Feet are complex in structure, consisting of many bones, small joints, muscles, nerves, tendons, and ligaments. For some people, foot complications come and go without any prescribed treatment. However, delayed treatment of foot problems can lead to chronic long-term pain and disability of the affected foot. Dr. Jordan D Cameron who is experienced in reconstructive foot and ankle surgery can ease your pain and improve your mobility.
What Causes Foot and Ankle Conditions?
Foot and ankle problems may arise from different deformities, diseases, injuries, biomechanical conditions, or improper footwear. Systemic diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and gout can cause foot pain.
Deformities such as bunions, bone spurs, hammertoes, and tarsal coalitions are also common causes of foot pain. Ankle sprains are the most common causes of ankle pains. A sprain happens when your ligaments (the tissues which connect bones) get overstretched or tear.
Biomechanical abnormalities include tendon and muscle tightness or laxity, high-arched feet, and flatfeet which often cause painful muscle imbalances. Trauma resulting from acute injuries, such as Achilles tendinitis, is a common cause of foot pain as well.
The long-term effect of improper footwear may be a misalignment of the toes, irritation of nerves and joints, corns, calluses, and bunions. Pain in the forefoot often results from wearing ill-fitting shoes or high heels. Short-term effects include bruising and the development of blisters.
When Should You Seek Medical Treatment for Foot and Ankle Conditions?
As soon as foot pain begins to interfere with your daily living activities, you should consider seeking medical attention. Indicators that show you need to seek urgent medical care for your foot include:
- The affected area becomes extremely tender to touch
- Painful swelling of the affected area
- Prolonged change of toenail or skin color
- Loss of function causing difficulty in your movement
If there’s no improvement in the pain even after taking pain relievers, the injury may not heal on its own. Pushing through the pain is never a good idea since it may worsen the injury and even result in athlete’s foot.
How are Foot and Ankle Conditions Diagnosed?
Diagnosis involves visual and physical examination of your feet at rest as well as with weight and non-weight bearing movement. The medical professional inspects your foot and arch to identify tender spots, swelling or obvious deformities.
The function of your foot muscles will also be examined by moving your foot and ankle against resistance. You may also be asked to stretch your feet, stand or walk. Your skin will also be inspected for signs of bruising or infection.
An X-ray or bone scan of your foot and ankle may also be taken with the aim of determining abnormalities of the bones or soft tissues. Blood tests may also be required to rule out certain systemic diseases such as diabetes, gout and rheumatoid arthritis.
What is the Treatment for Foot and Ankle Conditions?
Treatment of foot and ankle complications is directed towards the specific cause of the pain. Corrective and rehabilitative measures are best done by qualified medical personnel. Such measures involve ultrasounds, LED light therapy, and manual therapies.
Medication is also given to control inflammation and disease-related symptoms. You may also be given exercises to improve your muscle strengthening and increase circulation to the affected area.