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Anatomy of Foot

Foot pain is an extremely common complaint with many causes. It is important to accurately diagnose the cause of foot pain in order for appropriate treatment to begin.

Anatomy of the Foot

Foot Bony AnatomyThe foot is made up of 26 bones, which are divided into three sections called the rearfoot, midfoot and forefoot. The talus and calcaneus (heel bone) are the bones that make up the rearfoot. The talus is the highest bone in the foot and it is also part of the ankle. The calcaneus is the largest bone in the foot. It sits below the talus. The navicular, cuboid and the three cuneiforms are the bones that make up the midfoot. The five metatarsals and nine phalanges are the bones that make up the forefoot.

There are three arches in the foot. There is an inner (medial) arch, an outer (lateral) arch and an arch in the forefoot called the transverse arch. Ligaments are like strong ropes that connect bones and provide stability to joints. In the foot there are numerous ligaments that support the arches and stabilise the bones. These ligaments are located on the top (dorsal), bottom (plantar) medial and lateral aspects of the foot.

Symtoms of Foot Injury

The location and severity of foot pain may vary, depending on the cause of the problem. Signs and symptoms that sometimes accompany foot pain include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling and stiffness
  • Redness and warmth to the touch
  • Weakness or instability
  • Popping or crunching noises
  • Inability to fully move the foot
  • Inability to weight bear on the foot
  • Pins and Needles
  • Numbness

For patients suffering from foot pain, the first step to recovery is to receive a proper diagnosis so the cause of the symptoms can be determined.

If you feel you have a potential infection in the foot or a fracture, urgent medical attention should be sought.

Causes of Foot Pain

There are a number of foot conditions which cause foot pain. It is important to make an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your symptoms so that appropriate treatment can be directed at the cause.

  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Achilles tendon rupture
  • Avulsion fracture: How is it treated?
  • Bone spurs
  • Broken ankle/broken foot
  • Broken toe
  • Bunions
  • Bursitis
  • Corns and calluses
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Flatfeet
  • Gout
  • Haglund’s deformity
  • Hammertoe and mallet toe
  • High heels or poorly fitting shoes
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Morton’s neuroma
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Paget’s disease of bone
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Plantar warts
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Raynaud’s disease
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Retrocalcaneal bursitis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Septic arthritis
  • Stress fractures
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Tendinitis
  • Tumors

With all foot conditions the most important part of treatment is getting your ankle injury correctly diagnosed.  We achieve this by conducting comprehensive examinations of the ligaments, cartilage, muscles and tendons in and around the foot joint.

As part of our multi-disciplinary team, our specialists have access to MRI facilities.

Investigations for Foot Pain and Injury

Like every joint evaluation, the start to a diagnosis is a consultation followed by a physical examination. Your specialist will inspect your foot for swelling, pain, tenderness, warmth and visible bruising. A visual assessment is followed by evaluation of the movement and specific orthopaedic tests to determine integrity.

After a provisional diagnosis is made by your specialist, it may be suggested you have the joint imaged by:

  • X-ray
  • MRI Scan
  • CT Scan
  • Ultrasound

If your specialist suspects an infection or arthritis you may be recommended a series of have blood tests .

On rare occasions your specialist may request a nerve conduction study to look for nerve injury and compression.

Treatment for Foot Pain

Throughout your diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation, dedicated team members will continue to work hard to ensure you can get back to enjoying life with the most comfort, mobility, and functionality possible.

Healthplus Clinics has assembled a group of Foot Pain Specialists to provide complete surgical and non-surgical treatments. Our team of Foot Specialists includes: Foot Surgeons, Pain Specialists, Podiatrists, and specially trained Foot Physiotherapists.

Non-Surgical Foot Treatments and Procedures

  • Specialist Foot Physiotherapy
  • Gait Analysis and Biomechanical Examination
  • Orthotics Prescription
  • Shockwave Therapy
  • Foot Acupuncture
  • Electrotherapy

Foot Pain Management Procedures

  • Joint Injection

Surgical Foot Treatments and Procedures

  • Achilles repair
  • Ankle cartilage transplant, harvesting, cultivation and transplant
  • Ankle fusion
  • Ankle replacement (ankle arthroplasty)
  • Arthroscopic foot and ankle surgery
  • Athrolysis, elongation of the Achilles
  • Bunion surgery
  • Endoscopic Plantar Fascia Release
  • Fasciooctomy of the foot
  • Ligament repair
  • Metal Plate removal after bunion surgery
  • Metatarsophalangeal Arthroscopy
  • Metatarsophalangeal Prosthesis
  • Mortons neuroma excision
  • Retrocalcaneal bursae removal/drainage
  • Subtalar Athrodesis
Complications of Foot Pain and Injury

Chronic pain

Once your ligaments are stretched or torn, they need about eight weeks to be fully healed and are pain free. But other problems might go undiagnosed, like a bone fracture, tear in the cartilage, nerve damage or a torn tendon. Delaying treatment of these other conditions leads to continued pain, weakness, giving way and disruption of your normal daily activities.

Instability of the Foot

A foot injury can heal incorrectly, leaving your ligaments permanently stretched. This causes your ankle to be weak and unstable, frequently resulting in abnormal movement. If this happens, you will are likely to recurrently sprain causing swelling and pain.


Stiffness usually happens because of severe inflammation swelling at the site of the injury and scar tissue. Stiffness most often results in pain and even osteoarthritis.


When the foot does not heal properly, localized swelling occurs causing a limited range of motion and an inability to participate in your usual routine.

Early onset arthritis in the Joint of the Feet

When a joint functions incorrectly following injury there is a possibility that over a period of time premature arthritis can occur.

Most patients will not encounter problems after orthopaedic surgery. As with any surgery, however, there are potential risks, including: reaction to anesthesia, bleeding, infection, blood clots, nerve damage, lack of full range of motion, development of arthritis, scar formation, or re-injury of the joint or soft tissue.

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