Foot and ankle problems usually fall into the following categories:
- Acquired from improper footwear, physical stress, or small mechanical changes within the foot.
- Arthritic foot problems, which typically involve one or more joint.
- Congenital foot problems, which occur at birth and are generally inherited.
- Infectious foot problems, which are caused by bacterial, viral, or fungal disorders.
- Neoplastic disorders, 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.
- Hammertoe – 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 spurs – growths of bone on the underside, forepart of the heel bone. Heel spurs occur when the plantar tendon pulls at its attachment to the heel bone. This area of the heel can later calcify to form a spur. 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 improper nail trimming, but also by shoe pressure, injury, fungus infection, heredity and poor foot structure. Women are much more likely to have ingrown toenails than men. Ingrown nails can be prevented by trimming toenails straight across, selecting proper shoe style and size – not too tapered or shallow – and paying special attention to foot pain.
- 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. Pressure from ill-fitting shoes or abnormal bone structure can also lead to this condition. Treatments include orthoses (shoe inserts) and/or cortisone injections, but surgical removal of the growth is sometimes necessary.
- Plantar fasciitis (heel pain) – usually caused by an inflammation on the bottom of the foot. Our practice can evaluate arch pain, and may prescribe customized shoe inserts called orthoses to help alleviate the pain.
- Sesamoiditis – inflammation or rupture of the two small bones (sesamoids) under the first metatarsal bones. 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 foot pronation (collapsing arch), but may be related to a muscle imbalance between opposing muscle groups in the leg. Proper stretching and corrective orthoses (shoe inserts) for pronation 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 and immobilization.
Diabetes and Your Feet
Chilblains (cold feet)
Chilblains are caused by the skin’s abnormal reaction to cold. Circulation is a determining factor for chilblains; people with poor [...]
Alcoholic peripheral neuropathy is a nerve loss condition in the foot caused by the prolonged use of alcoholic beverages. Ethanol, [...]
Acrocyanosis is a painless disorder that affects the arteries supplying blood to the skin of the hands and feet. These [...]
Big toe injuries, known as turf toe, result from hyperextension of the big toe joint as the heel is raised [...]
Subungal Exotosis (bone spur under toenail)
Subungal exostosis is more commonly referred to as a bone spur under the toenail. This condition is generally caused by [...]
Underlapping toes usually involve the fourth and fifth toes. (A special form of underlapping toes is called congenital curly toes). [...]
Overlapping toes are characterized by one toe lying on top of an adjacent toe. The fifth toe is the most [...]
In-toeing and out-toeing occur when the feet are positioned too far inward or outward when walking. Both conditions may be [...]
Hallux Rigidis (rigid big toe)
An unmovable big toe, known as Hallux Rigidus, is the most common form of arthritis in your foot. Hallux [...]
Hallux Limitus (stiff big toe joint)
Hallux Limitus is a condition that results in stiffness of the big toe joint. It is normally caused by an [...]
Many disorders can affect the joints of the toes, causing pain and preventing the foot from functioning as it should. [...]
A bunion is a bone deformity caused by an enlargement of the joint at the base and side of the [...]
Most foot warts are harmless, even though they may be painful. They are often mistaken for corns or calluses, which [...]
Ulcers are skin wounds that are slow to heal. In the foot, as prominent metatarsal heads on the plantar (bottom [...]
Swelling of the feet, ankles and legs, also known as edema, is often caused by an abnormal build-up of fluids [...]
Smelly Feet and Foot Odor
The feet and hands contain more sweat glands than any other part of the body, with roughly 3,000 glands per [...]
Psoriasis is a common, chronic, and recurrent inflammatory disease of the skin characterized by round, reddish, dry scaley patches covered [...]
Skin lesions refer to any variation in skin color or texture anywhere on the body. Some skin lesions are present [...]
Gangrene is caused by lost blood supply to the foot or bacterial infections that result from open sores or ulcers. [...]
Extreme exposure of your feet to cold for a prolonged period can lead to a serious condition called frostbite. Frostbite [...]
Cysts are fluid-filled masses under the skin. Common cysts of the feet include synovial cysts, ganglia, and cutaneous mucoid cysts. [...]
Corns are calluses that form on the toes because of bones that push up against shoes and build up pressure [...]
A callus, also known as hyperkeratosis, is an area of hard, thickened skin that can occur across the ball of [...]
Burning feet refers to a foot sensation that is most frequently experienced by adults over age 50 and those who [...]
Most blisters on the feet are caused by friction and do not require medical attention. New skin will form underneath [...]
Athlete’s Foot (tinea pedis)
Athlete’s Foot, also known as tinea pedis, is a skin disease caused by a fungus that usually occurs between the [...]
Two kinds of skin allergies, or dermatitis, are caused by substances coming in contact with the skin: primary irritant dermatitis [...]
Ingrown toenails, also known as onychocryptosis, is usually caused by trimming toenails too short, particularly on the sides of the [...]
Black or darkened toenails are essentially bruised nails and can result from a variety injuries or problems. Darkened nails may [...]
Plantar Fasciitis (heel spur)
Plantar fasciitis is the term commonly used to refer to heel and arch pain traced to an inflammation on the [...]
Heel fissures is the term for cracking of the skin of the heels. This can be a painful condition that [...]
Heel calluses, also called plantar calluses, develop when one metatarsal bone is longer or lower than the others and it [...]
Since fungal nails are usually more resistant and more difficult to treat than Athlete’s foot, topical or oral antifungal medications [...]
Common Fungal Problems
Athlete’s foot and fungal nails are the most common fungal problems with feet. A fungus is a common mold that [...]
Sever’s Disease, also known as calcaneal apophysitis, is a disease of the growth plate of the bone and is characterized [...]
Raynaud’s Disease is a disorder that affects the hands and feet. It is caused by contraction of the smooth muscles [...]
Ollier’s Disease, also known as enchondromatosis, frequently occurs in the small bones in the hands and toes (phalanges) and the [...]
Maffucci’s Syndrome is a very rare form of enchondromatosis that combines multiple enchondromas in bones anywhere in the body with [...]
Kohler’s Disease is a spontaneous loss of blood supply to a particular bone in the foot. Treatments may include [...]
Kaposi’s Sarcoma (AIDS related)
Kaposi’s Sarcoma is a cancerous lesion that can occur on the soles of the feet. The disease is usually associated [...]
Gout (also known as gouty arthritis) is a condition caused by a buildup of the salts of uric acid (a [...]
Freiberg’s Disease usually begins as a pain in the ball of a child’s foot. Its onset is often linked to [...]
Charcot Foot is a form of arthritis that often develops suddenly and without pain. Without any warning, the bones in [...]
There are many kinds of cancers of the foot. Some take the form of cysts and lesions, while others are [...]
Arthritis is an inflammation and swelling of the cartilage and lining of the joints, generally accompanied by an increase in [...]
Diabetes and Your Feet
Tarsal coalition is a bone condition that causes decreased motion or absence of motion in one or more of the [...]
Bone spurs are a very common foot problem. In the feet, they develop most frequently in the heel, near the [...]
Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction
The posterior tibial tendon starts in the calf, stretches down behind the inside of the ankle, and attaches to bones [...]
Peroneal Tendon Dislocation/Dysfunction
Peroneal tendons support two important foot muscles (Peroneus Brevis and Peroneus Longus) that originate on the outside of the calves. [...]
Overlapping or Underlapping Toes
Osteomyelitis (Bone Infections)
Osteomyelitis is a type of bacterial bone infection that moves from acute to chronic phases quickly. The infection usually begins [...]
Mallet toes are deformities caused by bone and muscle imbalances that become exaggerated in people with active lifestyles. Arthritis can [...]
Jackson Weiss Syndrome
Hallux Rigidus (Stiff Big Toe)
Hallux Limitus (Stiff Big Toe Joint)
Hallux Limitus is a condition that results in stiffness of the big toe joint.Â It is normally caused by an [...]
Gordon Syndrome is an extremely rare disorder that belongs to a group of genetic disorders known as the distal arthrogryposes. [...]
Enchondromas are small benign tumors made up of cartilage that form in the bone beneath the toenail. Enchondromas are the [...]
Dysplasia (Epiphysealis Hemimelica)
Dysplasia, also known as epiphysealis hemimelica, is a disorder that affects the bone joints. It is characterized by overgrowth of [...]
Clubfoot is one of the most common, non-life threatening, major birth defects among infants globally. Approximately one in every 1,000 [...]
p>A bunion is a bone deformity caused by an enlargement of the joint at the base and side of the [...]
Amniotic Band Syndrome
Amniotic Band Syndrome (ABS) is an uncommon congenital abnormality that causes entrapment of fetal parts (usually a limb or digits) [...]
Many sports are hard on the feet because of quick repetitive movements, constricting footwear, and/or increased exposure to injury or [...]
Shin splints refer to pain on either side of the leg bone that is caused by muscle or tendon inflammation. [...]
Osteochondromas are benign bone tumors that form in the bone beneath the toenail. Osteochrondromas account for about half of all [...]
Osteochondritis (stiff ankle)
Osteochondritis are lesions that usually cause pain and stiffness of the ankle joint and affect all age groups. Osteochondritis is [...]
Nearly one-fourth of all the bones in your body are in your feet. A broken (fractured) bone in your forefoot [...]
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, doctors have noticed an increase in the number and severity of broken [...]
Ankle Sprain Injuries
Plantar Fibromas (lumps in the arch of the foot)
Metatarsalgia (foot pain in ball)
Flat Feet (over pronation)
Capsulitis is an inflammation of the ligament on the bottom of the foot. It is usually caused by trauma or [...]
Osteochondritis is a lesion that usually causes pain and stiffness of the ankle joint and affects all age groups. Osteochondritis [...]
Chronic Lateral Ankle Pain
Chronic lateral ankle pain is recurring or chronic pain on the outside part of the ankle that often develops after [...]
Xanthomas of the Achilles Tendon
Xanthomas are cholesterol deposits that appear in the Achilles tendon. High cholesterol levels can cause the formation of these cholesterol [...]
Peroneal Tendon Dislocation/Dysfunction
Peroneal tendons are two tendons that support two important foot muscles (peroneus brevis and peroneus longus) that originate on the [...]
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the human body and can withstand forces of 1,000 pounds or more. [...]
Athlete’s Foot (Tinea Pedis)
A chronic infection caused by various types of fungus, Athlete’s foot is often spread in places where people go barefoot [...]
Erythromelalgia is a rare disorder that results from enlarged blood vessels in the feet. Because the blood vessels are open [...]
Ischemic foot refers to a lack of adequate arterial blood flow from the heart to the foot. There are a [...]
A neuroma is an enlarged, benign growth of nerves, most commonly between the third and fourth toes. Neuromas are caused [...]
Spasms are contractions of the hands, thumbs, feet, or toes and are sometimes seen with muscle cramps, twitching, and convulsions. [...]
Venous stasis is a loss of proper function in the leg veins that normally carry blood back toward the heart. [...]