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.
Arthritis is a general term for a group of more than 100 diseases. “Arthritis” means “joint inflammation.” When it affects joints of the foot it can produce swelling and pain, and may eventually result in deformity, loss of joint function, and decreased ability to walk.
The most common form of foot arthritis is osteoarthritis. For more information on this topic, read “Osteoarthritis of the Foot and Ankle.”
Similar symptoms may be caused by another form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis that affects the joint of the big toe is known as “hallux rigidus.”