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.
Whether an athlete is a recreational, competitive, or elite runner, foot and ankle health is essential for optimal performance. Runners are susceptible to overuse injuries including heel pain (plantar fasciitis), Achilles tendonitis, sesamoiditis, neuromas, capsulitis of the second toe, stress fractures, posterior tibial tendonitis (or PTTD), and calcaneal apophysitis in children and adolescents.
Evaluation by a foot and ankle surgeon will help the athlete determine the underlying cause of pain and the best course of treatment. Custom orthotic devices are often used for treatment of these conditions.