Why are the foot and ankle susceptible to injury?
Your feet and ankles are susceptible to injury for several reasons. For one, they help support the weight of your body. They also contain bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles that help you stand, walk, run, and perform other basic tasks. Your feet and ankles are incredibly tough and experience considerable wear-and-tear, but they aren’t invincible.
Most types of foot and ankle pain improve with at-home treatments, but if your symptoms persist or worsen, contact Garden State Pain & Orthopedics immediately.
What issues commonly affect the foot and ankle?
At Garden State Pain & Orthopedics, the team diagnoses and treats various issues that affect the feet and ankles, including:
- Plantar fasciitis:
- Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition characterized by inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, connecting your heel bone to your toes. This condition causes pain and discomfort, typically in the heel or along the arch of the foot.
- Bunions, also known as hallux valgus, are a common foot deformity characterized by a bony bump that forms at the base of the big toe. This bump develops when the big toe pushes against the adjacent toe, causing the joint at the base of the big toe to become misaligned and protrude outward.
- Morton’s neuroma:
- Morton's neuromais a painful condition that affects the foot, specifically the ball of the foot, between the third and fourth toes (although it can occur between other toes as well). It is not a true neuroma in the sense of a nerve tumor, but rather a benign growth of tissue around the nerves that lead to the toes.
- Corns and calluses:
- Foot corns and calluses are both thickened and hardened areas of skin that develop on the feet in response to repeated pressure, friction, or irritation.
- Ingrown toenail:
- An ingrown toenail is a common and often painful foot condition where the edge of a toenail (usually the big toe) grows into the surrounding skin rather than over it. This condition can lead to discomfort, pain, and potentially an infection if left untreated.
- Hammertoes are a common foot deformity that affect the toes, causing them to bend or curl in an abnormal shape. This condition primarily affects the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes and can lead to discomfort, pain, and difficulty wearing certain types of shoes.
- Plantar warts
- Plantar warts are a type of wart that specifically develops on the soles of the feet. They are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), particularly strains 1, 2, 4, and 63. Plantar warts are typically noncancerous growths, but they can be painful and annoying.
- Athlete’s foot:
- Athlete's foot is a fungal infection that affects the skin on the feet, particularly between the toes. It is a contagious condition that can cause discomfort and itching. Athlete's foot is not limited to athletes; anyone can develop this condition.
- Achilles tendonitis:
- Achilles tendonitis (tendinitis), is characterized by inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which is the thick band of tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone (calcaneus). This tendon plays a crucial role in walking, running, and other lower limb movements.
- Achillies Rupture:
- An Achilles tendon rupture is a significant injury that occurs when the Achilles tendon tears or breaks partially or completely. This injury is painful and typically results in a sudden loss of function in the affected leg, making it difficult to walk or push off the ground.
- Ankle sprains:
- Ankle sprains are common injuries that occur when the ligaments in the ankle are stretched or torn. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect bones to each other and provide stability to joints. Ankle sprains can range from mild to severe, depending on the extent of ligament damage.
- Ankle Fractures:
- An ankle fracture refers to a break or fracture of one or more of the bones that make up the ankle joint. The ankle joint is composed of three bones: the tibia (shinbone), the fibula (smaller bone on the outer side of the lower leg), and the talus (bone in the foot). Ankle fractures can vary in severity, from relatively minor hairline fractures to more complex, displaced fractures.
- Arthritis is a general term used to describe a group of more than 100 different medical conditions that affect the joints in the body. These conditions primarily involve inflammation, pain, stiffness, and swelling in one or more joints.
- Lisfranc Injuries:
- Lisfranc injuries refer to a specific type of foot injury that involves the Lisfranc joint complex. The Lisfranc joint complex is a critical structure in the midfoot that connects the bones of the forefoot (the metatarsals) to the bones of the midfoot (the tarsal bones), including the cuneiform and cuboid bones. This joint complex plays a crucial role in maintaining the stability and arch of the foot.
If you drop something heavy on your foot or step down awkwardly, you might also experience a fracture.
When should I see a foot and ankle doctor?
Make an appointment with the team at Garden State Pain & Orthopedics if you experience foot or ankle pain and it lasts for more than a week. That’s especially true if the pain occurs alongside other symptoms like stiffness, swelling, or poor mobility.
How are foot and ankle issues diagnosed?
To diagnose foot and ankle issues, your Garden State Pain & Orthopedics provider reviews your medical history, asks about your symptoms, and performs a physical exam. During the exam, they observe your foot and ankle, looking for redness, swelling, or bruising. They also check your muscle strength, reflexes, and flexibility.
Your Garden State Pain & Orthopedics provider also orders diagnostic imaging, like X-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI, to see if you have a fracture, a ruptured tendon, or a dislocated joint.
How are foot and ankle issues treated?
At Garden State Pain & Orthopedics, the team treats foot and ankle issues with conservative and minimally invasive treatments whenever possible. Depending on your medical history and symptoms, they might recommend:
- Custom orthotics
- Physical therapy
- Ice, rest, and elevation
- Over-the-counter pain medication
- Activity modification
- Wearing comfortable and supportive shoes
- Strengthening exercises
- Mobility devices, like crutches or a cane
If these treatments don’t ease your symptoms or provide lasting relief, the team might recommend surgery. There are two types of orthopedic surgery –– traditional open surgery and minimally invasive surgery.
To receive treatment for foot and ankle pain, make an appointment at Garden State Pain & Orthopedics by calling the nearest office or booking online today.