Foot & Ankle

Achilles Tendon Rupture

The Achilles tendon is the strong band of tissue that connects the calf muscle to the heel. If stretched too far, the tendon can tear, or rupture, causing severe pain in the ankle and lower leg that can make it difficult or even impossible to walk. An Achilles tendon rupture, which may be partial or complete, often occurs as a result of repeated stress on the tendon while playing sports such as soccer or basketball. Although frequently resulting from the same stresses that cause Achilles tendonitis, a rupture of the Achilles tendon is a far more serious injury, usually requiring surgical repair.

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A bunion (hallux valgus ) is a common foot problem in which an abnormal bony bump develops at the joint of the big toe, causing the joint to swell outward and become painful. As a result of the enlarged joint, the big toe may become stiff and turn inward. The more deformed the joint becomes, the more it can lead to difficulty walking and to the development of ingrown toenails, corns and calluses. Although bunions are not usually a serious condition, they can be painful and unsightly. Left untreated, they will usually grow larger and more painful over time.

Bunions can occur as a result of an inherited foot type, abnormal walking due to other foot problems, or shoes that do not fit properly, In some cases, bunions may develop because of injury, arthritis or neuromuscular disease. Although much less common, bunions can also occur on the small toe where they are referred to as bunionettes. Bunions are diagnosed through physical examination. X-rays are also administered to determine the type and extent of the bone deformity.

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Clubfoot is a common congenital abnormality in which the foot is turned inward. The condition derives its name from the resemblance of the curved foot to the head of a golf club. Clubfoot is an anomaly that can affect one or both feet. It is usually an isolated condition, although it is occasionally associated with other skeletal abnormalities, such as spina bifida. While a clubfoot does not, in itself, cause pain or other symptoms during infancy, the condition must be addressed soon after birth since, left untreated, it can result in serious medical problems once the child begins to walk.

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Congenital Foot Deformities

Babies can be born with foot deformities for a number of reasons. Foot deformities may occur as a result of a genetic defect, birth trauma or developmental or positional abnormalities during gestation. Sometimes, such deformities are hereditary. They may also, in some cases, result from the toxicity to the fetus of certain medications the mother has ingested during pregnancy.

While foot deformities may not be painful, they can later affect the child’s development and ability to walk and so require prompt treatment. Wherever possible, treatment for congenital foot deformities begins with nonsurgical methods such as manipulation and casting to restore the affected feet to their normal position and hold them in place as they heal. When such treatments are unsuccessful, surgery may be necessary.

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Open Reduction Internal Fixation of the Ankle

An ankle fracture is a common injury that involves a break in one or more of the bones that make up the ankle joint. This may include a crack or break in the the tibia, fibula, or talus. The more bones that are broken, the more complicated and severe the fracture is. Common causes of an ankle fracture may include a sports injury, a motor vehicle accident or a fall. Treatment for an ankle fracture can vary depending on the severity of the condition. While mild fractures may be treated through nonsurgical methods, more severe fractures may require surgery to realign the bones and ensure that they heal correctly.

Severe ankle fractures that will not heal properly with splinting or casting alone, may benefit from a procedure known as open reduction internal fixation. Open reduction internal fixation is a surgical technique that secures the bones in place with the help of screws, plates, wires, rods and pins. These tools allow the bones to heal properly, restoring function to the joint with no damage or discomfort to the patient. Depending on the severity of the fracture, these devices are sometimes removed from the ankle after it has healed from the surgery.

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Reconstructive Foot Surgery

Disorders of the foot develop from a wide range of causes, many of which can be treated with reconstructive foot surgery. Reconstructive surgery can help repair congenital defects, diseases and injuries, often alleviating aesthetic concerns at the same time as it relieves serious medical symptoms and restores normal function. While conservative treatments are frequently the first response to foot disorders, in many cases, reconstructive surgery may be the best available option. Most often, reconstructive foot surgery can be performed outpatient, with minimally invasive techniques, sometimes right in the doctor’s office.

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