Podiatry: An Essential, Core Service in Orthopedics
No department of orthopedics is complete without an experienced, capable foot and ankle service. Aria’s podiatry section includes respected surgeons who can deal with needs from the simplest to most complex in foot and lower-extremity care.
Their work ranges from knowledgeable care aimed at regular examination and health maintenance of the foot, to specialized healing of highly complicated, chronic wounds, to reconstructive surgery for complex injuries involving both bone and soft tissue. As needed, the staff makes practiced use of nerve testing and of x-ray, ultrasound, and CT and MR imaging, as well as other radiologic studies, to reliably determine the source of foot and ankle discomfort and dysfunction.
Foot pain and problems are common. Broad factors that can contribute to foot and ankle issues include sports, age, natural bone structure, repetitive activities, poor footwear, obesity, and vascular, metablolic, or neurological disease. Common categories of foot problems that the service works to diagnose and resolve include:
• ulcers and infections;
• arch problems, including metatarsal (front of the foot);
• ball-of-the-foot problems;
• heel problems;
• ankle conditions;
• nerve pain, burning, tingling, or numbness;
• poor circulation;
• plantar fasciitis;
• Charcot’s disease (a condition in which collapsed bone and arch structure in the foot causes inflammation and sometimes boney protrusion and fistula);
• Achilles tendon conditions;
• foot or ankle sprains or instability;
• and bunions, calluses, corns, warts, nail conditions, and other common problems of the foot.
The staff always begins care with consideration of nonsurgical approaches that can alleviate or compensate for abnormalities. The goal is to resolve pain, poor ambulation, and risk of complications. Wound care, orthopedic aids, and tissue manipulation can directly improve these conditions, as can counseling on revised activities (especially wait-bearing activities), therapeutic exercises, lifestyle changes and weightloss, and treatment of related medical conditions.
Pain Can Be Resolved
Booting or medical shoes during conditioning or manipulative therapy, after surgery, at other points in care, or over the long term can be very effective in promoting healing and preventing further injury. The staff can advise on, fabricate, or prescribe custom footwear or inserts. Aria podiatrists make skilled use of strapping techniques, orthotics, and physical therapy.
With these and other strategies, the staff can resolve most problems of the painful foot nonsurgically. For those disorders that are resistant to conservative measures, the podiatric staff at Aria Health has a fine reputation in performing highly skilled surgical techniques. Diagnosis and treatment may involve use of arthroscopic procedures, lasers, and other technology. The successful operation can put a patient back on the path of full function, independence, pain-free ambulation, and reduced risk of complications from foot conditions.