top of page

Rheumatoid Foot & Ankle

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the commonest type of inflammatory arthritis. Up to 90% of people with this condition will report associated foot problems. For up to 20% patients, the foot is the first area of the body to present with signs and symptoms of RA. For others, it may be months, years or they may never experience any foot problems at all.


Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid feet can vary from mild pain, warmth and swelling of one or more foot joint, through to joint erosions, progressive deformities and instability. RA classically affects the MTPJs, the subtalar joint and less commonly the ankle joint. RA can cause bursitis due to excessive rubbing in a particular area in the forefoot.


Treatment of Rheumatoid foot is aimed at reducing painful symptoms and disease activity, supporting the joints of the feet, improving foot function and surgically correcting the deformities if the non-operative modalities fail.


In majority of cases, symptoms can be controlled with analgesics, disease modifying agents, custom-made orthotics and activity modification.


Surgical treatment involves correction of the deformities and fusion procedures. A variety of procedures are used in practice that are tailored according to individual patient needs, extent of the deformities and the treating surgeon's experience.​


  • The Foot and Rheumatoid Arthritis; National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (

  • American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (

Last Updated:Feb 2018

bottom of page