Foot and Ankle Problems
As a primary anchor for weight bearing and balance, your feet and ankles must be in good health to support your every move. Aches, pains, injuries and damage to the structures that support movement of the feet and ankles can put a gradual or sudden stop to your life and activity level. Proper diagnosis of foot and ankle conditions is essential to creating a treatment plan that is right for you. At South Florida Orthopaedics, our team of dedicated physicians specializes in treating this delicate area.
Causes and Symptoms
Everyday activities can cause foot and ankle complications. Wearing the wrong shoes (like high heels), overuse of accessory muscles that control foot and ankle function, as well as repetitive jarring movements can trigger a variety of injuries. Pain, swelling, numbness and tingling can all be signs of an injury. Some medical conditions like gout, arthritis, and diabetes can also affect your joint health. Heel pain, inflammation of the tendons (tendonitis), sprains and fractures are among the most common complications.
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Not every foot problem needs an orthopaedist. Some conditions like bunions, toe deformities, plantar fasciitis, and diabetic wounds may be better treated by our on-site podiatrist. For other complications, our orthopaedic staff will need evaluate your case and may suggest braces or splinting, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, stretching exercises or activity modification while your injury heals. For disease-related conditions like gout, lupus or diabetic complications, we can work with your regular doctor or other specialist to give you the best care possible.
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Fractures, or breaks in the bones of the toes, foot or ankle can be obvious—or not. In some cases, patients may have stress fractures, or small breaks that some people are still able to walk and move on while others will suffer more serious breaks that require urgent attention. South Florida Orthopaedics offers Urgent ORTHO Care with same day and next day care available. Our orthopaedic surgeons will complete a thorough assessment with the use of our on-site diagnostic equipment so there’s no running across town for you. Then we will determine the proper course of care for your injury and treat you efficiently. If physical therapy is needed after a break, our staff of qualified therapists is on-site for you.
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Achilles Tendon Repair
The Achilles tendon is the most powerful tendon in the human body. Tendons are strong tissues that connect muscles to bone. The Achilles tendon is located in the lower back part of the leg and works with the calf muscles to provide forceful foot movements. Achilles tendon ruptures most commonly occur because of sports injuries from activities such as basketball, football or tennis. They can also result from a condition called Achilles tendonitis. Individuals with Achilles tendonitis have weakened and inflamed tendons that are susceptible to injury.
A loud “pop” may be heard when the Achilles tendon ruptures. Most individuals feel a sudden painful “snap” in the back of the calf or lower leg, followed by sharp, severe pain. Swelling and skin discoloration in the back of the calf will often develop because of bleeding beneath the skin. Individuals are unable to point their feet downward or raise their heels upward, making it difficult to walk, jump, stand on their toes and climb stairs.
For individuals with active lifestyles who want to return to strenuous recreational activities, physicians recommend surgery to reattach the torn Achilles tendon. Surgery is generally very effective and the risk of complications is typically low. The surgery will require anesthesia, but can also be performed on an outpatient basis. The surgeon makes a three to four inch opening behind the ankle and reattaches the tendon ends to each other or to the bone. The foot is placed in a pointed position in a splint or short leg cast, which is worn for four to six weeks. The individual participates in physical therapy when the healing is complete.
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Our foot and ankle doctors serve patients along Florida’s Treasure Coast, including Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Jensen Beach, Stuart, Palm City, Hobe Sound, and Jupiter, as well as Indiantown and Okeechobee. To schedule an appointment or physician referral, call South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in Stuart, Florida at (772) 288-2400 or request an appointment online.