Arthritis of the Foot & Ankle
Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. It can occur at any age, and literally means “pain within a joint.” As a result, arthritis is a term used broadly to refer to a number of different conditions.
Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are many treatment options available. It is important to seek help early so that treatment can begin as soon as possible. With treatment, people with arthritis are able to manage pain, stay active, and live fulfilling lives, often without surgery.
There are three types of arthritis that may affect your foot and ankle.
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative or “wear and tear” arthritis, is a common problem for many people after they reach middle age. Over the years, the smooth, gliding surface covering the ends of bones (cartilage) becomes worn and frayed. This results in inflammation, swelling, and pain in the joint.
Osteoarthritis progresses slowly and the pain and stiffness it causes worsens over time.
Unlike osteoarthritis which follows a predictable pattern in certain joints, rheumatoid arthritis is a system-wide disease. It is an inflammatory disease where the patient’s own immune system attacks and destroys cartilage.
Post-traumatic arthritis can develop after an injury to the foot or ankle. This type of arthritis is similar to osteoarthritis and may develop years after a fracture, severe sprain, or ligament injury.
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Achilles Tendon Rupture
- Adult Acquired Flatfoot
- Ankle Sprains & Strains
- Arthritis of the Foot & Ankle
- Bone Spurs
- Broken/Fractured Ankle
- Calcaneous/Heelbone Fracture
- Diabetic (Charcot) Foot
- Fracture of the Talus
- Lisfranc/Midfoot Injury
- Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction
- Sprained Ankle
- Stress Fracture of the Foot & Ankle
- Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
- Tibia/Shinbone Shaft Fracture
Achilles Tendon Rupture
Adult Acquired Flatfoot
Ankle Sprains & Strains
Arthritis of the Foot & Ankle
Diabetic (Charcot) Foot
Fracture of the Talus
Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction
Stress Fracture of the Foot & Ankle
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Tibia/Shinbone Shaft Fracture
- Achilles Tendon Repair
- Ankle Arthroscopy
- Ankle Fracture Surgery
- Ankle Fusion Surgery
- Ankle Reconstruction Surgery
- Arthritis Surgeries of the Foot & Ankle
- Common Ankle Surgery
- Complex Ankle Surgery
- Dislocation Surgery
- Fractured Talus Surgery
- Lisfranc Fracture Surgery
- Posterior Tibial Tendonitis Surgery
- Total Ankle Replacement Surgery
Achilles Tendon Repair
Ankle Fracture Surgery
Ankle Fusion Surgery
Ankle Reconstruction Surgery
Arthritis Surgeries of the Foot & Ankle
Common Ankle Surgery
Complex Ankle Surgery
Fractured Talus Surgery
Lisfranc Fracture Surgery
Posterior Tibial Tendonitis Surgery
Total Ankle Replacement Surgery
The Orthopedic physicians at Peninsula Bone & Joint Clinic provide conservative treatment options for Foot & Ankle conditions and injuries.
Signs and symptoms of arthritis of the foot vary, depending on which joint is affected. Common symptoms include:
Pain or tenderness
Stiffness or reduced motion
Difficulty walking due to any of the above
Physical Examination & Patient History
During your first visit, your doctor will talk to you about your symptoms and medical history. During the physical examination, your doctor will check all the structures of your injury, and compare them to your non-injured anatomy. Most injuries can be diagnosed with a thorough physical examination.
Imaging Tests Other tests which may help your doctor confirm your diagnosis include:
X-rays. Although they will not show any injury, x-rays can show whether the injury is associated with a broken bone.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. If your injury requires an MRI, this study is utilized to create a better image of soft tissues injuries. However, an MRI may not be required for your particular injury circumstance and will be ordered based on a thorough examination by your Peninsula Bone & Joint Clinic Orthopedic physician.
Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling
Shoe inserts (orthotics), 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 nonsurgical treatment, surgical treatment might 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).
Arthroscopic surgery may be helpful in the early stages of arthritis.
A flexible, fiberoptic pencil-sized instrument (arthroscope) is inserted into the joint through a series of small incisions through the skin.
The arthroscope is fitted with a small camera and lighting system, as well as various instruments. The camera projects images of the joint on a television monitor. This enables the surgeon to look directly inside the joint and identify the problem areas.
Small instruments at the end of the arthroscope, such as probes, forceps, knives, and shavers, are used to clean the joint area of foreign tissue, inflamed tissue that lines the joint, and bony outgrowths (spurs).
Arthrodesis or Fusion
Arthrodesis fuses the bones of the joint completely, making one continuous bone.
The surgeon uses pins, plates and screws, or rods to hold the bones in the proper position while the joint(s) fuse. If the joints do not fuse (nonunion), this hardware may break.
A bone graft is sometimes needed if there is bone loss. The surgeon may use a graft (a piece of bone, taken from one of the lower leg bones or the wing of the pelvis) to replace the missing bone.
This surgery is typically quite successful. A very small percentage of patients have problems with wound healing. These problems can be addressed by bracing or additional surgery.
The biggest long-term problem with fusion is the development of arthritis at the joints adjacent to those fused. This occurs from increased stresses applied to the adjacent joints.
Arthroplasty or Joint Replacement
In arthroplasty, the damaged ankle joint is replaced with an artificial implant (prosthesis).
Although not as common as as total hip or knee joint replacement, advances in implant design have made ankle replacement a feasible option for many people.
In addition to providing pain relief from arthritis, ankle replacements offer patients better mobility and movement compared to fusion. By allowing motion at the formerly arthritic joint, less stress is transferred to the adjacent joints. Less stress results in reduced occurance of adjacent joint arthritis.
Ankle replacement is most often recommended for patients with:
Advanced arthritis of the ankle
Destroyed ankle joint surfaces
An ankle condition that interferes with daily activities
As in any joint replacement surgery, the ankle implant may loosen over the years or fail. If the implant failure is severe, revision surgery may be necessary.
Foot and ankle surgery can be painful. Pain relievers in the hospital and for a time period after being released from the hospital may help.
It is important to keep your foot elevated above the level of your heart for one to two weeks following surgery.
Your doctor may recommend physical therapy for several months to help you regain strength in your foot or ankle and to restore range of motion. Ordinary daily activities usually can be resumed in three to four months. You may need special shoes or braces.
In most cases, surgery relieves pain and makes it easier to perform daily activities.
Full recovery takes four to nine months, depending on the severity of your condition before surgery, and the complexity of your procedure.
Conservative Treatment Options
Non-Operative Achilles Tendon Treatment
Non-Operative Ankle Sprain & Strain Treatment
Non-Operative Ankle Fracture Treatment
Non-Operative Ankle Arthritis Treatment
Foot & Ankle Treatment Highlights
Innovative Implant Design
Stryker STAR Total Ankle Replacement implant is utilized by Dr. Todd Kim providing ankle replacement patients with innovative implant technologies.
Responsive Implant Technology
The Stryker STAR Ankle Replacement Implant is the only mobile bearing total ankle replacement available in the US.
Peninsula Bone & Joint Clinic
The Orthopaedic physicians at Peninsula Bone & Joint Clinic provide comprehensive services to all members of the family.Make An Appointment