Foot & Ankle Arthritis
Arthritis is a common degenerative disease that causes pain, stiffness, immobility, and swelling in joints, including those in the foot and ankle. Arthritis can cause the cartilage in joints to wear away, which then causes bone-on-bone rubbing that can be quite painful and disabling.
Treating Foot & Ankle Arthritis in Central Maryland
Types of Foot & Ankle Arthritis
At first, arthritis may be tolerated with conservative treatments. However, as the disease progresses and the pain increases, you may eventually require surgery.
There are several types of arthritis, but the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. There are more than 30 joints in the foot and ankle that, as weight-bearing structures, are highly susceptible to osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that typically occurs as one ages, but can also develop after some kind of trauma, such as a fracture or dislocation.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes the synovium (joint lining) to become inflamed and painful, which results in joint swelling and deterioration. Gout is another type of inflammatory arthritis.
The most commonly affected joints include the ankle, midfoot, and big toe. Walking becomes more difficult as this condition progresses.
Treating Foot & Ankle Arthritis in Columbia, Catonsville, and Eldersburg, Maryland
Fortunately, most cases of arthritis can be treated with nonsurgical methods such as temporary rest and over-the-counter or prescription medication to reduce pain and swelling. If medication doesn’t sufficiently relieve your symptoms, a cortisone injection may be successful in temporarily reducing inflammation and pain.
Other nonsurgical treatments for foot and ankle arthritis include:
- Physical therapy
- Custom orthotics
- Using a cane or wearing a brace
- Nutritional supplements
- Lifestyle modifications such as losing weight to reduce stress on the foot and ankle or switching from high to low impact exercises such as swimming, yoga, Pilates, and tai chi
However, because arthritis is a degenerative and progressive disease, it can get worse over time. When nonsurgical treatments fail to provide relief, our foot and ankle doctors may recommend surgery.
Foot & Ankle Arthritis Surgery
The type of surgery you have will depend on your type of arthritis, its severity, and your general health.
- In the earlier stages of foot and ankle arthritis, arthroscopy can be performed to remove loose cartilage, inflamed synovial tissue, and bone spurs from around the joint.
- In some cases, the surgeon may fuse a painful joint, a procedure called arthrodesis. Fusing the bones of the joint decreases pain by eliminating motion in the joint.
- In advanced arthritis, the damaged joint can be replaced with an artificial one made of metal, plastic, ceramics, or a combination of the materials. Ankle replacement can provide significant pain relief and improved mobility for those suffering from ankle arthritis. In the foot, the big toe joint is the most common site of osteoarthritis. Thanks to recent advances in implant technology, arthroplasty of the big toe is becoming more popular.
Foot & Ankle Doctor in Central Maryland
If you are suffering from foot and ankle arthritis, call for an appointment with podiatrists Dr. Marc Lipton or Dr. Roberto Brandão at Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland today at (410) 644-1880 or schedule one online.