Foot and Ankle Pain Causes and Treatment

The complete end part of our body which we call feet are remarkably complex biological device. They usually don’t get the same attention and care that our face, our body, and inner organs receive, but they do much more work than the rest of our parts throughout the day.
Here are some of the facts that’ll give you a glimpse of their hardworking ability:
• Your feet contain one fourth of body’s bones.
• An average foot has 33 joints, 26 bones, 19 muscles, 107 ligaments. Some people have more bones than a normal person.
• 250,000 sweat glands reside in each foot and can produce half a pint of sweat in a day.
• Standing still in one place is more tiring than jogging or walking because you only use few muscles and more stress is put on them.
• 80% of us will suffer from foot related problems during our lifetime.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the anatomy of foot, what causes foot and ankle pain, and the treatment.
foot pain Miami

Anatomy of foot

At the most basic level, foot consists of bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, veins and arteries. The mortise and tendon joint is the most stable joint in feet and provides the maximum stability while we stand. At the ankle joint, two bones of the lower leg tibia and fibula come togther to form this stable structure. Talus, which is usually from where the skeleton of the foot begins, forms the part of the ankle joint. Ankle joint helps the foot to bend in up and down motion.

Hindfoot makes the back part of the foot and consists of two bones, talus and calcaneus (also known as heelbone). The former bone is connected to latter at subtalar joint, the joint that allows us to move our foot from side to side. In the forefoot, there are five toe bones (or also known as phalanges) and five longer bones ( or metatarsals).

Tarsal bones are an important component of feet. These are five in number and work together as a group. These are located down the foot from the ankle. The are important because when foot gets twisted in one direction, they get locked forming a very rigid structure opposing the twisting force, and hence reducing any chance of injury.

The metatarsophalangeal joint (MTP) is very important for maintaining proper walking pattern. At this joint, the first phalange joins the metatarsals and forms a rigid structure as well.

Ligament and tendons keep the bones and muscles together and serve an important purpose too. Achilles tendon is the most important of them and it connects the calf muscles to heel bone which then allow us to raise up our toes.

Muscles contraction also serve a purpose in our daily activities. There are many small muscles in the foot and injury to any of them may affect our walking ability.

Foot and ankle pain causes

There are no specific reason as to why foot or ankle pain may occur. There are plenty. However, common problems which show similar symptoms include sprains, plantar fasciitis, diabetic neuropathy, tendinitis, hammertoe, tarsal tunnel syndrome. Let’s discuss them in brief.

  • • Sprains and strains

Sprains and strains are one of the most familiar terms in the pain therapy world. They are also often misunderstood for being the same. However, there is a subtle and important difference to understand. Sprain happens if a joint is suddently overly twisted while bearing weight, while strains happens when too much force is applied on them.

Sprains are more common than strains. The symptoms of sprain include inflmmation, limited range of movement, swelling, bruises. Ankle sprain, which probably everybody in our lifetime have experienced at least once, is when the ligaments of the ankle get excessively and suddently stretched. Along wtih inflammation, the ankle becomes stiff and offers no mobility whatsoever. Strain on the other hand happens due to a heavy blow at the ankle or foot due to any accident or events of that form.

foot pain Miami

foot pain Miami

  • • Plantar Fasciitis

It is among the most common rear foot and heel pain causes. The ligament known as plantar fascia which is situated at the bottom of the foot is made to withstand very high stresses and bears the maximum force while we walk. Excessive pressure to this area sometimes tears the tissue which causes pain.

  • • Tendinitis

Tendinitis, also known as tendon inflammation happen when the they get irritated or inflamated. Achilles tendon which is the largest foot tendon when overly used and attacked, it gets inflammated which is known as Achilles tendinitis, one of the most common injured foot condition as well.

  • • Diabetic Neuropathy

It is a type of nerve disorder that occurs in diabetes patients. Diabetic patients often time develop nerve damages throughout the body. And when the foot nerves get damaged, pain is felt. This mostly affects the lower extremities, legs and feet, and cause mild to acute pain depending upon the severity.

  • • Hammertoe

As the name suggest, in this condition, toe is affected which causes pain. This is basically a deformity which causes toe to curl downward instead of it erecting straight. Although it can affect any toe, it mostly affects the second and third toe. Toe has two joints, middle and bottom. When the middle joint get flexed or bent downwards, it results in hammertoe. It causes severe discomfort while walking.

Other causes may include osteoarthritis, tenosynovitis, gout, flat foot, dislocation, fractures, bursitis, rheumatoid arthritis etcetera.

  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome refers to tibial nerve compression in the region of the ankles as the nerve passes under the transverse tarsal ligament. Most commonly it can be caused by a previous injury, but may also be caused by conditions such as flat feet and diseases that cause swelling (arthritis and diabetes).

foot pain Miami
foot pain Miami
Treatment

Taking an X-ray of the foot is the first step towards treatment. But the therapy depends upon which part of your foot got injured and where the pain is located. Is it the toes, the heel or something else?

Conservative

Physicial therapy for sprains and strains are RICE treatment which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. This include resting, altering or limiting physical activities, icing, splinting and physiotherapy. Accessories such as splints or casts are also used to limit physical activity of the foot and give the muscles, tendons time to heal themselves.

Medications

Physicial therapy for sprains and strains are RICE treatment which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. This include resting, altering or limiting physical activities, icing, splinting and physiotherapy. Accessories such as splints or casts are also used to limit physical activity of the foot and give the muscles, tendons time to heal themselves.

Surgery

If the area affecting the foot is severe and causing chronic pain, then surgery is the preferred option followed by physical therapy and medications.

Foot and ankle pain treatment at SMWIO

Our experienced orthopedicians at South Miami Walk-in Orthopedics strive to provide the best care possible to every patient. Our approach to foot and ankle pain treatment is unique and personalized which stems from utiliizing innovative and modern medical technologies and equipments. Contact us today to schedule an appointment today.

foot pain Miami