FOOT PAIN

Achilles Tendon Rupture (Tear)

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. It connects your calf muscles to your heel bone and is used when you walk, run, and jump.

Although the Achilles tendon can withstand great stresses from running and jumping, it is vulnerable to injury. A rupture of the tendon is a tearing and separation of the tendon fibers so that the tendon can no longer perform its normal function.

This video animation provides information about the Achilles tendon, how it can be injured, and how injuries are treated — both nonsurgically and surgically.

*All Information provided by The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Sprained Ankle

An ankle sprain occurs when the strong ligaments that support the ankle stretch beyond their limits and tear. Ankle sprains are common injuries that occur among people of all ages. They range from mild to severe, depending upon how much damage there is to the ligaments.

Most sprains are minor injuries that heal with home treatments like rest and applying ice. However, if your ankle is very swollen and painful to walk on — or if you are having trouble putting weight on your ankle at all, be sure to see your doctor.

Without proper treatment and rehabilitation, a more severe sprain can weaken your ankle—making it more likely that you will injure it again. Repeated ankle sprains can lead to long-term problems, including chronic ankle pain, arthritis, and ongoing instability.

Cause

Your foot can twist unexpectedly during many different activities, such as:

  • Walking or exercising on an uneven surface

  • Falling down

  • Participating in sports that require cutting actions or rolling and twisting of the foot—such as trail running, basketball, tennis, football, and soccer

  • During sports activities, someone else may step on your foot while you are running, causing your foot to twist or roll to the side.

An ankle sprain is an injury to one or more of the ligaments that stabilize the ankle.

Reproduced from J Bernstein, ed: Musculoskeletal Medicine. Rosemont, IL, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2003.

Symptoms

A sprained ankle is painful. Other symptoms may include:

  • Swelling

  • Bruising

  • Tenderness to touch

  • Instability of the ankle—this may occur when there has been complete tearing of the ligament or a complete dislocation of the ankle joint.

Plantar Fasciitis and Bone Spurs

Plantar fasciitis (fashee-EYE-tiss) is the most common cause of pain on the bottom of the heel. Approximately 2 million patients are treated for this condition every year.

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the strong band of tissue that supports the arch of your foot becomes irritated and inflamed.

Anatomy

The plantar fascia is a long, thin ligament that lies directly beneath the skin on the bottom of your foot. It connects the heel to the front of your foot, and supports the arch of your foot.

Cause

The plantar fascia is designed to absorb the high stresses and strains we place on our feet. But, sometimes, too much pressure damages or tears the tissues. The body's natural response to injury is inflammation, which results in the heel pain and stiffness of plantar fasciitis.

Heel Spurs

Although many people with plantar fasciitis have heel spurs, spurs are not the cause of plantar fasciitis pain. One out of 10 people has heel spurs, but only 1 out of 20 people (5%) with heel spurs has foot pain. Because the spur is not the cause of plantar fasciitis, the pain can be treated without removing the spur.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Pain on the bottom of the foot near the heel

  • Pain with the first few steps after getting out of bed in the morning, or after a long period of rest, such as after a long car ride. The pain subsides after a few minutes of walking

  • Greater pain after (not during) exercise or activity

*All Information provided by The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

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