Foot & Ankle
The foot combines mechanical complexity and structural strength. It supports and balances our body’s weight while standing, as well as raising and moving the body in a forward and backward motion when walking. The ankle serves as foundation, shock absorber, and propulsion engine.
The ankle is a hinge-type, freely moving joint that consists of a capsule containing fluid which both nourishes and lubricates the joint making motion possible between the foot and the leg.
The foot and ankle contain:
- 28 small bones (one-quarter of the bones in the human body)
- 33 joints
- More than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments
- A network of blood vessels, nerves, skin, and soft tissue
These components work together to provide the body with support, balance, and mobility.
Following diagnosis, we generally try to treat ankle and foot pain and conditions with the least invasive methods. When necessary, surgical correction can be the best solution, and we are especially trained and skilled in the latest, most effective procedures.
Medications can relieve inflammation, ease pain and slow bone loss in the foot and ankle. Prior to starting medication, it is important to consult a doctor who can identify the cause of the pain and recommend appropriate medications.
Braces, Orthotics & Orthopedic Shoes
Before a person purchases a support device, he or she should be seen by an orthopedic specialist to learn if a brace, orthotics or orthopedic shoe would be a helpful treatment option for the cause of the problem. Our orthopedists use many types of braces, orthotics, and custom shoes to address underlying conditions and reduce pain in the foot and ankle.
- A brace for foot or ankle pain can protect an area of the foot or ankle while it is healing or help reduce the stress on the affected area.
- Orthotics are foot pads or heel inserts that can be used to treat various conditions by supporting the foot or ankle, improving the function of the foot or ankle, and preventing, correcting or accommodating foot deformities. They can be custom made or purchased off the shelf.
- Orthopedic shoes can be modified to accommodate the needs of each individual’s foot. There are now more styles of orthopedic shoes to suit all fashion tastes.
Physical therapy can loosen the joints and muscles, educate the patient on proper movement and gait, and provide strengthening exercises to restore mobility. Physical therapy can be used on its own or as rehabilitation after surgery.
Another option for treatment prior to surgery includes medical injections in the area of the pain on the foot, heel, toe or ankle. Some injections offered at GSOS include:
- Corticosteroids: A steroid mixture that is used as an anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling in the foot or ankle.
- Other options may be available to repair damaged cartilage, tendons, muscles, ligaments, and bones. Contact us to learn more about what may be appropriate for your specific condition.
GSOS surgeons have a range of expertise to apply when surgery is needed to treat the cause of the foot, ankle, toe, or heel pain. When possible we lean toward an arthroscopy approach, which is a minimally invasive procedure where the surgeons treat the problem using small incisions and a small camera for internal viewing to perform the operation.
The following are just a few of the many surgeries we specialize in:
- Bunionectomy: Bunions vary in severity, so there are multiple surgical options. In most cases, the surgery includes correcting the alignment of the bone and repairing the soft tissue around the big toe.
- Flatfoot surgery: to fix a flatfoot can be done with three types of techniques: soft tissue procedures, bone cuts or bone fusions. Frequently surgery includes a combination of methods.
- Fracture treatment or repair: Most foot fractures can be healed with the use of casts, ridged shoes or in the case of a broken toe, taping it to a healthy toe. But at times a fracture in the foot or ankle does require surgery to reposition the bone and place hardware to hold it in place while it heals.
- Tendon repair or reconstruction: Ankle tendon injuries could require a repair or reconstruction of the tendon. If there is enough healthy tendon left, the orthopedic surgeon will reconnect the two pieces. If that is not an option, the surgeon can perform a tendon graft using a piece of tendon from another part of the body.
- Deformity corrections: Our surgeons have experience treating a range of foot and ankle deformities that a patient could be born with, that were caused by an accident or developed over time. Each treatment is customized for the patient.
- Cheilectomy: This operation removes a bony lump on the top of the main joint of the big toe that is caused by arthritis.
- Osteotomy: A surgeon cuts and repositions a bone. This is used in the foot to realign a bunion or first metatarsal (the bone behind the big toe).
- Fusion for arthritis: If damaged joints are causing significant pain or immobility, the doctor may recommend a fusion of the ankle, hindfoot, midfoot, or toe. This surgery will bind together the bones of the arthritic joint by using small metal screws or small plates.
- Ankle replacement: This is a treatment used for an ankle joint that has been severely damaged by arthritis or trauma. The surgeon will make a cut in the front and side of the ankle and remove the damaged cartilage and bone. The surgeon will then smooth the surface of the remaining bone and replace the joint parts with artificial parts. This treatment allows the patient to still have a range of motion after the surgery compared to fusion.
- Wright Medical Infinity Total Ankle, Paragon28 Apex 3D Total Ankle and Scandinavian Total Ankle Replacement (STAR): These specific types of ankle replacements are being performed at MOS.
- Lateral ankle ligament reconstruction: This surgery restores stability to the ankle in people with weak ankles that give way frequently.