Foot & Ankle

Foot pain can be caused by several different factors that include injury, disease and infection. There are also several deformities that can occur in the feet and cause pain. Even wearing shoes that are too tight can lead to severe and chronic pain. Foot pain can occur in any area of the foot, from the toes to the heel and up to the ankle.

 

There are many different reasons for foot pain, including bone or tendon pathology. Some common causes of foot pain include:

Achilles Tendinitis / Achilles Tendon Rupture

Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, the strong band of tissue that connects the calf muscle to the heel. Achilles tendonitis is usually a painful but short-lived condition.

When too much stress is placed on the Achilles tendon, it may tear and become inflamed as a result of improper technique, overuse of the foot or trauma.

Achilles tendonitis increases your risk of rupturing your Achilles tendon, a condition that requires immediate attention. A ruptured tendon will cause sudden severe pain and swelling with difficulty walking. Your doctor can diagnose Achilles tendonitis or a ruptured tendon through a physical examination and imaging test.

If you are suffering from Achilles tendonitis, you may be able to treat the condition at home through rest, ice and over-the-counter pain medication. If these methods are ineffective, your doctor may recommend orthotics, a walking boot, crutches or surgery for more severe cases

Ankle Sprain

A sprain is a stretching or tearing of one or more ligaments, the tough fibrous bands that hold the ankle bones in place. Sprains are divided into categories based on the severity of the injury. The ankle may be unstable or unable to hold weight. Sprained ankles should be examined by a doctor to rule out the possibility of a bone fracture or other damage. Professional diagnosis and care will also ensure that the joint heals properly, limiting the chance of further injury.

Arthritis

Arthritis is inflammation of one or more of your joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Treatments vary depending on the type of arthritis.

Bunions

A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. It forms when your big toe pushes against your next toe, the joint of the 1sttoe may appear  to be enlarged. The skin over the bunion might be red and sore. Wearing tight, narrow shoes might cause bunions or make them worse. Bunions also can develop as a result of an inherited structural defect. Smaller bunions (bunionettes) can develop on the joint of your little toe.

Although bunions often require no medical treatment. However, if pain is severe and worsening, medical treatment could be required.

Treatment options vary depending on the severity of your bunion and the amount of pain it causes, including, changing shoes, padding and taping or splinting, medications, shoe inserts, applying ice or possible surgery.

Fractures

The seriousness of a broken foot or ankle varies. Fractures can range from tiny cracks in your bones to breaks that pierce your skin.

Treatment for a fracture depends on the exact site and severity of the fracture. A severely broken foot or ankle may require surgery to implant plates, rods or screws into the broken bone to maintain proper position during healing.

Gout

Gout is a common and complex form of arthritis that can affect anyone. It’s characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness and tenderness in the joints, often the joint at the base of the big toe.

An attack of gout can occur suddenly, often waking you up in the middle of the night with the sensation that your big toe is on fire. The affected joint is hot, swollen and so tender that even the weight of the sheet on it may seem intolerable. Gout that goes untreated can lead to worsening pain and joint damage. Treatment involves medication and occasionally cortisone injection.

Hammertoes

Hammertoe and mallet toe are foot deformities that occur due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight. The type of shoes you wear, foot structure, trauma and certain disease processes can contribute to the development of these deformities.

A hammertoe has an abnormal bend in the middle joint of a toe. Hammertoe usually occur in your second, third and fourth toes.

Relieving the pain and pressure of hammertoe may involve changing your footwear and wearing shoe inserts. If you have a more severe case of hammertoe, you might need surgery to get relief.

Jones Fracture

A break between the base and middle part of the fifth metatarsal of the foot. It results in pain near the midportion of the foot on the outside of the foot. There may also be bruising and difficulty walking. Onset is generally sudden. The fracture typically occurs when the toes are pointed and the foot bends inwards. Diagnosis is generally suspected based on symptoms and confirmed with X-rays. Initial treatment is typically in a cast or boot for at least six weeks. If after this period of time healing has not occurred due to poor blood supply in this area, surgery is required.

Plantar Fasciitis

One of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes (plantar fascia).

Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your first steps in the morning. As you continue to walk, the pain normally decreases, but it might return after long periods of standing or after rising from sitting. Ignoring plantar fasciitis may result in chronic heel pain that hinders your regular activities. Changing the way you walk to minimize plantar fasciitis pain might lead to foot, knee, hip or back problems. Treatment includes; stretching anti-inflammatory medication and cortisone injection. In rare cases surgery is required.

Shin Splints

Shin splints, or medial tibial stress syndrome, are a common exercise-related condition characterized by pain along or just behind the shins. Pain occurs about two-thirds of the way down the leg below the knee and is localized to a specific area and tends to worsen with activity. This discomfort results from inflammation of the thin layer of tissue covering the tibia, as well as from the bone itself and two of the muscles that attach to it (the soleus muscle and flexor digitorum longus, which help you push off your foot and flex your toes).

Shin splints are common in people who begin a new training regimen after a period of inactivity. They may also occur when intensifying an existing training regimen. Treatment usually require rest and immobilization. X-rays are usually done to rule out stress fractures.

 


To learn more about our Foot & Ankle Procedures & Treatments, please contact us at (504) 349-6804 today to schedule an appointment.