Foot & Ankle Conditions
We treat a variety of foot and ankle problems and injuries at the Reading Foot & Ankle Unit.
The plantar facia is a thick and fibrous band that runs along the sole of the foot. It originates in the heel bone and fans along the bottom of the foot before inserting into the base of the toes. It acts as a “bowstring ” and helps maintain the shape of the arch. Inflammation of this fibrous band is known as Plantar Fasciitis. Pain is usually felt in the heel (where the plantar fascia inserts) but this discomfort can also radiate along the arch of the foot.
Hallux valgus (bunions)
Hallux Valgus or ‘bunions’ as they are commonly known, are one of the most common forefoot deformities. It is the displacement of the joint of the big toe and results in the big toe turning and rotating inwards. The shifting of the toe inwards results in a very painful prominence on the side of the big toe joint. With more severe deformities, you may experience pain under the ball of the foot or develop lesser toe deformities.
Metatarsalgia is the general term used to describe forefoot (‘ball of the foot’) pain that can be caused by a number of reasons including: lesser toe deformity, neuroma / bursitis, arthritis, bunions.
The term neuroma refers to a swelling of a nerve. The nerve commonly affected is a small nerve between the 2nd & 3rd and 3rd & 4th toes. Patients usually complain of pain, tingling, numbness or the sense of ‘walking on pebbles’.
Tibialis posterior tendon dysfunction (Adult Flat Foot)
This is a very common condition of the foot and is sometimes called an “acquired flat foot” as it is the posterior tibial tendon that holds the arch and prevents the foot from rolling in. Symptoms include a painful instep, swelling on the medial aspect of the ankle and the appearance of a flat foot.
Achillies tendinopathy is characterised by pain and swelling of the tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone of the foot. This pain may be present during activity and worsen once an activity has ceased.
Hallux rigidus is the term used to describe arthritis of the big toe joint. It usually develops in adults between the ages of 30 and 60 years. Symptoms include pain, swelling and loss of motion to the big toe that is worsened on activity. Patients may also develop a bony bump at the top of the joint that may rub on the shoes.
Arthritis of foot and ankle joints
Arthritis can effect any of your joints in the foot and ankle and may limit your functional ability due to pain, deformity and difficulty with shoe wear.
Lesser toe deformities
Lesser toe deformities (claw toe or mallet toe) are very common. These deformities are invariably benign but can occasionally cause symptoms such as rubbing against the shoe or each other as well as pain on the ball of the foot. It may also develop as a consequence of a bunion deformity.
Some patients may have ongoing symptoms of pain, swelling or instability following an ankle twisting injury or sprain. This may be caused by a significant ligament injury, tendon injury or damage within the joint that may not be apparent on initial radiographs.
Simple acute fractures around the foot and ankle may be managed conservatively in plaster or a boot/brace. However, fractures that are unstable or have displaced significantly may require surgery with internal fixation to achieve best results.
A bunionette as the name implies is a bunion of the little toe. Patients complain of pain and rubbing over this bony bump at the base of the little toe on the outside of the foot.