Foot and ankle problems usually fall into the following categories:
- Acquired from improper footwear, physical stress, or small mechanical changes within the foot.
- Arthritic foot problems, which typically involve one or more joint.
- Congenital foot problems, which occur at birth, are generally inherited.
- Infectious foot problems, which are caused by bacterial, viral, or fungal disorders.
- Neoplastic disorders, usually called tumors, which are the result of abnormal growth of tissue and may be benign or malignant.
- Traumatic foot problems, which are associated with foot and ankle injuries.
There are 26 bones in the human foot. Some people have “extra bones” (accessory ossicles) which are usually congenital (present at birth) but may also be due to previous trauma. These extra bones, which can occur with any bone in the foot, can be painless (asymptomatic) and are only noticed when the foot is x-rayed. Sometimes they are painful and cause significant discomfort. This pain can usually be treated by the foot and ankle surgeon using a variety of non-surgical measures, although sometimes the extra bones may need to be surgically removed.
To learn more, read Accessory Navicular Syndrome, Os Trigonum Syndrome.