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The ankle is an amazing body part that gives us an incredible range of motion, allowing us to do a variety of different activities. As a hinged joint, not only can it move away from the body, but it also moves toward the body. This directionality, along with your feet’s stability, allows you to do the activities you enjoy, from walking on the beach and jogging through your neighborhood to playing sports or even driving your car and pressing on the gas.
Your feet and ankles are made of complex components that are susceptible to both injury and medical conditions, which can impact your ability to move about freely. These issues often result in pain. When you experience foot and ankle pain, it’s time to visit the team at Spine Institute of North America to discover the cause.
What Is Foot and Ankle Pain?
The foot is what anchors us to the earth, offering stability combined with mechanical complexity. Along with the ankle, our feet are the foundation of our body, acting as shock absorbers and engines that propel us forward. These parts are made up of hundreds of components that keep us moving, including 26 small bones, 33 separate joints, more than 100 tendons, muscles and ligaments and our entire network of nerves and blood vessels.
If anything goes wrong with these many different parts, painful sensations can arise. Tons of injuries and medical conditions can impact our feet and ankles, thus causing chronic pain.
Common Causes of Foot and Ankle Pain
We see many conditions that can affect both the feet and ankles. However, others target one particular body part. Depending on the location of your foot or ankle pain and the related symptoms, there could be many different causes, such as:
- Arthritis: There are hundreds of different kinds of arthritis, but some of the most common associated with foot and ankle pain are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
- Achilles Tendon Injury: This tendon connecting the calf and heel bone can overstretch, tear or rupture completely.
- Bone Spurs: Bony projections that form on bones most often near joints are called bone spurs. These can also develop on the heel to cause a lot of pain.
- Bursitis: The bursae are fluid-filled sacs that prevent friction at the joints, but they can become inflamed with overuse.
- Flat Feet: When the arch of the foot collapses, a person is considered to have flat feet.
- Fractures: Fractures are breaks that can occur to the bones in the ankle or feet — even hairline breaks can cause a lot of pain.
- Osteochondral Lesions: Lesions caused by tearing or damage to joint cartilage can lead to foot and ankle pain.
- Plantar Fasciitis: Inflammation to the thick tissue at the bottom of the foot is known as plantar fasciitis.
- Nerve Pain or Damage: Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, tarsal tunnel syndrome can create nerve issues in the ankle and foot.
- Sprains and Strains: Torn or stretched muscle, ligaments and tendons can cause swelling and pain.
- Tendonitis: Inflammation of the tendons is a primary cause of foot and ankle pain.
Treatments Available for Foot and Ankle Pain
We focus on customized treatment plans for each of our patients at Spine Institute of North America. You deserve the best possible medical solution that will bring you back to full mobility. Initially, we generally focus on minimally invasive options, which could include a regimen of medications, physical therapy, ankle braces or cold and hot compresses.
If these methods are ineffective, we also specialize in least or minimally invasive surgical procedures. Depending on your particular issue, we will come up with a treatment that addresses your symptoms. Another option we provide is regenerative medicine, such as platelet-rich plasma injections.
Treatment options might include:
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