Common Foot and Ankle Problems and Treatments
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the human body. It can withstand forces of 1,000 pounds or more. It is also the most frequently ruptured tendon. Both professional and weekend athletes can suffer from Achilles tendinitis, a common overuse injury and inflammation of the tendon.
An ankle sprain is a common walking and sporting injury. It can be a very painful experience, and can affect a patient’s lifestyle significantly.
Osteochondritis dissecans (stiff ankle), presents as lesions that usually cause pain and stiffness of the ankle joint. Osteochondritis affects all age groups.
A bunion is a bony prominence on the side of the foot, at the base of the big toe joint. This enlargement of the joint, spurring, bump or lump can be aggravated by sports and tight shoes.
The normal arch functions as a shock absorber for our entire body. Each time we step down, we place up to five times our body weight onto the foot, depending on whether we are walking, running, or jumping.
If there were no shock absorber in the foot, the force of each step would eventually fracture or dislocate the bones of the foot, leg, and lower back.
When the arch is flat (a flat foot), it is “sick”, and cannot function properly.
If it is left untreated, this will lead to a completely collapsed foot which cannot function as a shock absorber at all. This, in turn, will cause constant pain in the foot and, eventually, the knee, hip and lower back.
During the past 30 years, doctors have noted an increase in the number and severity of broken ankles, due, in part, to an active older population of “baby boomers,” according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
The ankle has two joints, one on top of the other. A broken ankle can involve one or more bones, and can also injure surrounding connecting tissues or ligaments.
Stress fractures can occur with sudden increases in athletic training such as running or walking for longer distances or times, improper training techniques, or changes in training surfaces.
Most other fractures usually result from trauma such as dropping a heavy object on your foot or from a twisting injury.
Toenails that are discolored, thickened, brittle, and (sometimes) malodorous may have fungus.
Skin responds to friction and pressure by thickening. This is helpful, until the skin becomes so thick that it actually hurts.
Skin that thickens without a core is called a callus. Calluses usually form under the foot.
Corns are thick spots of skin with a deep, central core. They usually form on the toes.
Hammer toe, mallet toe and claw toe are all deformities describing bending or clawing of the toes. They appear somewhat similar, but have subtle differences, hence the different names.
Edges of toenails that press into the flesh can cause pain, swelling, redness, and even infection. Ingrown toenails start out hard, swollen and tender, and later, may become sore, red and infected. Your skin may start to grow over the ingrown toenail.
A neuroma is a swollen or damaged nerve that runs between the bones of the foot to which your toes attach. It is a benign condition, most commonly found between the third and fourth toes.
If you have pain under your heel, after sitting or sleeping and starting to walk, but it gets better as you walk around, you probably have plantar fasciitis. This is a painful inflammation of the ligament that runs along the bottom of foot, between the ball of the foot and the heel.
A wart is a skin virus. Normal skin is reproduced every 28 days. When a wart virus enters the skin, however, reproduction can be as fast as every 10 days. Therefore, the infected skin can grow much faster, and bumps begin to appear.