Sore or Stiff Toes & Ankles? Symptoms of Foot Arthritis

August 15, 2020 6:28 pm Published by

Have you been feeling sore when you bend your toes? Maybe your feet are stiff when you wake up? Or do you see and feel inflammation around their toes or ankles?

Foot pain in the form of inflammation, soreness, and stiffness can mean a number of different things— from bone fractures or tissue damage injuries to natural reactions to improperly fitted footwear.

In this post, we’re going to explore a few symptoms of foot arthritis to help narrow down the possible reasons for your aching or stiff toes or ankles.

Sore or Stiff Toes & Ankles Symptoms of Foot Arthritis

Types of Foot Arthritis 

Different types of arthritis will cause different forms of pain and discomfort. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This is one of the most serious forms of arthritis, and is a condition where your immune system attacks your joint lining tissue. 

Those with RA often experience further issues with their joints, which can affect the little joints between your toes (interphalangeal joints) or that connect your toe bones (metatarsophalangeal joints). Your joint between your heel bones (subtalar joint) and ankle joint are often affected as well.

Because RA attacks your whole body, those with the condition can suffer from inflammation and stiffness in more than just their feet alone, so if you are experiencing difficulty moving other joints in your body, this could be the culprit.


This form of arthritis is usually caused by joint disease or age, as the “wear and tear” foot condition. Those who suffer from Osteo usually feel pain in the joint of your big toe or around your heel bone. 

If you are over 50 or were an active athlete for many years and are experiencing toe or foot aching in your joints, consider Osteo.

Post-Traumatic Arthritis

This type of arthritis is just like it sounds; it’s a form of inflammation and stiffness that can occur as the result of long-term issues from a traumatic injury. 

If you previously broke toes or suffered significant injury to your feet or ankles, PTA be forming.

Symptoms of Foot Arthritis 

Do any of these troubles apply to you?

  • Tenderness around or in-between your toe joints, or around your ankles
  • A dull ache or pain when moving your toe or ankle joints
  • Difficulty moving or putting weight on toe or ankle your joints
  • Stiffness in your toes or ankles
  • Warmth in your toes or ankles
  • Swelling or inflammation of your toes or ankles

Other Conditions with Similar Symptoms

If any of the above symptoms apply to you, don’t jump to “arthritis” quite yet. Many of those same symptoms apply to other foot-related issues.

Check out some of our other helpful articles to narrow down your causes.

Treatment for Foot Arthritis

If you are diagnosed with arthritis of your toes, feet, or ankles, there are few routes of relief:

  • Anti-inflammatory over the counter or prescription medications to reduce swelling
  • Steroid medications or injections into your troublesome joints to relieve pain
  • Specialized footwear or supportive inserts to cushion and relieve stress on the  affected joints
  • Surgery in severe cases to replace the joint or fuse affected bones

Don’t Wait

Left untreated and undiagnosed, toe or foot arthritis could lead to other serious foot and ankle related problems, such as hammertoes

The only way to confirm your foot arthritis to perform an X-ray or MRI. Let the team at Foot & Ankle properly diagnose and treat your pain by scheduling a consultation, today. 

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