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Midfoot osteoarthritis (OA) “Wear and Tear Arthritis of the midfoot”

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What is midfoot Osteoarthritis (OA)?

Osteoarthritis (OA) can affect any joint. It is the process of gradual wear and tear of the joints and cartilage that protects them. It is usually associated with the ageing process, overuse and injury. In Podiatry, we commonly see osteoarthritis in the midfoot, ankles and the big toe joints.

This is very often associated with previous injuries or overuse, but is also common if you are carrying a little too much weight due to increased stress through the joints.

Usually people describe the pain as a low grade aching but as it progresses, the pain from midfoot OA can be quite sharp, it can also throb, and rest doesn’t always help it to settle down. Many patients also anecdotally suggest that their experience of arthritic pain alters with the weather (being more painful in wet and cold conditions).

People usually say they have pain over the tops of the feet, pointing to the area below where the laces of a shoe would be. Many people also say the pain is deeper in the foot so they cannot press it or rub it.

Pain closer to the surface in this area may be extensor tendon pain. Some people have hard lumps over the tops of the midfoot areas too which could be bony exostosis (spurs) linked to arthritis. Softer lumps in these areas could be ganglions / ganglia, these can also be associated with osteoarthritis.

How can I help myself?

It can be hard to predict or prevent the onset of OA. If you sustain an injury to a joint you may be at higher risk of developing it.  Making sure you keep the muscles around the affected joint strong may help to reduce your chances of developing problems in later life, but this is very hard to research and prove.

Supportive footwear and foot orthoses may help with OA of the midfoot. Pain medication and anti inflammatory medication (see important safety information) may also be useful, but due to the chronic and degenerative nature of the problem, you need to seek medical advice about taking medication. Some people find benefits from heat packs to gently warm the joints and contrast warm and cold therapy may also be useful.

When to see a Podiatrist?

A Podiatrist can assess your pain and offer a clinical diagnosis. Sometimes X-rays will be advised to confirm diagnosis.

Podiatrists are experts in observing compensations in the body when you have pain and can advise on footwear and foot orthoses to try and help these compensations and also reduce your foot pain. They may also use strapping and padding techniques.

Steroid injections and even shockwave therapy can be used to try and help symptoms if appropriate too and referral to a surgeon in severe cases is also an option.

OA can be challenging to manage, but Podiatrists are experts in controlling the symptoms of midfoot osteoarthritis.

If you book an appointment, take the shoes you wear day to day and any sports or exercise specific footwear your use too.

Midfoot Osteoarthritis
Midfoot Osteoarthritis
Midfoot Osteoarthritis