You can expect to walk more than 110,000 miles in your lifetime, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that you’re also likely to experience occasional foot and ankle pain and need to see a foot and ankle surgeon. When you do experience some degree of pain associated with walking or other movements, especially if it reaches a point where it’s considered chronic pain, you may be referred to a foot and ankle surgeon for further evaluation.
When to See an Orthopedic Surgeon for Foot and Ankle Pain
An orthopedic surgeon treats a variety of issues that may be contributing food and ankle pain. A little rest or the application of heat or ice usually provides relief for minor discomfort. If your pain isn’t responding to typically home remedies, however, it’s time to consider making an appointment with your doctor, who can determine if you should be evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to seek input from a doctor specializing in foot and ankle pain if you’ve experienced:
- A fracture, dislocation, or sprain
- A progressive reduction in muscle function
- A sports injury with pain becoming increasingly severe
- Heel and foot pain possibly related to structural deformities
During your initial visit to a foot and ankle surgeon, you’ll receive a thorough examination that will include a review of your medical history. If you’re diabetic, for instance, your care options will include treatments likely to address the nerve pain often associated with this condition. The results of diagnostic tests, usually including x-rays and an MRI, will also play a role in determining how to proceed with the treatment of your foot and ankle pain.
Common Causes of Foot Pain
Injury or overuse of muscles supporting the feet can cause inflammation that can affect joints and place pressure on nerves. Arthritis is another common cause of foot pain, which can be felt as persistent tingling, numbness, or a burning sensation. Additional possible causes of foot pain include:
- Achilles tendinitis
- Bone spurs
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Stress fractures
An orthopedic surgeon can also address causes of foot pain related to structural issues, including clubfeet, flatfeet, hammertoe, and adult-acquired flatfoot. Stretching exercises and the use of anti-inflammatory medications to relieve swelling that may be causing additional discomfort are some of the common treatment options for such conditions.
Regardless of the symptoms that you are experiencing, we can help to pinpoint the direct cause of your foot pain and work with you to find a treatment.
Common Causes of Ankle Pain
Injury to any of the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, or joints supporting your ankles can result in some level of pain. The most common cause of ankle pain is an ankle sprain, often resulting from a sudden twist or a forceful bend not in line with the natural movement of the ankle. Sports injuries, or even walking on uneven surfaces and wearing improper fitting shoes, can also result in ankle pain. Other causes of ankle pain may include:
- Achilles tendinitis
- Avulsion fractures
- Pseudogout, a form of arthritis
- Stress fractures
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome
If structural issues are ruled out as the cause of your ankle pain, an orthopedic surgeon will likely ask questions to determine what particular movements tend to trigger your pain. The next step is to rule out or confirm conditions like arthritis that may be contributing to your pain. Contact our office today to get the diagnostic process started so that we can put an end to the pain or discomfort that you are experiencing.
Non-Surgical Treatments for Foot and Ankle Pain
The majority of foot and ankle problems resulting in pain or recurring discomfort don’t require surgery. Following a thorough examination and diagnostic testing to rule out structural issues that may be contributing to your pain, an orthopedic surgeon typically recommends non-surgical treatments likely to provide relief, with common options including:
- Physical therapy
- Custom shoes or shoe supports
- Braces or use of a cane to support joints during the healing process
- Over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers
An orthopedic surgeon can help put together a treatment plan to address your foot and ankle pain. Your surgeon often coordinates treatment efforts with your doctor to track what’s effective and what’s not effective. If there is no identifiable source of your pain from image tests, surgery is not likely to be an option at any point, with an emphasis instead placed on minimizing discomfort.
When to Consider Surgery for Foot and Ankle Pain
Barring a medical emergency, surgery for foot and ankle pain is a last resort after conservative treatments have failed to provide meaningful relief. Surgery becomes an option when there is identifiable source of your foot or ankle pain related to some type of structural damage or deformity. An orthopedic surgeon may recommend the following surgical options for foot and ankle pain:
- Osteotomy, cutting or changing the shape of the bone
- Bone grafts to raise arches to the normal height
- Synovectomy, cleaning tendons’ protective coverings
At our office, we place an emphasis on minimally invasive surgical procedures whenever possible. This provides you with a state-of-the-art treatment option while still keeping your risks and recovery time minimized. Contact our office today to learn more about the options for minimally invasive procedures.
Your feet are made up for 26 bones and an assortment of joints, muscles, and tendons. If you find yourself experiencing pain that could be related to any of these structures, schedule an appointment with a foot and ankle surgeon to determine the source of the discomfort. The sooner you receive an accurate diagnosis, the more likely you are to reach a point where your pain either goes away all together or becomes manageable.
Contact our office today to schedule your first appointment and consultation. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have about our treatment methods or diagnostic approaches. The sooner you call us, the sooner you will be able to interact with our caring team of medical professionals.