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Why are foot and ankle problems common?

The foot and ankle are complex parts of the human body. Each foot has 28 bones, 33 joints and over 100 muscles, tendons (tissue that connects muscles to bones) and ligaments (tissue that connects bones). They are all involved in movement and work together to give your body support and balance.

Your feet have a unique design and are the foundation of your whole body. Every day, they are put under a lot of pressure, weight and force. According to the NHS, the average person walks between 3,000 and 4,000 steps a day. It is not surprising that many of us experience foot and ankle pain at some point in our lives. Problems affecting the foot and ankle include sprains and strains, fractures (broken bones) and conditions like nerve pain or arthritis.

What are the most common foot and ankle problems?

Some of the most common foot and ankle problems are:

  • an Achilles tendon injury (an injury to the large tendon from the heel bones to calf muscles)
  • Achilles tendinopathy (pain and stiffness at the back of the heel) an ankle sprain or strain (the stretching or tearing of ligaments that support the ankle)
  • an ankle fracture (when one or more of the three bones in the ankle joint are broken)
  • arthritis (pain, stiffness and swelling caused by wear and tear to the foot and ankle joints)
  • bunions (painful, bony bumps near the base of the big toe)
  • bursitis (painful swelling of the ankle joint)
  • calluses and corns (hardened layers of skin on the foot caused by friction and pressure)
  • chronic ankle instability (an unstable ankle, particularly when walking on uneven surfaces)
  • ganglion cysts (lumps filled with fluid that can develop on the foot, ankle or other joints)
  • flat feet (where the arches of the feet lose strength and the feet press flat on the ground)
  • hammer, claw and mallet toes (toes that are bent or curled into an abnormal position)
  • heel pain (discomfort on the bottom or back of the heel)
  • Morton’s neuroma (where a nerve in the foot is irritated or damaged) peripheral neuropathy (pain, weakness or numbness in the feet caused by nerve damage)
  • plantar fasciitis (pain and stiffness on the bottom of the heel)

Many cases of foot or ankle pain are short term and caused by soft tissue injuries. Pain that does not improve or is long lasting could be a sign of structural changes to the foot or ankle. It is important that you see a healthcare professional to prevent the problem from getting worse and affecting your quality of life.

How can Parkside Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Centre help me?

At Parkside Hospital, we have a specialised Parkside Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Centre. With more than 40 orthopaedic and sports medicine consultants, we can treat a wide range of foot and ankle problems. Our consultants are experienced at treating bone, joint, muscle, tendon, ligament, nerve and arthritis pain.

There are minimal waiting times for an appointment and we have set up rapid access clinics. To diagnose your foot and ankle problem, we can perform digital X-rays, blood tests and MRI, CT, ultrasound and bone density (DEXA) scans. The private health insurance company Bupa recognises us as a high quality MRI and CT scan centre.

Whatever foot and ankle problem you may have, your consultant prepares an individual treatment plan. This plan is intended to reduce any pain, discomfort or difficulty with movement. We offer non-surgical options and the latest surgical techniques, including minimally invasive procedures. The treatments that we carry out include:

  • an ankle arthroscopy (keyhole surgery to diagnose and treat problems in the ankle joint)
  • ankle fracture surgery (an operation to fix a broken bone in the ankle)
  • ankle fusion (surgery to join two or more ankle bones into one piece if you have arthritis)
  • ankle ligament repair (an operation to tighten or replace the bands of tissue that support the ankle joint)
  • ankle replacement surgery (an operation to replace a damaged ankle joint with an artificial joint)
  • bunion surgery (surgery to correct painful lumps on the side of the feet)
  • extracorporeal shock wave therapy (a non-surgical treatment, where a machine sends impulses of energy to a specific area for pain relief) peripheral nerve block (an injection that temporarily blocks pain during and after foot and ankle surgery)

Whether you need a straightforward bunion correction or complex reconstructive surgery, we help you to resume a healthy, active lifestyle.

Our team

Our team includes:

  • orthopaedic consultants
  • foot and ankle surgeons
  • podiatrists (healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat conditions affecting the feet, ankles and lower limbs)
  • rheumatologists (healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat conditions affecting the joints, tendons, ligaments, bones and muscles)
  • pain management experts
  • nurses

These experts support you throughout your diagnosis, treatment and aftercare.

We also work closely with our physiotherapists. They can help you return to fitness in the shortest possible time. Depending on your condition, we can offer you various complementary therapies including acupuncture, massage and hydrotherapy.

Book now

Appointments are available six days a week at our Parkside Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Centre. If you have a foot and ankle problem, our orthopaedic consultants can give you complete, effective and personalised care.

We offer all-inclusive price packages for most orthopaedic and sports injury conditions. There is one simple agreed price that does not change. This gives you the reassurance of knowing exactly how much your treatment costs in advance. For information about prices, please call 020 3925 1062 or complete this form online.