Foot Pain: When Pain makes it Hard to Walk - Rheumatology Consultant London | Rheumatologist London | Dr Stephanie Barrett



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Both the feet and the ankles can be extremely painful if affected by an arthritic condition. Pain in the foot can make it hard to walk or even stand. It can significantly affect mobility and here we’re looking at some of the main conditions that cause foot pain.


Osteoarthritis can affect any of the joints in your feet or ankles. Most commonly it causes episodic pain and swelling to the same joint or joints in the foot or ankle but it can also result in bone enlargement and be extremely painful. The most common place people find osteoarthritis in the foot is the big toe, it can result in stiffness in the joint and reduced movement. Osteoarthritis usually only develops in the ankle if you’ve been injured or you have damage to the joint because of an inflammatory arthritic condition.

Inflammatory Arthritis

There are many different forms of inflammatory arthritis which can affect the feet and ankles. Rheumatoid arthritis can damage almost any joint in the foot whereas reactive arthritis usually affects only the ankle or the heel. It can affect pain in the toes which is known as dactylitis. Psoriatic arthritis can also cause dactylitis and gout too, can affect the foot, most commonly the big toe joint.

Other Conditions which cause Foot Pain

One condition you may want to keep in mind if you experience foot pain is Raynaud’s phenomenon. A circulatory problem. Raynaud’s phenomenon results in reduced blood supply to certain parts of the body, especially when it’s cold. It can result in fingers and toes getting cold, going numb and even going red or blue. It is a problem which comes with conditions such as scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis and requires extra care and attention for your feet.

Seek Help for Persistent Foot Pain

Most foot problems will pass in time and not permanently affect your mobility. It may be the occasional flare up which makes walking difficult but usually with the right treatment, all foot pain can be managed.