Foot and ankle problems usually fall into the following categories:
- Acquired foot problems, from physical stress, small mechanical changes within the foot or improper footwear.
- Arthritic foot problems, which typically involve one or more joint.
- Congenital foot problems, which occur at birth, are generally inherited.
- Infectious foot problems, which are caused by bacterial, viral, or fungal disorders.
- Neoplastic foot problems, usually called tumors, which are the result of abnormal growth of tissue and may be benign or malignant.
- Traumatic foot problems, which are associated with foot and ankle injuries.
The top foot problems are:
- Bunions- misaligned big toe joints that can become swollen and tender, causing the first joint of the big toe to slant outward, and the second joint to angle toward the other toes. Bunions tend to be hereditary, but can be aggravated by shoes that are too narrow in the forefoot and toe. Surgery is frequently performed to correct the problem.
- Hammertoes - a condition, usually stemming from muscle imbalance, in which the toe is bent in a claw-like position. It occurs most frequently with the second toe, often when a bunion slants the big toe toward and under it, but any of the other three smaller toes can be affected. Selecting shoes and socks that do not cramp the toes will alleviate aggravation.
- Heel spur syndrome - Heel spur syndrome occurs when the plantar tendon (Planter Fascia) tears at its attachment to the heel bone. With proper warm-up and the use of appropriate athletic shoes, strain to the ligament can be reduced.
- Ingrown nails - toenails whose corners or sides dig painfully into the skin. Ingrown toenails are frequently caused by the inherited shape of the nail, but also by shoe pressure, injury, fungus infection, and poor foot structure.
- Neuromas - enlarged benign growths of nerves, most commonly between the third and fourth toes. They are caused by tissue rubbing against and irritating the nerves. Abnormal bone structure and motion lead to this condition. Pressure from shoes or increased activity are aggravating Treatments include shoe inserts, foot paddings and/or cortisone injections, but surgical removal of the growth is sometimes necessary.
- Heel Pain (Planter fasciitis) - usually caused by an inflammation of the planter fascia's attachment to the heel bone. Our practice can evaluate this pain, and treat it effectively most times without injections or surgery.
- Sesamoiditis - inflammation or rupture of the ligaments surounding two small bones (sesamoids) under the joint behind your big toe. Proper shoe selection and orthoses can help.
- Shin Splints - pain to either side of the leg bone, caused by muscle or tendon inflammation. It is commonly related to excessive motion in the arch of the foot, but may be related to a muscle imbalance between opposing muscle groups in the leg. Proper stretching and corrective orthoses (shoe inserts) for excessive arch motion can help prevent shin splints.
- Stress Fractures -incomplete cracks in bone caused by overuse. With complete rest, stress fractures heal quickly. Extra padding in shoes helps prevent the condition. Stress fractures left untreated may become complete fractures, which require casting or possible sugery.