Your feet and ankles experience daily strain. Fortunately, they’re built to endure a lot of stress. However, this doesn’t mean they’re indestructible. Your feet and ankles can sustain injuries or develop conditions, especially if you engage in a lot of physical activities, are overweight, or if you don’t get enough exercise.
If you develop issues in your lower extremities, it’s time to visit a foot and ankle doctor. Here are some of the conditions they can help with:
Arthritis refers to over a hundred different types of conditions that can affect joints and the surrounding tissues. While there are specific symptoms for each kind, the typical signs include joint pain and stiffness. It also usually involves inflammation and the degeneration of joints.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in load-bearing joints such as the ankle. Another prevalent kind of arthritis is gout, which is due to the buildup of uric acid.
Bursae are tiny, fluid-filled sacs that cushion bones, tendons, and muscles near joints. When it becomes inflamed, you can develop a condition called bursitis. It is typically caused by repetitive movements that put pressure on joints. This condition also affects the base of the big toe, heels, and knees.
Its symptoms include pain, stiffness, and swelling in the affected joints. Bursitis generally gets better with some rest. However, when the soreness worsens despite conservative care measures, you may need to visit a foot and ankle doctor.
A bunion develops when the bone at the side of the big toe moves out of place, causing a bony bump to form at its base. The skin in this area may appear red and swollen. Other symptoms of this condition include:
- Corns and calluses
- Ongoing pain
- Limited motion of the affected toe
- Visible deformity – the big toe turns towards the other toes of the foot
This condition typically affects the big toe, but smaller bunions can also form on pinky toes. These are called bunionettes.
The exact cause of bunions is unknown. However, the following factors can increase your risk of developing bunions:
- Ill-fitting footwear
- Excessive foot stress
- Congenital deformities
Diabetic foot is a complication of diabetes. Due to poor blood circulation, nerves and muscle tissues can become damaged. When this happens, you may not feel anything even if you sustain a wound. Unattended foot injuries for diabetic patients are less likely to heal on their own and, therefore, require immediate treatment.
If you have diabetes, it’s best to meet with a foot and ankle doctor regularly. They can teach you how to take good care of your feet and prevent long-term damage.
Hammertoe and Mallet Toe
These two conditions are foot deformities characterized by an abnormal bend in the toe joints.
Hammertoe develops in the middle joint of the toe. Meanwhile, mallet toe involves the joint nearest the toenail. The latter also shows an upward bend of the affected joint.
Your risk for these foot problems increases as you get older. You may also be prone to these conditions if you have arthritis or diabetes.
Fortunately, these conditions can be treated with conservative measures, like rest and switching to better footwear. However, you must consult with a doctor if the cause was an injury or if you experience the following:
- Sores on the affected joint
- Redness in the area
Patients with Morton’s neuroma feel as if they are standing on a pebble. This condition affects the ball of the foot, causing intense and burning pain. They may also feel some tingling and numbness in the affected area.
You must seek immediate treatment if you notice symptoms of Morton’s neuroma. Left untreated, it can cause permanent nerve damage. An orthopedic doctor can help manage your symptoms and prevent the condition from recurring.
Plantar fasciitis affects the thick band of tissues connecting your heel to your toes. This condition is the most common cause of heel pain. Its exact cause is unclear, but repetitive stretching of the plantar fascia increases your risk for this disorder. Other risk factors include:
- Poor foot mechanics
- Activities that stress your heels, such as long-distance running and ballet
- Standing or walking for extended periods
Foot and Ankle Doctor in Naples, FL
Foot and ankle problems can stop you from doing what you love. So, whenever you feel pain, listen to your body and rest. If your symptoms don’t get better with rest, seek help from a podiatrist to avoid further complications.
For expert podiatric treatment, visit the Joint Replacement Institute. Dr. Jamie Weaver is a board-certified foot and ankle doctor in Naples, FL. She routinely diagnoses, treats, and prevents foot problems and provides personalized treatments to all her patients.
Call us at (239) 261-2663 if you have questions about our services. You can use our secure online appointment portal to schedule an appointment. Let us assist you in keeping your feet healthy and pain-free!