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.
Toe walking, a condition in which a person walks on the toes or ball of the foot, is most often seen in young children learning to walk. A child who does not outgrow toe walking in early childhood should be evaluated by a foot and ankle surgeon. Toe walking may be idiopathic (habitual) or it can be caused by a shortened Achilles tendon (equinus deformity) often associated with a neurological or muscular disorder.