Foot Osteoarthritis (OA) - Fact Sheet

What is a Foot Osteoarthritis (OA) ?

Within the foot there are a number of bones and joints leading to complex movements and structures of the foot itself. The weight-bearing nature of the feet can predispose them to gradual wear and tear, which can impact the articular cartilage of the joint, leading to osteoarthritis (OA). Within the foot, the most common sites of OA are the 1st Metatarsophalangeal Joint (MTP) and the Mid-foot. Foot OA and degeneration can also contribute to other conditions of the foot, such as bunions, hallux valgus, or Morton’s neuroma.
Ankle impingement

Signs and Symptoms​ of Foot Osteoarthritis (OA) ?

• Foot pain
• Pain after long walks, or after standing for a long duration
• Foot Joint stiffness, usually in the morning
• Pinching type pain with particular movements, sometimes associated with sharp “locking”-type pain
• Pain is usually intermittent, off/on pain, of varying severity
• Pain with activities involving loading the feet, such as walking uphill or climbing stairs.
• Noticeable loss of joint space between the joints of the feet, with disruptions of the joints noticeable on X-Ray.
Ankle image

Treatment of Foot Osteoarthritis (OA) ?

Activity modification or Rest: Coming up with strategies to reduce motion at the ankle for the time being can help reduce the irritation felt at the front of the ankle, allowing re-training of the ankles’ range of motion in a more pain free manner. Talk closely with your Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist to come up with a strategy to manage your exercise loads, so that your pain is manageable until it settles.

Ice, Compression, Elevation: Using ice immediately after activity may help reduce pain and inflammation. Ankle taping may also be beneficial in limiting movement and giving the ankle support for short-term periods.

Tailored Clinical Exercise: This is important to maintain strength and function of the ankle. For anterior impingement, this may involve some range of motion exercises, balance and proprioception exercises (co-ordination), and strengthening exercises of the foot and ankle muscles, including the calves.

Prognosis: depending on the cause of impingement, ankle impingement can generally be treatable through exercise and re-training of the ankle joint. However, if any bony changes are too severe, referral to a foot and ankle surgeon may be warranted.

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