When considering treatments for the foot or ankle, it's essential that you receive effective and accurate diagnosis of your problem, whether it is a major or minor complaint.
St Joseph’s Hospital has a team of highly skilled orthopaedic consultants who specialise in complications of the foot and ankle. Our consultants are supported by leading consultant radiologists and highly experienced senior radiographers and specialist nurses. Our state-of-the-art imaging equipment helps to greatly speed up the time from diagnosis to treatment.
Damage and injuries to both the foot and ankle areas can cause pain. They commonly occur in athletes and people with active job roles.
The forefoot includes the five metatarsal bones - the first of which bears most weight - and the toes (phalanges). The first metatarsal provides attachment for several tendons. Near the head of this are two small, oval-shaped bones (sesamoid). The second, third, and fourth metatarsal bones are well protected with only minor tendon attachments and much less important for propulsion.
The midfoot includes five of the seven tarsal bones (the navicular, cuboid, and three cuneiform). The distal row contains the three cuneiforms and the cuboid. The midfoot meets the forefoot at the five tarsometatarsal (TMT) joints. The hindfoot is made up of the calcaneus - the largest tarsal bone which forms the heel - with the talus resting on top of it to form the pivot of the ankle.
Toe joints point the toes towards or away from the ground and allow side to side movements. The foot as a whole, excluding the toes, can move outwards and inwards and all the many joints of the hindfoot and midfoot contribute to these complex movements.
The multiple bones and joints of the foot give flexibility but also must form an arch to support any weight. The foot has three arches: medial, lateral and transverse. These are maintained by the shapes of the bones, by ligaments and by the support of muscles and tendons.
The ankle joint is made up of three bones: the shinbone (tibia), the smaller bone next to the shinbone (fibula) and the bone that fits into the socket formed by the tibia and the fibula (talus). The talus sits on top of the heel bone (calcaneus), forming a secondary joint. On either side of the talus is a small bony protrusion - in some people, the outer one of these lumps is naturally separated, forming a separate bone (the os trigonum).
Strong ligaments on both sides of the ankle hold the bones together - helping to stabilise the joint and to control the range of movement.
Criss-crossing the ankle joint are many tendons, which connect the muscles to the bones of the foot, enabling movement. The large achilles tendon in the back of the ankle connects the calf muscles to the heel bone and gives the foot the power to walk, run and jump.
Inside the joint, the bones are covered with a slick, smooth material called articular cartilage, which enables smooth movement.