Bone Problems in Your Feet and Ankles
The underlying supports of a building are called footings (no pun intended)! This name makes sense when you understand that the bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments in your feet provide the structure and base for your entire body weight whenever you stand. Your feet contain about a fourth of the bones in your body, along with numerous ligaments, tendons, muscles, nerves and blood vessels. Each part has its own function so that your feet can provide a stable foundation and enable you to move about. That’s why, when there are bone problems in your feet, your whole body can suffer.
What Affects Your Bone Health
The general health of your bones is affected by many things including your age, your general health, your genetics, your nutrition and the environment. Underlying conditions can affect bones anywhere in your body, including your feet. Osteoporosis (low bone density) or osteogenesis imperfecta (a genetic disorder) can make bones thin, brittle and easy to break. Osteoarthritis affects bones, cartilage and causes inflammation and pain. Bone cancer, bone infection and other genetic disorders can affect how your bones grow and how strong they are.
Common Bone Problems in Feet
Arthritis: There are many different types of arthritis that can affect the feet and can affect people of all ages. Osteoarthritis is associated with “wear and tear” of bones and joints and trauma. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of auto-immune response, and often significantly deforms bones and joints.
Bunions: “Bumps” just below the big toes are bunions. Bunions often have a genetic and an environment component, and are often associated with arthritic changes in the bones and joints. Bunions can progressively get worse over time, can become red and swollen, and interfere with patient’s ability to wear shoes and ambulate effectively.
Fracture: Whether just a small crack (stress fracture) or a complete break of the bone, fractures can cause you a lot of pain. Fractures (or broken bones) can be caused by trauma or a systemic disease.
Gout: Gout is a type of arthritis associated with the body’s overproduction of uric acid crystals in the blood which spill into joints and cause sharp pain, redness, swelling and heat.
Hammertoes: Describes toes that are bent and contracted. The toes can be flexible or rigid, and are associated with arthritic changes in the toe joints. Patients can develop painful corns on these malpositioned toes that hurt in shoes.
Hallux limitus/rigidus: Decreased range of motion or stiffness in the big toe joint; caused by inherited abnormal foot structure, fracture or repeated trauma, or inflammatory diseases like gout and arthritis.
Heel Spurs: Are related to plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the ligament (fascia) that stretches along the bottom of your foot. It is thought that the overstretching of the plantar fascia contributes to the formation of heel spurs. Heel spurs can be found on the bottom and back of the heel bone (calcaneus), and are arthritic bone changes.
Metatarsalgia: Describes pain on the balls of the feet. The pain can be associated with malposition bones, nerves and arthritis.
Sesamoiditis: Describes pain and inflammation of one or two small bones located beneath the head of the bone behind the big toe. The sesamoid bones can enlarge (hypertrophic), fracture or become inflamed.
This list is not exhaustive. Other conditions can affect the bones of the feet, such as tarsal coalition, Kohler’s disease, Jones fracture, or bone tumors mention a few of the other bone related conditions that can affect your feet.
Anytime your feet hurt, your activities can be limited by the pain. If you notice anything different about your feet’s appearance or function, don’t wait. Call Country Foot Care and let our doctors take a look. Treatment is always more effective when it is started early. The staff at our friendly, boutique style New York offices are ready to give you the best foot care with a warm and caring attitude. Appointments can be made by phone to either of our New York offices or online using the MAKE AN APPOINTMENT button at the top of this page.