If you need to see a foot and ankle specialist, contact our office today. You may need to schedule an appointment after noticing sudden pain or changes to your feet, or after experiencing an injury. Your primary doctor may also advise you to seek care from an orthopedic doctor specializing in foot and ankle care. Regardless of what brings you to our office, you can trust that our medical team will provide you with quality and accurate care.
What are Foot and Ankle Specialists?
If you are having problems with your ankles or feet, then it is essential to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic physician. Orthopedic specialties focus on the musculoskeletal system that includes the tendons, bones, and muscles of the human body. In addition to specializing in the care of the musculoskeletal system, a foot and ankle specialist primarily cares for the feet and ankles instead of other parts of the body.
Foot and ankle specialists begin by attending college for four years before progressing to medical school for another four to six years. After completing medical school, a student learns more information in a residency program, internship, or fellowship to become an orthopedic physician or surgeon. In addition, it is possible for a student to choose a subspecialty, or in some cases, a physician decides to focus on ankle and foot care after working for several years. Within the field of foot and ankle care, a physician or surgeon might become adept at diagnosing or repairing problems that occur in children, senior citizens, or athletes.
Your Feet are Complex Parts of Your Body
Feet are complex parts of your body with numerous bones, tendons, and ligaments that all work together to help you walk, stand, and run. When any part of a foot is damaged, the entire part is affected, and a treatment from a foot and ankle specialist is necessary. Here are the various parts of each foot:
- 26 bones of a variety of sizes
- 33 joints – there are 20 articulated joints
- 100 tendons, ligaments, and muscles
The rate of growth of feet during childhood through adolescence varies depending on age, genetics, and other factors, and many adults will experience changes in their foot size due to weight gain and hormonal changes. A foot and ankle specialist studies all parts of the foot and ankle in addition to understanding how these body parts work together correctly with the patient’s knees, hip, and back. A doctor may focus on these three sections of the feet:
- Forefoot – the five toes with an assortment of bones and joints
- Midfoot – arch or instep of the foot with bones and muscles
- Hindfoot- the heel bone and ankle that have bones and other tissues
Your feet have numerous bones that are softer during childhood to enable rapid growth. These bones include:
- Phalanges – 14
- Metatarsus – 5
- Tarsus – 7
- Fibula and tibia
A healthy foot has an arch to help with weight bearing while walking and standing, but in many cases, an individual does not have an arch due to a congenital disorder or the arch is defective because of an injury, excess weight, or natural wear and tear. Muscle, ligament, and tendon problems in the feet are some of the most frequent reasons for someone to visit a foot and ankle specialist. There are many types of muscles in the feet, including:
- Intrinsic – located at the base and top of the feet
- Extrinsic – located at the posterior or anterior of the leg
Conditions that a Foot and Ankle Specialist Might Need to Treat
There are good reasons why the treatment of the ankles and feet is now a specialty. Not only are the feet and ankles complex, but also, these body parts are prone to disease, growths, inflammation, and injury. Foot and ankle doctors treat a myriad of problems, including:
- Genetic disorders – flatfeet and clubfeet
- Plantar warts – growths on the soles of the feet
- Plantar fasciitis – muscle inflammation in the sole of a foot
- Morton’s neuroma – fibrous tissue formation along nerve tissue
- Ingrown toenails – toenails growing into the tissue of the toes
- Bunions – deformity of the large toe
- Athlete’s foot – contagious fungal condition of the toes and feet
- Fractures – cracked or broken bones
Fractures and Foot Pronation
Fractures occur frequently in the feet because there are numerous bones that undergo daily stress. In many cases, fracture injuries occur because individuals do not wear protective shoes or boots while engaging in sports, hobbies, or jobs. There are several common types of foot fractures that a foot and ankle specialist can treat to ensure bones calcify in the correct positions. The types of foot and ankle fractures are:
- Calcaneal fracture
- March fracture
- Jones fracture
- Lisfranc fracture
In addition, wearing the wrong type of shoes that fit poorly or that have high heels can lead to foot and ankle problems. Pronation of the feet is also a common problem that leads to chronic pain due to the poor distribution of an individual’s body weight. An individual may have underpronation that leads to gait difficulties along with knee and hip pain. Alternatively, overpronation causes the feet to roll inwards, leading to damage to the muscles near the arch and the bones of the ankles. The goal of a foot and ankle specialist is to have a neutral pronation that distributes weight evenly to avoid discomfort. A foot and ankle specialist can examine and diagnose an assortment of foot injuries and diseases to plan a course of treatment for a patient. At our office, we focus on conservative and minimally invasive treatment options to ensure a state-of-the-art treatment with quick recovery times.
Contact our office today to learn more about how we can help you find relief from foot or ankle conditions or injuries. Feel free to ask us any questions you might have about our treatment methods or what to expect from your initial consultation and diagnosis. We look forward to helping you get back to your regular activities with maximum comfort and range of motion.