Rheumatoid arthritis of the foot and ankle can be a debilitating problem, particularly for patients who have undergone successful hip or knee arthroplasty. Optimal medical management, use of orthotic devices, and surgical intervention are essential components of patient care. Forefoot involvement with hallux valgus and lesser metatarsophalangeal joint subluxation and dislocation are the most common findings. Reconstruction usually requires lesser metatarsophalangeal joint excisional arthroplasty and first metatarsophalangeal joint arthrodesis. Midfoot tarsometatarsal and intertarsal involvement is treated with orthotic devices and intertarsal fusion for advanced arthropathy. Hindfoot involvement frequently leads to pes planovalgus deformity, which may require isolated talonavicular arthrodesis if treated early or triple arthrodesis for advanced destruction. Ankle involvement is less frequent; when it is unresponsive to conservative measures, ankle symptoms may be improved by arthrodesis. Although great advances have been made in medical and surgical management of rheumatoid arthritis, the disease remains a serious problem. Through prudent use of medical management, orthotic devices, and other conservative measures as well as surgical intervention, long-term function can be enhanced greatly.





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