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HealthInfo Canterbury

About foot & ankle arthritis

Arthritis causes inflammation in one or more of your joints. Many of the different types of arthritis can happen in your feet and ankles, often making it difficult to walk and do the things you enjoy.

How do I know if I have arthritis in my feet or ankles?

A normal ankle with smooth surfaces and a clear space between the bones. An arthritic ankle with damaged surfaces and bits of crumbling boneIf you have arthritis in your feet or ankles, your joints may be:

To diagnose arthritis in your ankles or feet your doctor, physiotherapist, or podiatrist will examine your feet or ankles and ask you questions about the pain, how bad it is, and how it affects you.

You will also have an X-ray to show exactly where the arthritis is and how bad it is.


Septic arthritis is a very painful joint infection that needs urgent medical attention. if you have sudden swelling of a joint, severe joint pain, redness and heat around the joint, a fever, or are generally feeling unwell, see a doctor as soon as possible.

What causes foot and ankle arthritis?

Several conditions can increase your risk of getting arthritis. However, it is most often caused by having a previously broken ankle bone, or some other ankle injury.

As well, the following foot conditions can cause arthritis in your ankles or feet:

On the next page: Living with foot & ankle arthritis

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by orthopaedic surgeon, Canterbury DHB. Page created February 2017.

Page reference: 342986

Review key: HIFAA-342985