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Osteoarthritis of the Foot & Ankle

Osteoarthritis is a condition that results in destruction of joints and can cause pain and even disability in severe cases. Any joint of the body can be affected but weight bearing joints are more common. It is a common cause of pain in the foot and ankle as well.

Joints are covered by capsules and have synovial fluid within them which provides nutrition and protects the cartilage. Chronic wear and tear can cause damage to this cartilage. Damage to this cartilage causes arthritis of the joints. Cartilage destruction by either biomechanical or biochemical forces results in abnormal repair of cartilage and increase in cartilage degradation. When degradation of cartilage exceeds attempts to repair cartilage, osteoarthritis occurs. This progressive loss of cartilage is usually accompanied by increased thickness of the subchondral plate, osteophytes, and subchondral bone cysts.


Symptoms include chronic pain, stiff joints, rigid and painful range of motion of the affected joint, joint swelling and joint deformity. X-rays are utilized to confirm the diagnosis. Loss of joint space and bone spurring is commonly seen.


Initial treatment includes RICE, NSAIDS, supportive shoe gear, custom orthotics. Steroid injections are often injected in the affected joints. When conservative treatment fails, surgical treatment is considered. Alternative treatment including non- NSAID treatments that are more natural options both orally and topically.




For some joints and certain patient types, joint replacement is an option. Chilectomy or shaving off the exostosis can often result in elimination of symptoms.


Arthrodesis for the affected joint is the other treatment option which at times is more viable and more predictable. The idea behind arthrodesis or fusion of joints is to eliminate pain by eliminating motion. Most often, patients have very limited motion at the affected joint but this motion is very painful. Thus fusing the arthritic joint eliminates the pain.


We are experience all types of fixation and hardware each company offers. Further, we are not under contract or have financial interest in a specific company. If you are having osteo-arthritic pain related to age, overuse or trauma call us and schedule your consultation.


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