Pain affecting the foot and ankle is a common complaint frequently attributable to inflammatory joint diseases. Although conventional radiography is regarded as the initial step in the diagnostic investigation, MR imaging may contribute to further evaluation of these patients due to the direct visualization of the inflammatory soft tissue formed in the disease and its effects on bone, cartilage and para-articular structures. The high spatial resolution of MR imaging combined with tissue characterization often allows initial detection of inflammatory joint abnormalities at a stage that precedes radiographic evaluation. The typical MR appearance of certain inflammatory joint disorders may be helpful in narrowing the wide differential diagnosis. Furthermore, MR imaging can be used for an exact assessment of the extent of the disorder as well as its complications. Accurate diagnostic information can guide the clinician in further diagnostic tests and implementation of proper therapeutic treatment.