Together, the foot and ankle provide critical support, mobility and balance for the body.
The structure that comprises the foot and ankle includes dozens of small bones and joints, as well as a complex network of tendons, ligaments and muscles. In fact, about one-fourth of the body’s bones are in this area. With so many moving parts and interconnected components, a variety of injuries can hinder the ability to stand, walk or participate in sports.
Pain and trauma from sprains, inflammation or fractures of the foot and ankle require careful evaluation to identify the appropriate course of treatment. In northern Utah, the experienced physicians and surgeons at the Center of Orthopedic & Rehabilitation Excellence provide comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services for injury and disease of the foot and ankle.
Foot and Ankle Injury
The most common causes of pain in the feet and ankles are sports and overuse injuries, sprains and fractures. However, infection and nerve damage can also result in debilitating symptoms.
Ankle sprains are a common problem for athletes and workout enthusiasts, particularly football and basketball players. Soft tissue injury of this nature can produce a range of symptoms that include swelling, pain, bruising and difficulty walking.
Tendonitis, the result of stretches, strains and tears, is also common in the ankles and feet, as are injuries to the Achilles or calcaneal tendon. Fractures, commonly known as a broken ankle or foot, can range from a straightforward crack in one bone or may involve multiple bones as well as ligament damage.
Conditions and Treatment of Feet and Ankles
Congenital conditions — fallen or high arches, bunions, hammertoe and plantar fasciitis — are some of the other common conditions that can lead to ankle and foot pain. Bursitis and various forms of arthritis may also affect the ability to walk, play sports and move freely.
Any symptoms that compromise the ability to walk or participate in your normal activities, especially if the symptoms persist or recur over a period of weeks, indicates the need for a professional medical evaluation. The failure to seek diagnosis and treatment can exacerbate the condition and lead to further restriction of movement and support.
Expert Foot & Ankle Care
The diagnostic process begins with identifying the specific areas of tenderness, pain and inflammation. Your orthopedic surgeon or sports medicine physician will also identify reduced areas of mobility, range of motion and instability. In most cases, medical imaging tests will also be necessary. This may involve an MRI, CT scan or, if any indication of a potential fracture is present, a series of X-rays.
Treatment typically begins with resting the ankle and foot, applying ice and compression, and elevating the limb. For more severe soft-tissue injuries, the doctor may advise the use of a more rigid brace. If fracturing is present, a cast is typically the most effective treatment. For complex fractures, tendon or ligament tears, surgery may be required for repair and stabilization.
The Center of Orthopedic & Rehabilitation Excellence, with convenient Utah practice locations in West Valley City, Tooele, West Jordan and Riverton, offers state-of-the-art diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of foot and ankle pain of all types.