Foot / Ankle Pain & Injury Information

What is the difference between an orthopaedic foot and ankle specialist and a podiatrist?
A podiatrist focuses only on the foot and ankle whereas an orthopaedic foot and ankle specialist treats the entire musculoskeletal system with special emphasis on the foot and ankle.
What are the educational differences between an orthopaedic foot and ankle specialist and a podiatrist?
Podiatrists must complete 90 hours of undergraduate study, four years of podiatry school and two to four years in a residency program. Orthopaedic surgeons must complete four years of undergraduate study, four years of medical school (earning an M.D. title) and five years in a residency program. Orthopaedic foot and ankle specialists must also complete a one to two year fellowship specializing in the foot and ankle.
What is the basic anatomy of the foot?
The foot is divided into three basic sections: the forefoot, the midfoot and the hindfoot. There are 26 bones, 2 sesamoids and nearly 20 joints in the foot.
What is involved in a physical foot exam?
A physical foot exam includes analysis of the foot appearance, movement and position while sitting and standing as well as simple in-office tests.
What are common foot and ankle complaints?
Common issues relating to the foot and ankle are heel pain, forefoot pain, ankle pain, numbness, tingling, burning and ankle swelling.
What are common causes of heel pain?
Heel pain can be on the plantar surface (ball of the foot) or on the posterior heel. The most common plantar surface problems are Plantar Fasciitis and heel stress fractures. Some common posterior heel problems include Achilles Tendinopathy, stress factures and retrocalcaneal bursitis.
  • Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the band of tissue that runs from the heel along the arch of the foot, resulting in pain at the most anterior portion of the heel pad.
  • Retrocalcaneal bursitis is the swelling and inflammation of the bursa (fluid-filled sac) at the back of the heel bone under the Achilles tendon. A bursa lubricates muscles and tendons that contact bones.
  • Achilles Tendinopathy is the tearing, inflammation or infection of the Achilles tendon that results in posterior heel pain. It generally occurs after overuse.
What are the treatment solutions for Plantar Fasciitis?
Applying ice, stretching the Achilles tendon, improving shoe quality, training adjustments, wearing night splints, administering injections and implementing desensitization are some of the ways to help cure Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar Fasciitis has a 95% non-operative cure rate.
What treatment methods are available for Achilles Tendinopathy?
Most treatment methods for Achilles Tendinopathy are non-operative and include correct diagnosis, physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, Voltaren gel, Flector patches or if needed an MRI.
What are common examples of forefoot pain?
Forefoot pain can exist as acute (sharp), traumatic or chronic pain. Common acute foot problems are gout and fractures of the metatarsals. Traumatic foot problems can result from stress fractures and Lis Franc sprains or dislocations. Chronic foot problems can be associated with stress fractures or Metatarsalgia.
  • Metatarsals are the bones located at the base of the toes at the forefoot. 
  • Metatarsalgia is a pain that is under a metatarsal head (end of a metatarsal bone) that results in forefoot pain. It is often associated with hammertoes and calluses.
How can Metatarsalgia be treated?
Metatarsalgia can be treated by wearing wider shoes, using metatarsal pads or cut-outs and shaving the calluses.
What is a stress fracture?
A stress fracture is a small crack in the tibia, fibula or metatarsals of the foot that results from a change in footwear, change in walking surface or increased intensity or duration of activity. They can be difficult to locate because initial x-rays are often negative.
How are stress fractures treated?
Stress fractures can best be treated by rest and pain free ambulation and activity.
What methods are used to treat arthritis?
Arthritis can be treated by modifying activity, wearing braces, applying therapy and administering nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
What is neuropathy?
Neuropathy is a pain that results in a burning, stabbing or tingling in the feet or legs with extreme sensitivity to touch.
How is neuropathy treated?
Neuropathy can best be treated by physical medicine and rehabilitation or by seeing a Neurologist.
What is an ankle sprain?
An ankle sprain is the most common injury among athletes and active individuals. 85% of all ankle injuries are sprains. An ankle sprain occurs when there is tearing in the lateral ankle ligaments, the tibia or the fibula.
What are the different types of ankle sprains?
The different types of ankle sprains are lateral ankle sprains, medial ankle sprains and high ankle sprains.
  • High ankle sprains are sprains in which ligaments are ruptured above the ankle joints. They usually take longer to heal than lateral and medial ankle sprains.
  • It is very important to know the type of sprain and treat it appropriately.
What treatment methods are used to heal ankle sprains?
Ankle sprains can be treated by applying ice, compression, elevation, progressive functional rehabilitation and by getting rest.