Anatomy of the foot
The foot is one of the most complex parts of the body. It's made up of 26 bones connected by many joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The foot is at risk of many stresses. Foot problems can cause pain, inflammation, or injury. These problems can result in limited movement and mobility.
What are the different types of foot problems?
Foot pain is often caused by incorrect foot function. Shoes that don't fit well can make foot problems worse and, in some cases, cause them. Shoes that fit correctly and give good support can prevent irritation to the foot joints and skin. There are many types of foot problems that affect the heels, toes, nerves, tendons, ligaments, and joints of the foot.
The symptoms of foot problems may look like other health conditions and problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
What are heel spurs?
A heel spur is a bone growth on the heel bone. It's often located on the underside of the heel bone where it attaches to the plantar fascia. This is a long band of connective tissue running from the heel to the ball of the foot. This connective tissue holds the arch together and acts as a shock absorber during activity. The plantar fascia can be overstretched from running, wearing poor-fitting shoes, or being overweight. Then pain can result from the stress and inflammation of the tissue pulling on the bone. Over time, the body builds extra bone in response to this stress, causing heel spurs. Treatment methods may include:
- Cold packs
- Anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen
- Correct stretching before activity
- Correct footwear or shoe inserts
- Achilles stretching
- Corticosteroid shots (injections)
- Surgery (for more severe, prolonged conditions)
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To learn more about our orthopaedics services or to make an appointment, visit: UTHealthCare.org/ortho.