The foot and ankle may be affected by a number of maladies and pathologies. As a major joint and weight baring region of the body, the foot and ankle are susceptible to a number of potential risk factors including arthritis, trauma, and degeneration.
Arthritis of the Foot and Ankle
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease affecting the joints throughout the body. While this disease initially attacks small joints such as those in the hands, approximately 90% of patients will eventually experience foot and ankle inflammation. Common symptoms are pain, stiffness and inflammation. X-rays, CT scans and MRIs are diagnostic tools frequently used to identify the location and development of arthritis throughout the body.
While this disease is considered untreatable, there remains a number of therapies and techniques which can help alleviate pain and assist patients in leading fulfilling lives. Nonsurgical approaches including orthotics, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, activity modification, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, and bracing are effective solutions.
In the event cartilage wear down becomes more progressive or non-surgical solutions are not satisfying, surgery may be beneficial. Common surgeries for arthritic feet and ankles include fusions and joint replacement. Your doctor will discuss potential treatment options in order to develop the ideal care for plan for you.
When one or more bones within the foot or ankle are broken, it is referred to as a fracture. This may include injury to the ligaments as well. Tripping, falling, high impact blows, and twisting are the leading causes of foot and ankle injuries. The ankle contains two joints: the ankle joint which connects the tibia, fibula, and talus, and the syndesmosis joint located between the tibia and fibula. The extent and location of any foot or ankle injury will determine which treatment is necessary. Nonsurgical options such as rest, immobilization, compression, elevation, physical therapy, and bracing are often appropriate for full recovery. In the event the fracture is misaligned, compound, or shattered, surgical intervention may be beneficial.
Sprains, chronic wear and tear, and long-lasting damage to the joints and surrounding tissue of the foot and ankle may additionally require treatment. Orthopaedic surgery, rehabilitation, and patient centered therapies work to restore patients back to their full mobility and daily activities.
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