We punish our feet constantly – in marathons and volleyball games, with too-tight shoes and high heels, on ski slopes and city pavements. Just walking around the home or office takes about 9,000 steps daily. That adds up to about 115,000 miles in a lifetime. We do all this to our feet, and more, and that puts a lot of strain on one of the most complex, intricate and finely tuned parts of our body. Small wonder, then, that the feet and ankles suffer a lot of injuries and conditions.
If your feet or ankles need medical attention, then Bon Secours Orthopaedic Institute is the right place to come for advice and care. We treat a wide range of problems that occur at every stage of life. Our physicians not only handle fractures but also other conditions that affect the heels, toes and tendons.
In many cases, feet and ankle issues can be easily corrected with early intervention and simple treatments. Sometimes, the solution is as simple as wearing more comfortable shoes. Of course, our capable staff can address even the most challenging situations and, when needed, conduct surgery supported by the most recent advances in medical research and technology.
Bunions result from wearing tight, narrow shoes and high heels. As a result, 90 percent of bunion cases in the United States affect women. A bunion is a sore bump on the foot where the big toe and foot meet. Fortunately, in early stages of this condition, it’s easily corrected by getting wider shoes. Advanced cases, when walking is difficult and painful, may require surgery. Generally, bunion procedures move bones, ligaments, tendons and nerves into a natural and comfortable position. These operations often are done on an outpatient basis. Yet, patients may face extended recovery periods.
Diabetic Foot Problems
Diabetics frequently develop problems. The condition causes nerve damage, which mutes pain signals. In addition, blood flow problems can delay healing. This can lead to infections, ulcers and, sometimes, amputations. The wisest course for diabetics is to care for their feet, to check them daily and to seek medical care quickly for even the smallest cut or blister. Diabetics also may suffer foot deformities that can lead to fractures and bone disintegration. Our medical staff is well aware of diabetic foot conditions and the need for prompt effective treatment. Individuals suffering from diabetes will find that the experts at the Orthopaedic Institute can serve an important role on their health care team.
Foot and Ankle Fractures
Your feet contain almost one quarter of all your body’s bones. So, breaks occur often in this area. They happen for a wide range of reasons – car and sporting accidents, falls and dropped heavy objects. Doctors use many treatments for fractures, too many to describe here. Yet, in all cases, they strive to help a patient regain mobility and stability. Basically, that means realigning bones and protecting them while they heal. Technology, especially x-rays and CT scans, plays a key role in diagnosis. Physical therapy frequently is an important part of care, and our doctors and therapists work together closely to aid patients. At Bon Secours Orthopaedic Institute, our medical experts have wide experience with all sorts of fractures and an impressive record in caring for patients and helping them return to active lives.
This condition’s name perfectly describes its appearance. A toe – either the second, third or fourth one – will bend at the middle joint so that it looks like a hammer. This comes from two causes: ill-fitting shoes or a muscle imbalance. If caught early, the situation often can be solved with new, roomier shoes. Exercise also can help. For more advanced situations, your physician may recommend surgery. Specific procedures will depend on the nature of and severity of the condition. However, operations often are done on an outpatient basis. Recovery times typically are short.
Heel pain is common and has many causes. Typically, these problems are easily solved by rest or simple exercises. Pain may occur in two places – beneath or under the heel. Inflammation of tissues on the foot’s bottom produces pain beneath the heel. Common causes include bruises, injury to tissue connecting toes and heel bone (referred to as plantar fasciitis), or calcium deposits resulting from extended plantar fasciitis. Under-the-heel pain comes from inflammation where the Achilles tendon meets the heel bone. Regardless of the source of heel pain, our physicians can quickly diagnosis your condition, treat it and, literally, get you back on your feet – free of pain.
Nerve Disorders Neuromas
Although sometimes described as a tumor, neuromas really are the thickening of a nerve leading to a toe, usually the third or fourth one. Irritation, traumas and excessive pressure cause this condition. High-heels are a common culprit. Neuromas do not appear as a lump. However, pain, numbness and burning sensations indicate their presence. Like many other foot problems, larger shoes and inserts can correct this one. In some cases, injections are needed. Surgical options vary. Surgeons may remove part of the nerve or release tissue around it.
The Achilles tendon is the largest one in your body and is vital for any movement especially that needed in athletic activities. This tendon is prone to injury, often from overuse. Symptoms include pain, swelling and irritation. Doctors use a wide range of nonsurgical treatments for this condition: rest, icing, medications, physical therapy, injections, supportive shoes and various exercises. Persistent Achilles tendonitis may call for surgery. The specific type of procedure depends on the location, nature and severity of the tendonitis.
Total Ankle Replacement
This surgery may be a good option for patients who have a seriously injured ankle and are suffering pain because of it. Injury typically comes from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bone fractures and arthritis caused by earlier surgery. During the procedure, a surgeon will enter the ankle from the front and remove damaged portions. These are replaced by artificial ones made of plastic and metal. These parts typically last a decade. However, their durability depends on the patient’s activity levels. During recovery, patients may wear a brace to stabilize their ankle. After the operation, many people enjoy good range of motion for their ankle and a close-to-normal gait. However, individuals who have this procedure are cautioned not to participate in high-impact activities.