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Foot and ankle Arthritis / osteoarthritis

What is arthritis/ osteoarthritis?

Arthritis occurs when the cartilage encasing the bones, which aids fluent movement in the joint, is damaged, resulting in friction. Any joint in the body can be affected by arthritis.

Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, big toe arthritis (hallux rigidus), midfoot arthritis and hindfoot arthritis are just some of the varieties of arthritis affecting the foot and ankle.

What causes ankle arthritis/osteoarthritis?

Some 70% of cases of foot and ankle arthritis are due to a previous injury. Other less common causes include rheumatoid arthritis, previous infection in the ankle joint, gout and rarely bleeding conditions such as haemophilia.

Ankle arthritis/osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis

An estimated 90% of people with rheumatoid arthritis (a chronic disease of the immune system), also suffer with ankle arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis causes the joint’s lining to become inflamed and swell, resulting in permanent damage to the joint.

Rheumatoid arthritis differs from osteoarthritis in that rheumatoid arthritis normally leads to swelling, stiffness and pain affecting the same joints in both feet. Symptoms can be experienced in the ankle, forefoot, midfoot, and hindfoot.

Big toe arthritis or hallux rigidus

Found in one or both feet, big toe arthritis is arthritis in the big toe’s metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. ‘Hallux’ means the big toe and ‘rigidus’, rigid or stiff, in Latin.

Hindfoot arthritis

The hindfoot starts just below the ankle joint and finishes at the Chopart joint. It consists of the ankle bone (talus) and heel bone (calcaneum).

Midfoot arthritis

The midfoot starts at the Chopart joint and finishes at the Lisfranc (tarsometatarsal) joint. It is made up of five bones: the cuboid, navicular, medial, intermediate and lateral cuneiform bones.

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