oot and ankle arthritis can strike at any time, causing you pain, discomfort, and general irritation. In fact, arthritis affects over 50 million people each year. Board certified foot and rear foot surgeon Michael Howell, DPM, provides compassionate care for all types of foot and ankle arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and gout. To schedule your appointment, call the Coldwater, Michigan office today.

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What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a general term used to describe a group of more than 100 diseases that cause swelling and inflammation of the joints throughout your body. Because your feet each contain 28 bones and 20+ joints, they’re also susceptible to arthritis.

There’s no cure for arthritis, but early intervention and treatment can ease symptoms and slow the diseases’ progression, ensuring you maintain an active and healthy quality of life.

What are some types of arthritis that affect the feet and ankles?

Dr. Howell treats several types of arthritis that affect the feet and ankles, including:

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes your body’s immune system to attack the lining of your joints, called the synovium. This process causes swelling and discomfort, making it difficult to move your feet, ankles, and toes.


Osteoarthritis, or wear-and-tear arthritis, occurs due to the natural aging process. Over time, osteoarthritis causes the soft cushion-like lining of your joints (cartilage) to wear away. Without enough padding, your bones rub up against one another, causing pain, swelling, and general discomfort.


Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs due to a build of uric acid. A gout flare can often occur due to dietary reasons, as well as underlying health issues. The uric acid crystallizes and forms deposits in your joints, especially those in your feet and toes. Common symptoms of gout include swelling, limited mobility, and severe pain, most commonly in the big toe, though can occur in any joint.

Post-traumatic arthritis

Post-traumatic arthritis occurs due to damage to your foot or ankle after having sustained a fracture or injury previously. Common causes of post-traumatic arthritis include sports-related injuries, automobile accidents, and work injuries. Similar to osteoarthritis, post-traumatic arthritis causes the cartilage between one or more joints to wear away.

How is arthritis diagnosed?

To diagnose arthritis, Dr. Howell reviews your medical history, asks you about your symptoms, and physically examines your feet and ankles. He will obtain x-rays in the office. Depending on the information he gathers during these steps, he might also order laboratory tests or advanced diagnostic imaging to better pinpoint the source of your discomfort.

How is arthritis treated?

Treatment of arthritis depends on the underlying type and the severity of your symptoms. Often, Dr. Howell recommends conservative, integrative options like appropriate stretches and exercises, supportive shoes, bracing, and orthotics.

If your pain persists or gets worse, you might also benefit from prescription medications, corticosteroid injections, or physical therapy. If you have a severe case of arthritis, surgical intervention may be necessary.

To learn more about the treatment options for foot and ankle arthritis, schedule an appointment with Michael Howell, DPM, at his office in Coldwater, MI. Call the office today.