Common Foot Problems
Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. It can occur at any age, and literally means “pain within a joint.” As a result, arthritis is a term used broadly to refer to a number of different conditions.
Back pain associated with the feet is often a result of asymmetry or a lack of alignment from the ground up. When our bodies are out of alignment from beginning at the ground, it can have a serious impact on our entire skeletal system.
A bunion is a deviation and inflammation of joint where the big toe connects to the 1st metatarsal, also known as the 1st MTP. The capsule of the joint is displaced, thickened and enlarged, and the cartilage of the joint is damaged. There are three degrees of bunions: mild, moderate and severe. It is important to know that bunions are not hereditary, although the tendency to overpronate, which is one of the main causes of bunions, has a hereditary component.
Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy. Type 2 diabetes, which is far more common, occurs when the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin or doesn’t make enough insulin.
Fallen Arches (PTTD)
Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction is one of the most common problems of the foot and ankle. It occurs when the posterior tibial tendon becomes inflamed or torn. As a result, the tendon may not be able to provide stability and support for the arch of the foot, resulting in flatfoot.
Flat feet (pes planus) is a condition in which the foot does not have a normal arch when standing. An easy way to see if you have flat feet is when the arch on the inside of your feet is flattened, allowing your entire foot to touch the floor when you stand up.
A hammer toe is a deformity of the second, third or fourth toes. In this condition, the toe is bent at the middle joint, so that it resembles a hammer. Initially, hammer toes are flexible and can be corrected with simple measures but, if left untreated, they can become fixed and require surgery.
The heel bone is the largest bone in the foot and absorbs the most shock and pressure. A heel spur develops as an abnormal growth of the heel bone. Most commonly, calcium deposits form when the plantar fascia pulls away from the heel area, causing a bony protrusion, or heel spur to develop.
Piriformis syndrome is a neuromuscular disorder that occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed or otherwise irritated by the piriformis muscle causing pain, tingling and numbness in the buttocks and along the path of the sciatic nerve descending down the lower thigh and into the leg.
IT Band Syndrome
ITBS is one of the leading causes of lateral (outside) knee pain in runners. The ilio tibial (IT) band runs from the hip to the outside of the end of the lower leg just below the knee. Its function is to resist internal rotation of the lower leg as well as maintain the integrity of the leg at the knee joint. IT band “friction syndrome” is a condition where the IT band is stretched and torqued and the end rubs across the bone of the upper leg.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as Runners Knee, is a degenerative cartilage condition wherein the cartilage on the back of the patella (knee cap) is irritated and painful because it rubs against the bone of the upper leg.
Generalized pain underneath the metatarsals (ball of the foot). Metatarsalgia common symptoms/complaints include a sharp, aching or burning pain in the ball of your foot — the part of the sole just behind your toes, pain in the area around your second, third or fourth toes — or, only near your big toe, pain that gets worse when you stand, walk or run and improves when you rest…
Morton’s neuroma occurs as the nerve passes under the ligament connecting the toe bones (metatarsals) in the forefoot. Morton’s neuroma most frequently develops between the third and fourth toes, usually in response to irritation, trauma or excessive pressure. The incidence of Morton’s neuroma is 8 to 10 times greater in women than in men.
Neuropathy is a collection of disorders that occurs when nerves of the peripheral nervous system (the part of the nervous system outside of the brain and spinal cord) are damaged. The condition is generally referred to as peripheral neuropathy. Neuropathy usually causes pain and numbness in the hands and feet. It can result from traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic disorders, and exposure to toxins.
Plantar fasciitis is a condition where the plantar fascia is pulling on the heel bone and therefore causing inflammation and pain. The plantar fascia is connective tissue that acts as a stabilizer and maintains the integrity of the arch of the foot. It originates at the bottom of the heel bone, is attached to the ball of the foot, and continues forward to insert at the toes.
Pronation is the tri-planar motion that allows us to transfer weight from our heels to the balls of our feet during gait. The most important thing to understand about pronation is that it is necessary. Normal pronation is the ideal situation for anyone. If an individual overpronates or underpronates, they may experience problems.
The term “shin splints” refers to pain and tenderness along or just behind the inner edge of the tibia, the large bone in the lower leg. Shin splints–or medial tibial stress syndrome -usually develop after physical activity, such as vigorous exercise or sports. Repetitive activity leads to inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and periosteum (thin layer of tissue covering a bone) of the tibia, causing pain. The bone tissue itself is also involved.