what is midfoot arthritis and how it is treatedOne of the most common forms of foot arthritis we see at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City is midfoot arthritis.

What Is the Midfoot?

The midfoot has five tarsal bones—the navicular, cuboid, and three cuneiform. It’s essential in helping us transfer weight from the heel to the front of the foot when we walk. It forms the arches of our feet to give us flexibility and acts as a shock absorber when we walk or run.

Because of its role in foot function, when arthritis develops in the midfoot it can great hamper our ability to walk smoothly and pain free.

Symptoms of Mid Foot Arthritis

Symptoms experienced by people who develop midfoot arthritis can include:

  • Pain or aching in the midfoot when moving.
  • More difficulty with pain with first steps out of bed in the morning.
  • Swelling or bony protrusion (osteophyte) on top of the foot.
  • Loss of flexibility particularly on uneven surfaces.

If left untreated, these symptoms can progress making walking and other exercise more difficult. Getting early treatment can help slow down the process

Causes of Mid Foot Arthritis

Many factors can be involved in development of midfoot arthritis including:

  • High arches – older patients with high arches are more likely to develop midfoot pain
  • Trauma -- a previous Lisfranc injury, or other trauma to the bones or joints in that region of the foot can lead to midfoot arthritis in later life.
  • Osteoarthritis—some people are more prone to develop arthritis throughout their bodies including their midfoot.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis—this immune disorder can affect the midfoot.
  • Diabetes—people with diabetes are more likely to develop a condition called Charcot foot. In this condition bones can spontaneously fragment and fracture including the midfoot.
  • Posterior Tibial Tendonitis – a condition that causes extreme flattening of the foot is posterior tibial tendonitis. This can cause the midfoot to develop arthritis.

Diagnosis of Mid Foot Arthritis

Your podiatrist will often find swelling and tenderness in the midfoot during your exam. He/she will also look for foot alignment issues and identify which joints are causing you pain. X-rays will also be taken.

Treatment of Mid Foot Arthritis

A combination of therapies are used to treat this condition including:

  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • MLS laser therapy—a cold laser treats the pain and inflammation of arthritis.
  • Orthotics –custom orthotics will increase support to the midfoot and decrease pain and inflammation.
  • Footwear changes
    • Wearing supportive shoes with a stiff sole and/or rocker bottom shoes will help move the force away from the midfoot.
    • Avoid shoes that apply pressure to the top of the midfoot. A shoe with a softer upper like Arcopedico will help.
    • Use lacing techniques that reduce pressure on the midfoot. Instead of crisscrossing every eyelet go up one first, then crossover, up one and then over one. Doing that you could see you end up with less crisscrosses and less pressure across the instep.
  • Change to lower impact exercise like swimming or cycling to avoid putting pressure on the midfoot.
  • Weight loss—losing weight will help take the pressure off the midfoot.
  • Calf stretches—tight calf muscles can cause more stress to go into the midfoot when walking.
  • Cortisone injections—can reduce inflammation and pain symptoms.
  • Using crutches or a cane to off load the foot.


When all conservative measures have failed, surgery may be the best option.

Prevention of Mid Foot Arthritis

While you can’t avoid arthritis, you can at least take an active role in keeping it from progressing and avoiding injuries.

  • Maintain a healthy diet to prevent weight gain
  • Take part in lower impact exercises to reduce pressure on your foot joints.
  • Wear supportive shoes that are designed for the sport you engage in to help avoid foot injuries.

Testimonial for Treatment of Mid Foot Arthritis

Need Relief From Mid Foot Arthritis in Seattle, Washington? Request an Appointment Now

Don't let midfoot arthritis or other painful foot conditions cause you to miss out on the activities you enjoy. Complete the contact form on this page or call our office at 206-368-7000 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Berg.

Most new patients are seen within 1-2 week's time. During your initial visit, Dr. Berg will spend up to 30 minutes getting to know you, your podiatry complaints, and your goals so that he can recommend the treatment best meets your needs. Don’t wait—contact us today.

North Seattle Foot & Ankle Specialist Dr. Rion Berg offers compassionate podiatry care for all foot and ankle problems to those living in Seattle Washington and the surrounding areas. Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an immediate appointment or request an appointment online.

Dr. Rion Berg
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A podiatrist in North Seattle treating families for over 40 years.