There are many different clinical pictures around the foot, which can have many different ankle conditions. Restrictions in the area of the foot, for example, can occur due to injury, age-related wear and tear or can be congenital.
Here you will find an overview of the most common foot diseases and their causes.
Below you will find an overview of the most common diseases of the foot in:
- Traumatically triggered ankle conditions
- Inflammatory ankle conditions
- Degenerative ankle conditions
- Foot malpositions
Read more about Ankle Brace and Bandage: What it is and how to choose one
Traumatically triggered ankle conditions
Fractures (fractures) of the foot can affect many different bones (toe bones, metatarsal bones or tarsal bones).
Depending on the cause of the fracture, the bones involved and the severity of the fracture, different symptoms may occur and different treatments may be necessary.
In addition to fractures caused by external forces, fatigue fractures of the metatarsus occur in the area of the metatarsus in the case of very frequent overloading (e.g. in competitive athletes).
Read more about Broken foot: Causes, Symptoms, and Therapy
A sprain (distortion) is a frequently occurring injury to the joint capsule or ligament apparatus of a joint. The collagen fibers of these structures are overstretched. It occurs mainly in athletes and physically very active persons. The foot in the upper ankle joint is, particularly at risk. A treatment with a tape bandage is possible.
Read more about Sprained Foot: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
The twisting of the foot is the most common cause of overstretching, stretching or tearing of the ligaments of the foot. The foot bends inwards and the outer ligament is overloaded. Folding outwards and thus an injury to the inner ligament occurs very rarely compared to folding inwards. A possible cause for an injury of the inner ligament can be a hard step from the front onto the ankle joint.
It is important that the patient visits a doctor as soon as possible after a painful twisting, even if the pain has improved after some time. If a torn ligament is not treated, there is a risk of serious late consequences, such as permanent instability of the joint; the probability of a new twist is also significantly increased. The presence of instability over the years also promotes the development of degenerative joint disease (arthrosis).
Inflammatory ankle conditions
Here you will find a selection of important inflammatory diseases of the foot:
- Inflammation of the foot: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
- Tendonitis of the foot: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
- Metatarsal tendonitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
- Ankle inflammation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
- Tendinitis on the sole of the foot
- Bunions: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
- Plantar Fasciitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Degenerative ankle conditions
The heel spur denotes a bony projection or extension. The heel spur is a common, degenerative (wear-related) disease. The frequency of heel spur disease increases with age.
Foot malpositions ankle conditions
Here you will find detailed information on various foot malpositions:
- Hollow foot: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
- Flatfeet: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
- Splayfoot: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
- Clubfoot: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Ledderhose disease is a benign disease of the connective tissue of the feet. It occurs in the area of the tendon plate of the sole of the foot. The nodes on the soles of the feet usually grow very slowly and are almost always centered on the plantar fascia (sole of the foot). Occasionally the growth of the nodes is delayed and they do not grow any further. Then they can suddenly grow again rapidly and unexpectedly.
A surgical intervention is only necessary in the case of painful nodes that hinder walking.
Read more about Ledderhose disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Read more about Achilles tendon tear: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
When someone talks about his foot “falling asleep”, it is a feeling of numbness and tingling in the affected foot, which is caused by an unfavorable posture.
The nerve that supplies the foot is pinched off and this is the result of this sensation. By changing the body posture, however, the symptom subsides quickly. If extremities fall asleep more often, i.e. if this numbness and sensation occur more frequently and lasts longer, this can be an indication of a more serious disease such as polyneuropathy. Risk factors for this are alcohol abuse, diabetes mellitus and infections. These then require drug therapy.
Pain in the foot
Since the foot is one of the most complex movement organs in humans, foot pain is a common but difficult to classify clinical picture.
Pain in the foot can have many different causes, depending on the type of pain, its localization, radiation, previous illnesses or a past accident.
These include pain caused by bone injuries or fractures (fractures) after an accident event (trauma), which are described as stabbing; but fractures caused by permanent overloading (fatigue fracture) can also occur. In addition, stabbing, sharp pain can also be caused by a twisting of the foot or a torn ligament (ligament rupture) and also show swelling and bruising.
Other causes of foot pain are inflammation of the muscle tendons, e.g. the Achilles tendon (Achillodynia) or the tendon attachments as in heel spur (tendon attachment dinopathy), which have a rather stinging character and can cause a typical initial pain. Start-up pain can also be found in degenerative joint diseases of the ankle (arthrosis).
Malpositioning of the foot (e.g. splayfoot or flattened foot) or the arch of the foot, as well as incorrect or excessive strain can also lead to pain in the foot. In addition, tissue loss (infarction) within the foot bones can also occur, which is known as osteonecrosis. The pain is described as very deep and dull. When a nerve that is innervating the foot is constricted (nerve compression) (e.g. as a result of a herniated disc in the lumbar spine), burning pain, sensation problems, numbness or tingling (polyneuropathy) can occur.
Circulatory disorders of the foot, e.g. due to window dressing (peripheral arterial occlusive disease, pAVK) can also be possible causes of foot pain. Metabolic diseases such as gout (a uric acid metabolism disorder), diabetes mellitus or rheumatic diseases, which cause chronic stinging but also tingling pain in the foot area, should also be mentioned.
Skin-related (dermatological) diseases (such as athlete’s foot or ingrown toenails) can also cause foot pain.
- Waterman BR, Owens BD, Davey S, Zacchilli MA, Belmont PJ. The epidemiology of ankle sprains in the United States. J Bone Jt Surg -- Ser A. 2010;92:2279–2284. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.I.01537. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
- Fong DT-P, Hong Y, Chan L-K, Yung PS-H, Chan K-M. A systematic review on ankle injury and ankle sprain in sports. Sport Med. 2007;37:73–94. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200737010-00006. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
- Ferran NA, Maffulli N. Epidemiology of sprains of the lateral ankle ligament complex. Foot Ankle Clin. 2006;11:659–662. doi: 10.1016/j.fcl.2006.07.002. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
- Fong DTP, Ha SCW, Mok KM, Chan CWL, Chan KM. Kinematics analysis of ankle inversion ligamentous sprain injuries in sports: five cases from televised tennis competitions. Am J Sports Med. 2012;40:2627–2632. doi: 10.1177/0363546512458259. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
- Attenborough AS, Hiller CE, Smith RM, Stuelcken M, Greene A, Sinclair PJ. Chronic ankle instability in sporting populations. Sport Med. 2014;44:1545–1556. doi: 10.1007/s40279-014-0218-2. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
- Swenson DM, Collins CL, Fields SK, Comstock RD. Epidemiology of US high school sports-related ligamentous ankle injuries, 2005/06-2010/11. Clin J Sport Med. 2013;23:190–196. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e31827d21fe. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
- Kovaleski JE, Hollis JM, Heitman RJ, Gurchiek LR, Pearsall AW., IV Assessment of ankle-subtalar-joint-complex laxity using an instrumented ankle arthrometer: An experimental cadaveric investigation. J Athl Train. 2002;37:467–474. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
- Bahr R, Pena F, Shine J, Lew WD, Engebretsen L. Ligament force and joint motion in the intact ankle: a cadaveric study. Knee Surgery, Sport Traumatol Arthrosc. 1998;6:115–121. doi: 10.1007/s001670050083. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
- Hollis JM, Blasier RD, Flahiff CM. Simulated lateral ankle ligamentous injury. Change in ankle stability. Am J Sports Med. 1995;23:672–677. doi: 10.1177/036354659502300606. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
- Weindel S, Schmidt R, Rammelt S, Claes L, Campe AV, Rein S. Subtalar instability: a biomechanical cadaver study. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2010;130:313–319. doi: 10.1007/s00402-008-0743-2. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
- Edama M, Kageyama I, Kikumoto T, Nakamura M, Ito W, Nakamura E, et al. The effects on calcaneofibular ligament function of differences in the angle of the calcaneofibular ligament with respect to the long axis of the fibula: a simulation study. J Foot Ankle Res. 2017;10:60. doi: 10.1186/s13047-017-0242-1. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
- Kumai T, Takakura Y, Rufai A, Milz S, Benjamin M. The functional anatomy of the human anterior talofibular ligament in relation to ankle sprains. J Anat. 2002;200:457–465. doi: 10.1046/j.1469-7580.2002.00050.x. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
- Fong DT, Chan Y-Y, Mok K-M, Yung PS, Chan K-M. Understanding acute ankle ligamentous sprain injury in sports. BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil. 2009;1:14. doi: 10.1186/1758-2555-1-14. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
- Khawaji B, Soames R. The anterior talofibular ligament: a detailed morphological study. Foot. 2015;25:141–147. doi: 10.1016/j.foot.2015.05.004. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
- Markolf KL, Jackson S, McAllister DR. Force and displacement measurements of the distal fibula during simulated ankle loading tests for high ankle sprains. Foot Ankle Int. 2012;33:779–786. doi: 10.3113/FAI.2012.0779. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
- Kovaleski JE, Heitman RJ, Gurchiek LR, Hollis JM, Liu W, Pearsall AW., IV Joint stability characteristics of the ankle complex after lateral ligamentous injury, part I: a laboratory comparison using arthrometric measurement. J Athl Train. 2014;49:192–197. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-49.2.07. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
- Ozeki S, Kitaoka H, Uchiyama E, Luo Z-P, Kaufman K, An K-N. Ankle ligament tensile forces at the end points of passive circumferential rotating motion of the ankle and subtalar joint complex. Foot Ankle Int. 2006;27:965–969. doi: 10.1177/107110070602701117. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
- Colville MR, Marder RA, Boyle JJ, Zarins B. Strain measurement in lateral ankle ligaments. Am J Sports Med. 1990;18:196–200. doi: 10.1177/036354659001800214. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
- Rasmussen O, Jensen IT, Hedeboe J. An analysis of the function of the posterior talofibular ligament. Int Orthop. 1983;7:41–48. doi: 10.1007/BF00267558. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
- Ozeki S, Yasuda K, Kaneda K, Yamakoshi K, Yamanoi T. Simultaneous strain measurement with determination of a zero strain reference for the medial and lateral ligaments of the ankle. Foot Ankle Int. 2002;23:825–832. doi: 10.1177/107110070202300909. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]