Foot & Ankle Arthritis
Ankle arthritis (osteoarthritis) is a degenerative condition in which the joint’s layer of cushioning cartilage wears away. This can trigger painful bone-on-bone contact that makes basic actions like standing up and walking uncomfortable experiences. Arthritis in the ankle joint is also closely associated with arthritis in the feet, as the many small bones in both of these structures work together to facilitate movement.
How Does Foot & Ankle Arthritis Develop?
There are several factors that may contribute to foot and ankle arthritis. In adults over age 50, it is often the result of the body’s natural aging process. Overuse or injuries can accelerate the degenerative process and cause arthritis to develop in younger patients. Obesity and family medical history may also play a role in the onset of arthritis. If you’re concerned about your arthritis risk factors, be sure to consult a physician about preventive measures you may be able to take.
What are the Symptoms of Foot & Ankle Arthritis?
Arthritis can affect any joint in the body and prompt a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. When the feet or ankles are affected, symptoms may include:
- Difficulty walking
- Inability to put weight on one or both feet
- Pain that increases in the morning or after physical activity
- Joint swelling or tenderness
How is Arthritis Treated?
There is no cure for arthritis. However, many patients are able to effectively manage their symptoms and slow the progression of this condition with a regimen of conservative treatments, such as:
- Weight loss
- Lifestyle modifications
- Bracing and immobilization
- Physical therapy
Less commonly, surgery may be recommended to improve mobility in patients with severe symptoms that do not respond to conservative treatment approaches. Surgical treatment options include fusion of the selected arthritic joints or, in some cases, replacement of the arthritic joint.
The board-certified orthopedic physicians and surgeons at Orthopaedic Specialists offer well-rounded diagnostics, treatment, and continued care to patients with foot and ankle arthritis in the Greater Pittsburgh Region. We encourage you to contact us if you’d like to discuss your arthritis symptoms or potential risk factors with one of our physicians.