Blog

Posts for tag: chronic conditions

        One minute you’re running down the field after the ball and in a split second your ankle twists and gives way. You fall, allowing the other team to score the winning point. Does that sound like a familiar scenario? For people dealing with ankle hypermobility, also known as weak ankles, this is a very real possibility.

What is a Sprain and Why is it Bad?

An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments holding our ankle joint steady are stretched or torn, usually from a sudden twist such as a quick direction change or bad misstep. This can happen to anyone, but those with chronic instability will suffer repeated sprains, leaving ligaments looser each time. Cartilage and tendons are also affected by this trauma and arthritis can develop in the ankle joint. You can’t live an active lifestyle if your ankles can’t keep up.

 

READ MORE: Sprain or Strain?

 

 

Who Should Consider Surgery?

Minor sprains can be treated with RICE. Your podiatrist may also recommend physical therapy to strengthen muscles and tendons. Ankle braces should be worn for sports or any vigorous activity. If the ligament has torn completely apart, bracing and ankle exercises have not prevented further injury, or if you suffer two or more ankle sprains a year, you need to consider a surgical solution.

 

READ MORE: What is RICE?

 

The Surgery

Lateral ankle stabilization is the best approach to correct chronic ankle instability. Procedures are performed as an outpatient service (meaning you get to go home that same day) under general anesthesia. The surgeon will make an incision on the outside of the ankle over the joint. Separated or torn ligaments will be sewn together while loose but intact ligaments are shortened and tightened. The ligament is then anchored to the fibula bone using special stitches or pins. The surgeon may connect other tissues to the repaired ligament for support. The incision is then closed, and your foot is wrapped in a cast or splint.

 

Recovery

Patients will need to remain non weight-bearing with the cast or splint in place for 2 to 6 weeks, after which they will progress to a brace or walking boot. At this time, physical therapy to strengthen the ankle will begin. Patients should wear an ankle brace during sports and activities for a minimum of 6 to 12 months, though many choose to continue using it long after for added safety.

 

READ MORE: Chronic Ankle Instability

 

You should never have to sit out of the game due to chronic ankle instability or hypermobility. Ankle sprains do major damage to your joints and preventing this is the number one step in living a healthy and active lifestyle. All of the FAAWC podiatrists are board certified for Lateral Ankle Stabilization and other corrective surgeries. Talk to your podiatrist today if you are tired of persistent ankle sprains.

 

 

It’s Groundhog Day and you know what that means…

It’s Groundhog Day and you know what that means…

It’s Groundhog Day and you know what that means…

 

Whoops, did I just repeat myself? While our furry friend is technically supposed to predict whether we will see an early spring or have six more weeks of winter, Groundhog Day is also famous for the 1993 film starring Bill Murray. If you haven’t seen it, the premise is simple; a man wakes up on Groundhog Day, goes through the day, and when he wakes up the next morning he finds that it is Groundhog Day once again. This keeps happening over and over until he can figure out a way to break the cycle.

While the movie is a feel good comedy about breaking the routine of our lives, it doesn’t feel so good when you wake up to the same foot problem over and over again. There are countless foot conditions that can turn to chronic problems. I’m not going to list them all, but it’s pretty safe to assume that if you are having a problem with your feet, it’s likely to reoccur if left untreated, treated improperly, or if after care instructions are not followed.

Do you see the same blister forming in the same place every time you wear a particular shoe? Maybe it’s time to break the cycle and throw away those shoes. How about feeling the same pain in your toenails each time you clip them due to an ingrown nail? Without proper treatment, no amount of cutting or shaping will stop an ingrown toenail from becoming ingrown again. And on and on it goes.

Make it a priority this year to live a life free from recurring foot problems. No matter what the issue is, if it happens more than once, you need treatment! Don’t delay!

If minor foot issues are left untreated, they can begin to occur over and over again and if the problem becomes a chronic one, it can drastically increase the amount of treatment needed, the length of your healing time, and the price of your care. Catching a problem the first few times it happens can save us from waking up each day feeling like we are reliving the same issue over and over. The FAAWC is here to help. There are no silly questions and there is no issue too minor to treat. Your feet are the foundation for a healthy and active life. Treat them well or your problems could come back to haunt you.

Pain: it hurts. (Imagine that!) But when that pain becomes chronic, it takes on a whole new meaning. Tendonitis is a chronic inflammatory condition that can affect many different parts of the body. As we know, tendons are strong bands of fibers that connect our muscles to our bones. When we overuse or misuse these tendons, we cause damage. Even minor damage to our tendons sparks the body’s natural response to send extra blood to the area to help it heal; we call this swelling. Usually swelling should last only a couple of days, but chronic damage to our tendons causes chronic pain and swelling; we call this tendonitis.

The primary cause of tendonitis is overuse. You hear about it mostly in athletes who perform the same exercises over and over again, but it can truly affect anyone. If you experience chronic pain, swelling, and stiffness in any part of your body, you could be affected by tendonitis. You have over 100 tendons in your legs, ankles, and feet alone so tendonitis has many places to manifest. The most common tendonitis issues in the feet are:

Achilles Tendonitis: Pain between the heel and the calf.

Posterior Tibial Tendonitis:  Pain on the inner side of the foot.

Peroneal Tendonitis: Pain on the outer ankle.

Extensor Tendonitis: Pain on the top of the foot.

Anterior Tibial Tendonitis: Pain at the front on your foot.

If you experience recurring pain in any of these areas, you need to see your podiatrist. You could be over working your feet, be wearing the wrong shoes, or even have an underlying foot abnormality (like flat feet) that is exacerbating your condition. Any number of things could cause tendonitis in your feet and ankles. Taking care of the problem before it becomes chronic is important. Recovery could take weeks or months depending on the severity of your tendonitis. Treatment includes managing pain and swelling, addressing the underlying cause of the problem, and resting the affected area for the duration of the recovery period. If you continue to overuse your feet, tendonitis will come back; so make sure to follow your doctor’s orders!

Last week we talked about ankle sprains. Now we move on to the other side of the fence, ankle strains. Just looking at the words, you wouldn’t think there’s much of a difference, but there most certainly is.

As a reminder, a sprain is an injury to the ligaments connecting our bones. A sprain on the other hand, is an injury involving the muscles and tendons. Similar to sprains, there are varying degrees of injury with strains. Sometimes, a strain could be a tiny stretch in the muscle due to overuse. Other times, a strain could be a complete tear in the muscle-tendon combination.

Our muscles are made up of bundles of fibers that gradually form into tendons that connect to our bones. In order to move our bodies, the muscle fibers and tendon fibers will contract and lengthen. When we over stretch these muscles, we end up with a strain. The bad thing about strains is that they can happen just as easily from a one time stressful event as they can from long periods of over use. The other problem with strains is that the injury could occur solely in the muscle, solely in the tendon, or at the intersection of both. Your podiatrist can determine where your strain has occurred and how severe it is.

The good thing about strains is that the general treatment for them is the same as a sprain. Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE) is the first step and may be combined with stability wraps, support boots, staying off the affected area, or in the severe cases, surgery.

So no matter whether you have a sprain or a strain, start with RICE and then call your podiatrist to book an appointment. Chronic sprains or strains weaken our bodies over time, so even if the pain goes away on its own, you still want to make an appointment to discuss with your doctor the underlying causes and form a healthy plan to modify your activities. So forget Google-ing your pain away, whether it’s a sprain or strain, the FAAWC has the best answer.

Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what’s going on inside our bodies. When we experience pain we often run to the all-knowing Google and try to diagnose ourselves (usually with a life-threatening disease), but Google can’t give you a proper examination and it certainly can’t treat whatever is ailing you. When it comes to your ankles, some basic knowledge can save you the hassle of an Internet search and start you on the road to recovery faster.

One of the most common Internet searches involving ankles is how to tell the difference between a sprain and a strain. There is an important designation so we decided we could save you the search and put all the information here in two very helpful blog posts. Today, we will look at ankle sprains.

Ligaments are bands of soft tissue that connect our bones and help them move properly. If these ligaments are stretched or torn, you have an ankle sprain. This usually happens when the foot is twisted in a sharp direction very suddenly. Sprains are classified into three degrees of severity. Grade 1 is a mild sprain with slight stretching and damage to only some of the ligament fibers. Grade 2 is a moderate sprain with partial tearing of the ligament. Grade 3 is a severe sprain with full tearing of the ligament, rendering the joint unusable.

All three grades of sprains will present with pain, bruising, and swelling. If your joint feels abnormally loose, you may have a grade 2 sprain. If you can’t use the joint at all, you may have a grade 3 sprain. Your podiatrist at the FAAWC can help diagnose the severity of your sprain.

Treatment for all three starts with RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). Moderate sprains may require wearing a brace for a few weeks for support. Severe ligament tears may require surgery. You and your podiatrist can put together the right treatment plan for you to get you back on your feet fast.

Stay tuned next week to see why a sprain is different then a strain!