Specialties - Foot/Ankle
What causes an ankle sprain?
A sprain is caused by twisting your ankle. Your foot usually turns in or under but may turn to the outside. An ankle sprain is an injury that causes a stretch or tear of one or more ligaments in the ankle joint. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect bones at the joint.
Sprains may be classified as mild, moderate, or severe.
Most sprains occur on the outside part of the ankle, but they can occur on the inside as well.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of a sprained ankle include:
- mild aching to sudden pain
- inability to move the ankle properly
- pain in the ankle even when you are not putting any weight on it.
How is it diagnosed?
To diagnose a sprained ankle, the doctor will review how the injury occurred and consider your symptoms. He or she will examine your ankle carefully. X-rays may be taken of your ankle.
For additional information visit: AAOS Online Service Fact Sheet - Sprained Ankle
Achilles Tendon Injuries
What are some of the causes?
Achilles tendonitis can be caused by:
- overuse of the Achilles tendon
- tight calf muscles
- tight Achilles tendons
- lots of uphill running
- increasing the amount or intensity of training, sometimes along with switching to racing flats, racing shoes with less heel lift
- over-pronation, a problem where your feet roll inward and flatten out more than normal when walking or running
- wearing high heels at work and then switching to a lower heeled workout shoe.
Violent stretching of the Achilles tendon can cause it to rupture.
What are the symptoms?
Achilles tendonitis causes pain and may cause swelling over the Achilles tendon. The tendon will be tender and may be swollen. You will have pain when you rise up on your toes and pain with stretching of the tendon. The range of motion of your ankle may be limited.
When it tears or ruptures, you may feel a pop. If there is a complete tear, you will be unable to lift your heel off the ground or point your toes.
For additional information visit: AAOS Online Service Fact Sheet - Achilles Tendonitis
What are bunions?
Bunions are painful swellings that occur at the base of the first toe on the inner side of the foot as a result of inflammation, and can lead to pain, tenderness and an altered position of the first toe.
What causes bunions?
Bunions tend to run in families, suggesting that the inherited shape of the foot may lead some people to develop this condition. Flat feet, which are often unstable, can also cause bunions as the uneven pressure on the foot may cause the toe to bend and deform. Bunions can also be caused by shoes that are too small or uncomfortable, and are much more common in men than in women.
What are the symptoms of bunions?
Symptoms of a bunion may include:
- Large bump on the outside of the big toe
- Swelling, redness or soreness around the big toe joint
- Thickening of the skin
- Corns or calluses
- Restricted movement
As time goes on, bunions often grow larger and become more painful.
How are bunions treated?
Treatment for bunions depends on the severity of the condition, although early treatment is always considered most effective. Nonsurgical treatments such as changing shoes, applying ice, medication, orthotics and physical therapy can often help relieve symptoms of mild bunions.
More severe cases may require surgical removal, which is often successful in relieving pain, inflammation, deformities and stiffness.
Click Here to view an animated overview of available bunion treatment procedures
For additional information visit: AAOS Online Service Fact Sheet - Bunions
Foot & Ankle Fractures
How do foot and ankle fractures occur?
With over 26 bones, the foot and ankle are common locations for bone fractures. A fracture is a break or crack in a bone that can cause pain and swelling in the affected area.
Foot and ankle fractures most commonly occur from injury, such as a fall or other event that places great force on the foot. Certain factors such as age and osteoporosis can increase a patient’s risk for fractures, and may also be a major cause, since bones begin to weaken and become brittle as we age.
There are several different types of foot and ankle fractures depending on which bone is affected and the severity of the fractures. A fracture may occur in the phalanges (toes), metatarsals, talus, calcaneus, tibia or fibula.
How are foot and ankle fractures treated?
Treatment for foot and ankle fractures depends on the type, severity and location of the fracture. Your doctor will often begin treatment with conservative methods such as rest, ice, immobilization and anti-inflammatory medication to see if the fracture heals on its own. If a fracture is not out of place and the bone remains stable, most can be effectively treated without surgery.
However, surgery may be required for some cases to set or realign the fracture and help promote healthy healing. Surgery may use a metal plate, rod or screws to realign the bone fragments and hold them in place while they heal.
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