Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. It can cause pain and stiffness in any joint in the body and is common in the small joints of the foot and ankle. An ankle injury or degenerative arthritis can cause the cartilage in the joint to wear away and bone to rub against bone. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that damages the bones and cartilage. Arthritis can make it difficult to walk and remain active.