Our feet and ankles have a big job. They support our weight and carry us through the day. It’s no wonder that after years of wear and tear, many of us develop foot pain and other problems that make it hard to get around.
While some aches and pains are normal, they shouldn’t prevent you from standing or walking. If your symptoms interfere with your ability to work or play, it may be time to see a physician who specializes in foot and ankle care.
Foot and Ankle Problems We Treat
Our ankle joints and feet are small but sophisticated. They contain dozens of tiny bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments that help them bend, balance, and bear weight. If something happens to even one of these bones or tissues, you may develop pain and lose mobility.
Tower Health orthopedic specialists and podiatrists treat medical conditions and injuries that affect our feet and ankles. These include:
- Bone deformities. We provide expert care for bony lumps and other abnormalities that cause pain or visible deformities. These include bone spurs, bunions, hammer toe, and claw toe.
- Bursitis. We’ll help you manage inflammation of the bursae (small, fluid-filled sacs that help cushion bones and tissues). Bursitis commonly affects the heels.
- Fractures and dislocations. Our team treats dislocations (one or more of the ankle bones pops out of joint) and foot or ankle fractures (broken bones).
- Ligament problems. We care for conditions caused by stretched, torn, or inflamed ligaments, including ankle sprains and plantar fasciitis.
- Medical conditions. Our specialists diagnose and treat foot and ankle problems caused by certain medical disorders. These include arthritis, diabetic ulcers, gout, and Morton’s neuroma.
- Tendon problems. We offer complete care for conditions caused by tendon inflammation or tears. These include ankle tendonitis and Achilles tendon ruptures.
Comprehensive, Coordinated Care
Our foot and ankle physicians and surgeons partner with other Tower Health providers to make sure you receive an accurate diagnosis and advanced treatment.
We’ll start by figuring out what’s causing your foot or ankle pain. Depending on the type and severity of your symptoms, you may need a physical exam, imaging tests, or gait analysis (an exam that assesses how your feet, ankles, knees, and hips move while you walk or run).
After we find the source of your pain, you may see providers who specialize in orthopedic rehabilitation, physiatry, or podiatry. Whether you’ve suffered a sprain or are burdened by bunions, we’ll help you get over your symptoms and get back on your feet.
Nonsurgical Foot and Ankle Treatments
Many foot and ankle problems get better without surgery. If your pain or injury is mild, you may find relief — or recover — with the help of home remedies or other conservative treatments. These include:
- Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). This helps reduce pain, muscle spasms, and swelling.
- Orthopedic rehabilitation. Physical therapists teach exercises to improve pain or stiffness, strengthen muscles, or increase flexibility and range of motion.
- Medical devices. There are several medical devices such as orthotics (shoe inserts) that help take pressure off the painful part of your foot. Braces or walking boots help support injuries while they heal, and casts or splints hold broken bones in place.
- Medicine. Some prescription and over-the-counter medicines help control pain and inflammation. Others treat medical conditions that may cause foot and ankle pain. These include diabetes, arthritis, and gout.
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. This is a special machine spins a small amount of your blood to separate platelets (tiny cells that promote clotting and healing) from red blood cells. The platelet-rich solution is injected back into the part of your foot or ankle affected by tendonitis.
Foot and Ankle Surgery
For some people, orthopedic surgery is the only way to restore mobility or provide permanent pain relief. You may need foot or ankle surgery if you have a severe injury that won’t heal on its own, or a deformity that makes it hard to walk or wear shoes. Your doctor may also recommend surgery if conversative treatments don’t provide pain relief.
Many Tower Health orthopedic specialists have advanced training in complex foot and ankle surgery. They offer the full range of surgical procedures, including minimally invasive options that can shorten your hospital stay and recovery time.
- Ankle fusion (arthrodesis). This type of treatment permanently fuses the bones that make up the ankle joint with plates, screws, and bone grafts.
- Ankle replacement. During ankle replacement surgery, we remove the damaged bone and cartilage from the tibia (shinbone) and talus (a foot bone) and replaces them with metal or plastic parts.
- Arthroscopy. This is a minimally invasive procedure used to remove bone spurs, inflammatory tissue, or loose pieces of cartilage, or to repair torn tendons or ligaments.
- Bunionectomy. This treatment removes bunions (bony bumps) from the base of the big toe and realigns the joint. We also offer surgery to correct other toe bone deformities, including hammer toe and claw toe.
- Cartilage transplantation. This is also known as osteochondral allograft transplantation in which the procedure replaces missing or damaged ankle cartilage with a piece of healthy bone and cartilage from a tissue donor.
- Ligament surgery. This type of surgery cuts the plantar fascia to relieve tension and inflammation, or repairs partially or fully torn ligaments elsewhere in the foot or ankle.
- Tendon surgery. During tendon surgery, we sew together or replace partially or fully torn tendons. Procedures include Achilles tendon and peroneal tendon repairs.