Foot Doctor Blog

When to Visit a Foot & Ankle Surgeon

(article from foothealthfacts.org)

Most people have a foot or ankle problem at one time or another. So how do you know when to see a foot and ankle surgeon? 

Sometimes it’s obvious that you need to seek help, but at other times it’s less clear. In reality, many symptoms—even those you can tolerate—may require professional attention to keep the underlying condition from worsening.

Here are some reasons to see a foot and ankle surgeon:

  • An injury (a sprain, broken bone, etc.)
  • A medical condition (diabetes, poor circulation, etc.) that can affect the feet
  • Impaired ability to function in certain activities
  • Heel pain in the morning
  • Any painful condition of the foot, ankle or lower leg
  • Discomfort after standing for awhile
  • Changes in the appearance of your foot or ankle
  • An abnormal growth
     

Foot and ankle surgeons treat all symptoms and conditions affecting the foot and ankle, such as:

  • bunions, 
  • heel pain (plantar fasciitis), 
  • flatfoot, 
  • foot or ankle arthritis, 
  • sports injuries, 
  • tendon disorders, 
  • fractures (broken bones), 
  • diabetes complications, 
  • ingrown toenails, 
  • neuromas,
  • dermatological conditions, 
  • tingly feet, 
  • hammertoes 
  • and much more. 

Check out our Surgery page to see a video on the new look of foot and ankle surgeons or to access our before and after photos.


Common Questions 

Is it normal to have pain in the foot or ankle?

No, pain or discomfort isn’t normal. It signals a problem that needs to be evaluated, diagnosed, and treated by a specialist who fully understands this part of the body.

If I go to a foot and ankle surgeon, does that mean my problem will be treated surgically?

No. In fact, foot and ankle surgeons are trained to make all reasonable efforts to treat foot and ankle problems non- surgically if at all possible. Surgery is recommended only if other options are not feasible or do not adequately relieve your problem.

Why would I need to see a foot and ankle surgeon? 

The foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 muscles and tendons—that’s a complicated network of tissues! And feet get quite a workout: They hold us up, plus absorb the shock of each step we take. The way your foot is structured, the way it works, and the way it affects other body areas (such as your back) add to its complexity. A foot and ankle surgeon has the in depth knowledge to diagnose and treat conditions of this complex part  of the body and works with your overall healthcare team to ensure you are receiving the best care possible for your foot and ankle conditions

article from foothealthfacts.org

Lack of preparation and insufficient gear may increase risk for pain and injury.   

In the United States, more than 38 million people annually go hiking, and the popular recreational activity has recently seen increased interest in its more competitive and extreme forms. The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) reminds all hikers, whether avid or recreational, that injuries are common and careful planning is essential to reducing the likelihood of injury and complications when they occur. 

"We've all seen hikers accomplishing great feats, such as completing the Pacific Crest or Appalachian Trails, and these stories inspire us to undertake more challenging or longer hikes," says Gregory Catalano, DPM, FACFAS, a Massachusetts-based foot and ankle surgeon and Fellow Member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. "As the number of people hiking increases and they take on more challenging terrain, we are seeing an increase in injuries of all levels of hikers, from Achilles tendon and heel pain to more traumatic injuries, including sprains and fractures of the foot and ankle as well as stress fractures of the leg, foot and ankle."

Hiking-related injuries range from minor concerns, such as blisters and bruises, to more serious conditions, including stress fractures and ankle sprains. These complex hiking injuries may initially be assessed as less serious or even overlooked as an overuse injury that will repair itself. Some hikers first attempt to treat pain by modifying their walk (gait) or pace or by switching shoes. While these kinds of modifications seem straightforward, they can actually contribute to complications and further injury. 

"It is critical that hikers know the signs and continually monitor for complex injuries, as not seeking treatment may result in additional damage that can lead to longer, more involved treatments and recovery periods," continues Dr. Catalano.

Careful preparation can help reduce the likelihood of injury and make it easier for professionals to treat when problems occur. ACFAS advises hikers that a few key steps can make an important difference:

  • Protect toes from blisters and toenails from bruises by wearing proper-fitting footwear.
  • Select material for socks that wick away moisture and protect from the cold.
  • Condition boots before setting out on a hike.
  • Know the hiking route and options for accessing medical assistance.

Carry supplies, such as bandages and wraps, to help immediately protect and stabilize injured feet and ankles.

Treatment and prevention of adult flatfoot can reduce the incidence of additional foot problems such as bunions, hammertoes, arthritis and calluses, and improve a person’s overall health, according to research published in an issue of the Journal of Foot & Ankle Surgery. Article and study reference from FootHealthFacts.org

Overweight males in white-collar jobs are most apt to suffer from adult flatfoot disorder, a progressive condition characterized by partial or total collapse of the arch, according to the research.  FootHealthFacts.org, the consumer website of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, notes that symptoms of adult flatfoot include pain, swelling, flattening of the arch and an inward rolling of the ankle. But because flatfoot is a progressive disorder by nature, the study suggests that neglecting treatment or preventive care can lead to arthritis, loss of function of the foot and other painful foot disorders.

“A Pes Planus foot type or Flatfoot disorder may gradually worsen to the point that many of the tendons and ligaments in the foot and ankle are simply overworking, often to the point where they tear and/or rupture,” says Langley foot and ankle surgeon Dr. Royden Stanford, DPM, AACFAS.

In many cases, flatfoot can be treated with non-surgical approaches including orthotic devices or bracing, immobilization, physical therapy, medication and shoe modifications. In some patients whose pain is not adequately relieved by conservative treatments, there are a variety of surgical techniques available to correct flatfoot and improve foot function.

As in most progressive foot disorders, early treatment for flatfoot disorder is also the patient’s best route for optimal success in controlling symptoms and additional damage to the feet. The goal is to keep patients active, healthy and as pain free as possible. Here at Aurora Foot and Ankle Clinic, Dr. Stanford specializes in the biomechanics of the foot and produces a high quality custom orthotic device to meet the patient's treatment needs.

If you suspect you have a flatfoot disorder or have foot discomfort, call Aurora Foot & Ankle Clinic for an evaluation. 

People with diabetes are more prone to foot problems – ever wondered why?

This is largely due to high fluctuations in blood glucose levels that cause damage to blood vessels and lead to lower limb circulatory problems. Another significant impact on the disease is on the skin that becomes more susceptible to infections especially of the lower limb, including bacterial and fungal infections. Nerve damage and poor blood flow to the feet increases the risk of various foot complications. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can become serious infections and take much longer than usual to heal.

New research shows that a diabetic’s skin on the feet should not be occluded, as the lack of transpiration may cause the skin to break down, leaving the skin of the foot at risk of not performing its function of protection. All Footlogix products are non-occlusive, taking special care to not seal or impede the natural functions of the skin.

For more on Footlogix products: http://www.footlogix.com/a-solution-to-dry-cracked-heels/

We now carry some Footlogix Products for purchase in the clinic. Come in and check them out!





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