Diseases of the Foot

Ankle Instability
Chronic, repetitive sprains of the ankle, due to an injury that never healed properly, to weak ankle ligaments or a heel that tilts inward (varus heel).

Arthritis
Wearing away of joint surfaces. Arthritis falls into one of three categories:Osteoarthritis is primary arthritis of the joint and may be related to family history. Traumatic arthritis is arthritis that develops after injury to a joint. Inflammatory arthritis occurs when a disease causes the cartilage to die off. Treatment is dependent on the cause and extent of the arthritis and may entail medication, bracing or surgery.

Bunion
A painful swelling or lump along the inside of the joint where the big toe meets the foot (metatarsophalangeal joint), usually a result of an imbalance of the muscles that pull on the big toe, causing the big toe joint to slip out of place.

Bunionectomy
A surgical procedure to remove the bunion and re-align the big toe, consisting of osteotomy of one or more bones of the foot, removal of spurs around the joint and re-balancing of the tendons around the great toe.

Bunionette
A painful swelling or lump along the outside of the joint where the little toe meets the foot (Metatarsophalangeal Joint). This may be a spur on the outside of the joint, or may be related to the 5 th toe joint becoming out of place. Successful treatment is often possible simply by following the 10 points of proper shoe fit.

Callus
Hard skin that grows in the area of increased pressure, usually pressure on a shoe.

Charcot Joints
"Charcot" joint in the foot typically refers to painless fracture and dislocation of the foot in patients without normal feeling in their foot.Loss of sensation in the foot for any reason can be responsible for developing a Charcot fracture, although this is most commonly seen with neuropathy. Neuropathy of the nerves that affect the foot is most commonly seen with diabetes, but is associated with other diseases as well. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition and the amount of deformity that is present.

Claw Toe
Most deformities of the lesser toes, usually the result of a muscular imbalance within the foot which causes the lesser toes to deform.

Club Foot
Condition where the foot is malformed at birth. Usually the foot is tightly and rigidly twisted downward at the ankle and inward at the heel and midfoot.Correction by stretching the foot and casting can be effective, although sometimes surgery is necessary to correct the foot.

Corns
Hardened areas of abnormal skin on the foot, where there is increased pressure, most typically on the tops or sides of toes where a shoe pinches. They can also form on the sole of the foot when deformity of the toes is present.

Diabetic Foot
Diabetic foot problems may be the result of poorly functioning nerves (neuropathy), atherosclerosis, and decreased resistance to infection (immunosuppression). Diabetes can lead to foot disease, fractures and ulcers. Diabetic foot problems should be monitored carefully by the patient, the primary care physician and the orthopaedic foot and ankle specialist.

Flat Feet
Congenital (present from birth) flat foot may be the result of a deformity of one or more bones in the foot, or a failure of the bones to separate during growth before birth (tarsal coalition). Acquired (developing with time) flatfoot is usually the result of injury, arthritis, or a torn tendon (posterior tibial tendon).

Foot Ulcer
A breakdown of the skin in the foot, usually is a problem of diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, neuropathy, venous stasis or other long standing medical problems.Ulcers vary in severity ranging from superficial breakdown of the skin to deeper ulceration that extends through muscle and bone.

High Arches
High arches or "pes cavus" is a condition that can be normal or can be problematic.High arches that are problematic are often the result of problems with the way the bones of the foot developed as a child, or sometimes are the result of serious neurological conditions that require treatment.

Hallux Rigidus
Arthritis of the great toe, specifically at the joint where the big toe meets the foot.

Hammertoe
Deformity of the lesser toes.Usually results in a fixed position that can cause significant pain and discomfort with tight shoes.

Heel pain
The most common reason is "plantar fasciitis." Other conditions exist and include Achilles' tendonitis, stress fracture, peroneal tendonitis, "stone bruise" and others.Your orthopaedist can help you decide what specifically is causing the pain and how to resolve it.

Heel spur
"Heel spurs" are commonly used to describe plantar fasciitis. On X-Rays, they appear as a "spur" on the bottom or back of the heel bone (calcaneus). Surgical removal of the spur is usually not required for successful treatment of plantar fasciitis.

Inflammatory arthritis
Inflammatory arthritis occurs when a disease affecting the patient causes the cartilage to die off.Treatment is dependent on the cause and extent of the arthritis and may entail medication, bracing or surgery.

Ingrown Toenail
As a nail grows in, it may catch at the inside or outside edge of the toe. When the nail begins to cut through the skin, an infection can occur resulting in redness, pain and pussy discharge. Treatment is by removal of part or all of the nail. Prevention is the best treatment.

Metatarsalgia
Pain under the ball of the foot.

Morton's Neuroma
A nerve which is pinched in the forefoot. When longstanding, a "neuroma" or scarring of the nerve can develop. Symptoms include pain and foten numbness that radiates into the toes.

Nail Fungus Infection
"Onychomycosis" or fungal infection of the nail is a common condition affecting adults.Usually this results in thickening and discoloration of the anil as well as roughness.

Neuroma
An injured or damaged nerve.

Neuropathic arthropathy
Neuropathic or "Charcot" joints in the foot typically refers to painless fracture and dislocation of the foot in patients without normal sensation or feeling in their foot. Loss of sensation in the foot for any reason can be responsible for developing a Charcot fracture, although this is most commonly seen with neuropathy. Neuropathy of the nerves that affect the foot is most commonly seen with diabetes, but is associated with other diseases as well. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition and the amount of deformity that is present.

Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is primary arthritis of the joint and may be related to family history.

Plantar fasciitis
An inflammation of the plantar fascia.Symptoms are usually pain at the bottom of the heel with the first step in the morning.Non-operative treatment is almost always successful.

Plantar warts
"Warts" are a viral infection of the skin which cause a lump or outgrowth. Treatment varies in the size and severity and may include destruction by freezing, heating, laser, surgical removal or other treatments.Referral to a dermatologist is often appropriate.

Rheumatoid arthritis
One of the inflammatory arthritis diseases. This is an "autoimmune" disorder where the patient's immune system malfunctions and attacks thecartilage and tendons.

Sesamoiditis
Inflammation of the small bones under the great toe.

Sprain
An injury causing tearing of a ligament.Sprains vary in severity and can range from a partial tearing of the ligament to a complete rupture.

Sprained Ankle
A rupture of one or more of the ligaments tat surround the ankle.

Stress Fracture
A crack in a bone resulting from "overuse." Thiscan occur in athletes who are trying to push their performance to a higher level, or in a non-athlete who suddenly increases the amount of walking they do in a day. Change of shoes, starting a new exercise program or dramatically changing the kind or amount of activity one does are often inciting events.Often stress fractures do not appear on normal X-Rays for weeks or months. Most stress fractures heal of their own accord, although some are problematic due to their location or due to the blood supply of the involved bone.Stress fractures of the navicular bone, 5th metatarsal and tibial shaft are particularly problematic in athletes and may require surgery.

Tendonitis
Inflammation of a tendon.Most cases of tendonitis are caused by some type of injury, overuse or a mechanical abnormality in the foot or ankle.Treatment depends on the specific tendon involved, the extent of involvement and the length of time the symptoms have been present.

Tendonosis
A later stage of tendonitis where the tendon starts to fray and tear.

Toe Fracture
A break in one of the bones of the toes or "phalanges."

Toe Walking
A condition in children where walking is done on the toes.Some forms are not harmful and resolve of their own accord. Some forms are more serious and may represent an underlying neurological problem.All children who are "toe walking" shouldbe evaluated by an orthopaedic surgeon.

Turf Toe
A sprain of the great toe joint (metatarsophalangeal joint), usually the result of the toe bending upwards violently.Complete rupture of the structures at the bottom of the joint may require surgery.Lesser injuries can be treated with immobilization and taping.