Arthrosis of the foot – causes, symptoms, complications, treatment

Arthrosis of the foot is one of the common varieties of the disease, which is localized in the articular apparatus of the distal lower extremity. Unpleasant effects of destructive joint diseases are chronic pain and loss of motor function. Degenerative joint tissues occurs after regular heavy loads on the foot, and as a complication of trauma and comorbidities. Osteoarthritis is accompanied by pain and deformity of the foot. Treatment consists of correction orthopedic insoles and removing the symptoms with medicines.

the arthrosis development

Description of the disease

The human foot has a complex structure. It gives you the ability to withstand a load of his own body during the movement and to provide shock-absorbing protection for the joints of legs and spine.

Degenerative-dystrophic processes, localized in the small joints, leading to metamorphosis in cartilaginous tissue. A modified connective tissue due to osteoarthritis of the foot loses its firmness and elasticity, significantly decreasing in size. Changed the structure of the cartilage is not able to retain moisture, leading to dryness and cracking on the surface of cartilage.

The consequence of the destructive processes is a significant narrowing of the joint space. This stage of osteoarthritis accompanied by chronic aches and changes in the structure of the lower portion of the legs, which are manifested in the form of flattening the front of the foot, the appearance of "bumps" and deformation of fingers.


Contribute to the emergence and progression of disease may be many triggering factors. It is noted that the osteoarthritis of the foot develops on the background of violations of the blood supply to the affected parts and normal wear and tear of the joints of the foot due to age-related changes in the body.

The main causes of arthrosis:

  1. Congenital malformations of the structure of the foot is a wide foot, the curved shape of the fingers.
  2. Deformation of diseases of the joints and axial skeleton – the lowering of arches, different leg length, scoliosis.
  3. Increased body weight, an additional burden which negatively affects the condition of the joints.
  4. Traumatic injury due to bumps, sudden movements or falls.
  5. Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures (hypothermia).
  6. Wearing high heel shoes, narrow models thin soles.
  7. Genetic predisposition.
  8. The natural process of aging joint tissues, leading to wear of the tissues.
  9. High overload when executing work activities (heavy physical work or standing) or during intense sports training.
  10. Violation of biomechanics of the foot due to the lack of correction for flat feet or wearing wrong shoes.

Condition that cause increased risk of development of arthrosis:

  • endocrine diseases – diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism;
  • hormonal changes and weight gain during pregnancy;
  • autoimmune disorders;
  • the metabolic disturbances, particularly increased synthesis of uric acid that causes gout;
  • the hormonal imbalance;
  • the presence of an infectious factor causing inflammation in the joints;
  • improper diet deficient in vitamins and minerals;
  • sudden physical inactivity after constant physical load;
  • high growth.
symptoms of osteoarthritis

Symptoms of pathology

Arthrosis of the foot is accompanied by various symptoms, the degree of manifestation of which depends on the stage and severity of the lesion. As a rule, the disease begins gradually, and for a long time may not manifest outward signs.

In addition to the fatigue of the feet after a long walk appears a slight deformation signs: the formation of small bony protrusion in the region of the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe, the change in the shape of fingers. People may perceive these symptoms as unpleasant cosmetic defect and not to suspect about the presence of a destructive disease.

The absence of therapeutic interventions, contributes to the progression of pathological processes. Persistent changes in the structure of cartilage and the structure of the joint lead to the appearance of the characteristic clinical picture.

The main symptoms of arthrosis:

  • aching pain in the result of long-term motor load, after a thorough destruction of joint pain syndrome is present constantly;
  • painful aches can occur when the weather changes or cold feet;
  • the affected area periodically swelling, inflammation of the joint appears redness, the skin becomes hot to the touch;
  • during a traffic stop heard the crisp sound, which is a consequence of lack of synovial fluid and the presence of bone deformities in the joints;
  • after waking observed stiffness in the joints, they lose their mobility after a short warm-up returns to the foot flexibility;
  • in the later stages of the pathology the range of motion is dramatically reduced, the person involuntarily tries to unload the affected leg, due to which the gait is disturbed, there is lameness;
  • gradually the degenerative process extends into the periarticular tissue, forming muscle dense cysts;
  • on the soles of the feet appear corns;
  • people intuitively spares the affected leg, leading to muscle atrophy and decrease blood circulation;
  • arthrosis of the foot is accompanied by rapid fatigue of the feet after long standing or brief walking.

Classification of the disease

This pathology differs according to the localization, etiology and degree of joint disease. Osteoarthritis can develop in one spot or several small joints. This files most often diagnosed osteoarthritis of the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe, the characteristic feature of which is a bone overgrowth in the thumb.

Depending on the cause, arthritis of the foot is divided into primary, which is a result of autoimmune pathologies, metabolic imbalance or after mechanical damage in trauma as well as secondary, as a complication of infections, deformations of the skeleton, flatfoot.

The destructive process develops gradually. The stage of osteoarthritis is determined by the saturation of symptoms of the clinical picture, each of which is indicative of the coming changes in the joints.

Stages of osteoarthritis:

the stage of osteoarthritis
  1. The initial stage is asymptomatic. The only manifestation may be the appearance of pain and fatigue of the legs after prolonged physical activity. Externally, the stop does not change, only around the big toe there is a small "bump" which indicates that compaction of the forefoot. This symptom is accompanied by developing flat feet, which is a common cause of development of degenerative changes in the joints of the foot.
  2. The second stage begins with the appearance of aching pain after exertion, which stops after resting. When driving there is crepitus, the foot loses its flexibility and mobility. In the joint appear irreversible changes in the cartilage and bone, formation of osteophytes, which are a source of pain impulses.
  3. Third degree osteoarthritis of the foot leads to severe foot deformities, chronic pain, even at rest. In the affected joint gap between the deformed articular surfaces of the bone almost disappears, the cartilage has become thin and dry bones no special protection was covered with a chaotic build-up. Foot movement is limited or impossible at all.

Possible complications

In the absence of treatment or improper therapeutic action arthrosis complicated by the accession of additional pathological conditions, which aggravate the course of underlying disease.

Complicated condition:

  • bursitis – inflammation of the periarticular synovial bags with accumulation of effusion, the cause of which can become infection if exposed on the deformed region;
  • deformity of the toes, large bony growths around the thumb and little finger, which lead to problems when choosing shoes and pain while walking;
  • degeneration can be complicated by arthritis (inflammation in the articular capsule);
  • full immobilization of the distal legs.


To confirm the diagnosis "arthrosis" can only be a specialist after a series of surveys. During the initial examination indicated the degree of deformation of the bone structure of the foot: the presence of growths around the fingers, the deformation of their shape, degree of ptosis of the arches, the presence of pain. This is done by palpation of the patient's foot or using the device to research the stop, considered in detail its imprint.

To confirm degeneration of joint tissues conducted x-rays, which clearly shows the presence of deformation changes. Magnetic resonance imaging suggested, if you need more information about the condition of the cartilage and connective tissue ligaments. To assess the overall status after conducting laboratory tests of blood and urine.

At an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate diagnosed inflammatory process, and if exceeded the level of monocytes, the doctor will suspect an autoimmune condition. After decoding all of the results confirms the diagnosis and determines the treatment regimen, depending on how much ruined the joint.


The primary goal of treatment of arthrosis is the restoration of function and improving the quality of life of the patient. To implement these goals, the treating physician assigns a set of therapeutic measures with the degree of degeneration, comorbidities and functional status. In General, the list traditionally includes medications, physiotherapy, massage, physiotherapy, orthopedic treatment load limit and correction of orthopedic products.

arthritis of the foot treatment

Drug therapy

The arthrosis cannot be cured, the changes in joint anatomy are not eliminated and returned in the original form. With traditional drug therapy can get rid of many symptoms that interfere with living a full life.

To remove the pain that is the result of degeneration or the developing inflammation, the doctor prescribes NSAIDs. Medications are used in the form of tablets or injections. Analgesic ointments with success each patient. Local remedy applied directly to the diseased joint and penetrates into the dermis, which provides anti-inflammatory and anesthetic effect.

If you stop the pain with NSAIDs is not possible, are steroid hormones mainly for the introduction of the inside of the joint. During the puncture of the affected joint the medicine is injected into the inflammation that can suppress the disease and get rid of the pain. With intense pain syndrome practiced the holding of local blockades with non-narcotic analgesics.

Medicines for joints, the effect of which is aimed at restoring cartilage cells. Funds in this group provide a flow of compounds that accelerate the metabolism of connective cells and improves the structure of hyaline cartilage. For positive effect, which will result in freedom from pain and a return to the usual range of motion, medication used for a long courses, which are held for months.

Massage and physiotherapy

As a complement to traditional therapy, arthrosis treated with physiotherapy. UHF, magnetic therapy, laser rays are carried out in a period of stable remission. Each of the methods improves blood circulation in the affected area, starts the metabolic processes, stopping the destruction of the cells. After the treatments, there is improvement of mobility of the foot and reduce swelling of soft tissues.

Massage assigned courses, allows for the use of self-massage at home after consultation with the doctor and learning techniques from an experienced professional. When properly executed therapeutic massage enhances the blood flow to the lower extremities, restores the structure of muscle fibers, improves mobility of the foot.

Orthopedic treatment

The dosage of therapeutic loading is the basis for a successful recovery. Depending on the stage of osteoarthritis, the doctor determines the mode of motor loads and rest. If we neglect the recommendations, the situation may be complicated, and the recovery delayed.

In addition to load limitations, it is important to adjust the foot with orthotic insoles. Specialized Shoe inserts help to restore the physiological curves of the foot with arch support and a special cushion. During walking, the insole will take the pressure off yourself but also to mitigate the impact on the spine and the large joints of the legs due to the shock absorber built into the heel region.

arthrosis of the foot physiotherapy


To strengthen the muscles and ligaments of the feet, reducing pain, and improving mobility and articular apparatus in osteoarthritis of the foot are assigned to classes in physical therapy. A set of exercises, their intensity and number of reps is determined by the attending doctor who has an understanding of the allowable load that will not harm the patient.

The basic rule when performing physical therapy – a calm pace, no jerks or sudden movements. Exercises you cannot perform through the pain, the movement should bring only pleasant feelings. Success in gymnastics courses in their regularity. Assigned to the complex need to perform at least two times a day for 10-15 minutes.

The basis of the exercises are taken in a circular motion at the ankle joint, flexion and extension of fingers, grasping toes of small items, upgrades to the socks in a standing position. For the first class includes simple movement, gradually complicating the appearance of strength in the muscles of the feet.