Heel Pain

Causes of Heel Pain

Heel pain is most often caused by plantar fasciitis, a condition that is sometimes also called heel spur syndrome when a spur is present. Heel pain may also be due to other causes, such as a stress fracture, tendonitis, arthritis, nerve irritation or, rarely, a cyst.

Because there are several potential causes, it is important to have heel pain properly diagnosed. A foot and ankle surgeon is able to distinguish between all the possibilities and to determine the underlying source of your heel pain. Source -foothealthfacts.org


Both heel pain and heel spurs are frequently associated with plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the band of fibrous connective tissue (fascia) running along the bottom (plantar surface) of the foot, from the heel to the ball of the foot. It is common among athletes who run and jump a lot, and it can be quite painful.

A bony growth on the underside of the heel bone. The spur, visible by X-ray, appears as a protrusion that can extend forward as much as half an inch. When there is no indication of bone enlargement, the condition is sometimes referred to as "heel spur syndrome." Heel spurs result from strain on the muscles and ligaments of the foot, by stretching of the long band of tissue that connects the heel and the ball of the foot, and by repeated tearing away of the lining or membrane that covers the heel bone. These conditions may result from biomechanical imbalance, running or jogging, improperly fitted or excessively worn shoes, or obesity.

Pain at the back of the heel is associated with Achilles tendinitis, which is inflammation of the Achilles tendon as it runs behind the ankle and inserts on the back surface of the heel bone. It is common among people who run and walk a lot and have tight tendons. The condition occurs when the tendon is strained over time, causing the fibers to tear or stretch along its length, or at its insertion on to the heel bone. This leads to inflammation, pain, and the possible growth of a bone spur on the back of the heel bone. The inflammation is aggravated by the chronic irritation that sometimes accompanies an active lifestyle and certain activities that strain an already tight tendon.

The feet and ankles work together to provide support and mobility to the body. A foot or ankle sprain is a soft tissue injury. Most often, a sprain occurs when an injury pulls, stretches, or tears the ligaments that connect bone to bone. A fracture is actually a break in the bone.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a rare disorder caused by damage to the tibial nerve or its branches, usually due to compression as it passes through the tarsal tunnel (entrapment neuropathy). The tarsal tunnel is a narrow passageway bound by bone and soft tissue that lies on the inside of the ankle.

Overuse injuries refer to injuries sustained from repeated action (such as repetitive strain injury) as opposed to acute injuries, which occur in an instant (such as a sprained ankle).

Common foot problems associated with weight gain include posterior tibial tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, arthritis, ball-of-foot pain, fractures and sprains of the feet and ankles.


Arthritis

Causes of Arthritis

Arthritis, in general terms, is inflammation and swelling of the cartilage and lining of the joints, generally accompanied by an increase in the fluid in the joints. Arthritis has multiple causes; just as a sore throat may have its origin in a variety of diseases, so joint inflammation and arthritis are associated with many different illnesses.


Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is frequently called degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis. Although it can be brought on suddenly by an injury, its onset is generally gradual; aging brings on a breakdown in cartilage, and pain gets progressively more severe, although it can be relieved with rest. Dull, throbbing nighttime pain is characteristic, and it may be accompanied by muscle weakness or deterioration. Walking may become erratic. It is a particular problem for the feet when people are overweight, simply because there are so many joints in each foot. The additional weight contributes to the deterioration of cartilage and the development of bone spurs.

RA is a major crippling disorder and perhaps the most serious form of arthritis. It is a complex, chronic inflammatory system of diseases, often affecting more than a dozen smaller joints during the course of the disease, frequently in a symmetrical pattern—both ankles, or the index fingers of both hands, for example. It is often accompanied by signs and symptoms—lengthy morning stiffness, fatigue, and weight loss—and it may affect various systems of the body, such as the eyes, lungs, heart, and nervous system. Women are three or four times more likely than men to suffer RA.

Gout is a condition caused by a buildup of the salts of uric acid—a normal byproduct of the diet—in the joints. A single big toe joint is commonly the affected area, possibly because it is subject to so much pressure in walking; attacks of gouty arthritis are extremely painful, perhaps more so than any other form of arthritis. Men are much more likely to be afflicted than women, an indication that heredity may play a role in the disease. While a rich diet that contains lots of red meat, rich sauces, shellfish, and brandy is popularly associated with gout, there are other protein compounds in foods such as lentils and beans that may play a role.

It causes pain and stiffness in the joint, and with time, it gets increasingly harder to bend the toe. Hallux refers to the big toe, while rigidus indicates that the toe is rigid and cannot move. Hallux rigidus is actually a form of degenerative arthritis.


Skin Conditions

Causes of Skin Conditions

Skin conditions of the foot can be caused by a variety of factors including rubbing/irritation, fungus, and bacteria.


Athlete's foot is a skin disease caused by a fungus, usually occurring between the toes. The fungus most commonly attacks the feet because shoes create a warm, dark, and humid environment which encourages fungus growth. Not all fungus conditions are athlete's foot. Other conditions, such as disturbances of the sweat mechanism, reaction to dyes or adhesives in shoes, eczema, and psoriasis, may mimic athlete's foot.

A blister is an area of raised skin with a watery liquid inside. Blisters form on hands and feet from rubbing and pressure, but they form a lot more quickly than calluses. You can get blisters on your feet the same day you wear uncomfortable or poor-fitting shoes.

Toenail fungus, or onychomycosis, is an infection underneath the surface of the nail caused by fungi. When the tiny organisms take hold, the nail often becomes darker in color and smells foul. Debris may collect beneath the nail plate, white marks frequently appear on the nail plate, and the infection is capable of spreading to other toenails, the skin, or even the fingernails. If ignored, the infection can spread and possibly impair your ability to work or even walk. The resulting thicker nails are difficult to trim and make walking painful when wearing shoes. Onychomycosis can also be accompanied by a secondary bacterial or yeast infection in or about the nail plate.

Psoriasis is a skin condition caused by faster-than-normal turnover of skin cells. Normally, new skin cells rise to the surface of the skin once a month; the old surface skin cells die and slough off while the new cells are moving to the surface. In people who have psoriasis, the new cells move to the surface so rapidly that the dead cells build up on the surface in dry, whitish-silver patches.

Warts are one of several soft tissue conditions of the foot that can be quite painful. They are caused by a virus and can appear anywhere on the skin. Those that appear on the sole of the foot are called plantar warts. Children, especially teenagers, tend to be more susceptible to warts than adults. Some people seem to be immune to warts.

Corns and calluses are areas of thickened skin that develop to protect that area from irritation. They occur when something rubs against the foot repeatedly or causes excess pressure against part of the foot. If the thickening of skin occurs on the bottom of the foot, it's called a callus. If it occurs on the top of the foot (or toe), it's called a corn.

Skin cancer can develop anywhere on the body, including in the lower extremities. Skin cancers of the feet have several features in common. Most are painless, and often there is a history of recurrent cracking, bleeding, or ulceration. Frequently, individuals discover their skin cancer after unrelated ailments near the affected site.

Excessive sweating of the feet is called hyperhidrosis. It's more common in men than in women, and more common in young adults than older adults. People whose feet sweat excessively often also have problems with excessive sweating of the palms. According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society, 3 percent of the population suffers from hyperhidrosis.

Plantar fibroma cysts are fibrous and hard knots that are found deep within the skin of the arch of the foot. They are non-cancerous, and can be found in either or both feet. A synovial cyst is a small, fluid-filled sac that occurs on the top of the foot, or over a tendon or joint.

Excess body mass can decrease blood circulation, causing fluid to build up in the feet, legs, and ankles. Standing or sitting for long periods: When the muscles are inactive, they can't pump body fluids back up toward the heart. The retention of water and blood can cause swelling in the legs.


General Foot Pain

Causes of General Foot Pain

It is important to tell the doctor where you are hurting and describe the pain, this will help narrow down and assist in diagnosing. There are many causes and the following is not meant to be an exhaustive list:


The feet and ankles work together to provide support and mobility to the body. A foot or ankle sprain is a soft tissue injury. Most often, a sprain occurs when an injury pulls, stretches, or tears the ligaments that connect bone to bone. A fracture is actually a break in the bone.

A broken or dislocated toe can cause a tremendous amount of pain, and is often the result of excessive force or pressure against the toe. If you think your toe is broken or dislocated please contact a certified physician immediately.

Flat feet can occur during childhood if the arches of the feet don't develop, after an injury, or from the wear and tear of aging. Most people have no symptoms associated with flat feet. But some people with flat feet experience foot pain, particularly in the heel or arch area.

A neuroma is a painful condition, also referred to as a “pinched nerve” or a nerve tumor. It is a benign growth of nerve tissue frequently found between the third and fourth toes. It brings on pain, a burning sensation, tingling, or numbness between the toes and in the ball of the foot.

The metatarsophalangeal bursa is located on the inner part of the foot near the big toe. This bursa is a common spot for bursitis to develop as it is where a bunion (enlarged metatarsal bone) causes excess rubbing. Naturally, a bursa by a bunion can become inflamed with the excess friction in the area.

A plantar fibroma is a benign nodule that grows on the bottom of the foot and usually appears in the second through sixth decade of life. It is usually slow growing and measures less than an inch in size. More invasive, rapid-growing and multi-planar fibromas are considered plantar fibromatosis.

A muscle contusion (more commonly known as a bruise) occurs as a result of a blunt force injury that damages blood vessels—usually capillaries—causing blood to seep into the surrounding tissue, which in turn causes the bruise to spread and darken.

Puncture wounds caused by foreign bodies can be deceptive in appearance. This is because many show little or no signs of external damage, yet they may have caused a serious internal injury. Some of the more common objects that cause these injuries include nails, pins or tacks, wood, glass and thorns.


Ankle Pain

Causes of Ankle Pain

Ankle pain can be caused by a variety of factors including arthritis, sprains, fractures, and wear and tear.


The feet and ankles work together to provide support and mobility to the body. A foot or ankle sprain is a soft tissue injury. Most often, a sprain occurs when an injury pulls, stretches, or tears the ligaments that connect bone to bone. A fracture is actually a break in the bone.

Achilles tendinitis, or an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, is one of the most common causes of foot or ankle pain. Other types of foot/ankle tendinitis include posterior tibial tendinitis and peroneal tendinitis.

Arthritis, in general terms, is inflammation and swelling of the cartilage and lining of the joints, generally accompanied by an increase in the fluid in the joints. Arthritis has multiple causes; just as a sore throat may have its origin in a variety of diseases, so joint inflammation and arthritis are associated with many different illnesses.

The feet and ankles work together to provide support and mobility to the body. A foot or ankle sprain is a soft tissue injury. Most often, a sprain occurs when an injury pulls, stretches, or tears the ligaments that connect bone to bone. A fracture is actually a break in the bone.

Peroneal tendonitis is inflammation of the peroneal tendons which run behind the lateral malleolus or the bony bit on the outside of the ankle causing and swelling on the outer ankle.

Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD) is a condition caused by changes in the tendon, impairing its ability to support the arch. This results in flattening of the foot.


Diabetic Foot

Causes of Diabetic Foot

Foot ulcers occur because of nerve damage and peripheral vascular disease. Peripheral vascular disease. Diabetes also affects the flow of blood. Without good blood flow, it takes longer for a sore or cut to heal.


A diabetic foot ulcer is an open sore or wound that occurs in approximately 15 percent of patients with diabetes and is commonly located on the bottom of the foot. Of those who develop a foot ulcer, 6 percent will be hospitalized due to infection or other ulcer-related complication.

Peripheral neuropathy is damage of the peripheral nerves. Your peripheral nerves—the nerves in your toes and fingertips—are the ones on the periphery of your body. When the nerves are damaged, they don't function properly. People with peripheral neuropathy have decreased or abnormal sensation in their toes and fingers. Sometimes, they develop problems moving these parts of the body as well.

Psoriasis is a skin condition caused by faster-than-normal turnover of skin cells. Normally, new skin cells rise to the surface of the skin once a month; the old surface skin cells die and slough off while the new cells are moving to the surface. In people who have psoriasis, the new cells move to the surface so rapidly that the dead cells build up on the surface in dry, whitish-silver patches.

A blister is an area of raised skin with a watery liquid inside. Blisters form on hands and feet from rubbing and pressure, but they form a lot more quickly than calluses. You can get blisters on your feet the same day you wear uncomfortable or poor-fitting shoes.

Skin infection of the foot or, tinea cruris, is a common skin infection that is caused by a type of fungus called tinea. The fungus thrives in warm, moist areas of the body and as a result, infection can affect the genitals, inner thighs, and buttocks. Infections occur more frequently in the summer or in warm, wet climates.

Toenail fungus, or onychomycosis, is an infection underneath the surface of the nail caused by fungi. When the tiny organisms take hold, the nail often becomes darker in color and smells foul. Debris may collect beneath the nail plate, white marks frequently appear on the nail plate, and the infection is capable of spreading to other toenails, the skin, or even the fingernails. If ignored, the infection can spread and possibly impair your ability to work or even walk. The resulting thicker nails are difficult to trim and make walking painful when wearing shoes. Onychomycosis can also be accompanied by a secondary bacterial or yeast infection in or about the nail plate.

Ingrown nails, the most common nail impairment, are nails whose corners or sides dig painfully into the soft tissue of nail grooves, often leading to irritation, redness, and swelling. Usually, toenails grow straight out. Sometimes, however, one or both corners or sides curve and grow into the flesh. The big toe is the most common location for this condition, but other toes can also become affected.

Poor circulation is often a sign of other health issues, such as obesity, high blood pressure or cholesterol, and diabetes. Another common cause of poor circulation is peripheral vascular disease (PVD), a condition that restricts normal blood flow to and from the heart.

Amputation for Foot Problems. Blood vessel and nerve damage linked with diabetes can lead to serious infections that are extremely hard to treat. Often the first place you have a problem is your feet. ... Sometimes the infection is so severe that toes, the foot, and/or possibly part of the leg must be amputated.

With proper diet, exercise, medical care, and careful management at home, a person with diabetes can avoid the most serious complications and enjoy a full and active life. Today's podiatrist plays a key role in helping patients manage diabetes successfully and avoid foot-related complications.


Elderly/Aging Population

Some causes of these diagnosis are not treated by the physician directly but has significant impact on prevention and treatment overall.

Dementia

If a patient has any amount or any form of dementia, it is highly recommended that a family member or appointed care taker be present for every visit.


Falls are the leading cause of death from injury among people 65 and older. Approximately 9,500 deaths in older Americans are associated with falls each year. More than half of all fatal falls involve people 75 or over. Among people aged 65 to 69, one out of every 200 falls results in a hip, leg, foot, toe, or ankle fracture.

Skin conditions can worsen with age and includes wrinkled, lax, dry, infected, and bruised skin.

Bones of the foot can weaken as you get older and can give way for a variety of conditions. This can be a result of poor nutrition and a lack of calcium or vitiman intake. If you are experiencing pain in any area of your foot, it is best to consult your physician for help.

Longer-term difficulties often result from muscular neurological issues. Problems with gait, balance, and coordination are often caused by specific conditions, including: joint pain or conditions, such as arthritis.

Plantar fat pad atrophy refers to the breakdown or thinning of the protective fatty cushion located underneath the heads of the metatarsal bones in the ball of the foot. This fat pad is there to cushion the load of our body as we walk or stand.

PAD is pain and inflammation that occurs in a part of the foot known as the metatarsal (ball of foot). It is a common problem which can affect the bones and joints of the metatarsals.

Muscle atrophy is when muscles waste away. The main reason for muscle wasting is a lack of physical activity. This can happen when a disease or injury makes it difficult or impossible for you to move an arm, leg, or difficult to stand on your feet.


Children


Heel pain is most often caused by plantar fasciitis, a condition that is sometimes also called heel spur syndrome when a spur is present. Heel pain may also be due to other causes, such as a stress fracture, tendonitis, arthritis, nerve irritation or, rarely, a cyst.

Ingrown nails, the most common nail impairment, are nails whose corners or sides dig painfully into the soft tissue of nail grooves, often leading to irritation, redness, and swelling. Usually, toenails grow straight out. Sometimes, however, one or both corners or sides curve and grow into the flesh. The big toe is the most common location for this condition, but other toes can also become affected.

Warts are one of several soft tissue conditions of the foot that can be quite painful. They are caused by a virus and can appear anywhere on the skin. Those that appear on the sole of the foot are called plantar warts. Children, especially teenagers, tend to be more susceptible to warts than adults. Some people seem to be immune to warts.

Athlete's foot is a skin disease caused by a fungus, usually occurring between the toes. The fungus most commonly attacks the feet because shoes create a warm, dark, and humid environment which encourages fungus growth. Not all fungus conditions are athlete's foot. Other conditions, such as disturbances of the sweat mechanism, reaction to dyes or adhesives in shoes, eczema, and psoriasis, may mimic athlete's foot.

Flat feet can occur during childhood if the arches of the feet don't develop, after an injury, or from the wear and tear of aging. Most people have no symptoms associated with flat feet. But some people with flat feet experience foot pain, particularly in the heel or arch area.

In children, most toe, foot, or ankle injuries occur during sports, play, or falls. The risk for injury is higher in sports with jumping, such as basketball, or sports with quick direction change, such as soccer or football. Any bone injury near a joint may injure the growth plate (physis) in a child and needs to be evaluated.

Growing pains usually cause an aching or throbbing feeling in the legs. This pain often occurs in the front of the thighs, the calves or behind the knees. Usually both legs hurt. Some children may also experience abdominal pain or headaches during episodes of growing pains.

List of Diagnoses

  • Heel Pain
  • Warts
  • Hammertoes
  • Ingrown Toenails
  • Achilles Tendon
  • Ankle Instability
  • Ankle sprains
  • Arthritis
  • Athletes Foot
  • Bunions
  • Calluses
  • Corns
  • Diabetic Feet
  • Infections
  • Flat Feet
  • Fractures
  • Ganglion cysts or other tumors of foot and ankle
  • Gout
  • Fungal Toenails
  • Geriatric Foot Care
  • General Foot Pain
  • Hammertoes
  • Heel Pain
  • Heel Spurs
  • High arches
  • Ingrown Toenails
  • Injuries
  • Ligament and Tendon injuries
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Neuromas
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Tendonitis
  • Skin conditions and rashes of foot and leg
  • Wounds
  • Strains and Sprains of foot