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Foot & Ankle Injuries

The foot and ankle provide a foundation and bear the weight of the entire body. Keeping the patient’s feet and ankles free of pain will allow them greater mobility and freedom to pursue activities they enjoy. Patients experience a number of foot and ankle problems including bunions, heel pain, neuromas, hammertoes and flat feet, all of which can result in severe pain. Foot and ankle pain can make a patient feel tired and irritable, often interfering with the ability to perform many daily tasks. Many factors contribute to the cause of pain in the foot and ankle, including poorly fitting shoes, heredity, aging and disease. Athletes and dancers sometimes experience unique foot and ankle problems related to the stress on these joints while participating in practice and events. The physicians at Ozark Orthopaedics have experience in correcting and/or preventing foot and ankle injury for these active individuals. Options to relieve foot and ankle discomfort include non-surgical solutions. Following a thorough evaluation, the orthopaedist can suggest such options as medications, steroid injections, specific exercises, shoe inserts, foot pads and walking casts. For foot and ankle problems not relieved by conservative treatment, surgery is an option


Inflammation of the tendons- The foot has many tendons, all of which can become painful as a result of overuse or poor foot wear. We see athletes frequently who jump too much early in the season and irritate the Achilles tendon. They can occasionally tear the Achilles tendon, but this is usually in the older athlete, after age 35. The tendons to the toes are often irritated by shoes which are too small or tight causing a rubbing. This is especially common on the top of women’s feet from tight pumps. The large tendon on the inner-side of the foot (posterior tibialis tendon) becomes inflamed due to over-use, rubbing or too flat a foot and suffering foot strain. The diagnosis is made for all these problems by looking for a tender area with swelling. Some times there is a gritty feeling as the tendon moves. Treatment is usually rest, anti-inflammatory medications, changing the shoes and occasionally using arch supports (orthotics).

Sprained Ankle:

Acute over stretching of the ankle ligaments. This is usually due to a twisting injury. The ligaments on the outer side of the ankle are stretched too far and become inflamed or may actually tear. Sometimes the injury can be so severe that the ankle becomes unstable, or tends to give away on uneven ground. The diagnosis is usually obvious due to the pain and swelling on the outer side of the ankle. It may be too painful to walk. Treatment includes rest, elevation, ice and compression with an elastic bandage. We encourage early return to weight bearing and resumption of sports as quickly as possible. We often issue braces to protect the ligaments as they heal. If the ankle remains unstable or painful we occasionally have to operate to repair torn ligaments.


Deformity of the 1st toe- This problem is more common in women. In this condition the first toe angles outward and the foot may be too wide for the shoes. This causes pressure on the inside of the foot where it rubs on the shoe. The rubbing bun1.GIF (5612 bytes)causes pain and a bursitis over the inside of the foot. The toe deformity seem to be related to the type of shoes women wear and is also inherited. Some families have more of a problem, often mothers and daughters. Treatment includes changing the shoe wear, ( ugly, wide shoes), stretching the shoes, various pads and surgery if the condition is too painful. At the time of surgery, we straighten the 1st. toe and often try to narrow the foot by breaking (an osteotomy) the metatarsal. Good pain free results are usually obtained.


Thickened skin on a toe- Corns result from the smaller toes rubbing cornpic.GIF (2923 bytes)against the shoes or other toes. This may be a result of a hammer toe (the middle of the toe curls upward) rubbing against the shoe or due to a bone spur rubbing against a toe next to it. Treatment usually includes various types of pads, shaving the corn, stretching the shoes and occasionally surgery to straighten the toes and remove spurs.

Trigger Fingers:

Ganglion Cysts about the wrist are extremely common. They are sometimes the results of a single traumatic event, but more commonly, simply appear without any known cause. If these ganglion cysts are painful, cortisone injections are often effective in relieving the problem. For recurrent symptomatic ganglion cysts, surgical excision is sometimes required.

Tennis Elbow:

Tennis Elbow is not restricted to tennis players but can develop in anyone who uses the arm for heavy activities. It can also be related to a sudden injury to the arm. The cause for tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is thought to be partial tearing of the extensor muscles as they hook into the prominent bone on the outside of your elbow. Treatment is directed to that point and consists of immobilization, anti-inflammatories, cortisone injections, and rarely, surgical release.

DuPuytren’s Contracture:

DuPuytren’s Contracture is an uncommon condition which causes the fourth and fifth fingers to draw down into the palm so you are unable to straighten the fingers completely. This condition tends to run in families and its only correction is surgical release.

Arthritis of the Arm:

Arthritis of the arm, wrist, hand and fingers is an ongoing problem that we are forced to deal with on a regular basis. Most of the arthritis seen is secondary to chronic wear and tear and is called osteoarthritis. A less prominent form, unrelated to use, is rheumatoid arthritis. The treatment may vary, depending on the type of arthritis. Anti-inflammatory drugs are the first line of defense against arthritic conditions and are usually very effective. Cortisone shots sometimes play a role. Surgical correction is frequently necessary and might involve an artificial joint implant into the elbow, wrist or fingers, or might involve stiffening the joint (fusion), if necessary.

Fractures of the Upper Extremity:

Fractures of the upper extremity are treated somewhat differently than those of the weight bearing bones. Sometimes cast immobilization is all that is needed but frequently surgery is required for proper alignment. Immobilization is generally shorter for upper extremity fractures than for lower extremity fractures.