What Can Cause Joint Pain in the Foot?


Quick Answer

Joint pain in the foot can be caused by arthritis, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The three types of arthritis most often found in the feet are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and post-traumatic arthritis.

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Osteoarthritis occurs in people as they age, typically when they reach about middle age, the AAOS explains. Over time, joints and cartilage undergo wear and tear, becoming swollen, inflamed and painful. While this condition worsens over time, obesity can contribute to it. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body identifies cartilage as a foreign body and attacks it. Experts are unsure of what precisely triggers the immune system into destroying the joints. Post-traumatic arthritis occurs after a joint is injured. In the foot, the injury can be little more than a severe sprain to trigger this condition. It can also occur after a ligament injury or fracture.

Symptoms of arthritis in the foot include joint pain, stiffness, loss of range of motion, difficulty walking and swelling, says the AAOS. Arthritis usually settles in the ankle joint where the bottom of the tibia meets the top of the foot and the subtalar, talonavicular and calcaneocuboid joints, as well as the metatarsal joints and the big toe.

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