Intertarsal Joint Arthritis

Pain and Swelling of the Mid-Foot or Arch

What could be my problem?

Intertarsal Joint Arthritis, or Tarsometatarsal Joint Arthritis, affects one or more of the small joints in the middle of the foot.

What causes Intertarsal Joint Arthritis or Tarsometatarsal Joint Arthritis?

  • Post-trauma bone fracture or damage, dislocation at any of the bones or joints even if successfully treated many years prior.
  • Patients with rheumatoid or other forms of inflammatory arthritis can also develop arthritis in their foot.
  • Even where there is no injury, arthritis can develop without explanation in the mid-foot.
  • Tibialis Posterior Tendon Dysfunction – if the tibialis postern tendon in the foot develops problems, then the arch can flatten and midfoot or hind foot arthritis can develop.

When to see a foot pain doctor about Intertarsal or Tarsometatarsal Joint Arthritis:

  • If you have aching in the middle of the foot when waking or doing other activities, and develop loss of flexibility in the foot, especially on even surfaces
  • If you have swelling on top of the foot that can sometimes be quite hard and bony
  • If the foot has changed its shape and looks flattened, with loss of the natural arch
  • Wearing certain shoes can rub on the skin or the top of the foot
  • If you have developed a painful bony bump on the top of the midfoot causing pain with compression from shoe wear

This condition tends to become worse without treatment.  As the condition develops more nearby joints can become affected.  Stiffness and pain in your foot will usually increase making walking and weight bearing exercises more difficult.

If I have Intertarsal or Tarsometatarsal Joint Arthritis, what are my treatment options?


  • Pain medication and anti-inflammatory medication
  • Shoe modification: stiff soled shoes, rocker-bottom shoes that take the strain off painful joints
  • Steroid injection therapy
  • Physical Therapy to treat and prevent future arch pain


When the patient does not have significant relief with conservative treatment, arthodesis surgery may be recommended: 

  • Arthodesis: consists of a foot surgeon fusing all the involved foot joints, and then non-weight bearing is required for several weeks following the procedure.