Arthritis of the Foot and Ankle

Defintions:

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition where the cartilage at the joint end of the bones breaks down.  This condition eventually leads to loss of the cartilage, which acts as a cushion and protection for the bones.  When cartilage deteriorates, it limits the movement of the joint and can make everyday activities difficult. Osteoarthritis is commonly called arthritis, however, there are many different types of arthritis.

Signs and Symptoms:

The symptoms of foot or ankle arthritis vary in intensity but typically include pain and stiffness in the joint, swelling in or around the joint, and difficulty in walking or bending.  Some patients with osteoarthritis will develop a bone spur, which is a bony protrusion at the joint.  Bone spur surgery may be required in this case. Shoe pressure makes this condition particularly painful and can also limit the movement of the joint.

Diagnosis:

Dr. Westermeyer, in diagnosing foot and ankle arthritis, will thoroughly examine the foot.  He will look for pain in the joint, swelling, restricted movement, deformity, and enlargement of the joint, indicating the presence of a bone spur.  The doctor may also utilize imaging techniques, such as X-ray in assessing the condition.

Treatment:

Dr. Westermeyer has many treatment options available and will choose the method that is best suited to the condition and the patient’s lifestyle.  To help relieve the symptoms, one or more of the following treatments may be used:

  • Oral medications such at ibuprophen for reducing inflammation and pain.
  • Orthotic devices (shoe inserts) to provide support and cushioning.
  • Bracing to support the join and help relieve pain.
  • Immobilization to protect the joint from movement.
  • Steroid injections to deliver anti-inflammatory mediation to the affected area.
  • Physical therapy

If you experience any of the symptoms above, please come in and visit Dr. Westermeyer to determine the severity of the condition and to learn about the treatment options available to you.