Joints are the locations in your body where two bones meet. Movement of these bones against each other is what permits our bodies to move. Cartilage is located at end of our bones and is a smooth, slippery tissue that allows the bones to slide against one another with minimal friction.
Once cartilage is damaged, it cannot heal itself and the progressive deterioration leads to a loss of cartilage and exposed bone. Because pain sensors are located in bone and not in cartilage, it is the exposed bone that results in a painful joint.
Any event, continued malalignment or disease process (i.e. inflammation) that injures the cartilage may cause joint damage or arthritis. A small cartilage injury may become larger and lead to widespread cartilage loss or degenerative joint disease over time. As the “wear and tear” on the MTP joint progresses, bone spurs or osteophytes can form on top of the bones. These bone spurs (osteophytes) can limit the motion of the joint because they are painful when the toe moves over them. With time, the spurs get larger, the cartilage starts to wear away and the toe becomes stiff. In the big toe, this condition is called Hallux Limitus or Hallux Rigidus.
There are a few different reasons why you may have Ankle Pain incuding diseases, trauma and arthritis. Diseases of the ankle consist of mostly of defects or damage caused by trauma or arthritis. A defect of the talus (main ankle bone) usually involves the articular cartilage and the underlying bone and is mostly caused by a single or multiple traumatic events such as a sprained ankle in sports. Initially, the defect may consist only of cartilage damage caused by shearing stresses and the bone will be intact. However if there is a bone bruise following a high-impact force such as a motor vehicle accident, this can also cause a defect. Ankle trauma associated with a defect often leads to cysts or fluid pockets which develop inside the bone, underneath the damaged cartilage. These cysts are associated with persistent deep ankle pain which limit your ability to move or put weight on your ankle.