Our feet, ankles, and legs support our weight and allow us to get around, whether walking, running, climbing stairs, riding a bike, or even driving a car. Foot and ankle pain can limit mobility and keep you from participating in the normal activities of your life.
Foot pain is often caused by shoes that do not fit properly. Shoes that are too tight can cause pressure on the skin, joints, and bones of the foot. Shoes that are too loose may allow the foot to rub against the shoe, causing calluses or other foot problems. However, bad shoes are not the only source of foot and ankle problems. Genetics, injury, repetitive motion, or arthritis may also cause serious foot, ankle, or heel pain.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, common foot problems include:
- Bunions: A bunion is a painful enlargement of the joint in the big toe. The skin covering the joint becomes swollen and tender, making the area sensitive to pressure. Bunions may be genetic, but can also be caused by shoes that do not fit properly.
- Heel Pain: This foot ailment is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia, the tissue on the sole of the foot that connects to the heel bone. Heel pain is felt while walking or standing and is often most intense when getting out of bed.
- Morton's Neuroma: This condition is caused by a pinched nerve, typically between the third and fourth toes. The result is a neuroma, a build-up of extra tissue in the nerve, which causes toe pain.
- Hammertoe: Hammertoe is a toe deformity characterized by a permanent bend to one side at the middle toe joint.
- Ankle Arthritis or Foot Arthritis: Common symptoms associated with ankle arthritis or foot arthritis include swelling, pain, stiffness, tenderness, and the inability to easily walk or move the ankle or foot.
Treatment for common foot disorders may be as simple as orthosis, using a shoe insert, or buying a better shoe. More severe cases may require foot surgery to remove a bony prominence or to correct a deformity, for example.
If you have a foot or ankle problem, talk with your primary care physician about a referral to the Foot & Ankle Center at Valley Orthopedic Associates or call VOA at 425-656-5060.
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