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Hindfoot Arthritis

The hindfoot is made up of the ankle bone (talus) and heel bone (calcaneum). It begins just below the ankle joint and ends at the Chopart joint.

What causes hindfoot arthritis?

Although in some cases there is no obvious reason why someone develops midfoot arthritis other than general wear and tear over a number of years or osteoarthritis, it can also happen as a result of a previous problem such as a bone fracture, or other damage in the hindfoot. It can also develop as a result of rheumatoid arthritis or tibialis posterior tendon dysfunction.

What are the signs of hindfoot arthritis?

Signs include pain or aching in the middle or back of the foot when you walk, as well as stiffness in the foot. Some people have swelling around the ankle and side of the foot or other changes such as the foot becoming flatter (losing its natural arch). The heel bone can also start to point outwards. Wearing normal shoes can become a problem as the skin on the inside of the foot can begin to rub on the shoe and shoes can also wear out more quickly.

Stiffness and pain will usually become worse, making it more difficult to walk. Left untreated, the foot may become deformed, and nearby joints can also become affected.

How is hindfoot arthritis diagnosed?

During your first appointment, you’ll have an opportunity to discuss your symptoms with Mr Heidari who will usually carry out a number of diagnostic tests. These may include an X-ray, CT or MRI scan to identify which joints are affected.

What does treatment involve?

Not everyone with hindfoot arthritis needs to have surgery and Mr Heidari will be able to advise you about the type of treatment that’s best for you.

  • In some cases, the pain can by managed by wearing modified shoes to take pressure away from the affected joints, along with stopping any activities that worsen your symptoms
  • Mr Heidari may advise that you take anti-inflammatory painkillers and work with one of our physiotherapists on a specially designed exercise programme
  • You may also be advised to have a course of steroid injections into the joint at regular intervals to help manage the pain

If you need to have surgery, this usually involves foot fusion surgery of the painful arthritic joints

This information is written as a guide to your treatment but it is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Please contact us for advice if you are worried about any aspect of your health or recovery.