Causes of Retinaculum Foot Pain

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The term retinaculum foot pain describes pain in any of the retinaculums of the foot. A retinaculum is a thickened band of crural fascia (similar to tendons and ligaments) and is responsible for holding organs or tissues in place. Retinaculum foot pain is typically caused by physical injury, disease or a combination of both.

Anatomy

  • The term retinaculum refers to any structure that holds an organ or tissue in place. Although distinctly different, it is very similar to tendons and ligaments with respect to its job function. There are three retinaculums in the foot: the extensor retinaculum of the foot inferior, the retinaculum of the foot superior and also the flexor retinaculum of foot. The extensor retinaculum of foot inferior is a thick band that runs across the front of the ankle joint and the back of the foot. The extensor retinaculum of foot superior is located on the front of the lower leg and attaches the lower legs bones in order to hold tendons in place. Lastly, the flexor retinaculum of foot extends from the middle of the shin bone down to the heel bone.

Injuries

  • The most obvious cause of any foot pain is physical injury to the foot or ankle. For example, sprains, strains, bruises, twists, fractures and other foot injuries can damage muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons and any of the retinaculum in the foot. Treatment includes rest, casts, administration of pain medication and in some situations, surgery.

Other Causes

  • Foot pain also can be a sign or symptom of a medical condition such as a disease or infection. For example, diabetes, gout and Hansen's disease commonly affect the health of the feet. Similarly, arthritis in the foot can cause pain, particularly in areas where the bones connect or meet. Other medical conditions causing pain include bone spurs, tendinitis and warts. Foot pain also can be caused by poorly fitted shoes and overuse.

Treatment

  • Mild foot pain resulting from injury can usually be treated through rest and taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medication such as ibuprofen. More serious causes such as severe injuries or foot pain from a medical condition, however, are treated with medication, casts and in some instances, surgery.

Expert Insight

  • Pain associated with a medical condition such as gout or diabetes or pain that is so severe that it interferes with your ability to ambulate, must be addressed with a medical professional immediately. If left untreated, long-term damage or disability may occur.

References

  • Photo Credit "(2/365) :: Barefoot" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: chispita_666 (Lu) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
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