The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis or “wear-and-tear” arthritis, which becomes more prominent as people age. Osteoarthritis also can develop after the joint sustains an injury. Each foot has 28 bones and more than 30 joints. The most common foot joints that arthritis affects are:
- The joint where the ankle and shinbone meet (the tibiotalar joint or true ankle joint).
- The three joints of the foot that involve the heel bone, the inner mid-foot bone, and the outer mid-foot bone (the subtalar joint).
- The joint of the big toe and foot bone (first metatarsal joint).
Osteoarthritis of the ankle can be precipitated by previous trauma, such as broken bones, torn ligaments, etc. that place increased stress on the cartilage lining the ankle joints. This cartilage breaks down and osteophytes or boney deposits may
Symptoms of foot and ankle arthritis often involve the following:
- Tenderness or pain
- Reduced ability to move or walk
- Stiffness in the joint
- Swelling in the joint
Procedural treatment for osteoarthritic joints include cortisone injections into the joint that can help decrease pain and inflammation. Regenerative type injections such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are also being used experimentally to provide a healthier environment to promote healing in the degenerated joint.