Osteoarthritis can develop after a joint sustains an injury. The effects of arthritis on the foot and ankle and the symptoms of foot and ankle arthritis are explained. Stiffness and swelling are two symptoms.
Arthritis is a general term for a group of more than 100 diseases. The word "arthritis" means "joint inflammation." Arthritis involves inflammation (swelling) in and around the joints. Pain, stiffness, and swelling can result from inflammation. Arthritis can be an acute or chronic inflammation of a joint and its surrounding soft tissues. In arthritis, progressive joint deterioration occurs and the smooth "cushioning" cartilage in joints is gradually lost, resulting in the bones wearing against each other. Soft tissues in the joints also may begin to wear down. Arthritis can be painful and eventually can result in limited motion, loss of joint function, and deformities in the joints affected.
The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is generally associated with aging. Other risk factors for osteoarthritis include joint injury, obesity, genetics and anatomic factors such as joint shape and alignment.
Each foot has 28 bones and more than 30 joints. The most common foot joints that arthritis affects are:
Symptoms of foot and ankle arthritis often involve the following:
The diagnosis of foot and ankle arthritis most likely will involve the following:
Foot and ankle arthritis can be treated in many ways. Non-surgical methods to treat foot and ankle arthritis include:
More than one kind of surgery may be required to treat foot and ankle arthritis. Your doctor can select the kind of surgery that is best for you, depending on the type and extent of the arthritis you have. The following are some of the surgical options for foot and ankle arthritis:
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/31/2019.
Learn more about our editorial process.