Osteoarthritis is a condition characterized by the breakdown and eventual loss of cartilage in one or more joints. Cartilage, the connective tissue found at the end of the bones in the joints, protects and cushions the bones during movement. When cartilage deteriorates, symptoms develop that can restrict one’s ability to easily perform daily activities. This condition appears in the foot, most frequently in the big toe.


The most common causes of this degenerative arthritis are listed as follows:

  • Abnormal foot mechanics.
  • A natural part of the aging process.
  • A previous traumatic injury to the foot.
  • Repeated stress.


Typically, those who have osteoarthritis experience one or more of the following symptoms to varying degrees:

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Difficulty bending joints
  • New unwanted bone growth
  • Corns, calluses, or blisters



After assessing the symptoms, radiology results, and physical status of the foot/ankle, your surgeon may suggest one or more of the following treatments to help with symptom relief.

  • Bracing
  • Semi-extensive immobilization
  • Oral medications
  • Orthotic devices
  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injections


If the nonsurgical remedies do not improve the status of the condition, your doctor may recommend surgery, as a way to decrease pain and improve the general function of the foot.