Hindfoot arthritis affects the joints below the ankle: the subtalar, talonavicular and calcaneocuboid joints. It may be due to “wear and tear” (osteoarthritis); previous trauma, especially calcaneal fractures, or inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. It is usually characterised by pain and stiffness felt just below the ankle and usually worse when walking on uneven surfaces. It may go through better and worse phases but over time the trend is usually for a gradual deterioration.
Treatment of hindfoot arthritis depends upon the cause of the problem, the needs of the individual and the extent of the arthritis. For early disease simple pain-killers, orthotics (insoles) or an x-ray guided steroid injection into the joint may help. Arthroscopy (keyhole surgery) can be used to remove scar tissue and treat damaged areas of cartilage. For advanced disease surgery to fuse (arthrodese) one of more of the joints offers good long-term relief of pain and a stable hindfoot.