Care for Feet and Ankles
Podiatry is an area of medicine involved in diagnosing and treating conditions of the foot and ankle. A podiatrist is a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM) who completes four years of training in a podiatric medical school, and then spends three years as a resident in a hospital. A podiatrist is different from an orthopedist, who is a medical doctor (MD) or an osteopathic physician (DO), with training in all of the body's bones and joints. Both types of specialists are able to perform surgery and are well trained in their respective specialties.
If you have a medical problem that is very specific to your foot or ankle, a podiatrist at St. Mary's Regional Medical Center may be a good first choice for a consultation.
Ankle Stabilization Procedure
St. Mary's now offers ankle stabilization procedures to help strengthen the muscles and ligaments around your ankles. This can reduce the likelihood of sprained ankles and torn ligaments by stabilizing weak areas of the ankle.
Foot and Ankle Conditions Podiatrists Treat
Among the conditions treated by podiatrists at St. Mary's Regional Medical Center are:
- Athlete's Foot
- Bone Spurs
- Bunions and Hammertoes
- Foot Issues Related to Diabetes
- Fractures and Injuries
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Plantar Warts
Athlete’s foot, also called tinea pedis, is a common condition affecting 15 to 25 percent of people at any one time. The fungal infection usually begins between the toes and can spread to other parts of the body and other people. Symptoms include a scaly rash that causes itching and burning. Typically, athlete’s foot can be treated by antifungal medications.
Bone spurs, also called osteophytes, are bony growths that develop on the edge of a bone. The primary cause of bone spurs is joint damage associated with osteoarthritis. Some bone spurs cause no symptoms and do not require treatment. If treatment is necessary, it will depend on where the spurs are located and how your health is affected.
Both bunions and hammertoes are common conditions of the foot. Bunions are formed when the big toe pushes against the next toe due to wearing tight shoes, foot stress or arthritis. The skin over the bunion might become red and sore and may present additional symptoms of bone deformity, pain and stiffness. Hammertoe is a deformity of the joint of the second, third, fourth or fifth toes. This abnormal curling can put pressure on the toe when wearing shoes, causing problems to develop. The affected toe or toes can be painful or hard to move.
Treatment options vary with the type and severity of the condition. Some possible options include wearing broader shoes, padding the foot and pain medications. If deemed necessary, bunions and hammertoes can be improved with surgery.
A variety of different types of foot problems can occur in people with diabetes due to the nerve and vascular damage caused by the disease. Signs of diabetic foot problems can include bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoes, fungal infections, dry skin, and ingrown toenails. Treatment is dependent on the exact type of foot problem; however, many diabetes-related foot problems can be prevented by adequate control of blood sugar levels combined with appropriate care of the feet.
Fractures and injuries to the foot bone, such as a broken foot, can cause great discomfort; however, the seriousness of a broken foot varies. Fractures can range from tiny cracks in your bones to breaks that pierce the skin. Treatment is dependent on the site and severity of the injury.
Neuromas, specifically Morton’s neuroma, are a painful condition causing sharp, tingling, burning pain in the ball of your foot and numbness in toes. Treatment may include steroid injections or surgery, if deemed necessary.
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects the heel bone to the toes. Treatment includes pain relievers, physical therapy or arch supports.
Plantar warts are growths typically appearing on the heels of the feet caused by HPV, which is a virus that enters the body through cuts, breaks or weak spots on the foot bottom. Most plantar warts aren’t a serious health concern and eventually go away on their own. If necessary, plantar warts can be treated at home or possibly removed by a doctor.
Tendonitis is the inflammation or irritation of a tendon causing pain and tenderness just outside the joint. In most cases, treatment includes rest, physical therapy and pain relievers. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.