Causes of the foot and ankle pain

Achilles inflammation (tendinitis) can be caused:

  • Due to the overload of legs walking or running unfamiliarly long distance,
  • By performing those activities in poor quality or worn out sports shoes,
  • By commencing intensive physical activity without warming up the muscles of legs.

Still reasons of Achilles inflammation can be more unclear. Frequently problem is not with the tendon but, for example, lifestyle – smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol, excess weight. Also Achilles inflammation can be consequences of incorrect posture or differences in the anatomy of foot, legs or knees resulting in uneven pressure to legs.

Signs of the Achilles tendon inflammation:

  •  Pain and stiffness that is more severe in the mornings and during the next day after physical activities;
  • Thickening in the tendon;
  •  Swelling that grows stronger during the course of the day putting pressure on the foot.

If inflammation symptoms do not go away during two to three days time, seek the help of Traumatology – Orthopaedic specialist.

Inflammation of Achilles tendon is treated with non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications, various types of injections and physiotherapy. In separate cases tendinitis requires surgical treatment.

If the acute tendinitis is not cured, inflammation can become chronic. Also untreated inflammations of Achilles tendon have a tendency to repeat and that, on its turn, increase the tendon fracture possibility. The longer or chronic is the inflammation of Achilles tendon, the more difficult the treatment of it.

Fracture of Achilles tendon can be caused by the same reasons that caused its inflammation. Moment of the fracture of tendon has a characteristic sound and feeling as if the broad, tense ribbon would burst. After rupture of the Achilles tendon it is not possible to stand on points of the toes, swelling forms easily and increases, pain is strong. Still, though very typical, those symptoms can indicate also other trauma, for example, rupture of muscle.

Experience of the doctors in ORTO clinics indicate that the most effective and safest solution in case of the rupture of Achilles tendon, is stitching of the tendon. The more this process is put off, the bigger the distance between the ruptured ends of the tendon forms. To connect those it can be necessary to artificially create extension of the tendon. After surgery that is performed timely – during five days time after rupture – scar is ~ 5 cm. If distance between ends of the tendon becomes longer, bigger incision should be performed and plastics of the tendon is required.

Fracture of the ankle It is possible to break the ankle when it is clumsily turned, when you fall or hit it. Sharp, immediate pain indicates fracture of the ankle, as well as swelling, haemorrhage, pain increases when you put your foot on the ground and when you try to walk foot can be placed in awkward angle, if it is twisted as a result of the trauma. In considering that symptoms caused by the damaged ligaments (twisting) can not be different to the signs indicating fracture of the bone, you should seek help of Orthopaedic – Traumatology specialist.

Depending on the specifics of the fracture, fracture of the ankle can be cured by fixating in the gyps cast. If the fracture is complicated and soft tissues are damaged surgical treatment can be necessary.

Twisting of the ankle. Awkwardly placing the foot, excessively tensing the ligaments of the foot. Depending on the power you perform the incorrect movement with, part of the ligaments break. In daily life this trauma is called twisting but in medicine it is called the damage of the ligaments of the foot. First symptoms indicating about the twisting are pain that occurs at the moment of injury. Also swelling and haemorrhage adds up to the pain. When the ankle is twisted mildly, it is possible to walk, but when the twist is more severe – it is very painful to place the foot on the ground. If the pain is strong and does not get milder 48 hours after trauma, it is recommended to seek the help of Traumatology – Orthopaedic Specialist.

First help after twisting is limitation of movements fixing the foot with elastic band. Also during two days it is recommended to put ice compresses by wrapping ice cubes in the cloth and leaving for 10 to 15 minutes on the swollen place. You should repeat this procedure every 3 to 4 hours. When 48 hours have passed after trauma, instead of cooling procedures you should switch to warming procedures and compresses. It improves blood circulation and reduces inflammation.

It is advised not to put pressure on the foot and use analgesic medications in case of necessity. After more serious strains (ruptures of several ligaments) consequences can be felt for several months already, a physiotherapy course is recommended after consultation with Traumatology – Orthopaedic specialist with the purpose to train muscles of the foot and restore elasticity of ligaments. At home you can also perform rolling of the foot, as well stretching and relaxing exercises.

Pain in the heel – plantar fasciitis is caused by ruptures and inflammation in the fibrous tissues of the connective tissues of the heal that is caused by the overload of the connective tissues of the foot. Inflammation causes pain in the heel area. This problem more frequently affects woman with excess weight, as well as people who remain standing for the most part of the day. Also pain in heel can develop for athletes – by straining leg while running or walking for a prolonged period of time. Usually plantar fasciitis develops gradually. Pain in the morning is characteristic to this when after the sleep foot is strained again in the morning. Also pain occurs when you begin to move after prolonged standing.

Untreated plantar fasciitis can turn chronic. Trying to live with the pain, person usually develop incorrect pace, as a result creating problems in knees, hips and back.

To treat plantar fasciitis Traumatology – Orthopaedic specialists usually prescribe non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications and physiotherapy course. Aim of the physiotherapy is to teach patient specific stretching exercises of the foot ligament. Pain in the heel can be reduced with steroid injection. During the treatment it is recommended to wear comfortable shoes and use special orthopaedic inserts that relives connective tissues of the foot. In approximately 90% of cases this treatment of inflammation makes the pain to go away within two months time. Surgery is recommended in separate chronic cases.

Pain in the heel can also be caused by compressed nerves in the area of spine, ankle or foot, fracture of the heel bone or chronic illnesses, for example, osteoarthritis. Therefore it is significant to determine real reason for the pain of the heel.

Heel spur is a calcium deposit causing a bony protrusion on the underside of the heel bone. Usually these spurs are painless but in separate cases they can cause pain especially while walking, jumping or running. Heel spurs form due to the overload of ligaments, muscles and fibres of the foot, for example, due to excessive running or jumping.

Morning pain is characteristic to the illnesses, when the foot is strained after sleep. Also pain occurs when movement is begun after prolonged sitting.

To treat heel spurs Traumatology – Orthopaedic specialists usually prescribe non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications and physiotherapy course. Aim of the physiotherapy is to teach the patient specific stretching exercises of the ligaments of foot. Pain in the foot can be reduced with the help of steroid injections. During treatment period it is recommended to wear comfortable shoes and use special orthopaedic inserts that relieve connective tissues of the ankle. If effective treatment results are not achieved during 9 to 12 months time, surgery is recommended.

Osteoarthritis of the foot joint is degenerative illness of the foot joint that is related to the general ageing of the body and usually affects people older than 50 years. Osteoarthritis can be caused by the previously experienced fracture of the foot joint or another trauma. When the cartilages of the foot joint wear thin, their ability to effectively protect bones of the joints from the direct mutual contact is reduced. As a result pain and inflammation occur. Signs indicating osteoarthritis are swelling, stiffness, pain. Gradually deformation of the joint of the foot adds to those symptoms, mobility of the joints is reduced and difficulties in walking occur. 

Intensity of symptoms can change, sometimes causing feeling of complete recovery but sometimes creating very explicit disturbances.


Osteoarthritis does not go away still it is possible to limit development of this illness and maximally improve life quality. To achieve this you need to care for your weight, learn and under the supervision of physiotherapist regularly perform special set of exercises for strengthening of ligaments and muscles of the joint of the ankle, take care of the foot joint at big loads, consult the doctor, use anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications. Osteoarthritis is treated also surgically – scope of options includes arthroscopic surgeries (with the purpose to remove part of the cartilage of the joint, inflaming tissues and heel spurs (osteophytes), as well as endoprosthesis of the foot joint.

Stiff thumb (hallux rigidus) is consequences caused by osteoarthritis. Stiff thumb causes pain in the joint of the big toe of the leg. Pain increases while walking. Stiffness in the joint of the toe and limitations of movement is observed. This disease more frequently develops to people with deformed anatomy of foot, as well as after foot traumas.

Osteoarthritis does not go away still it is possible to limit development of this disease and maximally improve life quality.

To reduce disturbances caused by the stiff thumb, doctor usually prescribes non-steroid and analgesic medications and also offers to perform steroid injection in the painful joint of the toe. During the treatment it is recommended to wear comfortable shoes and use special orthopaedic inserts that relieves joint of the thumb.

Stiff thumb is cured also surgically – scope of possibilities includes cleaning of the joint, endoprosthesis of the joint of the thumb or closing of the joint.

Morton’s neuroma is incorrect load of the foot, for example, when shoes with narrow toecaps are worn for a prolonged period of time. Symptoms of Morton’s neuroma is sharp, sudden pain in the ball of the foot, most commonly in the area between the third, fourth or fifth finger. Symptoms are caused by the thickening of the nerve in the area of the third, fourth and fifth toe in the lower part of the foot. When the amount of nerve increases, tissues that are next to it start pressing on it. As a result pain and inflammation can occur.

To reduce disturbances caused by Morton’s neuroma doctors usually prescribe non-steroid anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications, as well as offers to perform steroid injections to rapidly reduce pain. During the treatment it is recommended to wear comfortable shoes and use special orthopaedic inserts to relieve balls of the foot.

Morton’s neuroma is treated also surgically when the thickened nerve is taken out. In certain cases it is possible to successfully treat neuroma with the help of radio frequency (burning the thickened nerve with the help of special tool).

Hallux valgus or deformation of the first metatarsal bone – lateral deviation and/or rotation of the hallux. Usually it is called as growing of the bone and frequently people imagine this process as an increase of the bone. In reality bone is not growing. Instead to be in the vertical position against the thumb of the foot, bone starts to move to the outside. The more this moving progresses, the more it changes relations of the surrounding bones and as a result second toe of the foot can be located not beside but above the thumb.

Halux valgus is provoked by regular wearing of high-heel shoes, as well as natural ageing process of a human. By choosing these types of shoes foot is strained irregularly and excessive load is applied to the toe part of the foot. Also this illness is frequent companion to the flatfoot or disease that develops simultaneously. Outside movement of the internal bone of the foot can be caused also by endocrine diseases, osteoporosis, as well as genetic predisposition.

Deformation of the bone is slow and a way of coping with it is choice and wearing of comfortable, appropriate shoes. Inflammation of the bone is treated with non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications. If deformation is very explicit and there are difficulties in wearing shoes and bone inflames and hurts regularly, surgery is the solution.

Flatfoot can form and progress both during childhood and adulthood. Main task of the instep of the foot (longitudinal arch of the foot) is to secure balance of the body and amortization while walking. The less the instep, the bigger the load to our movement apparatus – legs, joints, spine. Consequences of the explicit flatfoot can be pain in legs, knees, hips, small of the back and spine.

Signs of the flatfoot are increasing of the size of the booth both in width and length, wearing off of the internal edge of the foot, pain and tiredness in foots after longer walks or physical load.

If during consultation Traumatology – Orthopaedic specialist does not establish serious deformation and person does not complain about frequent, disturbing pain, condition of the foot can be improved by comfortable and high-quality shoes, specific exercises that are regularly performed under the physiotherapist’s supervision with the aim to strengthen ligaments of the foot and muscles.

Flatfoot can be cured also surgically by implanting special screw between bones of the foot that will further provide the correct arching of the arch of the foot. Main indicator of the surgery of foot bone is pain and disturbed movement’s not aesthetic assumptions.

Ingrown toe nails are a common problem – when edges of nails grow into soft tissues. That causes pain, redness, swelling and inflammation. This problem usually affects toe nail. It is recommended to seek the help of Traumatology – Orthopaedic specialist, if this problem repeats and is disturbing. In-growing of the toe nails is promoted by wearing shoes with narrow toecaps, clipping nails too short, cutting out corners, nail trauma.

Inflammation that forms when toe nails grow into soft tissues can cause inflammation in the toe bone and develop into serious infection of the bone.

To reduce inconveniences caused by the ingrown toe nails doctor can relieve part of the ingrown nail by inserting small splint between the nail and the skin. Nail that is fixed in this way can gradually change the direction of movement and not grow into soft tissues any more. To solve growing in of the nail, sometimes partial or completely surgical removal of the toe nail is required.