Arthritis is the deterioration of the cartilage with inflammation of the tissues surrounding the joint area. The common areas for arthritis in the foot are the great toe joint, the midfoot, and the ankle. Pain can be dull and achy or sharp and stabbing depending on the severity and location.
A bunion is a structural change in the foot, resulting in a bone deformity at the great toe joint. Bunions are caused by abnormalities in foot structure and mechanics and exacerbated by wearing inappropriate shoes. Bunions develop slowly over time and the pain is generally a dull, achy pain experienced with walking and at rest. In tight or narrow shoes, the pain may be sharp at the inside of the great toe joint, due to pressure from the shoes.
4. Flat feet
The characteristic sign of flatfoot is the low arch. Flatfoot is the result of bone structure, abnormal foot mechanics, and tendon dysfunction. There may be very little pain or pain under the arch, heel, or midfoot. Flatfeet are associated with conditions such as plantar fasciitis, posterior tibial tendonitis, and midfoot arthritis.
5. Plantar fasciitis and Heel Pain
Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain and is characterized by a sharp pain in the heel at the first step in the morning. Plantar fasciitis is the tearing and inflammation of a long ligament in the bottom of the foot. This ligament-type structure is called the plantar fascia and supports the arch.
Skin, nail, and soft tissue conditions
6. Corns and calluses
Both corns and calluses are a build-up of dead tissue by the body in response to pressure and friction. Corns develop on the top and in between toes, while calluses build up on the bottom and sides of the feet. The combination of foot deformities, abnormal foot mechanics, and ill-fitting shoes contributes to the development of corns and calluses.
7. Fungal nail infection
Toenail fungus is characterized by thick, yellow, and brown discolored toenails. The thickness of the nail can cause pressure and pain in shoes. Fungal toenails are more common in athletes, diabetics, and seniors. Some individuals are inherently more susceptible to developing fungal infections. The medical term for toenail fungus is onychomycosis.
9. Diabetic ulcer
Diabetics have many foot problems, including problems with circulation, neuropathy, ulcerations, and amputations. This informational page gives information on diabetic foot conditions and ways to prevent diabetic foot complications.
11. Athlete’s foot
Foot fungus is characterized by peeling, scaling, redness, and itching on the bottom of the foot and in between the toes. The medical term for foot fungus is tinea pedia. There are many home remedies and over the counter treatments that will eliminate foot fungus and the key to treatment is preventing re-infection.
12. Ingrown toenail
An ingrown nail is a curved nail that presses on the surrounding skin causes redness, pain, and inflammation. Ingrown nails are commonly caused by narrow shoes, overuse activities, and repetitive microtrauma to the toenail. Some individuals are born with a natural susceptibility to developing ingrown nails.
Foot and Ankle Anatomy
The foot is a complex structure of 28 bones (26 main bones and two small bones under the big toe), over 100 ligaments, multiple muscles and tendons which all work together to hold the weight of the entire body and help propel the human body. Read more on foot anatomy.
Other Foot Conditions
Tendonitis is microscopic tears in the tendon due to overuse, resulting in inflammation and pain and potentially degeneration and dysfunction of the tendon. Once the tendon starts to degenerate, the condition is termed tendinosis. The most common tendinitis in the foot and ankle is Achilles tendonitis. Posterior tibial tendonitis is also common.
Ball of Foot Pain
Metatarsalgia, 2nd metatarsal overload syndrome, sesamoiditis, and neuromas are all common problems in the ball of the foot. Metatarsalgia is a general term describing pain across the ball of the foot. Second metatarsal overload syndrome is a result of hypermobility of the first ray. Sesamoiditis causes pain and inflammation under the great toe joint and a neuroma is an inflamed nerve in the bottom of the foot causing tingling, burning, and pain.
A neuroma is an inflamed nerve in the ball of the foot which causes sharp pain that can radiate to the toes. Common symptoms of a neuroma are burning, tingling, numbness, and radiating pain to the 3rd and 4th toes. The ball of the foot may feel numb, or there may be a feeling of walking on a lump or lamp cord.
A wart is a growth caused by a virus called the human papillomavirus (HPV). The medical name for wart is verrucae.There are many types of warts, common warts, which are dome shaped and flesh colored, flat warts which appear as clusters of flat lesions, periungual warts which occur around the toenails, mosiac warts which appear as large clusters or plaques and digitate warts, an uncommon type of wart found on the toes.
Hammertoes are crooked toes that develop gradually over time as a result of tendon imbalance. Corns can develop on top of the toes causing pain and pain can develop under the ball of the foot, causing a retrograde force and excess pressure and inflammation at the joint.
A stress fracture is an incomplete break of the bone and is generally a result of repetitive stress, not trauma. The most common areas in the foot for stress fractures are the metatarsals, the long bones of the foot.
An ankle sprain is the partial or complete tearing of the ligaments in the ankle, most commonly on the outside of the ankle. The tearing results from a twisting injury called an inversion ankle sprain. The treatment is dependent on the severity of the sprain.
“Shin splints” is a general term used to describe pain on the shin bone. The most common cause for this type of pain is inflammation of the sheath surrounding the shin bone (the tibia). Shin pain can result from medial tibial stress syndrome, chronic compartment syndrome, or a stress fracture.