Foot and ankle are a complex structure of the human body made of 33 joints, 22 bones and more than hundreds of muscles, tendons, and ligaments. They all work together to maintain the locomotion and bear weight and absorb the forces of activity. A great amount of load and forces passes through these tiny bones which imposes inevitable degenerative changes of the joints involved in formation of foot structure.

There are many forms of arthritis that can affect foot and ankle joints. Degenerative arthritis is the most common form of arthritis associated with aging, obesity, activity and foot deformity are the risk factors. Degenerative arthritis associated with aging and the Common joints that develop degenerative changes are:

  • Ankle joint
  • Subtalar Joint
  • Midfoot Joints
  • Great toe joints

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory arthritis that can involve all the joints of the foot with bilateral symmetrical involvement. It causes destruction of joints and produces deformity due to inflammatory response. Post traumatic arthritis, happens following a fracture or dislocation. Most common is following ankle fracture, calcaneal fracture, Lisfranc injury. Either due to mal-reduced joint surface, cartilage damage during initial trauma or periarticular deformity causing chronic stress over joints. One may not be symptomatic for several years after the initial trauma. Arthritis of the great toe joint is usually associated with bunion deformity but also as a result of excessive strain and stress that it undergoes during different phases of walking and running.

Arthritis of foot and ankle behaves differently than arthritis of knee or hip. A lot of time these are very forgiving and one can continue a pain free good quality of activity despite severe arthritis of the joints especially the mood foot involvement. Arthritis of subtaler joint is most disturbing and nearly always require a surgical intervention to ensure better mobility. Peri articular deformity correction and removal of obstructing osteophyte to improve joint mobility work well for ankle and great toe joint arthritis.