Arthritis – which is characterized by stiffness and damage of the joints - can affect any of the 30+ joints located in the ankle and foot. The joints that attach the bones of the ankle and foot provide the body with the stability and balance that is needed to walk, stand and take part in other physical actions.
As arthritis advances, it can cause damage to cartilage, which is the smooth material that lines the ends of bones in the joints. The cartilage allows the ankle and foot bones to move against each other without causing friction.
If cartilage deteriorates, the bones may begin to scrape directly against each other, and result in additional joint damage and a deep, achy pain.
There are many different types of arthritis, but the type found in the foot and ankle is usually rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis or osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis develops most commonly in people over the age of 50. As cartilage wears down, it can cause stiffness and pain in the joint and can develop in an isolated joint.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition, which means that the body attacks its own tissues by mistake. It focuses on soft tissue in the joints, resulting in redness, swelling, warmth, stiffness, and pain in the ankle and foot.
Post-traumatic arthritis develops in the foot or ankle as a result of an injury that occurred recently or some time ago.
Arthritis in the Big Toe: This type is common and typically affects the first joint that is located at the base of the big toe and connects the toe to the rest of the foot.
Arthritis in the Midfoot: The midfoot joints are located almost midway between the toes and the ankle and connect the long bones that form the arch of the foot to the bony part of the foot in front of the ankle.
Arthritis in the Hindfoot: This arthritis affects the three joints below the ankle and above the heel and can cause pain and swelling in the ankles and feet.
Arthritis in the Ankle: The ankle joint connects the leg to the foot and permits the foot to point and flex. This condition can affect walking, jumping, and standing and limit the range of motion.
If you are experiencing pain and suspect that you might be suffering from arthritis, contact Dr. Joel Segalman and Dr. Stephen Lazaroff at Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLC today to schedule an appointment. You can reach our Waterbury office at (203) 755-0489 or our Newtown location at (203) 270-6724 to schedule a consultation.