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Foot & Ankle

Foot and Ankle Anatomy

The foot and ankle is a complex joint involved in movement and providing stability and balance to the body. The foot and ankle consists of 26 bones, 33 joints, and many muscles, tendons and ligaments.

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Achilles Tendon Rupture

Achilles tendon is a strong fibrous cord present behind the ankle that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It is used when you walk, run and jump. The Achilles tendon ruptures most often in athletes participating in sports that involve running, pivoting and jumping. Recreational sports that may cause Achilles rupture include tennis, football, basketball and gymnastics.

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Hallux Rigidus

Arthritis of the great toe causes pain and stiffness that is called Hallux Rigidus by surgeons (hallux = big toe, rigidus = stiff). Confusingly, podiatrists use a slightly different nomenclature reserving hallux rigidus for severe conditions where the toe is completely rigid. In the early stages, podiatrists refer to the condition as hallux limitus. The condition may affect one or both feet and can occur in isolation or as part of a more generalised arthritis. The condition can present at any age but is more common in middle age onwards.

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Ankle Sprain

A sprain is the stretching or tearing of ligaments, which connect adjacent bones and provide stability to a joint. An ankle sprain is a common injury that occurs when you suddenly fall or twist the joint or when you land your foot in an awkward position after a jump. Most commonly it occurs when you participate in sports or when you jump or run on a surface that is irregular.

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Heel Pain

The heel is a cushion of fat tissue at the back part of the human foot that protects the structure of muscles, ligaments and the heel bone (calcaneous). Heel pain is a common foot condition, seen in one out of 10 people with at least one episode in their life time. It is essential to make a correct diagnosis of the cause of heel pain so as to direct a person for appropriate treatment.

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Common Toe Deformities

Anatomically the foot is divided into the forefoot, mid foot and hind foot. The Forefoot has 4 small toes called phalanges and 1 large toe called the hallux or big toe. Phalanges have 3 bones and 3 joints, while the big toe has 2 bones and 2 joints. The mid foot and hind foot have different structures, which are responsible for bearing body weight and performing activities such as walking and running.

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Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis refers to inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that lies at the bottom of the foot. It runs from the heel bone to the toe and forms the arch of your foot. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It is most often seen in middle-aged men and women, but may also occur in those who are constantly on their feet such as soldiers.

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Bunion Surgery

A bunion, also called a hallux valgus, is an enlargement of bone or soft tissues around the joint at the base of the big toe that results in the formation of a bump. The bone that joins the big toe with the first metatarsal bone thickens and enlarges, tightening the tendons, which in turn causes the base of the big toe to angle out resulting in a painful bony deformity.

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Ankle Arthroscopy

Ankle arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which an arthroscope, a small, soft, flexible tube with a light and video camera at the end, is inserted into the ankle joint to evaluate and treat a variety of conditions.

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Total Ankle Replacement

Ankle joint replacement surgery also known as total ankle arthroplasty is a surgical treatment option for patients bothered by pain and loss of range of motion of their ankle joint. Your doctor may recommend this procedure if conservative treatment options such as medications and injections have failed to alleviate your symptoms.

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Click on the topics below to find out more from the orthopaedic connection website of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.