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Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It causes pain, swelling, and reduced motion in your joints. It can occur in any joint in the foot and is somewhat common in the joints of the foot and ankle.

Osteoarthritis breaks down the cartilage in your joints from wear and tear over the years. Typically, osteoarthritis occurs mostly in the aged population but can occur prematurely for different reasons. Cartilage is the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. Healthy cartilage absorbs the shock of movement. When you lose cartilage, your bones rub together. Over time, this rubbing can permanently damage the joint.

Risk factors for osteoarthritis include

  • Being overweight

  • Getting older

  • Injuring a joint

There is no specific test for osteoarthritis. Most doctors use several methods, including medical history, a physical exam, x-rays, or lab tests.

Treatments include exercise, medicines, and sometimes surgery. If joints are beyond salvage, there are foot surgeries that include joint replacement or fusion of the joint. Each type of surgery has their own unique risks and benefits.

Rheumatoid arthritis 


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)


Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of arthritis that causes pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in your joints. It can affect any joint but is common in the wrist and fingers. Many patients do show signs of RA in their feet as well. RA has a signature appearance when your toes and fingers begin to deviate and point away from the midline of your body. In the foot particularly, it is called fibular deviation.

RA is more common in women than men. It often starts in middle age and is most common in older people. You might have the disease for only a short time, or symptoms might come and go. The severe form can last a lifetime.

Rheumatoid arthritis is different from osteoarthritis, the common arthritis that often comes with older age. RA is an autoimmune disease, which means the arthritis results from your immune system attacking your body's own tissues.

Treatment of RA is very difficult and may include medicine, lifestyle changes, and surgery. Foot surgery for RA can include fusion or joint resection. Joint replacement is typically not performed for RA. These can slow or stop joint damage and reduce pain and swelling.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes itchy or sore patches of thick, red skin with silvery scales. You usually get them on your elbows, knees, scalp, back, face, palms and feet, but they can show up on other parts of your body.

Some people with psoriasis have psoriatic arthritis. It causes pain, stiffness, and swelling of the joints. It is often mild, but can sometimes be serious and affect many joints. The joint and skin problems don't always happen at the same time. Upon evaluation of the joints on X-rays, Psoriatic arthritis has a signature “pencil in cup” deformity.

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