Foot pain is not an inevitable fact of life because a foot and ankle surgeon can help. Unfortunately, many people choose to limp along instead of seeking the help of a professional until the pain becomes unbearable. The following is a guide to common foot issues as well as how to know if you need to see a specialist.
Sports are a primary cause of foot and ankle injuries. If left untreated, a foot injury can become chronic and leave you permanently sidelined from your favorite activity. If you are experiencing persistent pain, swelling, or numbness following a sports-related foot injury, you should consult a foot and ankle specialist. These symptoms are signs of foot damage. A foot and ankle surgeon will help determine the extent of the injury and recommend appropriate treatment options.
Unexplained Leg Pain
Pain or discomfort in your legs that cannot be attributed to injury may be the result of infection, nerve damage, or another health condition. If you suffer from burning, numbness, or redness in the affected area, you should consult a foot and ankle surgeon for a proper diagnosis.
Bunions are a common foot deformity where the big toe pushes into the toe next to it, which causes the joint to enlarge and protrude. Bunions can be caused by stress in the foot, arthritis, and even wearing ill-fitting shoes. There are several surgical options available for removing bunions. These include permanently joining the bones of the affected joint, removing part of the bone to straighten the toe, removing tissue from around the toe joint, and realigning the bone between the big toe and the back of the foot. Your foot doctor can recommend the appropriate surgical technique to correct the deformity, so you can walk and stand again without pain.
Bone spurs are tiny, bony projections along the edges of bones located at or near the joints. Most bone spurs are the result of arthritis and typically form on the heels and toes. Bones spurs can worsen over time and significantly impact mobility if untreated. Bone spurs that impinge on nerves or affect mobility may require surgery.
Warts and Other Skin Growths
Plantar warts are a common foot condition. The warts are caused by a virus and are contagious. Over-the-counter remedies are often ineffective at getting rid of warts long-term. Treatments designed to burn off or freeze the wart can even cause injury if not used properly. A foot and ankle surgeon can recommend the appropriate method for removing your plantar warts. Common treatment methods include salicylic acid, cryotherapy, and laser treatment.
Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendon. Although tendonitis can affect any tendon in the body, one of the most commonly affected areas is the Achilles tendon located at the back of the ankle. The most common treatments for tendonitis include anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and orthotics designed to relieve the strain on the tendon. If left untreated, the tendon can deteriorate at the cellular level into a condition called tendinosis.
Neuropathy is a type of nerve damage. The most common symptoms include a burning sensation, numbness, or sharp pains. Diabetes is one of the most frequent causes of neuropathy. Individuals with neuropathy are more prone to foot injuries and ulcers, which can lead to serious infections and even amputation. It is imperative that anyone with diabetes see a foot and ankle specialist at least once a year to monitor their foot health.
When You Should See a Foot and Ankle Surgeon
Healthy feet are essential to your overall well-being. Foot pain and other problems can threaten your quality of life and even your independence. You should see a specialist immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Pain lasting for more than 72 hours
- Pain that gets worse with walking or exercise
- Pain when you are resting or when your legs are elevated
- Swelling in one leg or foot that last for more than 24 hours
- A foot deformity that suddenly worsens
- A flattening of your arches
- Any infection
- Any type of wound, ulcer, or blister that does not heal or that you did not feel
- Loss of sensation in your feet
- Pain or injury that causes you to limp
How To Be Kind To Your Feet
Your feet will likely carry you over 100,000 miles over the course of your lifetime. That is the equivalent of circling the equator four times. Since your feet are working so hard for you, it pays to show them a little kindness in return. The following are easy steps you can take to stop foot pain in its tracks:
- Maintain a healthy weight to reduce the amount of stress on your feet. Even 20 extra pounds can alter your gait and the way your feet function.
- Avoid wearing high heels. Bunions, blisters, deformed toes, and back pain are a high price to pay for fashion.
- Wear the right size shoes. Our feet change size and shape as we age. A good pair of shoes should allow approximately half an inch of room between the longest toe and the end of the shoe.
- Give yourself a break. If you work at a job that requires you to stand all day, make it a point to sit during your break and lunch.
- Trim your toenails correctly. Nails should be cut straight across and should not be rounded to match the shape of the toe.
If you are experiencing any type of foot or ankle issue, contact our office today to schedule an appointment for a consultation with a top foot and ankle surgeon in the area. At our office, we place emphasis on minimally invasive treatments so that you can return to work and your other normal activities as quickly as possible. Our medical staff has access to the latest technologies in the foot and ankle field, so you can be sure that you are getting the best possible care.