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Common Causes of Foot and Ankle Pain

Although they often get ignored, your feet may well be one of the most important parts of your body. Not a day goes by that people don’t use their feet and ankles to get around, yet unless you’ve experienced a devastating injury you probably don’t give them much thought. That’s all well and good, until something goes wrong. If you’ve ever experienced mild to severe foot and ankle pain you know what a major problem it can be. Any amount of pain in those areas will significantly limit how active you can be. The problem is, unless you suffer an accident or a sports injury that is the clear cause, it can be difficult to figure out what the culprit behind your pain is. Here are some of the common causes of foot and ankle pain, to help you get a little closer to finding the solution.

Probably the most common cause is an acute trauma. That’s when a sudden misstep or accident hurts the area, rather than experiencing a condition that builds over time. The most common traumas to the foot or ankle come from an external force impacting with the area, or a movement that drives the foot or ankle into an unnatural position. If you’ve experienced any of these things, the result could be a muscle strain or sprain, a deep bruise or a bone fracture. A sprain is a tear to the fibers of the ligaments in your ankle, and as these ligaments continue to stretch and loosen you’ll experience increasing pain. There are also complex muscle groups in the foot, and basically any overexertion can strain them. It can be something as simple as putting too much weight on them, or a cut from stepping on a nail. If you feel a snapping in the back of your ankle, it is probably achilles tendonitis, which is all too common in the sports world.

The joints and bones in your feet and ankles can also easily be traumatized. It only requires one sharp twist or hit to fracture a bone. There are dozens of tiny bones in this area, and a stress fracture can occur even from someone stamping down on your foot. A blunt impact to the top of your foot can also bruise the ligaments and the muscle groups there, and can certainly tear your skin. If you’ve ever hit a toenail really hard you’ve probably seen blood pool and collect, and perhaps even had your nail fall off. If you experience this sort of injury over and over again you can see unnecesary bone growth in the area, which is defined as a spur.

These are generally easy to diagnose, because they happen quickly and the pain is almost immediate. What’s more difficult is when you have pain due to microtrauma. This is when tiny traumatic incidents happen over and over again. Women who wear high heels every day often have soreness, and even crippling pain in the bottom of their feet due to improper footwear. High heels may offer support, but they don’t do much as far as absorbing force is concerned. Repetitive, heavy steps on concrete day after day will eventually cause a trauma. In fact, bad shoes and poor ground surfaces are generally to blame in these instances. That’s why blisters, corns and athlete’s foot come about. And the longer you continue that behavior, the more advanced foot and ankle pain you will experience.