Heel Arthritis / Hindfoot Arthritis / Subtalar Arthritis

Heel and Hindfoot arthritis is due to two differing problems. The first is due to trauma or sprain of the hindfoot which results in a partial dislocation or injury of the area and arthritis over time. The second common cause is degeneration or loss of cartilage in the midfoot due to abnormal wear and tear or looseness of the hindfoot and chronic abnormal motion.

Common treatments of arthritis include physical therapy, orthotic and bracing care to limit abnormal motion and possibly injection therapy. In most cases a period of relief may be available with conservative care. However, the arthritic process will continue to get worse and, in most cases, surgical correction is often required.

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MRI showing arthritis (yeallow arrow) of the subtalar joint with pain. Computerized tomography (CT scan) of the ankle and subtalar joint with cystic changes (yellow arrow) of the talus and pain.
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X-ray of subtalar arthritis. Subtalar fusion with large screw fixation to allow for rapid healing and early weightbearing.

Surgical correction of heel and hindfoot arthritis is aimed at relief of pain and continued use of the foot at its optimal level. In cases of arthritic spurs, the spurs can be removed with little to no downtime and rapid recovery. In cases of severe arthritis, a fusion of the arthritic joint(s) is required to relieve pain. A limited amount of motion loss may be noted, but most patients relate a high level of pain relief and improved function after surgical fusions of the midfoot.