X ray of an arthritic ankle

Arthritis can affect any joint in the body. This x-ray shows an ankle affected by arthritis. Waikato Podiatry can help reduce the discomfort caused by this painful disease.

Degenerative arthritis is a condition that slowly wears away cartilage on joints (the link where bones meet and move). At first you may notice that the affected joint seems stiff, it may even ache, and as the joint lining (cartilage) breaks down, the bones rub against each other, causing pain and swelling. Over time, bone spurs (small pieces of rough or splintered bone) develop, and the joint’s movement becomes more limited. But this doesn’t have to cause pain. The effects of foot arthritis can be reduced, with appropriate orthotic use.

Which Joints Are Affected?

Your feet pound the pavement every day. They support and propel your body as you move through life. Such constant use takes a toll. Aging, the wear and tear of daily use, and injury – these are the common causes of arthritis. Many people eventually develop some arthritis in their feet.

The Big Toe Joint

When arthritis affects your big toe, your foot hurts when it pushes off the ground. Arthritis often appears in the big toe joint along with a bunion (a bony bump at the side of the joint).

Other Joints

When arthritis affects the rear or mid-foot joints, you feel pain when you put weight on your foot. Arthritis may affect the joint where the ankle and foot meet. It may also affect other joints nearby.

Physical Exam

To learn the cause of your joint problem we ask about your medical history and we examine your feet for skin changes and swelling. The range of motion in any joint affected by arthritis will be tested as well.

Imaging Tests

X ray of a normal ankle

Healthy ankle joint

If required we can arrange an imaging test to check the condition of a joint. X-rays show damage to bone and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can show damage to the joint lining.


Specialised orthotic devices, footwear modifications and/or specialised footwear can help reduce the compressive force through these painful, problematic joints and allow you to continue with daily activities and some degree of sport. Surgery is a very last resort. Everything works best when it is in the right place, this is particularly important if there is joint wear.


Joint wear and tear.

There are over 140 types of arthritis. The most common is osteo-arthritis.

Osteo-arthritis can occur at any age but usually starts after the age of 40. If joints have been damaged earlier in your life they will be more prone to developing osteo-arthritis There is no cure for osteo-arthritis but there are many ways to help control symptoms and pain.

Regular exercise is essential and a key part of managing most forms of arthritis. Stabilising and supporting the joint for best alignment is also important for helping reduce strain and pain.

For more information visit


Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common form of arthritis and affects approximately 40,000 New Zealanders. Rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age, but occurs mainly between the ages of 25 and 50 and is three times more likely to affect women than men. It is a whole body problem that causes active inflammation in the joints. Again, while this disease cannot be cured, it can be controlled and managed to allow normal daily activities and a high quality of life. As with a number of arthritis conditions, a team approach is often best in the treatment and rehabilitation of arthritis. Podiatry is an important part of this team and your podiatrist at Waikato Podiatry will keep you informed as to other important links and members of the team.

“Podiatry is recognised to play an important role in the management of arthritis affecting the hips, knees and feet. Over the last couple of years Andrew has spoken at a number of our community seminars and at each of these events he has demonstrated knowledge, skills and expertise in dealing with a wide range of arthritic conditions. I have also been impressed by his holistic and comprehensive approach to treatment.” – Chaterine Swift, Arthritis Educator NZROT, MHSc, Arthritis New Zealand.

For more information visit

1 Comment

  1. Hypermobile Joints - Waikato Podiatry on November 26, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    […] There is evidence to suggest that there is a link to the early onset of osteoarthritis if joints are… […]

Leave a Comment