Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, the strong band of tissue that connects the calf muscle to the heel. This condition frequently affects athletes and occurs when the stress placed on the tendon is too strong. Achilles tendonitis is usually a painful but short-lived condition. Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include:
- Dull pain while walking
If you are suffering from Achilles tendonitis, you may be able to treat the condition at home through rest, ice and over-the-counter pain medication. If these methods are ineffective, your doctor may recommend orthotics, a walking boot, crutches or surgery for more severe cases. Surgery removes the inflamed tissue in the area.
A sprain is a stretching or tearing of one or more ligaments, the tough fibrous bands that hold the ankle bones in place. Sprains can be caused by a sports injury, accident or stepping on an uneven surface. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, stiffness and bruising. There may be a popping sound when the ankle is moved. The ankle may be unstable or unable to hold weight.
Sprained ankles should be examined by a doctor to rule out the possibility of a bone fracture or other damage. Professional care will also ensure that the joint heals properly, limiting the chance of further injury.
Nearly one in three adults suffers from the swollen, stiff and painful joints of arthritis. The most common type is osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease in which the cartilage protecting the bone ends wears away.
Treatment typically involves a combination of anti-inflammatory medication and devices to relieve stress on the joint (canes, crutches or splints). Regular exercise, weight loss for overweight patients and cortisone injections may also be helpful. In severe cases, orthopedic surgery such as joint replacement may be the only way to restore function and relieve pain.
A bunion is a common condition that involves an abnormal, bony bump at the base of the big toe, causing the joint to swell outward and become painful. The big toe may also turn inward toward the second toe as a result of the enlarged joint, which can then lead to difficulty walking, ingrown toenails and corns and calluses.
Bunion treatment depends on the severity of the condition, although early treatment is considered most effective. Mild bunions may be relieved of pain simply by changing shoes, applying ice or taping your foot into a normal position. Medication, orthotics and physical therapy may also be recommended by your doctor. Surgical treatment, usually reserved for more severe cases, can improve pain, inflammation and deformities.
Corns & Calluses
Corns and calluses are thickened layers of skin that develop on the feet as a result of the skin protecting itself from friction and pressure. Corns and calluses do not often cause serious medical problems, but they may be painful, especially when walking. Many patients are also bothered by their appearance.
Patients should see their doctor after detecting a corn or callous to determine whether or not it needs to be removed. Patients with diabetes may be at a higher risk of developing complications from these conditions and should seek immediate treatment. Treatment for corns and calluses may include:
- Trimming the excess skin
- Salicylic acid
- Shoe inserts
Hammertoes are an abnormal “V”-shaped bending of the little toes. Caused by stiffened tendons, hammertoes often form because of a muscle imbalance, arthritis, a hereditary condition, an injury, or tight shoes that squeeze the toes. They may be flexible (the toes can still be moved at the damaged joint) or rigid (the toes are immobile). Many people with hammertoes develop swelling, redness, stiffness, or painful corns or calluses as the toes rub against the inside of the shoes.
People with diabetes are at high risk for developing problems with their feet. More than half of diabetics lose sensation in their feet due to nerve or blood vessel damage, and can hurt themselves without knowing it. To make things worse, diabetes slows healing and weakens the immune system, so what may seem like an inconsequential injury can quickly become a major problem. Even the smallest of foot and ankle injuries such as a blister or ingrown toenail can lead to infection and tissue death. One of the most serious complications of the diabetic foot is Charcot foot, a deformity that develops when people fracture bones in their feet without realizing it and then continue to walk on the injury because they don’t feel any pain.
To learn more about the conditions we treat, click here to contact Dr. Weissinger or call 631.271.8500 to make an appointment.