As we walk over uneven ground, they allow us to accommodate to the undulation, further adding stress to the numerous joints in the foot.

Fashionable footwear has added to foot and ankle problems, with women squeezing their feet into shoes of all shapes and sizes. Sporting injuries and fractures are also very common in the foot.

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. Hence, prompt diagnosis and appropriate management are crucial to having a good outcome.

Causes 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

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.


  • Generally, an orthopaedic consult would include radiological investigations.
  • Your surgeon will order the appropriate x-rays.
  • Occasionally, specialised investigations like:
    • Computer-Tomography (CT) scans
    • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
    • Ultrasound scans may be needed.
  • 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.

Learn the various treatment options in the next page.

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