A fracture is a break in a bone. It may be a crack in the bone (a stress fracture) or a complete break; the bones may shift out of place or break the skin. Fractures in the bones of the foot and ankle cause a variety of symptoms and require different treatments depending on the location and severity of the break as well as the patient's overall health.
An Achilles tendon rupture is a common injury that involves a tearing of the thick band of tissue that connects the calf muscle to the heel and helps with nearly any kind of foot movement. The Achilles tendon can be partially or completely torn and most commonly occurs as a result of repeated stress on the tendon.
Many Achilles tendon ruptures require surgery to repair the tendon and allow the patient to resume normal activity. Nonsurgical treatment is generally reserved for partial tears or for patients who lead a sedentary lifestyle. Neglected ruptures can lead to chronic weakness and difficult walking.
Ankle arthritis is not as common as other forms of arthritis; however, it is still a painful condition for those affected. Arthritis is classified as an inflammation of a joint and can develop as a result of several factors, but most commonly occurs as a result of aging.
Patients with ankle arthritis may not experience any symptoms as the cartilage holding the joint together becomes damaged. As the condition progresses, symptoms usually worsen and may include pain, stiffness, swelling, instability, bone spurs, joint deformity and difficulty walking. If the nerves surrounding the joint become irritated as well, patients may experience numbness and tingling.
Treatment for ankle arthritis varies depending on its severity. Mild cases of ankle arthritis can often be remedied with cushioned shoe inserts, limiting impact activities, wearing a brace, cortisone injections, and anti-inflammatory medications. Surgery may be necessary for cases of ankle arthritis that do not respond to conservative treatment methods.
An ankle sprain is a common injury that occurs when the ankle is twisted or turned, and results in torn ligaments within the joint. This injury often causes pain, swelling and bruising, and may lead to ankle instability as the condition is prone to recur. Ankle ligament reconstruction is commonly performed on patients with ankle instability or repeated sprains, as it is effective in tightening loosened ligaments and improving the overall stability of the joint.
One in four adults in the U.S. has flat feet or fallen arches. Some people are born with flat feet, while others acquire it as they get older. The foot may be flat all the time or it may lose its arch when the person stands ("flexible flatfoot"). Many people with flat feet don't experience any symptoms. Others, however, suffer from heel or ankle pain, tired feet, bunions, arthritis in the foot or ankle, foot or ankle deformity, knee or back pain, or other problems that need professional treatment.