The feet are made up of 26 bones and more than 33 joints arranged in columns and arches that vary in stiffness and flexibility. The back of the foot is made up of the heel bone and the ankle. The joint that holds them together allows the foot to move from side to side. The heel is connected to the calf muscles in the lower leg by the Achilles tendon, which is the most important tendon for movement.
The middle of the foot is made up of five bones. These form the arch of the foot. These bones are connected to the front and back of the foot by muscles and the arch ligament (the plantar fascia). They act as a shock absorber when we're walking or running. The front of the foot is made up of the toe bones, which are connected to five long bones by joints. The joints in the toes don't move very much.
There are many different causes of foot pain, but the following are two common conditions:
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation at the site where the fascia (a tough band of fibrous tissue) attaches under the heel bone. It's the most common cause of discomfort around this area. Plantar fasciitis frequently affects people with inflammatory arthritis but it can also occur in people without arthritis. Research has shown that plantar fasciitis is sometimes caused by the shortening of the Achilles tendon and that exercises to lengthen it may help.
Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon at the back of the ankle. It can occur as an over-use injury in people who take part in excessive exercise or exercise that they're not used to, but it's also quite common in people who have some types of arthritis.