Ask the MSK Expert: Degenerative foot and ankle conditions


As I’m getting older, the wear and tear of daily life seems to take its toll on my feet and ankles. What should I know about degenerative foot and ankle conditions as I age?

Dr. Edwards says: "You’re not alone; the “wear-and-tear” form of arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis, is extremely common, and it develops more as people age. Symptoms of foot and ankle osteoarthritis usually include tenderness or pain, reduced ability to move, stiffness and swelling.

"There are numerous noninvasive treatment options to choose from, including steroid injections, anti-inflammatory drugs, pain relievers, pads or arch supports, canes or braces, physical therapy, and custom shoes. Any and all shoes are crucial – be sure to choose the shoes that fit properly and offer support, comfortability and flexibility.

"If the arthritis is severe enough and conservative forms of treatment prove ineffective, surgery can be an option. The surgeon’s recommended procedure depends on the type and extent of your specific condition. Some surgical options include fusion surgery and joint replacement surgery.

"Before all of this, however, be sure to talk with your orthopedic surgeon about which treatment plan works best for you."


Physician Spotlight

Christopher T. Edwards, MD, is a fellowship-trained orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon at Tri Rivers who performs reconstructive foot and ankle surgery, including ankle replacement, and minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques for foot and ankle injuries, and treats degenerative foot and ankle conditions. He is a former collegiate athlete and was an assistant team physician for Knoch High School football and a team physician for Deer Lakes High School football. 

Dr. Edwards sees patients in our Cranberry/Mars and North Hills offices. To schedule an appointment with him, or any other Tri Rivers provider, please call 1-866-874-7483 or click here.