Arthritis Of Foot And Ankle

What causes the arthritis to my foot and ankle?

Foot and ankle arthritis can have different causes. Your arthritis may be osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of arthritis. Usually occurring as we age, it happens because of wear and tear that erodes the cartilage protecting our joints. But you may also have post-traumatic arthritis, which occurs after an injury to the bone, joint, or ligament. The arthritis can arise years after the injury, even if it was properly treated. Finally, you may have developed rheumatoid arthritis, a system-wide autoimmune disorder in which the body destroys its own cartilage and can cause multiple complications elsewhere. Regardless of the etiology, a thorough evaluation can lead to a proper treatment plan by your foot and ankle surgeon.

Another great question that is common to our practice is:

How do I know if the pain and stiffness in my feet and ankles is arthritis?

It’s not always easy to tell. If you’ve experienced arthritis that migrates from one joint to another, or if you have other unexplained health issues such as eye infections or skin irritations, there’s a chance your foot and ankle problems are rheumatoid in nature. If you’ve been active for many years without any other apparent health issues and find that your feet and ankles are becoming painful, stiff and sore, especially in the morning, consider that you may have developed osteoarthritis. If the pain and discomfort occur in a part of the foot or ankle that once sustained an injury, there’s a very real possibility that you’ve developed post-traumatic arthritis. In any case, there’s no definitive test that will let your doctor diagnose you with arthritis. Diagnosis is made based on a combination of factors such as physical symptoms, medical history, blood tests, x-rays, bone scans, and potentially an MRI of the affected area which will show us a more global view of the tendons, cartilage and joints to develop a more precise treatment.

Can I get rid of foot and ankle arthritis?

Getting rid of it completely may not be possible. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition that typically flares up periodically and requires a rheumatologist for management in difficult cases. You may feel fine for several months and then experience a flare-up that makes it difficult to walk for weeks. This cycle often repeats itself, with flare-ups occurring during times of stress or for no apparent reason. Osteoarthritis or post-traumatic arthritis may be “cured” via joint-replacement surgery, if the condition is severe enough depending on the joint involved as well as the extent and activity level of each patient. For many people, however, a combination of anti-inflammatory medication, pain relievers, physical therapy, foot or ankle braces, and weight control can go a long way toward providing relief.

In our practice, it is commonplace to use a variety of non surgical modalities to relief the symptoms of foot and ankle arthritis based on each individual patient. A variety of supplementation, such as the “Joint Smoother”, and therapy such as MicroVas may reduce swelling and adhesions which form within arthritic joints. Cortisone is a useful tool to supplement for the pain as well. Cool Touch LASER therapy may be used for relief as well as TENS machine for reduction of symptoms. NSAIDS and pain patches may also be required for severe symptoms. Braces may be off the shelf, or custom depending on the severity of the deformity from the joint, and some joint saving procedures are also available depending on the affected joint.

In patients with severely debilitating symptoms with nonsurgical options being ineffective, a variety of surgical options tailored to each patient are commonly performed. Fusions and realignment procedures were the only available choices a number of years ago, but now even more options are present with the joint replacement. We do a variety of implantations for the first toe joint, and have had great success with this device. We also perform a number of fusion procedures which allow significant reduction of pain along with enhanced function of the foot and ankle post surgery.  It is best to have a thorough evaluation at our center in order to decide which treatment fits best for you.

The Family Foot and Leg Center in Naples, Florida at 661 Goodlette Road, Suite 103 has physicians with the experience for your needs.

Family Foot and Leg Center is a medical center specializes in healing health issues with lower leg and ankle. Come to us to get treatment for all your leg disorders or obtain information about our practices. More information about the several advancements in foot and leg treatments can be obtained at

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