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Conditions & Treatments

Foot & Ankle

When you have pain in your feet or ankles, it can greatly reduce your mobility and make even simple tasks difficult. At Einstein, our foot and ankle specialists offer some of the most advanced treatments for a full range of conditions, including:

A sprained ankle occurs when you injure one of the ligaments of your ankle, causing it to tear. This can cause swelling, bruising, tenderness and pain, especially when putting weight on the injured ankle.

When the thick band of tissue that connects your heel to your toes becomes inflamed, it can cause a sharp pain near your heel. The pain is usually worse after long periods of standing, or when you first stand up after long periods of sitting or lying down. Runners, people who are overweight, and people who wear shoes without enough support are at greatest risk of plantar fasciitis.

Overuse or repeated strain on your Achilles tendon or the other tendons of your foot can lead to inflammation, pain and stiffness. In more serious cases micro-tears may occur in the tendon, leading to chronic pain and inflammation.

Fractures of the bones of your foot can be caused by a traumatic event or by repeated stress on your bones, usually due to a sudden increase in your physical activity.

Foot deformities can cause pain in your feet and increased stress on your weight-bearing joints, which can lead to arthritis and pain in your knees, hips and spine. Our orthopedic foot specialists are experts in the treatment of a variety of foot deformities, including:

  • Bunions: A bunion is an overgrowth of the bone on either the big or little toe, usually caused by prolonged stress across the joint. This can lead to pain, numbness, a burning sensation, hardened skin, redness, inflammation and reduced range of motion.
  • Flat Foot (Posterior Tibial Tendon Insufficiency): Flat foot is a type of foot deformity that is characterized by the loss of the arch of your foot when your feet bear weight. This can be the result of trauma or inherited from family members. This can cause your feet and legs to get tired quickly, leading to pain and added stress on your weight-bearing joints.
  • Hammertoes: The abnormal bend of one of more of the joints of your toes is a hammertoe. This is caused by an imbalance in the muscles, tendons and ligaments that hold your toe straight, and may lead to pain and difficulty moving the affected toe.

When the ligaments and other connective tissues that stabilize your joints is torn, this can result in the loss of joint alignment, or a joint dislocation. Dislocations of the joints in your foot are uncommon except following trauma, and they most commonly occur in the toes or between the tarsal and metatarsal bones.

The Lisfranc joint is the joint between the tarsal bones in your midfoot and the metatarsal bones in your forefoot. The strong Lisfranc ligament is critical to the maintenance of the arch of your foot as you push off of your toes. Overuse or trauma to your metatarsals or across your Lisfranc joint may lead to tendonitis, stress fractures or dislocation.

An osteochondral injury is an injury to a joint in which part of the cartilage surface and the bone immediately attached to it tears off of the rest of the bone. This is a common injury in adolescents, although it can be seen in adults as well. Untreated osteochondral lesions may predispose patients to arthritis, pain, swelling, instability, joint locking or catching, reduced range of motion and additional cartilage damage.

When the nerves inside of your foot are compressed, pain, numbness, tingling and weakness can result.

An open sore on your foot that will not heal or keeps returning is usually a sign of poor circulation, and can signal the presence of a more serious condition. Your orthopedic team will work with other specialists such as the Einstein vascular and wound care teams to treat the ulcer and its underlying causes.


Treatment Options

Depending on the type and severity of your condition, your doctor may recommend a variety of treatment options for relieving your symptoms and improving your mobility. Our foot and ankle specialists will work closely with you to develop a comprehensive, personalized care plan that may include:

Most ankle injuries can be treated non-surgically. Non-surgical options may include rest, ice, elevation, compression, pain medication, and physical therapy to help strengthen your muscles and stabilize your joints. For sprains, fractures and dislocations, your doctor may recommend a splint, brace or cast to immobilize the area during healing. For plantar fasciitis, a night splint can help relieve your symptoms by stretching your tendons and muscles as you sleep. Cortisone injections may also be recommended for the treatment of some conditions to provide relief from inflammation and pain.

If you are diagnosed with a foot deformity, such as a flat foot, your doctor may recommend customized orthopedic footwear to help balance your weight on your foot and relieve the stress and pressure on your toes, ankles and other weight-bearing joints.

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical technique that involves inserting a small tube with a camera through an incision in your foot or ankle. This allows your doctor to get a clear picture of any tears, fractures or other issues, and perform procedures such as removing bone spurs or repairing torn ligaments.

Following a more serious injury such as a completely torn ligament or a shattered bone, your foot or ankle may require reconstructive surgery. Our orthopedic team is highly experienced in these complex surgeries, and uses minimally invasive procedures whenever possible.

In cases where arthritis or other injuries have damaged some of the smaller joints of your foot, your doctor may recommend fusing the bones together in order to relieve your pain and preserve your stability.

When the bone and cartilage of your ankle becomes worn and painful and reduces your mobility, your doctor may recommend replacing your ankle joint with an artificial joint.

Diabetes can cause foot swelling, nerve pain and a variety of other conditions. Diabetes can also make injuries take longer to heal, especially in your lower legs and feet. Working closely with the rest of your care team, our orthopedic specialists provide expert treatment for foot conditions caused by complications from diabetes.

Frequently Asked Questions

A bunion is a bony bump that forms at the base of the joint of the big toe when the metatarsal bone behind the big toe shifts outward. A bunion will progress and grow more severe over time, causing toe and foot pain. Bunion surgery can realign the joint and correct the deformity.

Many bunions are benign, and bunion surgery should not be performed for cosmetic reasons alone. If your bunion causes pain, interferes with daily activities, and other attempts to treat bunion symptoms have been unsuccessful, your doctor may recommend bunion surgery to correct the issue.

Recovery from bunion surgery can take time. It can be six weeks before you can put your weight back on your foot and eight to 12 weeks for the bone to fully heal. After that, it can take between three to six months before you can resume normal activities.

While most bunion surgeries are successful, bunions can come back after bunion surgery. Often this is due to the pre-existing issue that caused the bunion to form or to continue to wear shoes and participate in activities that can contribute to bunions forming.


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