You may not realize it, but your foot is one of the strongest and most complex structures in your body. Made up of no less than 26 bones, 33 joints (including the ankle) and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments, your foot is what supports your full body weight every single day! That is why it is so important to be aware of foot and ankle conditions that could arise, and should be treated promptly when they do.
Here are some of the most common sources of foot or ankle pain:
- Ankle Sprains – These occur when the outer supportive ligaments of the ankle are torn. It can be a minor tear or an injury so severe that the ligaments are completely torn. In that case, your ankle will feel loose. Ankle sprains heal in about six weeks, but can take up to four months, depending on the severity of the injury. But if the ankle is frequently sprained, it can lead to other problems such as bruised cartilage between the heel and shin, bone spurs around the ankle, or eventually arthritis.
- Fractures – A fall, a blow, or a severe twist can cause a fracture to one or more of your foot or ankle bones. Symptoms include immediate and severe pain, swelling, bruising and tenderness, difficulty walking or placing weight on your foot, decreased range of motion, or a lump or visible deformity.
- Arthritis – When the tissues that line your joints become inflamed, it can cause pain, swelling, and joint damage. Left untreated, arthritic pain can worsen to the point where it’s agonizing to even walk short distances. This can limit your mobility and have a negative impact on your quality of life. Treatment options for arthritic foot pain include anti-inflammatory medication, braces, physical therapy, and arthroscopic or joint replacement surgery.
- Bunions – These inflamed, bony bumps form between the base of the big toe and the ball of your foot forcing the joint to swell, bulge out and cause foot pain. Bunions are either the result of wearing tight shoes, a genetic defect, or a medical condition, such as arthritis. If they worsen over time, it can increase your risk of developing arthritis or bursitis and hinder your ability to walk.
- Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome – This condition occurs when the tarsal tunnel – a space where the tibial (leg) nerve traveling down to your ankle – swells, thereby compressing the nerve and causing a burning, tingling, and painful sensation along the inside of your ankle, heel, arch, and sole of your foot. These symptoms tend to increase over time and often get worse with increased activity while on your feet. Tarsal tunnel syndrome can usually be treated by avoiding certain activities – like prolonged standing in one place – or with orthotics and anti-inflammatory medications. In more severe cases, steroid injections can reduce inflammation.
Regardless of your age, if you’re having foot or ankle pain, the orthopedic physicians at OrthoUnited in North Canton, Ohio can help diagnose your injury and provide treatments to reduce or eliminate your pain. OrthoUnited offers experienced providers and the latest in diagnostic techniques to ensure prompt care. Call (844) 469-2663 for an appointment today.