Foot + Ankle
Welcome to the wonderful world of the foot and ankle! I am going on the assumption that 99% of you are not interested in reading about the detailed and intricate anatomy of this region but rather, the most common injuries and how to rehab them, as well as just general exercises for balance and strength. If you are in the 1% that would find a discussion on the nuances of the dorsal cuneonavicular ligaments scintillating, send me an e-mail and...well, it may be accidentally filed under Spam.
I underlined "basic" because the foot and ankle are incredibly complex but here are the Top 2 Anatomical Facts that I hope you can learn today:
1. The ankle is made up of two joints: the true ankle joint and the subtalar joint
The true ankle joint is formed by the Tibia, Fibula and Talus. This joint is responsible for the up and down motion of the ankle.
The subtalar joint (below the talus) is the joint formed by the talus and calcaneous, which allows side-to-side motion.
2. The Achilles Tendon is where your two primary calf muscles turn into tough, dense tissue and insert into your Calcaneous (heel bone).
The two primary muscles of the calf, the Gastrocnemius and Soleus, join to form one tendon, the Achilles.
OK, phew, we got the dry stuff out of the way BUT now, if you ever want to impress a Personal Trainer, you can casually remark, "Wow, nice Gastrocs." OK, moving on then?
Most Common Conditions + Injuries
This list is based on what I've most frequently seen in my 11 years of practice and just on statistical research. For each condition, I'll list the cause(s), the treatment and the prevention.
A bony bump that typically forms at the big toe joint when the big toe pushes against its neighbor.
Image courtesy of softstarshoes.com
Most commonly, this is a result of constrictive footwear. If you are now thinking "Constrictive footwear? Of what could he be possibly speaking??" then, scroll yourself up a ways to the second post of the SHOES series from May 5th and enjoy the shoelicious facts and musings on why shoes are killing your feet.
* The least desirable treatment is surgery. Here is a good overview.
* The next least desirable treatment is orthotics. Why? Because orthotics do not fix the problem. The problem is poor footwear and bad biomechanics. Orthotics are a crutch upon which your feet become dependent and the faulty biomechanics and constrictive footwear, which caused the problem in the first place, goes unaddressed.
* The BEST solution is to move to a tropical locale and be barefoot forever. Not an option, you say? Fine. Then the next BEST option is to wear shoes with a wide toe box and toe spacers. I like these.
Life is good when the treatment and the prevention are the same thing! Wear shoes with a wide toe box and go barefoot when you can.
The next post will cover Plantar fasciosis and sprained ankles!
As always, thank you for reading and contact me with questions, feedback or pancake recipes.