Types of Arthritis in Feet and Ankles

by | Aug 11, 2017

Long considered to be an affliction of aging, many people now realize that arthritis isn’t a single condition. There are actually over a hundred different types of arthritic conditions, and they can affect the human body in various ways. Given that each of your feet and ankles has 33 joints, the lower limbs can be particularly susceptible to several forms of arthritis.

Now, whereas there are many types of arthritis, they do have a general commonality – joint inflammation. This makes sense, since the word “arthritis” is formed by the roots of “arthron” (the ancient Greek word for “joint”) and “-itis” (the suffix used in medicine to denote inflammation).

Etymology aside, arthritis can cause some serious problems for you, including pain, stiffness, swelling, and decreased range of motion. Often, all of these are present (to varying degrees).

With regards to types of arthritis found in feet and ankles, specific conditions include:

  • Osteoarthritis. The reason people associate arthritis with “old age” is likely because of osteoarthritis. This is the most common variety, and it’s reasonable to think of as being the “wear and tear” arthritis. The condition develops when protective joint lining becomes worn down over time.
  • Gout. This particular arthritic condition is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the bloodstream. Uric acid is completely normal—it’s a byproduct of digestion at the cellular level—but excessive amounts tend to settle in joints, accumulate, and crystalize. Urate crystals have sharp points, which cause stabbing pain when pressed against soft tissue. Technically, gout can happen in just about any joint, but is most likely to occur in the one found at the base of the big toe (where it connects to the foot).
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Your immune system normally protects the body from health threats, but this autoimmune disorder causes it to attack internal organs and joint lining. Whereas there isn’t currently a cure for the disorder, we do have treatment options to address symptoms and slow the disease’s progression.
  • Post-traumatic arthritis. Sometimes, arthritis develops in a joint that had sustained a physical injury. It will usually take some time—even up to years later—before arthritic symptoms emerge.

As noted earlier, one commonality between these conditions is the fact they cause joint inflammation and pain. Another is that they need to be treated. When you (or a loved one) is suffering from arthritis in a foot or ankle, come see us here at Premier Podiatry Group. We will diagnose the problem for you, and then create a custom treatment plan to address it.

For more information on this—or any of the other foot and ankle problems we treat for our patients—or to request an appointment, simply give our Ebensburg office a call at (814) 472-2660. We look forward to having the opportunity to help you find relief from the pain!