Patients who suffer from midfoot arthritis will suffer pain and swelling, and after a period there will be a change in the shape of the foot. There are two principal causes of the arthritis. Firstly, a specific injury can lead to joint damage and osteoarthritis. These injuries can strain the middle part of the foot and lead to pain. The second cause of the condition rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory joint problems that lead to midfoot arthritis occurring.
Symptoms include sharp, burning pain in the midpoint of the foot and discomfort when wearing shoes. The symptoms are particularly prominent when the patient is walking or playing sport.
Midfoot arthritis is very tricky to spot, and is often overlooked by non-specialists because there are so many small joints in the midfoot. A careful clinical assessment is required along with special x-ray views. Scans may also be required and all selective injections.
Treatment will depend on the severity of the injury, and will fall under the category of non-surgical or surgical.
Painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication can be prescribed to help reduce discomfort, and limiting activities that aggravate the symptoms is also recommended. Stiff shoes are also suggested rather than soft ones, as stiff soles protect the painful joints, which bend less therefore, hurt less.
In selected cases, where arthritic spurs have emerged, a small operation may be conducted. In the more extreme instances fusion of the arthritic joints may be necessary using screw plates and/or staples. These treatments can reduce pain.
Prior to surgery, scans and/or injections are needed to decide which small joints to fuse. This sort of surgery for metatarsalgia (forefoot pain) takes many months to recover from and is very much a last resort.
Physiotherapy treatment of midfoot arthritis involves educating the patient on their condition and giving them advice on how best to manage the condition. The various treatment options are discussed and lifestyle decisions are discussed. Exercises to improve proprioception and lower limb biomechanics can often help. Wearing supportive shoes can be of immense help. Taping the midfoot can also be helpful in reducing pain. Physiotherapy treatment to alleviate pain (acupuncture, electrotherapy) can also be useful. Treatment will vary greatly from patient to patient and will depend on the severity of the arthritis and the patients preferred management option.