Caption: The foot and ankle bear the stress of our body weights. (Istock photo)
The Singapore General Hospital (SGH) Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, a member of the SingHealth group, shares the common types of foot and ankle problems many Singaporeans face and how they are diagnosed.
One common cause of foot and ankle problems is because some of today’s fashionable footwear may not be designed for optimal comfort. Sporting injuries and fractures are also another common cause of foot and ankle problems.
The critical thing about the foot is that an injury or abnormality in one joint can rapidly cause injuries to neighbouring joints due to the close proximity and relationship between the joints.
Types of foot pain
The main causes of chronic foot pain are either degenerative or arising from a previous injury. Painful degenerative problems can affect the joints of the foot, or the tendons or the fascia (soft tissue). Some common foot and ankle conditions include:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Hallux valgus
- Collapsed arches in adults
- Osteoarthritis of the small joints or the ankle
Related article: Want to prevent osteoarthritis? Our doctor shares some tips
Injuries of the foot and ankle can arise from sports or normal daily activities. Occult fractures can occur or the soft tissue can be damaged. Soft tissue refers to the ligaments and the fascia which hold the bones together, or the tendons which move the bones. They can be stretched, torn or dislocated.
Related article: Suffered a running injury? Here’s why you shouldn’t ignore it
How foot pain is diagnosed
- Generally, an orthopaedic consult would include radiological investigations.
- Your surgeon will order the appropriate x-rays.
- Occasionally, specialised investigations like:
- Some investigations are better meant to look at the bones and joints, and others to look at the soft tissues. Sometimes, you may be required to undergo some blood tests to rule out inflammatory arthritis.
Related article: Treatments for foot and ankle problems
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