Our foot is made up of twenty-eight bones and more than thirty joints that are held together by ligaments. Together with our legs, it supports our entire body weight so it is subject to a lot of force especially if we use them extensively or if we engage in high-impact physical activities. This could lead to injuries and fractures that can cause chronic foot and ankle pain. Ageing and disease also contributes to this condition. Below are some of the major causes of foot and ankle pain.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are some of the common causes of foot and ankle pain. Arthritis occurs when there is gradual deterioration of our joints due to lifestyle and old age. As we grow older, it becomes harder for our ligaments and bones to rebuild themselves even if have proper nutrition. Obesity and high uric acid also exacerbates arthritis. Running or walking with when you have this condition can put a strain on your foot and ankle. Pain can only be thwarted with anti-inflammatory medication.
2. Talus Fracture
The talus is a small bone located between the heel bone and the lower leg. It is important in providing balance when we are walking in uneven surfaces. Extreme physical activity such as snowboarding or serious lower back injuries causes talus fracture and triggers foot and ankle pain. Injuries from fall or vehicular accidents also increase the risk of the fracture. It is important that this condition is treated immediately to avoid future debilitating injuries such as arthritis, bone breakage and chronic pain.
3. Achilles Tendonitis
Foot and ankle pain is usually experienced by athletes, particularly those in sports that involves running. This is sometimes due to the over exertion of the Achilles heel which leads to Achilles tendonitis. It is commonly known as heel pain and affects the large tendon located at the back of our ankles. Aside from increased physical training, ill fitting footwear and old age also contributes to this condition.
4. Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fascia is a thick band of tissue that stretches from the front of our foot to the bottom of our heel. Overusing this part of our foot can lead to inflammation and cause foot and ankle pain. Plantar Fasciitis occurs when our fascia loose flexibility because of overpronation in the foot however, most of the pain comes from using footwear with minimal arch support and cushion. Obesity is also another source for this type of foot and ankle pain because the extra weight adds additional stress to our ankles and fascia.
5. Turf Toe
Athletes whose sports involve playing on artificial surfaces, such as a basketball court, often develop turf toe. Their footwear has a tight grip on the surface that it causes their body weight to move forward and in the process over- bending their toes. This extra range of motion overstretches the muscles and ligaments supporting the toes and subsequently cause foot and ankle pain.
6. Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy refers to the damage in the nerves caused by toxins, infections, injuries and more commonly, by diabetes. Neuropathy can either cause ankle and foot pain or numbness on our limbs. The nerves on the toes and hands are the first ones to experience a burning sensation which gradually spreads into the arms and legs. This sensation may be also accompanied by sharp bursts of pain and muscle weakness.
A bunion is a deformity on the joint of your big toe. This happens when too much pressure on the side of your toes tilts the joint on your big toe and gradually shifts the bone to your second toe. The resulting deformity can lead to pain and inflammation which will affect the way you walk. Aside from the ankle and foot pain, bunions can also lead to bone spurs and getting rid of it may require surgery.
8. Heel Spur
Heel spurs are closely associated with plantar fasciitis. It usually develops as the bone and ligaments heal from inflammation caused by fasciitis. Calcium attaches to the ligaments and the tendons causing them to harden and turn into heel spurs. Wearing high heeled shoes also causes heel spurs in order to support the unnatural weight that is distributed to the heel.
Overpronation happens when there is excessive stress on the legs and feet, especially among runners. The movement of the lower leg, knee and thigh becomes over exaggerated and can strain the ligaments on your foot. Normal pronation is characterized with the rolling of the foot inwards and flattening of the arch when we are on standing position. Once overpronation happens, the ability of our feet to absorb shock can lead to foot and ankle pain.