Foot and Ankle Osteoarthritis (OA)

Signs of Feet, Ankles and Big Toes Osteoarthritis (OA)

Are you noticing problems in your foot, big toes or ankle? You may be experiencing the following symptoms:

  1. Pain in your feet, ankles or big toe – it may worsen on movement
  2. Stiffness and reduced movement in the joints of the foot and ankle
  3. Pain and stiffness in the big toe joint (called hallux rigidus or hallux limitus)
  4. Tenderness when you press on the joints (sore joints)
  5. Swelling, warmth and redness of the joints
  6. Problems with walking as a result

Managing Osteoarthritis of the Foot, Ankle and Big Toe

Effective ways of dealing with foot, big toe and ankle degenerative arthritis / osteoarthritis include: 

  1. Custom made shoes and orthotics
  2. Bracing for foot joint support
  3. Using a walking stick
  4. Maintaining a healthy weight
  5. Exercises
  6. Medication and injections
  7. Radiotherapy
  8. Surgery – fusion or joint replacement
Foot and Ankle Osteoarthritis-treatments

Low-dose radiotherapy treatment can relieve all the symptoms of feet osteoarthritis and get you back to your normal activities.

Radiotherapy (also known as the external beam radiation therapy) is a way to reduce inflammation and pain. This leads to improved function in the joints of the foot, ankle and big toe so that you can do the things that you need to – moving them properly and walking with less stiffness and pain.

What is Low Dose Radiotherapy Treatment?

Low-dose radiation therapy treatment is a specialised technique that reduces pain and inflammation using very low dose and carefully controlled radiation. 

Unlike the stronger radiotherapy used in cancer treatment, much lower doses of radiation are used to treat foot and ankle osteoarthritis (OA). The use of low radiation levels ensures that the treatment is very safe.

This is a non-invasive treatment that does not involve any injections or surgery. It is exclusively focused towards the affected areas of your feet and does not affect the rest of the body.

It’s given as an outpatient, so that you can keep on doing your normal activities without needing a break during treatment. Since it is very low dose, it tends to have only very mild (if any) side effects.

A typical course of radiotherapy treatment involves 6 treatments given over 2 to 3 weeks. Each treatment, delivered as an outpatient, takes less than 10 min. About 70% of patients may need a 2nd course of radiation therapy to maximise the benefits.

When should I consider radiation therapy for Feet, Big Toes and Ankles arthritis / OA?

Persistent foot pain and inflammation

If your foot joints are sore and hurting despite using self-help treatments like exercises, weight loss and aids like shoes or orthotics.

Medications aren't enough

Where simple pain relief and anti-inflammatory drugs aren’t working well enough or are causing side-effects .

Symptoms are getting worse

If you notice increased pain and discomfort in your arthritic ankle, big toe or foot.

Do not want surgery

If you are not suitable, for instance due to personal choice or other health conditions.

How Can Radiotherapy Help Foot, Big Toe and Ankle Osteoarthritis (OA)?

  1. Pain Reduction

Recent research shows that low-dose radiotherapy reduces pain from foot and ankle OA  in around 3 out of 4 people.

  1. Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Scientific evidence shows that external beam radiation reduces inflammation, leading to reduced swelling in the affected foot, big toe and ankle joints. This reduction helps reduce pain and improves joint function.

  1. Improved Mobility

People having radiotherapy treatment for foot and ankle degenerative arthritis may report substantial improvements in overall joint performance, which can include increased ease of movement, allowing for greater mobility and walking.

  1. Addresses Multiple symptoms

Radiotherapy treatment can help with various symptoms such as swelling, stiffness, and discomfort in the foot, big toe (hallux rigidus or hallux limitus) and ankle joints. This can improve overall quality of life for those dealing with feet joint problems.

  1. Sustained and Long-lasting Benefits

Some studies suggest that the benefits of radiotherapy, especially in pain reduction, may last over a considerable period, resulting in long-lasting relief.

Is Radiotherapy Treatment for Big Toe, Ankle and Feet Osteoarthritis Safe?

Low-Dose radiation therapy treatment is a very safe treatment for big toe, ankle and foot arthritis. This is due to various factors:

Low-Dose Radiotherapy

This ensures effective treatment with very few side effects.

Precise Treatment

Radiotherapy treatment is focused towards only the specific areas of the foot and ankle causing trouble. This way, the surrounding areas are not affected by the treatment.

Mild Side Effects

Low-dose radiotherapy typically causes only very mild redness or perhaps some dry skin in the treatment area.


Radiotherapy treatment is a non-surgical way to treat osteoarthritis in the big toe, foot and ankle joints. This allows you to avoid the risks involved in invasive surgery.

Treatments for osteoarthritis-Radiotherapy-UK

What are the Side Effects of Radiotherapy for Foot, Ankle and Big Toe Arthritis / OA ?

Radiotherapy is a straightforward outpatient procedure which doesn’t need an anaesthetic, injections or surgery. You can easily schedule it around your regular work or other activities.

Before starting radiation therapy for big toe, ankle and feet arthritis we’ll thoroughly discuss any potential side effects with you. We will provide comprehensive information about the risks and benefits of the treatment, so that you can make the best decisions possible.

The side effects of low dose radiotherapy for feet osteoarthritis tend to be very mild. These can include:

  • Skin Reactions

You may get a bit of redness, dryness, or irritation in the treated area of the foot and ankle. Typically, these effects disappear a couple of weeks after finishing the treatment.

  • Tiredness

Sometimes people feel a bit tired during or after the treatment. However, this tends to settle down once the treatment has finished and energy levels usually improve quickly after that.


Do You Have Any Questions?

Explore detailed answers to common queries on our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

Taking the First Step towards Easing Your Feet, Ankles and Big Toe Joint Pain

Expect a quick response within one working day. If you would like to set up an appointment, we will do our best to accommodate your preferences.

Initial consultations for the treatment of arthritic feet, ankles and big toes are available in Nottingham, London, or Guildford for your convenience. And for follow-up treatments, we have centres across the UK in places like Nottingham, Birmingham, London, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Elstree, Chelmsford, Bristol, Windsor, Guildford, Maidstone, Southampton, and Portsmouth.