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Foot & Ankle Q&A

I have high arches and often my feet hurt after I have been standing for long periods of time. Could I benefit from arch supports and should I have them custom made by a podiatrist?

Are high-tops or low-cut athletic shoes best for ankle protection?

Will taping the ankles offer protection during sports competition?

Are there any surgical techniques that can help people with diabetes once a non-healing ulcer develops on their foot?

What causes flat feet and how is this condition treated?

Can a broken toe be treated?

Why do both of the bottoms of my feet burn? 



I have high arches and often my feet hurt after I have been standing for long periods of time. Could I benefit from arch supports and should I have them custom made by a podiatrist?

Arch pain is a common foot complaint for patients who have low arches. It can also occur, although less commonly, in patient with high arches. Properly diagnosing the underlying condition is essential in determining the best treatment recommendation. It is not always necessary to purchase custom-made orthotic devices, but these may be recommended in some cases.

Dr. Tyson Green, foot and ankle specialist, Center for Orthopaedics



Are high-tops or low-cut athletic shoes best for ankle protection?

With ankle sprains so common in sports, accounting for upwards of 25 percent of all athletic injuries, the high-top versus low-cut question has been debated in the sports world for decades. In recreational and professional sports like basketball, football, volleyball and others that require jumping, quick turns and acceleration, sprained ankles are one of the inherent risks. If you are involved in a sport with a lot of cutting and back-and-forth movement and there is an opportunity to sustain a twisting injury to the ankle, a high-top would be recommended. Many athletes are going to the three-quarter-height shoe. For many, however, optimal ankle protection comes down to shoe comfort. When purchasing new shoes, make sure you visit the store at the end of the day or after a workout, when your feet are largest. Donít just go by shoe size. Have your feet measured, and fit the shoe to the larger foot. Toes and forefoot bones should not be stuffed into the shoe. Make sure there is at least one thumb space from the longest toe to the front of the shoe.

Dr. Tyson Green, foot and ankle specialist, Center for Orthopaedics



Will taping the ankles offer protection during sports competition?

Taping has been utilized for years to provide support around the ankle and give the feeling of stability. However, it is hard to tape your own ankle and difficult to find someone who knows how to do it properly. Moreover, after about 20 minutes, the tape becomes loose and inefficient and the effects of the tape job are lost. That is why lace-up ankle braces available in sporting goods stores have become popular. These are very effective for people with weak ankles, for those who are prone to ankle injuries and for people who have had surgery and want to protect the ankle. While braces are good, however, they donít take the place of strengthening the tendons around the ankle with special exercises, which plays a critical part in preventing ankle injuries.

Dr. Tyson Green, foot and ankle specialist, Center for Orthopaedics



Are there any surgical techniques that can help people with diabetes once a non-healing ulcer develops on their foot?

There are many surgical procedures that can be considered for non-healing wounds. If a wound, for example, is not healing because of pressure from an underlying bony prominence, this piece of bone may be cut out or moved to reduce this pressure. A bunion (an enlargement of bone behind the big toe) with an overlying ulcer would be an example of such a projection. If a wound is not healing because of a lack of circulation, a vascular surgeon may be consulted to operate on the arteries to bring more blood to the area. Surgical debridement (cutting away) may be necessary in some cases to remove dead or contaminated tissue from a wound. This may convert the wound from a chronic, stalled, non-healing ulcer to a fresh wound that can now go on to heal. One of the newer non-surgical treatments being used for certain types of wounds is Botox injections.For wounds resulting from an inability to move the feet, which reduces circulation, Botox can help relax the tension and pressure on the wound, allowing it to return to a more stable position in which the wound can health itself.

Dr. Tyson Green, foot and ankle specialist, Center for Orthopaedics



What causes flat feet and how is this condition treated?

A flat foot deformity refers to a flexible or rigid decrease in the arch of the foot. The deformity occurs due to over pronation, which is inward rolling of the foot. Congenital flat feet, in which the deformity has been present since birth, are typically flexible. A non-weight bearing arch is present, however, when weight is applied, the arch collapses. Acquired flat feet can be the result of a number of other foot-related issues, such as improper footwear, biomechanical problems, rupture of tendon/ligament, and most commonly, a tight Achilles tendon. Treatment of flat feet depends on the presence of pain. If there is no pain, then treatment may not be required at all, other than wearing proper footwear. Treatment for painful flat feet can vary from taping the foot for additional support, custom molded orthotics, stretching and range of motion exercises, or, in severe cases, surgical intervention.

Dr. Tyson Green, foot and ankle specialist, Center for Orthopaedics



Can a broken toe be treated?

Nineteen of the 26 bones in the foot are toe bones. Itís a myth that a broken toe requires no treatment. There are things we can do to make a broken toe heal better and prevent problems later on, like arthritis or toe deformities. Broken toes that aren't treated correctly can also make walking and wearing shoes difficult. We will typically x-ray the toe to visualize the fracture. In most cases, a broken toe can be immobilized by taping it to a neighboring toe. But if the fracture is severe ó particularly if it involves your big toe ó you may need a cast or even surgery to ensure that your broken toe heals properly.

Most broken toes heal well, usually within four to six weeks. Less commonly, depending on the precise location and severity of the injury, a broken toe may become infected or be more vulnerable to osteoarthritis in the future.

Dr. Tyson Green, foot and ankle specialist, Center for Orthopaedics



Why do both of the bottom of my feet burn?

This burning may be caused by a variety of factors. Diabetes that is not controlled can cause this as well as back problems affecting the nerves going into your feet. A physical exam is needed to determine the exact cause, and then the appropriate treatment can be recommended. There are many treatments for burning feet, including over-the-counter and prescription medications.

Dr. Kalieb Pourciau ,foot and ankle specialist, Center for Orthopaedics

 

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