Joint Pain

Pain in the feet and ankle joint can be debilitating and may have a significant impact on your quality of life. Sometimes structural deformities, such as high or low arches, can make you particularly susceptible to developing foot and ankle problems. Arthritis is the most common cause of pain in the feet and ankle joints and there are several different types. Osteoarthritis – also called wear and tear arthritis – is normally associated with ageing. It is a degenerative disease that leading to deterioration cartilage that normally protects your joints. As it starts to wear away, the bones may rub together.

Causes of Joint Pain

There are different types of arthritis that can affect the feet and ankle joints including:

  • Osteoarthritis which causes the cartilage that protects the joints to wear away. The joint most often affected is the big toe, which may become painful, stiff and inflexible and appear knobbly and misshapen as a result of bone overgrowth. You may also develop arthritis in the joint between the ankle and shinbone, the heel, ankle and arch of the foot.
  • Gout. This causes severe pain and inflammation. It most often occurs in the big toe joint and is due to a build-up of urate crystals
  • Other forms of arthritis that can affect the feet and ankle are rheumatoid arthritis which is an autoimmune condition, reactive arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.

Symptoms of Joint Pain

Symptoms vary in their location and severity but typically include worsening pain, stiffness, swelling, deformity and disability. Arthritis can have a significant impact on your quality of life which is why people with the condition may also develop depression.

Diagnosis of Joint Pain

It is important to get an early diagnosis as you may be able to slow the progression of the disease. Your doctor will be able to prescribe painkillers to help you to manage the symptoms and advise on measures you can take to minimise the impact of the disease on your life. Alongside a physical examination you may be given a blood test or diagnostic imaging (X-ray, ultrasound or MRI scan) to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions.

Treatment of Joint Pain

Your treatment plan will be tailored according to the type and severity of your condition as well as other factors such as your age and general state of health. We offer the following treatments for patients with foot and ankle arthritis:

  • Braces, walking aids or orthotics
  • Physiotherapy to strengthen the joints and improve flexibility.
  • Therapeutic injections of corticosteroids to relieve pain and reduce inflammation in the joints.
  • Drugs to suppress the immune response in patients with certain types of inflammatory arthritis.
  • Surgery to reshape the toes, correct the position of the joint or fuse the bones into the correct position.

There are also steps you can take to reduce the impact of arthritis. One of the most important of these is to reduce excess weight as this will relieve pressure on damaged joints.


We are an experienced and highly qualified team of orthopaedic surgeons using the latest surgical and non-surgical techniques to eliminate or reduce pain so our patients can experience the best possible quality of life.


Whether you have an existing diagnosis or you are keen to discover what is causing your symptoms, contact us to arrange a consultation. We can organise any tests you require and discuss your treatment options.

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