Foot & Ankle Pain
Pain can affect any part of your foot, from your toes to your Achilles tendon at the back of your heel. There are many causes of foot pain, but most people describe symptoms of pain under the ball of the foot. The medical term for this is metatarsalgia.
Metatarsalgia affects the area between the arch and toes. Sometimes pressure on the ends of the metatarsal bones (the long bones at the base of each toe) causes pain in the ball of the foot.
There are a number of conditions that can cause metatarsalgia, including arthritis, neuromas, osteonecrosis, tumors, or infections. Often, traumatic injury, such as fractures or ligament tears, causes this type of foot pain.
Though home treatment can often relieve mild foot pain, it may take time to resolve. Severe foot pain should be evaluated by your doctor, especially if it follows an injury.
Ankle pain involves any discomfort in one or both ankles. It is often caused by an ankle sprain, but can be related to tendon damage, tendonitis, infection. osteoarthritis, gout and other conditions.
Ankle pain due to sprain is typically caused by an injury to one of the ligaments in your ankle. Although ligaments are flexible, a sudden twist or impact can cause them to stretch too far or snap entirely. The tearing leads to swelling and bruising, making it difficult to put weight on the joint.
Fortunately, minor to moderate ankle sprains can be treated at home and should heal on their own in time. Even sprains in which the ligament is completely torn may heal naturally, but surgery is sometimes necessary. The surgeon might remove bits of torn ligament, bone, and cartilage, or the ligament may also be repaired or reconstructed.
Your risk of foot or ankle pain is higher if you:
- Have had previous conditions
- Walk, run, or play on uneven surfaces
- Wear poor-fitting shoes without support
- Play sports that involve sudden changes in direction (such as football, soccer, and basketball)