Podiatry is the branch of medicine that involves the evaluation and diagnosis of issues found within the lower extremities, the feet and the ankles, along with treatments to resolve any health issues associated with these vital parts of the body. The feet are often the most unappreciated part of the human body. It’s only when something goes wrong with one or both of them that individuals begin to appreciate what their feet and ankles do for them–enabling almost every physical activity. Hampton Roads Orthopaedics Spine & Sports Medicine shares three issues podiatrists commonly address as well as offer helpful information about treatments for each condition.
This condition often occurs later in life, with post-traumatic arthritis occurring in areas that at one time experienced an injury. The feet, ankles and lower extremities are common areas for injury due to falls, sports injuries or a vehicle accident. Once an injury occurs, it weakens essential structures, making them more vulnerable to develop osteoarthritis over a period of time.
There is no cure for arthritis but physicians do have treatments available to reduce painful symptoms. These treatments include:
- Inflammation-reducing NSAIDS
- Cortisone injections
- Physical therapy to strengthen adjacent muscles
- Surgical debridement (cleaning)
Heel and Arch Pain
This type of pain typically stems from a condition known as plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is the name given to describe the inflammation of a tough band of tissue (the plantar fascia) that begins at the heel and extends through the arch of each foot. A key symptom is significant pain while taking the first few steps after rising in the morning.
Physicians will typically prescribe conservative treatments at first, including:
- Ice packs
- Physical therapy for stretching and strengthening exercises
- Shoe orthotics
- Prescribing a splint to wear during sleep
In particularly stubborn cases, a podiatry physician may recommend surgery.
Sports injuries to the lower extremities, ankles and/or feet, can range from mild sprains and strains to complete tears of vital tissues and/or broken bones. Depending upon the severity of the injury, a podiatrist may recommend:
- RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation)
- Physical therapy to strengthen muscles and maintain range of motion
- Surgery to repair tissue and/or broken bones
If you would like to know more about podiatry treatments to keep your feet healthy and fit for all of life’s activities, please contact us at (757) 873-1554. The Hampton Roads Orthopaedics Spine & Sports Medicine Foot & Ankle Center is uniquely designed to diagnose and treat issues that require podiatric intervention. Our providers work with you to get you back on your feet and doing what you love!