Most people experience pain in and around their feet or ankles at some point in their lives.
It's one of the most complex, hard-working regions of your body. It has 26 bones and 33 small joints, all held together by a network of soft tissue made up of muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels.
Most cases of foot or ankle pain are short-term and are caused by soft tissue injuries, such as sprains or strains.
These should gradually heal with the help of simple self-care measures. Though some could take a few months to fully recover, you probably won&apost need to seek treatment from a healthcare professional.
However, some pain can have no obvious cause or may not improve significantly with self-care.
Pain that seems to be getting worse, does not improve or lasts longer than a few months could be due to structural changes in the foot or ankle, or an underlying condition.
There can be several explanations for long-term pain in and around the feet or ankles, such as:
Badly fitting footwear
Connective tissue diseases
Poor blood circulation
Numbness or Tingling
Inability to bear weight on the affected ankle
When To See A Doctor?
Even a relatively benign ankle injury can be quite painful, at least at first. It's usually safe to try home remedies for a while.
Seek immediate medical attention if you:
Have severe pain or swelling
Have an open wound or severe deformity
Have signs of infection, such as redness, warmthth and tenderness in the affected area or a fever greater than 100 F (37.8 C)
Cannot put weight on your foot
When the Achilles tendon undergoes degenerative changes and becomes thickened, causing inflammation and pain.
Achilles Tendon Rupture
A complete tear of the Achilles tendon, a rupture causes pain and loss of movement and strength.
Adult Acquired Flatfoot Deformity (Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction)
Commonly known as a flat foot or collapsed arch, the loss of arch occurs because the large tendon on the inside of the ankle becomes stretched out and no longer supports the foot's arch as it should.
Occurs when there is a breakdown of cartilage in the ankle joint from trauma (such as a car accident), autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis), or infection.
This occurs when one or both of the bones of the ankle – the tibia or fibula – is broken. In cases where the fracture is unstable, surgical fixation is usually recommended.
Not treating an ankle injury can result in damage to the ankle joint's cartilage, leaving the ankle unstable. This causes pain and can lead to loss of ankle function.
When the ankle twists and the ligaments are stretched and/or torn, causing pain and swelling.
Bunion (Hallux Valgus)
Occurs when there is a misalignment of the first metatarsal (one of five long bones that run from mid-foot to the toes) in relation to the big toe. The often-noticeable “bump” is not new bone or overgrowth of bone but actually the metatarsal itself.
Cavovarus Foot Deformity
Often associated with some neurological disorders, the feet have higher than typical arches while the feet also turn in at the heels.
Flatfoot Deformity (Or Pes Planus)
The arches of the foot are flat, causing the entire bottom of the foot to press against the floor during any weight-bearing activities. Can occur in one foot or both feet.
Often associated with a neurological disorder, foot drop involves not being able to lift the front part of the foot, and may drag the foot while walking.
Also known as a broken foot, a fracture in the foot is very common and ranges in severity. A severe break can require surgery to keep the bone in place while it heals.
Often occurs because of poor-fitting shoes, causing one or more of the second through fourth toes to bend at the middle joint, causing it to look like a hammer.
Usually occurring from an injury to the midfoot, this condition causes pain in the midfoot that is worse first thing in the morning and after standing or walking for long periods.
Affects the area between the third and fourth toes on the ball of the foot, causing pain and/or burning. Usually caused by an injury or pressure from poor-fitting shoes.
Osteochondral Defect Of Talus
Usually occurring from a sprained ankle, the cartilage of the anklebone becomes bruised, can crack and may lead to the formation of a cyst on the talus bone.
Injury leads to inflammation and/or tearing in the tendons that run along the outside of the anklebone.
The ligament that connects the heel bone to the toes and supports the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis occurs when this ligament gets irritated and inflamed, and is the most common cause of heel pain.