Comprehensive Arthritis Care

At MedStar Orthopaedic Institute, you will find the most experienced team of orthopedic ankle arthritis specialists, as well as the most comprehensive care available in the region.

Our foot and ankle center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital has fellowship-trained specialists who have training in total ankle joint replacement, or arthroplasty, offering this advanced surgery close to where you live and work in Washington, D.C. In addition to ankle replacement, our team provides a full range of treatments for ankle arthritis from joint preserving arthroscopy to minimally invasive ankle fusion.

Our team approach makes it easy for our specialists to work together with any other specialists you need to care for your arthritis. Specialists may include rheumatologists, vascular specialists, or plastic surgeons.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis refers to the wearing away of the cartilage tissue that lines your joints. This creates inflammation that can cause pain, swelling, and joint damage. Depending on the severity, arthritis can even be debilitating, especially when the condition affects the feet or ankles. Because we rely on our feet and ankles for support while standing, walking, or performing sports, arthritic pain or damage to these joints can disrupt our everyday lives.

What kinds of arthritis affect the foot and ankle?

Arthritis can occur in many different forms, each with different causes. We treat patients suffering from numerous types of arthritis in feet, including:

  • Osteoarthritis in feet or ankles – The natural aging process can wear away at the cartilage between the bones connecting your ankle and foot, causing inflammation and pain.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis in feet or ankles – This immune system dysfunction attacks and wears away at the cartilage lining between the bones in your ankles and feet.
  • Post-traumatic arthritis in feet or ankles – This is a form of osteoarthritis that results from an injury to the ankle area. This can develop even years after the original injury.

What are the symptoms?

If you notice signs of arthritis in your toes, feet, or ankles, it is important to visit an orthopedic specialist at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute. Ankle arthritis symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the ankle and foot joints
  • Swelling
  • Redness or heat in the area
  • Trouble moving the ankles, feet, or toes, or difficulty walking

How is it diagnosed?

The orthopedic surgeons at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute are experts at diagnosing a  full range of ankle arthritis problems. Our initial exam includes:

  • Medical history evaluation – This includes asking questions about when your pain began, whether it affects one or both ankles, and where the pain feels most severe. Other questions may be about previous injuries, whether you have other medical problems, and if you take any medications.
  • Physical exam – Your orthopedist will examine your ankles and feet and watch how you walk to evaluate alignment and strength in your ankles.
  • Imaging tests – Depending on your specific condition, your orthopedist may want to examine the bones and joints in more detail using X-rays, bone scans, CT scans, or MRI scans.

What are the treatment options?

Treatment usually depends on what specific type of arthritis you have, and how severe it is. Our team will recommend any combination of non-surgical and surgical treatment options designed to ease your pain and improve your ability to move and walk. Treatment options that do not involve surgery may include:

  • Orthotics
  • Pain or anti-inflammatory medication
  • Canes or braces
  • Physical therapy


If conservative treatment options do not improve your condition, we may recommend surgery. Our surgeons at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute are experienced in the most advanced and innovative procedures for ankle arthritis treatment, including:


 If you are suffering from foot or ankle arthritis, call 202-295-0511 to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic specialists at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute. Our doctors have years of experience diagnosing and treating these conditions and are pleased to offer comprehensive arthritis care in the Washington, D.C. area.

Our Specialists

Foot & Ankle

Nicholas D. Casscells, MD
Nicholas D. Casscells, MD
Foot & Ankle Surgery

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute - Chevy Chase
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute - Lafayette Centre
Paul Stuart Cooper, MD
Paul Stuart Cooper, MD
Foot & Ankle Surgery
PhonePhone: 202-444-3668

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
Kathryn Marie O’Connor, MD

MedStar Montgomery Medical Center


3800 Reservoir Road Northwest Washington, DC, 20007
Phone: 202-444-8766
1120 20th Street Northwest, Building 1 South Washington, DC, 20036
Phone: 202-416-2000
5454 Wisconsin Avenue, 11th Floor Chevy Chase, MD, 20815
Phone: 301-215-9423