Achilles Tendonitis

If you are experiencing painful swelling in the back of your foot just above the heel, you may be suffering from Achilles Tendonitis. This troublesome condition affects the Achilles tendon, the strongest and largest tendon in the body connecting the leg to the foot as it stretches from the lower leg to the heel bone. This tendon is crucial to normal walking patterns as it allows the foot to rise up on the toes.
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This condition typically develops gradually and may include one or more of the following three stages:

  • Peritenonitis – Characterized by localized pain during or after activity
  • Tendinosis – Typically an asymptomatic stage that may result in a nodule, or swelling at the back of the leg
  • Peritenonitis with Tendinosis – This stage may lead to a rupture of the tendon and it is characterized by pain and swelling during and after activity.

As with all health conditions, your best defense is to visit your healthcare provider.


Found on the inner foot near the big toe, bunions are a painful yet common condition caused by inflammation of the bursa. Bursa resides in the connective tissues of the bodies and is essentially a small fluid filled sac. The inflammation and thickening of these sacs creates a problematic bone formation that forces the toe out of alignment and causes great discomfort.
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If you are suffering from bunions, you are most likely familiar with the symptoms. Pain, redness and extreme sensitivity are to be expected as bunion growth progresses and the affected toe is pushed out of alignment. If allowed to progress, bunions can make it difficult to walk.

Bunions may be passed down from parents to children, which suggests that the shape and action of the foot may cause the condition. When proper alignment is not used while standing, walking and participating in athletics, the integrity of the feet may be compromised and pressure can build throughout the foot.

Flat Foot/Fallen Arches

It is rare to find someone who walks with both feet in perfect alignment. Often we walk on the inside or outsides of our feet, or with our toes or heels rotated inward. These typical walking patterns can cause many problems not just with the feet but also for the whole body as the alignment of the feet sets the foundation for the entire body’s alignment. One of the most common effects of improper alignment is known as flat foot.
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Also known as fallen arches, the condition of flat foot is characterized by a lack of appropriate arch in the inner foot. It can be a genetic condition or the result of improper body mechanics. Often the entire bottom of the foot will contact the ground. Because a healthy foot is structurally able to support the weight of the body, thanks to the bone structure that comprises the arch, a flat foot often is unable to properly support this weight and will cause extreme pressure in the ankles, knees and hips.

If you have flat feet you may also experience pain throughout the lower body and into the lower back. Orthotics can be prescribed to create a system of support for the body.

As with all health conditions, your best defense is to visit your healthcare provider.

Haglund’s Deformity

Often referred to as “pump bump” because of its prevalence among women who wear pump style shoes, Haglund’s Deformity may occur in one or both of the feet. It is caused by a combination of genetic and external factors and can lead to discomfort and even pain in the back of the heel.
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If you are suffering from Haglund’s deformity you will most likely have noticed a bony enlargement at the back of the heel. This inflammation is caused when the soft tissue around the Achilles tendon becomes irritated. Irritation at this particular spot is often the result of pressure caused by the back of pump-style shoes. Other signs of Haglund’s deformity include pain in the back of the heel, where the Achilles tendon and the heel meet, swelling in the back of the heel and redness or inflamed tissue at the site of the swelling.

Stretching, heel lifts and pads, shoe modification, physical therapy, orthotic devices and immobilization are all recommended for patients suffering from Haglund’s deformity.

As with all health conditions, your best defense is to visit your healthcare provider.

Hallux Rigidus

Hallux Rigidus is a condition that affects the joint at the base of the big toe cuasing pain and stiffness. The symptoms often worsen while walking, running or performing other exercises and when the weather is cold or damp. Individual may notice swelling and inflammation around the joint and may begin to limp or otherwise alter walking mechanics leading to pain in the ankles, knees, hips and lower back.
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Technically a form of degenerative arthritis, Hallux Rigidus can wear out the cartilage in the joint. It may be caused by improper alignment of the feet and genetic abnormalities in the foot structure. Treatments available for this condition include shoe modification, anti-inflammatory medication, orthotics, physical therapy and surgery. As with many foot problems, learning and practicing correct alignment is often helpful.

As with all health conditions, your best defense is to visit your healthcare provider.


Characterized by a bending of one or both joints of any but the big toe, hammertoe is a common podiatric issue. This condition causes difficulties wearing shoes which often exacerbate the problem. If you suffer from hammertoes, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
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  • Corns between toes or on the top, side or end of the toes. Corns are a buildup of skin caused by friction at the contact point between the toe and shoe.
  • Calluses on the bottom of toes or on the ball of the foot. Calluses are rough, dry patches of dead skin that has built up.
  • Pain or irritation when the toes come into contact with the shoe.

Hammertoes, and their symptoms, generally worsen over time as the friction between the foot and footwear becomes more severe. If left untreated, they can become rigid and open sores may form. If you are suffering from this condition, it is important to seek help sooner rather than later as they will not heal without treatment of some kind. Options include changing footwear, padding, trimming the corns and calluses, custom orthotic footwear or devices, anti-inflammatory medications and splinting the affected toe. Surgery is recommended in some severe cases.

As with all health conditions, your best defense is to visit your healthcare provider.

Heel Pain/Fasciitis

Heel pain is an extremely common and potentially disruptive affliction that has many possible causes, including stress fractures, arthritis, nerve irritation, cysts, tendonitis and most often, plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the tissue that connects the heel to the toes becomes inflamed. This inflammation causes pain on the bottom of the heel that can continue to grow in intensity over time.
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Metatarsalgia – If you are experiencing pain or inflammation in the ball of your foot, you may have Metatarsalgia. This condition is especially prevalent in physically active individuals as it may be caused by repeat impact on the ball of the foot while running and jumping.

Symptoms you may experience from this condition may include:

  • Sharp pain or dull ache just behind the toes on the ball of the foot.
  • Pain that worsens while walking, running or jumping and improves when at rest.
  • Numbness or pain in the toes.
  • Pain in the feet that worsens when barefoot.

Contributing factors may include:

  • Improper foot alignment
  • Improper walking mechanics
  • Unusual foot shape
  • Hammertoe
  • Intense training and activity
  • Bunions
  • Excess weight
  • Tight shoes
  • Morton’s Neuroma
  • Stress fractures

As with all health conditions, please seek advice and first line treatment from your healthcare provider.

Morton’s Neuroma

A neuroma is a thickening of nerve tissue that can develop in various parts of the body creating nerve damage. Morton’s Neuroma is the most common neuroma in the foot. It occurs at the base of the third and fourth toes.
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If you have a Morton’s neuroma, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Tingling
  • Burning
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • A feeling that something is inside the ball of the foot

The symptoms begin gradually and occur only occasionally at first. This generally happens when one is wearing narrow toe shoes or performing certain aggravating activities. The symptoms may go away temporarily by massaging the foot or by avoiding activities that brought on the pain.

The symptoms become more intense as the neuroma grows in size and the nerve damage becomes more permanent.

One clearly distinctive risk factor is wearing shoes that have a tapered toe box, or high-heeled shoes that cause the toes to be forced into the toe box. People with certain foot deformities such as bunions, hammertoes or flat feet are also at high risk for developing a neuroma; as are those who participate in activities that require a repetitive irritation to the ball of the foot, such as running or racquet sports.

As with all health conditions, please seek advice and first line treatment from your healthcare provider.


Otherwise known as degenerative joint disease, Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It commonly occurs in the weight bearing joints of the hips, knees and spine. It may also occur in the fingers, thumb, neck and large toe.
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Osteoarthritis tends to affect women more often than men. Most people sixty years or older have osteoarthritis to a varying degree. However, it has been diagnosed in individuals in their twenties and thirties.

Symptoms often develop gradually and include:

  • Joint aching and soreness.
  • Pain after overuse or after long periods of inactivity.
  • Bony enlargements in the middle and end joints of the fingers – which may or may not be painful.
  • Joint swelling and fluid accumulation.

An individual’s chances of developing osteoarthritis are based on several factors including:

Heredity – People born with joint abnormalities are more likely to develop osteoarthritis.

Obesity – Obesity increases the risk for osteoarthritis of the knee and hip.

Injury – Injuries can be linked to the development of osteoarthritis. Athletes who have knee related injuries may be at higher risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee.

Joint Overuse – Overuse of certain joints increases the risk of developing osteoarthritis. Individuals whose jobs require a repetitious bending motion are at increased risk for developing osteoarthritis of the knee.

As with all health conditions, please seek advice and first line treatment from your healthcare provider.

Plantar Fasciitis

When individuals begin to experience intense pain in their heel, plantar fasciitis may be the culprit. This ailment occurs when the plantar fascia ligament along the bottom of the foot develops tears in the tissue. This results in pain and inflammation of the area closest to the heel bone.
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The most common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Burning
  • Stabbing
  • An aching pain in the heel of the foot

The fascia ligament tightens up over night and causes the most pain in the morning. Pain generally decreases as the tissue warms up, but oftentimes returns after long periods of standing or weight bearing and physical activity.

One of the prevalent factors that contribute to plantar fasciitis is wearing incorrect shoes. This includes shoes that either don’t fit properly, or provide inadequate support or cushioning. Weight distribution becomes impaired while wearing shoes that are unsupportive adding significantly stress to the plantar fascia ligament.

In many cases, treatment of plantar fasciitis does not require surgery or invasive procedures to lessen pain and reverse damage and include treatment such as wearing supportive shoes or orthotics.

As with all health conditions, please seek advice and first line treatment from your healthcare provider.

Posterior Tibial Tendon Disfunction – Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD) is the inflammation or overstretching of the posterior tibial tendon in the foot. The key function of the posterior tibial tendon is to support the arch in the foot. The tendon serves as a major supporting structure to assist function while walking. If PTTD is present, the result is often referred to as adult-acquired flat foot.

Generally adult-acquired flat foot occurs only in one foot, but it may be seen in both. This ailment is generally progressive so if left untreated, the symptoms will continue to get worse. Symptoms generally occur after an activity that requires the use of the tendon such as running, walking, hiking or climbing stairs.

Symptoms of PTTD will change as the condition worsens, but initially include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Flattening of the arch
  • An inward roll of the ankle

When PTTD initially develops, it begins with a pain on the inside of the foot and ankle. The area may be red, warm and swollen. As the arch begins to flatten, there may still be pain on the inside of the foot and ankle and the foot and toes begin to turn outward while the ankle rolls inward. As it reaches its advanced stages, the arch continues to flatten and the pain often shifts to the outside of the foot, below the ankle. This indicates that the tendon has deteriorated considerably and arthritis is likely developing in the foot.

As with all health conditions, please seek advice and first line treatment from your healthcare provider.

Rheumatoid Arthritis – Rheumatoid Arthritis, otherwise known as RA, is a chronic disease causing inflammation to the lining of the joints. RA may lead to long-term joint damage resulting in chronic pain, loss of function and disability.

RA advances through three stages:

The first stage causes swelling of the synovial lining producing pain, a warming sensation, stiffness, redness and swelling around the joint.

The second stage causes rapid division and growth of cells which causes the synovium lining to thicken.

In the third stage the inflamed cells release enzymes that may digest bone and cartilage, often causing the infected joint to lose its shape and alignment. This may cause more pain and some loss of movement.

There is no cure for RA and frequent flare ups occur spontaneously. RA may also begin to affect other organs in the body. However, studies have shown that early and aggressive treatment of RA may limit joint damage, eliminating loss of movement, decreased ability to work and potential surgery.

Currently, RA affects 1.3 million Americans. Through the use of new drugs, exercise, joint protection and self-management techniques, more people are living with RA and leading happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives.

As with all health conditions, please seek advice and first line treatment from your healthcare provider.


Sometimes there are pains in the foot that are difficult to pinpoint. One such ailment is called Sesamoiditis. This generally refers to an inflammation of the sesamoid bones on the ball of the foot just behind the big toe.
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Generally, most bones in our body are connected to each other by joints. However, there are a few that are connected only to tendons or are embedded in muscle. These bones are called sesamoids. Because the sesamoids protrude down, underneath the big toe, they give these muscles extra leverage and power. This power allows the big toe to push us forward with extra force each time we take a step. Without the sesamoids, the big toe loses some of its power and force.

Sesamoiditis can generally be identified from other foot ailments due to its gradual onset of symptoms just beneath the big toe.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Tenderness when direct pressure is applied.
  • Mild pain when walking barefoot or in thin soled shoes and worsens while running or jumping.
  • Pain is alleviated quickly with rest.
  • In later stages constant pain may be present under the sesamoids.

As with all health conditions, please seek advice and first line treatment from your healthcare provider.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome is a painful foot condition in which the tibial nerve is compressed as it travels through the tarsal tunnel. This tunnel is found along the inner leg behind the medial malleolus, otherwise known as the bump on the inside of the ankle.
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Symptoms of this ailment include:

  • Pain and tingling in and around ankles
  • Swelling of the feet
  • Electric shock sensations
  • Pain radiating up into the leg, and down into the arch, heel and toes
  • Hot and cold sensations in the feet
  • A feeling as though the feet do not have enough padding
  • Burning sensation on the bottom of foot that radiates upward

Because it is difficult to determine the exact cause of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, it is important to determine the source of the problem. Certain items that could cause compression of the nerve include benign tumors or cysts, bone spurs, inflammation of the tendon sheath, nerve ganglions or swelling from a broken or sprained ankle. Other culprits include varicose veins.

TTS tends to be more common in athletes or individuals who tend to do a lot of standing as these people commonly put an excessive amount of stress on the tarsal tunnel area.

As with all health conditions, please seek advice and first line treatment from your healthcare provider.

Taylor’s Bunions

Bunions are abnormal bone formations that are prevalent on the foot. They are also one of the most common types of foot problems. Bunions are typically heredity which suggests that the innate shape of the foot may be the cause for the condition. Typically, bunions worsen over time and cause discomfort, difficulty walking and skin problems such as corns and lesions.
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Taylor’s bunions are a variation of the traditional bunion. This common foot ailment that is caused by continued pressure to the lateral or outside edge of the foot. In this case, the bunion is situated on the outside of the 5th toe. It causes the foot to rub against shoes and can create redness, swelling and even require surgery. Often, something as simple as eliminating the wear of shoes that are too small or tight can alleviate the problem.

Just by using padding and wearing a wider, softer shoes may help. Shoes may be spot stretched to make the area of the shoe a bit wider next to where the Taylor’s bunion lies.

As with all health conditions, please seek advice and first line treatment from your healthcare provider.


Tendonitis literally means overuse and inflammation of the tendon. The tendon is the area of your body that connects to the muscle which causes your body to move. They come in all shapes and sizes.
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Tendonitis is what happens when the tendon gets irritated from being moved outside of its regular motion. It becomes inflamed and the movement becomes painful.

There are several reasons for tendonitis:

Overuse of the area: This is especially true for those who have recently begun an exercise routine.

An increased in the level of exercise: The tendon is unfamiliar to the new level of exertion.

An age factor: Tendons lose their elasticity as we age and their ability to move smootly becomes diminished.

Anatomical alignment: If the tendon does not have a smooth channel to glide along, it is more likely to become irritated and inflamed.

In the area of the foot, the most common type of tendonitis is Achilles Tendonitis. This is a condition of irritation and inflammation of the large tendon in the back of the ankle. Achilles Tendonitis is a common injury that more frequently occurs in middle-age recreational athletes. The overuse causes inflammation that can lead to pain and swelling.

As with all health conditions, please seek advice and first line treatment from your healthcare provider.

Toe Deformities – Some ailments of the feet are easily disguised and may go untreated for years. There are a few that need treatment in the earliest stages to get relief from the symptoms.

Fairly common diseases of the foot are known as toe deformities. These ailments are often caused by a muscle imbalance in the foot. This may be due to several factors such as flat feet, a traumatic injury or disease of the toe joints.

In a flat foot, the flexor muscles become overpowering. The toes are generally not strong enough to resist this tension resulting in one of two deformities:

Claw toe – When the middle bone is pulled downward causing the proximal and middle phalanges to buckle upward.

Hammertoe – When the proximal phalanx causes the outer two joints of the toe to bend downward.

Left untreated, these ailments may lead to other problems such as calluses or scenarios where two bones fuse together making the only treatment an invasive surgery.

As with all health conditions, please seek advice and first line treatment from your healthcare provider.