Foot arthrosis: symptoms and treatment

Arthrosis of the foot is one of the most common types of pathology, localized in the distal lower articular apparatus.

The unpleasant consequences of destructive joint disease include chronic pain and loss of motor function. Degenerative damage to articular tissue occurs after a normal heavy load on the foot, and as a complication after injury and corresponding disease. Arthrosis is accompanied by pain and deformity of the legs.

Treatment consists of correcting with an orthopedic insole and relieving symptoms with medication.

What is this?

Simply put, foot arthrosis is severe damage to the arch joints of the foot, associated with gradual degeneration and complete destruction of cartilage tissue within them. In addition to the intense pain syndrome that accompanies the pathology, it eventually leads to the impossibility of full leg function, loss of depreciation and other functions and, thus, disability of the patient.

Cause of incident

The cause of arthrosis of the foot joint is primarily poor blood flow, deterioration of supporting tissue due to injury or age -related changes. For effective treatment, you need to know what causes leg arthrosis.

The main causes are described below:

  1. Too much weight, which puts more pressure on the foot joints.
  2. Deterioration of bone and cartilage tissue over many years.
  3. Genetic predisposition.
  4. Walk in tight or oversized shoes.
  5. Individual characteristics of the feet: large width, curvature of the toes, flat feet. In addition, different leg lengths may be the cause.
  6. Excessive mechanical workload on the limbs, characteristic of people who prefer strenuous physical work or some sports.
  7. Traumatic injuries to the legs, muscle sprains.
  8. Constant cold action.
  9. Wear high heels.

In addition, the following causes of leg arthrosis are distinguished:

  • allergies and autoimmune diseases;
  • congenital displacement or irregularity of the hip bone;
  • hormonal and endocrine disorders in the body;
  • lack of useful and essential elements;
  • chronic infectious wounds on the limbs.

It is not possible to completely cure such a disease, but it is quite possible to improve the vital qualities of the patient significantly by stopping further degenerative tendencies. In this case, leg arthrosis should be treated after identifying the main signs of the disease.

What is the danger of arthrosis damage to the foot?

In the absence of efficient and timely treatment, arthrosis of the foot joints develops relatively rapidly, leading to the destruction of cartilage tissue and inflammatory processes in the muscles.

This is accompanied not only by severe pain, but also by deformities of the legs, by the growth of bone tissue in the joints. As a result, mobility is lost making it impossible to move the legs. This leads to disability, inability to move freely, as well as psychological discomfort due to their low self -esteem.

Symptoms of foot arthrosis

Arthrosis of the legs is accompanied by the severity of different symptoms, the degree of its manifestation depends on the stage and severity of the lesion. As a rule, the disease begins gradually, and for a long time it may show no external signs.

In addition to foot fatigue after long walks, signs of minor deformities appear: the formation of small bone protrusions at the metatarsophalangeal joints of the big toe, changes in the shape of the fingers. One may regard these signs as unpleasant cosmetic defects and not be aware of the presence of a destructive disease.

The main symptoms of leg arthrosis:

  1. After waking up, there is stiffness in the joints, they lose mobility, after a brief warm -up, flexibility returns to the legs;
  2. In the final stages of pathology, the range of motion decreases sharply, the person inadvertently tries to unload the sore leg, which causes the gait to be disturbed, and lameness appears;
  3. Painful pain as a result of prolonged physical exertion, after the complete destruction of the joint, pain syndrome is always present;
  4. Painful aches may appear with changes in weather or hypothermia of the feet;
  5. The affected area periodically swells, with inflammation of the joints, hyperemia appears, the skin becomes hot to the touch;
  6. During foot movements, a crackling sound is heard, which is a result of a lack of synovial fluid and the presence of bone defects in the joints;
  7. Gradually, the degenerative process spreads to the periarticular tissues, forming dense cysts in the muscles;
  8. Boils appear on the soles of the feet;
  9. One intuitively saves a sore leg, which leads to muscle atrophy and decreased blood circulation;
  10. Leg arthrosis is accompanied by rapid fatigue of the legs after long standing in one place or short walks.

Lack of therapeutic measures contributes to the development of pathological processes. Continuous changes in cartilage structure and joint structure lead to the appearance of a characteristic clinical picture.


X-ray techniques are very important in diagnostic issues. In medicine, the X-ray stage classification of leg arthrosis is used, which was proposed in 1961 by a doctor of medical sciences, a professor, a leading expert in the diagnosis of osteoarticular pathology. It includes three stages:

  • Early, in which the roentgenogram records a slight narrowing of the gap between the articulations, can only be seen when compared with healthy joints, and weakly expressed articular cartilage lesions;
  • The degree of change is significant - the narrowing of the gap between the articulations is clearly visible, as it becomes twice or less than the norm. Destruction of cartilaginous tissue takes on a clear character in the places of greatest load on the joints;
  • Significant degree of change - X -rays show complete destruction of the cartilage cover of the bone. The gaps between the articulations are almost absent, the joint bone tissues are in contact with each other, they coincide completely, the surface is deformed, bone growth is significantly expressed. This stage is called deformed foot osteoarthritis, in which the motor function of the foot joints is significantly affected.

This technique is still used when a person undergoes a medical and social examination to establish a group of people with disabilities. There is another radiological classification of arthrosis according to Kellgren Lawrence, proposed in 1957.

In addition to X-rays, modern methods of instrumental diagnostics of foot arthrosis are used. Ultrasound examination and computed tomography of the foot joint provide additional information about the condition of bone, cartilage and periarticular tissue in the affected area.

feet affected by arthrosis

Treatment of foot arthrosis

It must be said immediately that therapy should be carried out only in consultation with a doctor. Improper treatment of foot arthrosis at home, carried out by some careless patients, only exacerbates the course of the disease and delays recovery.

In the treatment of leg arthrosis, complex procedures are used, including conservative and surgical techniques. Conservative methods include:

  1. Drug treatment - painkillers and anti -inflammatory drugs in the form of tablets, local and injectable, chondroprotectors injected into the joints;
  2. Physiotherapy - ultraviolet irradiation, treatment with high -frequency currents, shock wave therapy, exercise and therapeutic massage, use of mud, mineral baths;
  3. Spa treatments.

A particular problem is the treatment of arthrosis of the small joints of the feet. Deformation and curvature of the fingers with foot arthrosis develop very quickly, impeding walking and contributing to the appearance of painful corns and calluses. Experts recommend changing shoes for more comfortable shoes to avoid such curvature, as well as contact an orthopedic specialist who will help you choose an orthopedic insole and a special splint that holds the toes in the correct position.

In the third stage of deformed leg arthrosis, it is too late to take pills and use physiotherapy, because at this stage the treatment of leg arthrosis with medication can no longer give lasting positive results. First, the cartilaginous membrane is completely destroyed, and then the joint bone tissue. Also, one of the consequences of leg arthrosis is spinal pathology (curvature, herniated intervertebral disc) as a result of persistent postural and gait disorders.

To restore normal motor function of the joint, surgical treatment methods are used. This can be surgery to remove cartilage remnants, artificially closing the joint to paralyze it to prevent further bone destruction, partial replacement of articular tissue with artificial tissue. Radical treatment methods involve complete replacement of the joint with an endoprosthesis. But all these manipulations are carried out only with a large joint - the ankle.

Lifestyle change

The patient needs to reconsider some of his habits in daily life, which contribute to and trigger the development of leg arthrosis. Without this, drug treatment will not have the desired effect. Painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs will only eliminate the symptoms of the disease, but the pathological process itself will progress.

The first important thing in changing your lifestyle is to reduce stress on diseased joints. The load on the joints, first of all, must be reduced to prevent the progression of the disease and stabilize its process. This can be achieved by changing certain habits and lifestyles.

The most important rules for reducing the load on the legs are as follows:

  • avoid long walks;
  • walk alternately with a 5 -minute break;
  • do not stand in one place for a long time (static loads on the affected joints are more severely acceptable than dynamic ones);
  • going down and up stairs frequently is not recommended, if possible, you should use the elevator more often;
  • does not carry weight;
  • use a stick.

Another important thing is weight loss. As noted above, in obese patients, leg arthrosis develops more rapidly due to greater pressure on the joints when walking. For treatment, it is important to determine the so -called body mass index (BMI) and try to normalize this indicator.

Treatment of foot arthrosis with medications

Medication methods for treating foot arthrosis at home are reduced to taking certain medications. They partially eliminate the symptoms of the disease, helping to improve joint nutrition. The problem is that cartilage and bone defects are very difficult to repair. Often, for complete correction, surgical intervention is still required. However, treatment tactics depend on the stage. Before significant changes in the joints, the main method is precise drug treatment.

Prescribing medication can trigger the development of gastropathy, which is indicated by erosions and ulcers of the stomach and duodenum. Risk factors for the development of complications are old age, the presence of peptic ulcer disease and chronic gastritis in the past, simultaneous administration of 2 - 3 drugs from this group at once.

For the prevention of exacerbation, the following are set in parallel:

  • Proton pump inhibitors.
  • Histamine H2 receptor blockers.

To improve joint function, chondroprotectors are used. These are drugs that increase the metabolism of articular cartilage, which slows down and prevents its destruction. The main components of the drug are glycosaminoglycans and sodium chondroitin sulfate. All chondroprotectors are used for a long course - from 1 month to six months. After a break of 2 - 3 months, treatment should be repeated.

In addition to tablets, capsules and injections, which have systemic effects (on the whole body), local therapy is also used. It comes to the use of ointments and creams. In addition, some medications are injected directly into or near the ankle. This treatment usually gives a faster and more stable effect.

For local therapy, the following methods can be used:

  • intra-articular and periarticular administration of glucocorticoids;
  • intra-articular administration of hyaluronic acid preparations;
  • local application to the affected joint area ointment (gel, cream), based on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
arthrosis of the legs


In the treatment of patients with leg arthrosis, the following physiotherapeutic procedures are used:

  1. Pulse magnetotherapy-inductors are placed on both sides of the affected joint and gently moved for 5 to 10 minutes. This course consists of 10 procedures.
  2. The use of heat transfer fluids - during such a procedure, the temperature of the tissues exposed to the action increases. Cartilage metabolism is activated, its regeneration is stimulated. The use of peat mud with temperatures up to 40 degrees, paraffin and ozokerite with temperatures up to 55 degrees is used. Such procedures are performed in 10 - 15 for one course of 20 minutes each.
  3. Electrophoresis - lidocaine, analgin, sodium salicylate. The duration of exposure is 20 minutes per day. The course consists of 15 procedures.
  4. Ultrafonophoresis - hydrocortisone, analgin. A period of 5 minutes for each affected joint. The course of treatment consists of 10 procedures.
  5. Infrared radiation - lasts for 5 - 8 minutes on aching joints every day for 10 days.


In the acute period of lower leg arthrosis, the foot is shown to be at rest. However, once the pain subsides, it is necessary to begin exercise therapy.

Exercises that can be done for leg arthrosis at home:

  • pull the socks alternately away from you and towards you;
  • make circular movements with your thumb;
  • pinch the toes as tightly as possible and also vigorously unnch;
  • try to grab small objects off the floor with your toes.

If the patient has arthrosis in the small joints of the foot, treatment with movement (kinesitherapy) is considered basic. In the beginning, it is better to study with the instructor - he will show you what and how things need to be done

Wear special shoes

With the complex treatment of foot arthrosis, the doctor prescribes the continuous wearing of special shoes. It is very easy to find orthopedic boots, shoes and even slippers for home use that are on sale now.

Specially designed instep support and insole support the foot in the desired position and add shock absorption when walking, while additional braces and inserts improve the ankle, preventing further deformation of the articular cartilage and the development of toe arthrosis.

insoles for foot arthrosis

Restoration of the people

The following folk remedies are the most effective for the treatment and prevention of arthrosis:

  • Compressed potatoes. They are used primarily to relieve swelling and pain in the affected joint area. Potatoes are thoroughly washed and chopped without peeling. Then it is thrown into warm water (40-50 degrees) and soaked for a few minutes. The resulting mass is wrapped in a cloth and applied to the affected joints twice a day.
  • Angelica root bath. Angelica root is crushed and wrapped in cloth (gauze folded several times). For 5 liters of water, 250 - 300 g of roots are needed. The cloth is placed in a bowl of hot water and wait until the water cools to a temperature of 30-40 degrees. After that, a foot bath is made for 10 to 15 minutes. In this case, the sac is not removed.
  • Pine oil. Spruce oil is carefully applied to the affected joint area twice a day. For best effect, it is advisable to apply a warming compress before rubbing in the ointment.
  • Garlic juice. A few cloves of young garlic are ground until fluffy and vegetable oil is added. The resulting mixture is applied in a thin layer on the aching joint before bedtime and a bandage is applied.
  • Conifer balm. This tool helps increase metabolism in cartilage tissue, slowing down joint deformation. To prepare the balm, 50 g of young needles are poured into 2 liters of boiling water. The mixture is boiled for 15 to 20 minutes over low heat. In this case, you can add a teaspoon of garlic juice, mashed rose hips, finely chopped licorice root. The broth is put in a thermos for 18 - 20 hours. After that, it is filtered through cheesecloth, cooled in the refrigerator and drunk 0. 5 - 1 liters a day for a week.
  • Ointment from hops and St. John's wort. To prepare the ointment, carefully grind 10 g of herbs washed St. John's wort and hops. To the resulting slurry, add 50 g of vaseline oil and stir evenly until a homogeneous mass is obtained. The ointment is applied to the joint area twice a day.

The above method is recommended for people who are at risk of getting leg arthrosis. First of all, these are patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases of the joints. As a preventative measure, this recipe can also be used by the elderly, athletes, patients after fractures or sprains of the ankle joints.


Foot arthrosis refers to a chronic pathology that gradually develops and exacerbates the degenerative process. In the 3rd stage of the disease, the disorder is so pronounced that the cartilage tissue is completely destroyed and cannot be restored with medications. To eliminate deformities, severe pain, restore the ability to walk, only surgical methods are used. The rest of the treatment is ineffective.

Types of modern surgical interventions:

  1. Arthroscopy. An arthroscope is inserted into the intra -articular cavity - this is a special device that allows you to examine the joint from the inside. Doctors remove all foreign elements from the synovial fluid: cartilage particles that separate, bone or blood clots. Manipulation reduces the severity of pain, but only provides temporary relief. The pain returns in 6-12 months. It is used mainly in young people;
  2. Arthrodesis. During the operation, the remaining cartilage is removed, the joint is installed in one position. Gradually, the bones unite in a certain position, so ankylosis appears. The joints are completely eliminated, this leads to immobility of the foot, but the elimination of pain, inflammation and the ability to walk, although the quality of movement is still low. This technique is rarely used;
  3. Endoprosthetics. It is used exclusively in stage 3 disease, when almost no cartilage is left. The method consists of implant implantation. Its service life reaches 10-15 years, depending on the type of material used. Endoprosthetics allow you to fully restore your quality of life.
back pain with arthrosis

Is it possible to completely cure leg arthrosis?

It is believed that it is impossible to completely overcome leg arthrosis. Destroyed cartilage no longer grows. All therapies aim to maintain the current condition of the joint and preserve it in the form in which the patient comes to the doctor.

The doctor can only stop the process, but not restore the tissue. If the recommendations are followed, the patient will not feel a restriction on movement, and only negative external factors or ignoring the doctor’s advice can again make a person feel uncomfortable in the legs.

Prevention and complications

To exclude the appearance of unpleasant diseases, you must follow simple rules. One of them is a healthy lifestyle. For the prevention of arthrosis requires:

  • reduce the amount of salt you eat;
  • arrange proper nutrition;
  • limit excessive physical activity;
  • get rid of excess weight;
  • strengthens immunity to exclude inflammatory, infectious diseases.

Preventive methods for the development of arthrosis include:

  • avoid injury to the bottom;
  • exclusion of foot hypothermia;
  • self -massage the soles of the feet;
  • use of comfortable shoes with flexible soles, orthopedic insoles;
  • removal of high heels;
  • doing gymnastics for the foot joints;
  • walking barefoot on grass, sand;
  • timely treatment of inflammatory diseases.

The disease can be complicated by pathologies such as arthritis, foot bursitis, inflammation of the periarticular bursa. Arthrosis of the foot leads to deformation of the toes, in neglected conditions it becomes the reason for immobilization of the foot and disability of the patient.


With a timely diagnosis of foot arthrosis and properly selected treatment at an early stage, the prognosis is good. Despite the fact that cartilage destruction is irreversible, further development of pathology with joint destruction can be prevented. Arthrosis in the late stages has an unfavorable prognosis, leg function is lost, deformity can be avoided only by replacing the destroyed joint with an artificial one.