Definition of Foot Arthritis

Foot arthritis is a disorder characterized by the swelling of the joints of the feet. Just like arthritis on another part of the body, it can be painful and debilitating.

Arthritis in general is one of the most common chronic infirmities in the United States, and affects about 350 million people in the world.

Types of foot arthritis

Osteoarthritis

Foot Osteoarthritis can attack any of the 30 joints of the foot, but the big toe is more prone because it absorbs the most pressure during regular foot activities (such as walking). It also usually affects the ankle, the midfoot, and three joints of the hindfoot. The cartilages erode, causing the bone ends to fuse. This results stiffness and joint pains.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Foot rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic ailment, so it does not only affect the foot but also the entire body. It occurs when the internal parts of the foot’s joints stiffen and swell. Foot rheumatoid arthritis causes the arch to collapse little by little, which causes the toes to contract and draw back. This condition is hereditary. Women are more prone to it.

What are the symptoms of foot arthritis?

General symptoms

Painful soles. Patients suffering from arthritis foot pain often say that their soles feel very tender. In most cases, patients feel as though they are ‘walking on pebbles.’

Inflammation of the feet after periods of inactivity. Arthritis and foot pain is much worse in the morning after sleep, or after long periods of sitting.

Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms

Foot Corns , foot calluses , bunions . When a patient has rheumatoid arthritis, the soles may develop corns, calluses and bunions.

Other symptoms. Rheumatic arthritis of foot can cause symptoms that do not involve the joints, such as sudden weight loss, fever, fatigue, and sometimes even lung, kidney, or heart abnormalities.

Osteoarthritis symptoms

Hallux rigidus. When the patient has osteoarthritis, the big toe may become very stiff and extremely painful to move.

What causes foot arthritis?

Osteoarthritis results from wear and tear of cartilage in the feet. The cartilage of the joints become worn out over time, causing spurs (hardened areas) and subchondral cysts (pockets in the marrow filled with liquid). The bone deformation and the accumulation of the fluids cause the pain.

Foot rheumatoid arthritis is caused by a hyperactive immune system. The body’s own immune cells attack it. There are a lot of different causes. In some patients, rheumatoid arthritis may be caused by genetic or hormonal factors.

How to diagnose foot arthritis?

Doctors usually ask patients who may have foot arthritis about their medical history. Especially important are information on former foot injuries , the account of the pain development (when it started, etc.), and medications being taken, among other things.

Patients may be required to go under a gait analysis, which shows how the bones of the patient’s bones and legs line up, measures the patient’s stride, and more importantly, tests the strength of the feet and ankles.

Depending on the case, some patients may be required to undergo diagnostics tests such as X-Rays, bone scans, computed tomography (CT) scans, or magnetic resonance image (MRI) for further evaluation.

What treatment options are available for foot arthritis?

There are two kinds of treatment: nonsurgical and surgical treatment.

Nonsurgical treatment

Includes prescription of anti-inflammatory medication and supporting pain relievers. Patients may also be required to wear shoe inserts such as arch supports, and in some cases, custom-made shoes with stiffer soles and rocker bottoms. Some are advised to use an ankle-foot orthosis or a crane while walking. Most patients are advised to attend physical therapy sessions and lose weight.

Surgical treatment

This Treatment is necessary for patients whose foot arthritis is more severe than normal. There are three types of arthritis surgery:

Arthrodesis. This type of surgery involves welding of two bones together to remove the problematic joint. The bones are held together by plates, screws, or pins until they heal. In some cases, the patient’s own bone (from the hips of the lower legs) are used for the graft.

Arthroscopic debridement. This surgery is very effective when done during the early phase of the foot arthritis. An arthroscope with a tiny camera and a light is inserted into the aching joint, enabling our doctor to see inside the joint and spot the problem. Any tissues and outgrowths are then removed.

Arthroplasty. In exceptional cases, our doctor may use artificial implants to completely replace the ankle joints.

Read more about Foot Pain

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