Foot and Ankle

Foot and AnkleThe constant use of the lower extremities makes them an easy target for injury and pain, specifically in the feet. Walking, sitting and standing all put pressure on our feet, while most athletic activities rely on them as well. Foot pain are common ailments that affect thousands of people in the US each year. These symptoms may be a result of the same condition or can be completely separate. It is important to determine the source of the pain in order to successfully treat these conditions.

Some of our most common foot and ankle conditions and treatments we treat are:

Causes of Foot Pain

Like knee pain, foot pain can be caused by several different factors that include injury, disease and infection. There are also several deformities that can occur in the feet and cause pain. Even wearing shoes that are too tight can lead to severe and chronic pain. Common causes of foot pain include:

  • Fractures
  • Sprains
  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Bursitis
  • Bunions
  • Hammertoes
  • Tendonitis

Foot pain can occur in any area of the foot, from the toes to the heel and up to the ankle. While some cases may be short and mild, others can be severely disabling and may cause trouble walking and stiffness.

Treatment Options

Many foot conditions can be treated with conservative home methods like rest, ice, compression and elevation. Simply wearing different shoes can help relieve foot pain.

Your doctor may also recommend other treatment options such as anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, orthotics or braces.

Surgery may be necessary for more severe cases. Minimally invasive, arthroscopic procedures are available for most foot conditions which helps minimize scars and recovery times. Surgery may remove, repair or replace damaged areas.

Achilles Tendinitis / Achilles Tendon Rupture

Foot and Ankle

Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, the strong band of tissue that connects the calf muscle to the heel. This condition frequently affects athletes and occurs when the stress placed on the tendon is too strong. Achilles tendonitis is usually a painful but short-lived condition. Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include:

  • Dull pain while walking
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Soreness

If you are suffering from Achilles tendonitis, you may be able to treat the condition at home through rest, ice and over-the-counter pain medication. If these methods are ineffective, your doctor may recommend orthotics, a walking boot, crutches or surgery for more severe cases. Surgery removes the inflamed tissue in the area.

Achilles tendonitis increases your risk of rupturing your Achilles tendon, a condition that requires immediate attention. A ruptured tendon will cause sudden, severe pain and swelling and difficulty walking.

Treatment for an Achilles tendon rupture depends on the severity of the condition, but often requires surgery to repair the tendon and restore function to the foot. Less severe cases may only require a cast or walking boot for several weeks, although the risk of a recurring rupture is higher.

You can reduce your risk for Achilles tendonitis by monitoring your physical activity and taking precautions to make sure you are physically fit and prepared enough to handle each activity.

Ankle Sprain

A sprain is a stretching or tearing of one or more ligaments, the tough fibrous bands that hold the ankle bones in place. Sprains can be caused by a sports injury, accident or stepping on an uneven surface. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, stiffness and bruising. There may be a popping sound when the ankle is moved. The ankle may be unstable or unable to hold weight.

Sprained ankles should be examined by a doctor to rule out the possibility of a bone fracture or other damage. Professional care will also ensure that the joint heals properly, limiting the chance of further injury.

Shin Splints

Foot and AnkleShin splints, or medial tibial stress syndrome, are a common exercise-related condition characterized by pain along or just behind the shins. Pain occurs about two-thirds of the way down the leg below the knee, spans several inches, and tends to worsen with activity. This discomfort results from inflammation of the thin layer of tissue covering the tibia, as well as from the bone itself and two of the muscles that attach to it (the soleus muscle and flexor digitorum longus, which help you push off your foot and flex your toes).

Shin splints are common in people who begin a new training regimen after a period of inactivity. They may also occur when intensifying an existing training regimen. Contributing factors include running speed and distance, exercising on angled or very hard surfaces, and footwear with weak support or worn soles. Runners, aerobic dancers and military personnel are prone to shin splints because of the stresses placed on their lower legs, as are people with flat feet, rigid arches and "knock knees" or "bow legs."

To learn more about our Foot and Ankle Procedures & Treatments, please contact us at (713) 526-2663 today to schedule an appointment.

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