The issues you have with your feet may require conservative care like wearing a walking boot or more extensive care as in orthopedic foot surgery. Orthopedic foot surgery can fix many conditions. The conditions you have with your feet may be affecting other parts of your body like your legs and back; you just don’t know it yet, but you will. Your feet are crucial in helping you stand upright and in maintaining a good posture. Any deformities in the feet can result in balance problems, back issues, and a lot of pain.
Anatomy of the Foot
Foot problems are not always related to the bones. The foot is made of many things: bones, joints, muscles, and tissues. All of these structures work perfectly together to make the foot. They assist in activities such as running, jumping, even swimming. Any deformities or changes in the feet can result in a lot of pain. It may hinder your level of activity. For those who are runners or athletes, having a foot problem can be devastating. Depending on the condition, healing may take years. Most foot problems can be resolved through orthopedic foot and ankle surgery but in some cases, there may be ongoing complications.
You may be familiar with broken bones, but when it comes to the feet, broken bones are only one of many possible issues. Too much weight on the bones of your feet can lead to stress fractures. These stress fractures can also be a result of overuse and strenuous activity. Fractures are minor cracks in the bone. They can be very painful and may require you to use crutches. Most stress fractures heal on their own, making surgery unnecessary. More severe breaks may need surgery. A broken foot is usually the result of an injury. An orthopedic surgeon may have to use screws to fix major breaks.
Bunions & Hammer Toes
Bunions and Hammer Toe are two separate bone related issues that an orthopedic surgeon may need to repair. A bunion develops on the big toe. It is a misalignment of the bones (phalanges and metatarsals) of the big toe. This misalignment leads to a hard growth on the inside of the foot. The big toe also begins to turn in towards the second toe. In more severe cases, the big toe may entirely overlap the second toe. Hammer toe is similar to a bunion, but the deformity happens in the middle joint and instead of the toe turning inward, it turns down. Bunions typically only occur on the big toe, but all the toes can be affected by hammer toe. Hammer toes are most commonly seen in the second toe.
Sesamoiditis is a problem affecting the sesamoid bone. The tendon of the foot houses the sesamoid bone. It is a tiny bone that is located in the big toe. Sesamoiditis is inflammation of that bone. It can be a result of injury or overuse. Increased pressure on the sesamoid bone will begin to cause pain and makes wearing shoes difficult.
Tendon & Nerve Problems
The tendons are necessary for movement and flexibility. Tendons do not break, but they can tear and become worn down. The foot is made with an arch. As you get older, the arch of your foot may begin to fall, leading to adult acquired flatfoot. The falling arch is a result of the ligaments and tendons in the foot collapsing causing the sole to touch the floor. In most cases flatfoot is not a painful condition but if it leads to pain, it is time to see an orthopedic physician. Surgery is not necessary unless there has been a tear leading to adult acquired flatfoot.
Achilles Tendon Injury
Achilles tendon injuries are tough to heal from. The Achilles’ tendon connects the heel of the foot to the calf. A tear in the Achilles’ tendon is very painful, and recovery can take years. In many cases, people have complications after a tear. The Achilles tendon can also become inflamed or have degeneration. In these instances surgery may not be necessary.
Plantar fascia is a band of connective tissue that is found on the bottom of the foot. It is a very thick band that spreads between the toes and the heel of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is an irritation of that connective tissue. It can be a result of tears in the tissue or repetitive stress in the area. The inflammation leads to a lot of pain and is bothersome when walking.
Your foot contains nerves. The nerves run in between the toes and along the whole foot. Morton’s neuroma is a condition where the covering that protects the nerve known as sheath begins to thicken. This thickening typically happens in between the toes. It is a result of injury and irritation. Women will typically have this problem more than men because unfortunately it can also result from high heel shoes. Women tend to wear shoes based on its look and not comfort value. It may be a good idea to add comfort to your list when looking for shoes.
All foot problems should be discussed with an orthopedic physician. Not all foot issues require surgery, but many of them do. An orthopedic surgeon will do several diagnostic test to find the result of your foot pain. After diagnosing the problem, an orthopedic physician will determine whether or not surgery is necessary. Foot problems are a common issue and can develop out of nowhere. If you are battling constant foot pain, you should see an orthopedic doctor. Don’t let foot pain keep you down; you still have a lot of miles to go.
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