend on the type of arthritis, the impact of the disease on the joints, and the location of the arthritis. Sometimes more than one type of surgery will be needed. Surgery performed for arthritis of the foot and ankle include arthroscopic debridement, arthrodesis (or fusion of the joints), and arthroplasty (replacement of the affected joint).
Foot and ankle surgery can be painful. Pain relievers in the hospital and for a period after being released from the hospital may help. After surgery, activities will be restricted for a time. A cast, crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair may be needed, depending on the type of surgery. It is important to keep the foot elevated above the level of the heart for the first week or so after surgery.[an error occurred while processing this directive]