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.
Stress fractures are tiny, hairline breaks that can occur in the bones of the foot. They can be caused by overtraining or overuse, improper training habits or surfaces, improper shoes, flatfoot or other foot deformities, and even osteoporosis. These tiny breaks in the bones of the feet can lead to a complete break if left untreated.
Pain, swelling, redness, and possibly bruising can be signs of a stress fracture. The fracture can occur almost anywhere in the foot. X-rays and other studies are used to diagnose the stress fracture. A foot and ankle surgeon should be seen as early as possible to start treatment and possibly shorten the recovery time. Possible treatments include rest and possible immobilization of the foot. In some cases, surgery may be required to stabilize the stress fracture or to repair a stress fracture that has progressed to a fracture.