Common Disorders
Click on the categories below to read articles on foot disorders and conditions. You may also use the search button below.
Did you know the foot has 28 bones, 37 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles, and numerous tendons? These parts all work together to allow the foot to move in a variety of ways while balancing your weight and propelling you forward or backward on even or uneven surfaces. It is no wonder that most Americans will experience a foot problem that will require the care of a specialist at one point or another in their lifetime.

The Achilles tendon is the large cord like structure on the back of the leg just above the heel. It is the largest tendon in the body and has a tremendous amount of force transmitted through it during walking, running and jumping activities. The Achilles tendon is prone to injury, including rupture during periods of increased stress and activity. Common activities causing injury include running, basketball, baseball, football, soccer, volleyball and tennis. These activities require jumping and pushing forces that are possible due to the strength of the calf musculature and the ability of the Achilles tendon to endure this stress. Men from the ages of 30-50 are the most commonly injured during weekend athletic activities.

Anatomy

The Achilles tendon is the extension from the two large muscles in the calf region, the gastrocnemius and the soleus. These two muscles combine to form the Achilles tendon. The tendon forms in the lower one third of the leg and extends to the back of the heel bone (calcaneus). When the muscles of the calf contract this produces tension on the Achilles tendon pulling on the back of heel causing the heel to rise and the foot to point downward. It is during this motion that high-tension force is transmitted through the Achilles tendon during pushing and jumping activity. This high tension force can cause the Achilles tendon to tear or rupture. This happens in 3 common locations. The most common location for a tendon tear is within the tendon substance just above the heel. The second and third most common locations are where the Achilles tendon attaches into the heel bone and higher in the leg, where the tendon begins.

Tendonitis can be a common problem in the foot as we continuously walk and use our feet on a daily basis. The posterior tibial tendon can be especially prone to tendonitis as it helps to maintain the arch of the foot and prevent excessive flattening (pronation) of the foot while walking, standing or running. Posterior tibial tendonitis can be a precursor to posterior tibial tendon dysfunction where there is progressive loss of strength in the tendon and a progressive flattening of the arch.

Anatomy

The posterior tibial tendon starts in the deep portion of the calf and runs behind the prominent bone on the inside of the ankle. The tendon continues along towards the foot and inserts into multiple locations on the inside and the bottom of the arch. With each step a tremendous amount of tension and stress is placed is on the posterior tibial tendon as it helps to maintain and recreate the arch of the foot. With each step there is a natural depression and recreation of the arch that allows for shock absorption. The amount of shock absorption or depression of the arch is variable from person to person depending on the architecture of their foot (flatfeet versus a very high arch). It would seem that only a flatfooted person would get posterior tibial tendonitis but this is not always the case. It can happen to people with any foot type, weight or activity level.

An uncommon cause of small lumps in the Achilles tendon is an excessively high cholesterol level in the blood stream. This is a hereditary disorder that results in the deposition of cholesterol in the Achilles tendon. Frequently people will also have yellowish plagues on the lower eye lids, This is a serious condition and requires aggressive treatment by a physician to lower the cholesterol levels. Left untreated the high cholesterol levels can lead to premature heart attack and death.

The Achilles tendon is the large cord like structure on the back of the leg just above the heel. It is the largest tendon in the body and has a tremendous amount of force transmitted through it during walking, running and jumping activities. The Achilles tendon is prone to injury, including rupture during periods of increased stress and activity. Common activities causing injury include running, basketball, baseball, football, soccer, volleyball and tennis. These activities require jumping and pushing forces that are possible due to the strength of the calf musculature and the ability of the Achilles tendon to endure this stress. Men from the ages of 30-50 are the most commonly injured during weekend athletic activities.