Some of the most common orthopaedic problems people have involve areas in the foot and a variety of treatments to help you reduce the pain and discomfort associated with injuries or conditions afflicting the feet and ankles. We offer only the most advanced techniques and therapies, and we only recommend surgery when all other options have been exhausted. If surgery is necessary, our board-certified orthopaedic surgeon can help to improve your condition and get you back to living an active lifestyle.
Please contact All-Star Orthopaedics to schedule a consultation with our specialists here in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas region. You can also visit Dr. Straus’ professional site for more information.
Visit the American Association of Foot and Ankle Surgeons patient education page Foot Care MD for additional topics and information.
Common types of arthritis that occur in the foot and ankle include rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease that develops in the lining of the joints, while osteoarthritis results from a loss of cartilage, often caused by an injury or overuse. Damage caused by arthritis can cause pain and disability. While certain non-surgical methods—like splinting, medications, and steroid injections—can help control arthritis symptoms, more severe cases may require a surgery like ankle replacement.
When the foot rolls, turns, or twists beyond its normal abilities, a sprained ankle is often the result. Ankle sprains typically occur when the foot lands in an odd position and with great force, causing stretched ligaments and sometimes an actual tearing of elastic fibers. Pain, swelling, and trouble walking are common symptoms from this very common injury. Depending on the severity of the sprain, most ankle sprains need only time and adequate protection to heal. Rest and elevation of the ankle, along with ice and compression are often recommended. Sometimes immobilization and/or crutches may be necessary. Medication can help with pain and swelling in many cases of ankle sprain. Severe sprains may require physical therapy, casting, and – only in rare cases – surgery. Ankle sprains can often be prevented by properly warming up before exercise, paying close attention to surfaces while walking, and wearing good, comfortable shoes.
A broken bone, or fracture, can occur as a result of trauma, overuse, or disease. Stress fractures typically occur from repetitive activity, such as running, particularly if the individual suddenly increases their activity or changes exercises suddenly. Diseases like osteoporosis and arthritis can also lead to a stress fracture, as these conditions weaken bones. Any bone in the foot or ankle can fracture, but stress fractures more commonly happen in the heel, fibula (outside bone of the lower leg), talus (a small bone located in the ankle joint), and the metatarsals (located on the midfoot). Some symptoms of a fracture include:
If you suspect that you have a broken bone, you should schedule a visit with your primary care physician or an experienced orthopaedic foot surgeon. In the meantime, rest the injured foot or ankle, apply ice, wrap the area to minimize swelling, and elevate the leg above the heart.
Bunions are typically enlarged joints in the big toe which can become very swollen and painful. Usually caused by ill-fitting shoes or an inherited genetic trait, bunions can often be treated by wearing shoes that conform to your foot and do not cause undue stress on the toe. Painful symptoms may be treated by various shoe inserts and padding. Severe cases of bunions may require surgery.
Sometimes, the connective tissue between the sole of the foot and the heel bone can become inflamed and cause pain and discomfort. Although this condition often improves by itself, medication, shoe inserts, and stretching exercises can help alleviate the pain. However, more severe cases may need steroid injections or walking casts to treat the condition, and prolonged cases of heel pain may require surgery.
Morton’s Neuroma occurs most commonly between the third and fourth toes, but may occur between any of the toes. A nerve between these toes can become pinched because of wearing tight shoes or other factors, leading to pain and discomfort in the toes. Wearing wider shoes and taking oral medications can reduce the inflammation and swelling around the nerve, and a foot pad to help keep the bones spread may also be helpful. Cortisone injections may also be beneficial; if pain persists, surgical intervention may become necessary.
A hammertoe is characterized by a deformity of the second, third, or fourth toe. The toe is bent at the middle joint, and can be aggravated by ill-fitting shoes. Pain may be felt along the top or bottom of the toe, and can lead to the development of a hard corn in the area. Better-fitting shoes can often lessen the pain from hammertoe, and shoe pads or inserts may also be beneficial. Surgery may become necessary if non-surgical options are not helping.
The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone, and is the most frequently injured tendon in the body. Achilles Tendonitis is typically caused by inflammation and overuse, often after a sudden change or increase in your exercise routine, trauma from a calf muscle contraction, or inadequate stretching before and after exercise. Pain in the area after exercise and swelling are common symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis. Our orthopaedic surgeons generally recommend rest of the inflamed area, avoidance of activities which may exacerbate the condition, gentle stretching, a shoe insert or heel pad, oral anti-inflammatories, or complete immobilization for a temporary period of time. Surgery is typically a last-resort option. To avoid problems like Achilles Tendonitis, individuals should choose comfortable running shoes, always do stretches and warm-ups before exercise, increase speed or distance on a gradual basis (no more than 10% a week), and perform the proper cool-down regimen after exercise.
To help restore normal foot and ankle function, our foot and ankle specialists can recommend the most appropriate treatment option for your specific condition. The best solution will depend upon a number of factors, including the type of condition or injury, extent of your damage, and past treatment methods. Our team will always recommend the most conservative treatment options first that can help improve your condition. However, if these initial methods do not resolve your foot and ankle symptoms, you may ultimately be recommended surgery. Common treatments for foot and ankle conditions include:
A normal reaction to these types of surgeries, swelling can last anywhere from a few days to several months. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to reduce swelling as you heal, including rest, ice, and elevating the foot above the heart. If swelling persists beyond the average amount of time or feels abnormally uncomfortable, we welcome you to contact your surgeon.
Like other side effects associated with these procedures, the amount of post-surgical discomfort, as well as the rate at which it fades, can vary considerably. For this reason, we typically prescribe NSAIDs or other pain medications to ease pain during recovery. Adhering to your aftercare instructions should also mitigate significant pain. We encourage you to contact us if you are in need of additional pain management advice.
It is very important not to put weight on your foot and/or ankle too soon after your surgery. In general, patients are advised to refrain from putting any weight on the treated ankle for about six to eight weeks; however, the use of a splint, boot, or cast may speed up this process. Ultimately, the ideal time for you to resume walking will depend on your overall healing progress.
During recovery, you may be prescribed “post-op” shoes or customized orthotics. These shoes are typically wide, soft, and roomy, and are designed to encourage proper movement and decrease discomfort. After healing is complete, be sure to always wear comfortable shoes that provide adequate traction and support.
In many cases, physical therapy after foot or ankle surgery can facilitate recovery and encourage mobility. While not every patient will require physical therapy, we often recommend it for optimal results. Rest assured that our staff includes highly qualified physical therapists who will build a treatment plan to address your particular needs.
If you are suffering from any of the above foot- or ankle-related concerns, we invite you to contact All-Star Orthopaedics today. Dr. Straus and the rest of our team offer a wide range of treatments to ease pain and help you resume normal activities.