Common Foot, Ankle and Toe Disorders
Select the part of the foot that is bothering you
Select the part of the foot that is bothering you
Achilles tendonitis is when the area surrounding the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed, causing pain at the back of the ankle. The Achilles tendon is one of the largest in the body and can be injured by running and jumping during sporting activities. Achilles tendonitis is the most common form of injury to the Achilles tendon and can affect people at any age, but it is more likely in older athletes. It can be treated through conservative methods or, in severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
Ingrown toenails happen when the edges of the nail plate penetrate and grow into the soft tissue of the toe. When the skin is broken, it may cause pain, swelling, redness, and infection if bacterial invasion develops. Many people simply try to cut the nail margin themselves, only to have the problem reoccur a few weeks later. Treatment from a trained professional becomes necessary if the pain persists, if the problem keeps coming back, or if you’re a diabetes patient.
A metatarsal stress fracture is an incomplete fracture of one of the metatarsals. The metatarsals are the five long bones in the middle of the foot which can be fractured due to overuse. It is typically accompanied by pain and swelling in the ball of the foot. Treatment usually consists of ice, rest, and elevation to reduce swelling. A podiatrist might be necessary to help determine a care plan.
A neuroma is swelling of a nerve as the result of compression or trauma to the foot. The most common site of neuromas is on the ball of the foot and can cause tingling, burning pain, and numbness in the connected toes. The pain can be so severe it calls for the intervention of a trained professional. In such cases, treatment may be recommended in the form of chemical destruction of the nerve, orthotics, cortisone injections, or surgery.
Plantar fasciitis involves inflammation of the thick, fibrous band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, connecting the base of your toes to your heel bone. If this ligament is stretched too excessively, it becomes inflamed and causes sharp, shooting pain in the arch of the foot. The goal of treatment is to reduce the circumstances that cause the plantar fascia to stretch excessively, like muscle stretching, night splints, arch supports, or orthotics.
Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction occurs when the posterior tibial tendon becomes torn or inflamed. When this happens, the tendon is not able to support the arch of the foot, resulting in adult acquired flatfoot. The emphasis of treatment focuses on improving mobility and eliminating pain. A properly placed ankle brace or foot orthoses from a trained orthopedist will be to treat this dysfunction without surgical intervention.
Posterior tibial tendonitis happens when the area surrounding the posterior tibial tendon becomes inflamed or stressed. This tendon is an important anatomical structure along the inside of your ankle that helps maintain the arch of the foot. When not working properly, it causes pain and swelling along the inside of the ankle and progressively flattens the arch while using feet on a daily basis. Treatment almost always requires the help of a professional.
Sesamoiditis is when the sesamoid bones, found in and around joints in the foot such as the big toes, become irritated and inflamed. Generally it is a type of tendonitis which causes pain in the forefoot or other places sesamoid bones appear. Due to the inflammatory condition of sesamoiditis, treatment is often geared towards reducing inflammation in typically non-surgical methods such as ice, resting, medications, cortisone injections, and physical therapy. For fractures, more extensive treatment may be called for.
Peroneal tendonitis happens when there is friction against the peroneal tendons which has caused them to become inflamed and swollen. The tendons stabilize the arch when walking as well as sustain the ankle when bearing weight. When they rub against the bone, it can cause pain typically at the back of the ankle or when turning the foot outward or inward. Treatment options are aimed at decreasing the strain on the peroneal tendons and reducing inflammation.
Plantar fasciitis involves the thick, fibrous band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, connecting the base of your toes to your heel bone. This ligament acts as a shock absorber while walking. As the foot flattens, it stretches, but if it stretches too much it gets inflamed. It is the most common cause of pain on the bottom of the heel. Treatment comes in the form of calf muscle stretching, night splints, arch supports, and orthotics.
Adult flatfoot, medically known as posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, is a progressive, sometimes painful foot deformity in adults that occurs as a result of a gradual stretching of the vital tendons and ligaments in the foot. When this happens, the foot’s arch is no longer supported and is flattened with normal activity. Adult acquired flatfoot is best treated early and typically requires diagnosis and treatment by a trained professional, as there is no home remedy.
Athlete’s foot is either an acute or chronic fungal infection on the skin of the foot resulting in scaling on the bottom of the foot that sometimes burns or itches. Treatment of athlete’s foot should be directed at controlling and diminishing the fungal infection through use of topical and/or oral medications. A podiatrist might be able to help you fulfill the right treatment plan for your situation.
A bunion is a bump on the side of the great toe joint caused by a deviation or overgrowth of the bone on the metatarsal head. Those who suffer from bunions often complain about pain when wearing snug-fitting shoes or doing physical activity. This deformity is most commonly treated by conservative means, such as foot orthoses, shoe gear modification, and padding. If conservative means are ineffective, then surgical intervention may be required.
Fungal toenails are yellowed, crumbly, thickened, malformed toenails caused by a fungal infection of the toenail, often the same infection that causes athlete’s foot. And, like athlete’s foot, scaly skin often accompanies fungal toenails that can itch or burn. It is best to treat fungal toenails early to prevent any spreading. Topical or oral medications are effective, but sometimes a prescription might be necessary from a professional podiatrist.
Hallux limitus occurs when the big toe has restricted motion due to stiffness in the joint, which causes pain when doing physical activity. As the hallus limitus condition progresses, a degenerative type of arthritis may develop in the joint. The first stages of treatment consist of orthotics, oral anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, or a combination of these methods. Surgery may be necessary in severe cases.
Hammertoes are deformities that cause contracture (bending) of the joints in the toes. This abnormal bent shape can be either flexible or rigid, meaning a rigid hammertoe cannot be straightened through manipulation. Over time, flexible deformities often get worse and become stiff and immobile, which is why hammertoes should receive early attention. Treatment is either preventative or curative in nature, with some cases that might require surgery.
Heel spurs are calcium deposits on the underside of the heel bone that create bony protrusions that are often painless but can cause generalized heel pain. Heel spurs are frequently associated with plantar fasciitis. When the tendon begins to stretch, the foot flattens causing both heel spurs and heel pain. Treatment may be administered in the form of night splints, calf muscle stretching exercises, cortisone injections, orthopedic taping to support the arch, orthotics, or surgery.
Did you know the foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles, and numerous tendons? These parts all work together to allow the foot to move in a variety of ways while balancing your weight and propelling you forward or backward on even or uneven surfaces. It is no wonder that 75 percent of all Americans will experience foot problems at one point or another in their lifetimes. We are a group of St. Louis Podiatrists and are some of the best around the midwest region.
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