Foot and ankle problems can range from minor nagging pains to serious injuries. If not treated quickly, even minor issues or imbalances can escalate, so it’s important to begin treatment immediately. Below we discuss two common foot problems and what you need to know to make a full recovery from each.
When there’s an imbalance in the muscle and ligament surrounding a toe joint, the effect is a bend in the middle joint of the toe, which causes the whole toe to bend upward. Because the toe is bent in an unnatural way, it’s common for the toe to become irritated and even develop corns. A toe that curls under rather than bends upward is also considered a hammertoe.
The cause of hammertoes varies, but causes include genetics, arthritis and injury to the toe. Treatment for hammertoes depends on the severity and can include anti-inflammatory medication, metatarsal pads, foot exercises and better-fitting shoes. If the pain caused by a hammertoe is so severe that wearing a shoe is uncomfortable, surgery may be necessary. Typically this surgery is an outpatient procedure that doesn’t require general anesthesia, though it is an option. Recovery from surgery usually takes a few weeks, and patients are given special shoes to wear.
Achilles Tendon Injuries
Stretching from the bones or the heel to the calf muscles, the Achilles tendon is one of the longest tendons in the body and, unfortunately, one of the most injured. There are many causes of Achilles tendon injuries, including overuse, an abrupt increase in activity, lack of stretching prior to exercise, frequent wearing of high heels, over-pronation and tight muscles and tendons.
Pain in the foot, tenderness, swelling, stiffness and difficulty flexing the foot are all symptoms of an Achilles tendon injury. Many Achilles tendon injuries can be easily treated, but in more severe cases such as a rupture of the Achilles tendon, surgery may be required. While the risk of re-rupturing the tendon is lower with surgery, there are other risks, including infection, wound breakdown and nerve damage.
If you suffer from a foot or ankle injury such as hammertoes or an Achilles tendon injury, it’s crucial you see a doctor to establish a treatment plan. Dr. Carr Vineyard specializes in comprehensive management of foot and ankle disorders. Recently, Dr. Vineyard spoke about common foot and ankle injuries at a seminar.
“Thanks to everyone who came to the Foot and Ankle Seminar and Discussion last week,” he says. We had an amazing turnout and lots of wonderful questions. If you still have questions about your foot and ankle problems, please contact my office at 214-220-2468 to set up a consultation.”