An unexpected fall or twist can result in an injury of the foot or ankle, such as a sprain or strain. Immediate first aid can help prevent complications, reduce pain and improve recovery.
Rest, ice, compression and elevation--commonly referred to as R.I.C.E.--is the first and best treatment for minor injuries. The following tips can aid in the early treatment of common foot and ankle injuries to help reduce swelling and control the inflammatory process during the initial phase of injury.
Rest: Whether you have a strain or a sprain, rest from any physical activity is essential to protecting your injured ligaments, tendons or muscles from further damage while your body starts the repair process. Avoid putting weight on the injured foot or ankle as much as possible. In some cases, complete immobilization may be required.
Ice: Gently ice your foot or ankle with ice wrapped in a towel in a 20-minute-on, 40-minute-off cycle for the first few days post-injury. Ice is excellent at reducing inflammation and pain.
Compression: Applying some type of compressive wrap or bandage to an injured area can greatly reduce the amount of initial swelling.
Elevation: Prop your foot up while lying down or sitting so that it is higher than or equal to the level of the heart.
After a few days of R.I.C.E., many acute injuries will begin to heal. If pain or swelling does not subside after a few days, or if you are unsure of the severity of your injury, make an appointment with your podiatrist. A skilled podiatrist can properly diagnose your injury and recommend the best course of treatment.
Do you need foot surgery? Do you worry that the procedure may be invasive, painful, or limiting of your daily routines? At REDS Ankle and Foot Associates in Wayne, Clifton, and Fort Lee, New Jersey, your foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Humaira Syed is board-qualified in podiatric procedures, including surgery. While conservative treatments are tried first, sometimes the lower extremities need corrective surgery to look, feel, and function normally. You can trust Dr. Syed's expertise to put you on the right path to wellness.
Evaluating Someone for Surgery
When simpler measures such as splinting, rest, analgesics, shoe orthotics, and more cannot help a podiatric problem, Dr. Syed may recommend in-office or outpatient surgery performed with benefit of local or general anesthesia.
Before scheduling an operation, your Wayne, NJ, foot and ankle surgeon will examine your foot and watch you walk. Podiatrists call this gait analysis, and it helps the doctor determine what stresses are placed on your foot and where and how your medical condition is impacting your movement and level of comfort.
In addition, Dr. Syed will carefully review your medical and medication history. She may order lab work and other diagnostic studies, including digital X-rays and Magnetic Resonance Imaging. From there, she'll formulate your treatment plan, including pre-operative preparations and post-operative care.
Types of Podiatric Surgeries
Today's podiatrist offers a wide range of surgeries, which correct deformities, relieve pain, and normalize function. Some of the most common foot and ankle operations include:
- Bunionectomy, which removes a pronounced bump at the base of the big toe and re-aligns the metatarsophalangeal joint
- Tendon surgery, to shorten or straighten connective tissue for conditions such as Achilles Tendonitis
- Fusion of the foot or ankle, which places stabilizing hardware such as screws and plates after someone has suffered a severe fracture or sprain of the foot or ankle
- Plantar fasciitis surgery, which releases a tight band of connective tissue which runs across the bottom of the foot (sometimes involves removal of a co-existing heel spur)
- Matrixectomy or partial removal of the toenail when deformity or disease warrants
- Removal of common benign tumors--called neuromas--in the ball of the foot
- Metatarsal surgery, to correct deformities of the foot bones behind the toes (except for the big toe)
Count on Compassionate Accurate Care
With surgery from Dr. Syed, you'll feel better and be back to your usual routine quickly. If you suspect that you have a podiatric medical problem, please call one of our offices at (973) 692-1111 for a consultation. REDS Ankle and Foot Associates has an office in Wayne, Clifton and Fort Lee, NJ.
Understanding Heel Pain with Help from Your Podiatrist
- Wear shoes that fit well
- Wear proper shoes for each activity
- Do not wear shoes with excessive wear on heels or soles
- Prepare properly before exercising by stretching and warming up
- Pace yourself when you participate in athletic activities
- Don’t underestimate your body’s need for rest and good nutrition
- Lose excess weight
Many people think corns and calluses are the same thing, but there are differences. A corn is smaller than a callus, and has a hard center which is surrounded by inflamed tissue. Unlike calluses, corns can be painful and make it difficult to wear shoes. The good news is, your podiatrist can help get rid of corns and get you back on your feet.
Corns typically develop to protect your feet and toes from friction and pressure. They can be found in both weight bearing and non-weight bearing areas including between your toes, and on the tops and sides of your toes.
According to the Mayo Clinic, common signs and symptoms of a corn include:
- A thick, rough area of skin
- A hardened, raised bump
- Tenderness or pain under the skin
Since corns are caused by friction and pressure, you can do a lot to prevent corn development. Remember to:
- Wear shoes with plenty of room for your toes
- Use padding or bandages in your shoes
- Soak your feet in warm water to soften corns
- After soaking, rub the corn with a pumice stone to remove hardened skin
- Moisturize your feet every day to keep your skin soft
If you have diabetes and you develop a corn or other foot problem, you need the help of an expert, your podiatrist. Self-treating foot issues when you are diabetic can lead to injuries that don’t heal and could get worse, resulting in a serious infection.
Fortunately, your podiatrist can recommend several treatment options to get rid of corns, including:
- Trimming away excess skin to reduce friction
- Corn-removing medication containing salicylic acid
- Custom-fit inserts or orthotics
- Surgery if the corn is caused from friction due to poor bone alignment
You don’t have to deal with painful corns by yourself. Get some relief from the pain by visiting your podiatrist. Your feet are important, so seek out the best care possible to protect your feet.
Heel pain is one of the most common complaints a podiatrist hears about from patients. If you are dealing with heel pain above the heel bone then you could be dealing with Achilles Tendonitis, a result of overuse. The Achilles tendon is the longest tendon in the body and it serves to connect the muscles of the calf with the lower leg and heel bone.
While Achilles Tendonitis tends to occur most often in runners, this condition can still occur in athletes that play certain sports such as soccer or tennis. Unfortunately, this tendon does weaken as we get older, which makes at an increased risk for developing this overuse injury as we age.
What are the symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis?
The most obvious symptom of Achilles Tendonitis is pain above the heel bone. When the pain first appears it’s usually pretty mild and you may only notice it after running; however, over time you may notice that the pain gets worse after certain exercises. Along with pain you may also experience stiffness or tenderness in the heel, especially in the morning or after long periods of sitting.
When should I see a podiatrist?
If this is the first time that you’ve ever experienced heel pain then it’s a good idea to turn to a foot doctor who can determine whether Achilles Tendonitis is causing your symptoms or whether it’s something else. If you’re experiencing chronic heel pain around the Achilles tendon it’s also a good time to see a doctor. If the pain is severe or you are unable to put weight on your foot it’s possible that you might be dealing with a ruptured tendon, which requires immediate attention.
How do you treat Achilles Tendonitis?
In most cases, Achilles Tendonitis can be treated with simple self-care options. Unless symptoms are severe you may be able to treat your heel pain by:
- Taking over-the-counter pain medications
- Avoiding high-impact activities or activities that exacerbate symptoms
- Elevating the foot to reduce swelling
- Performing stretching exercises or undergoing physical therapy
- Icing the heel
- Wearing custom orthotics
- Replacing worn-out shoes, especially running shoes
Surgery is only necessary if your symptoms aren’t responding to any other nonsurgical treatment options after several months or if the tendon is torn.
If you think your heel pain could be the result of Achilles Tendonitis then it’s time to turn to a podiatrist as soon as possible. A podiatrist can provide you with a variety of treatment options, from simple lifestyle modifications to custom orthotics.
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