Posts for: February, 2020
It’s important to know when it’s time to consider foot and ankle surgery.
Surgery isn’t always necessary; however, it’s important to recognize when nonsurgical treatments just aren’t cutting it. This is when our Colorado Springs, CO, podiatrists Dr. Eric Gessner, Dr. Bryan Groth, and Dr. Jacob Fassman can step in and discuss whether foot and ankle surgery may provide you with the very best outcome for your health.
While there are many foot and ankle conditions that can be treated or managed through nonsurgical treatment options, there are instances where surgery may actually end up being the better approach. Some foot and ankle conditions that could benefit from surgery include:
A bunion is a common foot deformity that pushes the joint at the base of the big toe out of alignment, causing the joint to stick out. A bunion can be managed through nonsurgical options such as splinting, icing, massage therapy, and proper footwear; however, if the bunion is very large, causes severe pain that doesn’t respond to conservative treatment or is affecting mobility then it’s time to speak with out Colorado Springs foot doctors about whether surgery may be the next best option.
If arthritis is detected early enough this progressive condition that causes joint damage can be slowed through the use of medication; however, some forms of arthritis can cause significant joint damage that causes severe pain and difficulty walking. If arthritis has caused extensive joint damage then a podiatric surgeon may recommend surgery to repair and replace the damaged joint or joints.
Chronic Plantar fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes inflammation within the ligament of the foot known as the plantar fascia. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain and while rest and conservative care is often all that’s needed to make a full recovery, sometimes plantar fasciitis can become chronic. If your heel pain is unresponsive to other treatment options then surgery may be necessary to release the plantar fascia and reduce inflammation and tension.
It may be time to visit a foot and ankle surgeon if you are dealing with:
- Any abnormal changes in the structure or appearance of your foot or ankle
- Persistent or severe pain and swelling
- Tingling, numbness, or burning in the foot
- Decreased mobility
- A foot or ankle injury
- A health problem that impacts the health of your feet (e.g. neuropathy; diabetes)
With a brand new ADDITIONAL office location in Colorado Springs opening in March, Colorado Foot and Ankle will be able to provide foot and ankle care to even more patients. If you are dealing with foot and ankle pain or have any questions about foot and ankle surgery then schedule a consultation with us at (719) 475-8080.
Heel pain is a common foot problem that podiatrists often treat. Knowing the cause of your pain is important in determining the most effective treatment method. Even if the pain seems minor, it’s amazing how much it can affect your whole body, making it difficult to get out of bed let alone go on your regular run. If you are struggling with heel pain you might be dealing with a condition known as plantar fasciitis.
What is plantar fasciitis?
The source of your pain may originate in the plantar fascia, a tough band of connective tissue that connects your toes to your feet. If the fascia becomes inflamed, you may feel pain in your heel. Of course, everything from wearing high heels to long runs can actually irritate and cause inflammation within the plantar fascia. When this happens this is known as plantar fasciitis. This condition is usually the result of overuse and repeated stress rather than an injury.
What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis causes heel pain that originates at the bottom of the heel below the heel bone. The pain may spread to the arches of the feet and may also be accompanied by stiffness. These symptoms are often exacerbated first thing in the morning or after long bouts of sitting or standing. Sometimes, light activity and exercise can momentarily lessen the pain.
How is plantar fasciitis treated?
If you know that you have plantar fasciitis (perhaps you’ve had it before) then you know it’s important to rest, avoid physical activity, and take over-the-counter pain relievers. Of course, if you’ve never experienced heel pain before it’s important to see a podiatrist to find out whether it’s plantar fasciitis or another condition such as heel spurs or Achilles tendonitis. A thorough evaluation from a medical professional is often necessary, especially if this is the first time dealing with heel pain.
Your podiatrist can also show you stretching and strengthening exercises that you can perform to help stretch the plantar fascia to reduce pain and discomfort. Some patients also choose to wear a night splint to reduce morning stiffness and arch pain.
If your symptoms aren’t being alleviated through conservative treatment methods or if you are experiencing chronic heel pain your podiatrist may recommend surgery.
If you are dealing with stubborn and painful heels turn to a podiatrist for a consultation.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition that often affects blood flow to the legs due to narrowing of the arteries. PAD is caused by atherosclerosis, a serious condition in which fat deposits known as plaques build up in the arteries and eventually restrict or block blood flow.
If you have PAD you will most likely experience painful cramping, weakness or numbness in the legs, particularly during movement. You may also notice that the leg or foot is colder than the rest of your body. Sometimes persistent sores can develop that won’t heal. Your legs may also change color or the skin may appear shiny. While the pain will often go away at rest, if PAD is left untreated you may notice these symptoms even at rest. Sometimes symptoms can even be bad enough to affect your sleep.
While these symptoms can also be indicative of other conditions you should not ignore your symptoms, as undiagnosed PAD can lead to heart attack or stroke. This is why it’s important to see your podiatrist if you notice leg or foot numbness, weakness, tingling or pain.
You may be at an increased risk for peripheral artery disease if you:
- Are obese
- Have high cholesterol
- Have high blood pressure
- Have diabetes
- Are over age 65
- Have a family history of peripheral artery disease or stroke
Preventing Peripheral Artery Disease
Your podiatrist’s goal is to reduce your risk for peripheral artery disease, especially if you are at an increased risk. This involves implementing a variety of lifestyle changes. Some ways to prevent PAD include:
- Getting your diabetes under control
- Lowering your cholesterol
- Exercising regularly several times a week
- Quitting smoking
- Eating a healthy balanced diet and avoiding junk foods
- Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight
Treating Peripheral Artery Disease
If you do end up developing PAD a podiatrist can be an instrumental part of your medical team to help you manage your symptoms and prevent complications. PAD treatments are designed to reduce symptoms such as leg pain while also stopping the buildup of fat deposits within the arteries.
Again, modifying your lifestyle can greatly improve your condition. The same lifestyle changes that prevent PAD can also treat PAD. Of course, lifestyle modifications alone won’t be enough to prevent atherosclerosis from progressing. Therefore, your podiatrist may also prescribe certain medications including cholesterol and blood pressure medications, diabetes medication, and medication that prevents blood clots. Sometimes surgery or angioplasty is recommended if there is a blockage within the arteries.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of PAD it’s important that you turn to a podiatrist right away for an evaluation.