Aurora Foot & Ankle Clinic - Foot Problems
From routine checkups to treatments for surgery, Aurora Foot & Ankle Clinic is equipped to handle all your podiatric needs. To help you understand your options, we've included descriptions of some of our leading services on this page.
- Achilles Problems
- Ankle Instability
- Ankle Sprain
- Arthritic Foot & Ankle Care
- Athlete's Foot (Tinea Pedis)
- Crush Injuries
- Diabetes and Your Feet
- Flat Feet
Ankle sprains are caused by an unnatural twisting or force on the ankle bones of the foot, often resulting in one or more ligaments on the outside of the ankle to be stretched or torn. If not properly treated, ankle sprains could develop into long-term problems.
Bunions are misaligned big toe joints that can become swollen and tender, causing the first joint of the big toe to slant outward, and the second joint to angle toward the other toes.
Flat feet are a common condition. In infants and toddlers, the longitudinal arch is not developed and flat feet are normal. The arch develops in childhood, and by adulthood, most people have developed normal arches.
Hammertoe is a deformity of the second, third or fourth toes. In this condition, the toe is bent at the middle joint, resembling a hammer. Left untreated, hammertoes can become inflexible and require surgery.
Diabetes and Your Feet
With a diabetic foot, a wound as small as a blister from wearing a shoe that's too tight can cause a lot of damage. Diabetes decreases blood flow, so injuries are slow to heal.
Plantar fasciitis (or heel pain) is commonly traced to an inflammation on the bottom of the foot. Our practice can evaluate arch pain, and may prescribe customized shoe inserts called orthoses to help alleviate the pain.
Corns and calluses are protective layers of compacted, dead skin cells. They are caused by repeated friction from skin rubbing against bony areas or against an irregularity in a shoe. Corns ordinarily form on the toes and calluses on the soles of the feet.
A chronic infection caused by various types of fungus, Athlete's foot is often spread in places where people go barefoot such as public showers or swimming pools.
Charcot foot is a condition causing weakening of the bones in the foot that can occur in people who have significant nerve damage (neuropathy). The bones are weakened enough to fracture, and with continued walking the foot eventually changes shape. As the disorder progresses, the joints collapse and the foot takes on an abnormal shape, such as a rocker-bottom appearance.
Charcot foot is a very serious condition that can lead to severe deformity, disability, and even amputation. Because of its seriousness, it is important that patients with diabetesâ€”a disease often associated with neuropathyâ€”take preventive measures and seek immediate care if signs or symptoms appear.
Charcot foot develops as a result of neuropathy, which decreases sensation and the ability to feel temperature, pain, or trauma. Because of diminished sensation, the patient may continue to walkâ€”making the injury worse.
People with neuropathy (especially those who have had it for a long time) are at risk for developing Charcot foot. In addition, neuropathic patients with a tight Achilles tendon have been shown to have a tendency to develop Charcot foot.
The symptoms of Charcot foot may include:
- Warmth to the touch (the affected foot feels warmer than the other)
- Redness in the foot
- Swelling in the area
- Pain or soreness
Early diagnosis of Charcot foot is extremely important for successful treatment. To arrive at a diagnosis, the surgeon will examine the foot and ankle and ask about events that may have occurred prior to the symptoms. X-rays and other imaging studies and tests may be ordered.
Once treatment begins, x-rays are taken periodically to aid in evaluating the status of the condition.
It is extremely important to follow the surgeonâ€™s treatment plan for Charcot foot. Failure to do so can lead to the loss of a toe, foot, leg, or life.
Non-surgical treatment for Charcot foot consists of:
- Immobilization. Because the foot and ankle are so fragile during the early stage of Charcot, they must be protected so the weakened bones can repair themselves. Complete non-weightbearing is necessary to keep the foot from further collapsing. The patient will not be able to walk on the affected foot until the surgeon determines it is safe to do so. During this period, the patient may be fitted with a cast, removable boot, or brace, and may be required to use crutches or a wheelchair. It may take the bones several months to heal, although it can take considerably longer in some patients.
- Custom shoes and bracing. Shoes with special inserts may be needed after the bones have healed to enable the patient to return to daily activitiesâ€”as well as help prevent recurrence of Charcot foot, development of ulcers, and possibly amputation. In cases with significant deformity, bracing is also required.
- Activity modification. A modification in activity level may be needed to avoid repetitive trauma to both feet. A patient with Charcot in one foot is more likely to develop it in the other foot, so measures must be taken to protect both feet.
When is Surgery Needed?
In some cases, the Charcot deformity may become severe enough that surgery is necessary. The foot and ankle surgeon will determine the proper timing as well as the appropriate procedure for the individual case.
The patient can play a vital role in preventing Charcot foot and its complications by following these measures:
- Keeping blood sugar levels under control can help reduce the progression of nerve damage in the feet.
- Get regular check-ups from a foot and ankle surgeon.
- Check both feet every dayâ€”and see a surgeon immediately if you notice signs of Charcot foot.
- Be careful to avoid injury, such as bumping the foot or overdoing an exercise program.
- Follow the surgeonâ€™s instructions for long-term treatment to prevent recurrences, ulcers, and amputation.