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.
The foot contains 26 bones and more than 30 joints. The body’s natural response to any type of joint injury is to increase blood flow to the affected area. This results in an accumulation of fluid in the tissues in and around the joint, resulting in swelling. Depending on the cause of the injury, joint swelling may be accompanied by stiffness, redness, warmth and pain.
Joint swelling may also result from inflammatory, degenerative, traumatic, infective, or crystal-forming joint diseases, such as gout. If joint swelling persists, a foot and ankle surgeon can best determine the cause and recommend the appropriate treatment.