Foot & Ankle Conditions

Part of: Bone Health

Common foot and ankle conditions

The foot and ankle are joined by an extensive network of ligaments, tendons and muscles that work together to provide support and mobility.

There are 28 bones and over 30 joints in your foot alone, with 3 bones making up the ankle joint. Accidental falls, sports and recreational activities may lead to injuries to your foot and ankle.

A foot injury in its early stages may only have subtle symptoms, but it can worsen over time. Learn more about the common conditions that affect the foot and ankle, as well as the orthopaedic treatments available at Mount Elizabeth Hospitals.

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The Achilles tendon is the large tendon at the back of your ankle. It connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. Achilles tendonitis occurs when your calf muscles are overused, causing irritation and inflammation of the tendon.

If you have Achilles tendonitis, you may experience:

  • Pain and swelling at the calf
  • Discomfort when you bend your ankle or walk
  • Signs of inflammation such as swelling, warmth and redness

Learn more about Achilles tendonitis and our treatments.

The plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue (ligament) that connects the heel bone to the toes and supports the arch of the foot.

Plantar fasciitis is the swelling of this ligament. It is one of the most common causes of heel pain and can occur in one or both feet. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain at the bottom of the foot, near the heel area. The condition typically starts with gradual, mild pain felt at the heel bone.
  • 'First step pain', which is pain that occurs when taking the first steps upon waking up in the morning, or after a long period of rest.
  • Swelling and pain due to tiny tears from repeated strains on the ligament.

Learn more about plantar fasciitis and our treatments.

A fracture is a broken bone that occurs when the physical force exerted on the bone is stronger than the bone itself. Fractures may occur at any age. Certain conditions such as osteoporosis may increase the risk of bone fracture.

A bone fracture is usually accompanied by:

  • Pain
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Loss of function
  • Bone deformity in the injured area.

Learn more about fractures and our treatments.

A bunion, also known as hallux valgus, is a painful, bony bump that develops within the foot around the joint area of the big toe. It causes a deformity whereby the big toe leans towards the second toe.

Common symptoms of bunions include:

  • A visible bump at the big toe joint area, which may have a callus
  • Deformity of the big toe leaning towards the second toe
  • Tenderness at the joint area
  • Inflammation or redness
  • Stiffness in the big toe
  • Pain

Arthritis refers to an inflammation of the joints. With more than 30 joints in your foot and ankle, it can cause stiffness, deformity, decreased mobility, and increased disability.

Common symptoms include:

  • A dull ache that worsens throughout the day
  • Pain, stiffness, swelling, or warmth at the inflamed joint.
  • A sensation of grating or grinding in the affected joint, due to rubbing of the damaged cartilage surfaces.

Learn more about arthritis and our treatments.

This page has been reviewed by our medical content reviewers.