There are a variety of reasons why you may need to see a foot doctor. The musculoskeletal system of the feet, ankles, and lower legs involve many different parts that have to work together in unison to create smooth and pain-free movement. If any of these parts are not functioning properly, your whole system can suffer.
Sara Zelinskas, DPM, ABFAS
Dr. Sara Zelinskas provides general podiatric care and treatment for running related injuries, such as turf toe, heel pain and Achilles Tendonitis. She takes a conservative approach to treatment, utilizing therapies such as steroid injections, when possible; however, in cases where surgery is the appropriate course of treatment, Dr. Zelinskas is an experienced foot and ankle surgeon.
Sara Zelinskas, DPM, ABFAS, our Foot and Ankle Surgeon, is highly skilled in treating a variety of conditions and issues. Whether you have slight discomfort or severe pain, she can provide you with care that allows you to live the lifestyle you desire.
She is board certified in Reconstructive Rearfoot and Ankle Surgery, as well as Foot Surgery, through the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery.
Foot & Ankle Conditions, Treatments & Services
The foot and ankle are highly specialized structures that absorb the weight of the body and enable us to move. Experts estimate that the force and pressure on your feet when walking can be up to two times your body weight. This pressure can increase with more vigorous movements such as running and jumping. With so much pressure on your feet and ankles, they undergo a lot of wear and tear throughout your life and are highly susceptible to injury and trauma.
The foot and ankle are a complex system of bones, ligaments, muscles, and joints that provide the structure and stability we need to move freely. If any of these components become compromised or weakened due to injury, overuse, degenerative conditions, or sprains, it can significantly impact your foot’s ability to move and function properly.
A sprained ankle occurs when you twist your ankle in an abnormal way causing the ligaments holding your ankle bones together to stretch or tear. Most sprained ankles involve injuries to the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle. Treatment for a sprained ankle depends on the severity of the injury. Although you may just need proper rest and pain medications to heal, it is important to have the sprain looked at by a professional to determine the severity and proper treatment.
A bunion is a complex structural deformity that involves the bones of the big toe and the middle of the foot. Pain and difficulty walking and wearing shoes can develop because the foot no longer functions normally. It is not uncommon for arthritis to develop in the big to joint due to the misalignment.
Bunions run in families and can be expected to get worse over time. Treatment of bunions has been misunderstood for many years and there has been many problems with traditional bunion surgeries.
Since nearly one-fourth of the bones in our body are in our feet, fractures of the foot are common and rarely debilitating. There are two types of fractures. A stress fracture typically occurs in the space between the toes and middle of the foot, usually as a result of a physical activity gone awry. These fractures are only on the surface of the bone. General bone fractures extend through the bone. These injuries are usually caused by trauma to the foot.
Depending on the fracture and placement, different treatments will be discussed. Foot fractures typically heal on their own, although more serious cases may require surgery.
It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you suspect your foot is fractured so treatment can begin right away.
Hammertoe is a deformity where one or both joints of the second, third, fourth or fifth toes begin to bend outside of their normal alignment. Pressure can begin to weigh heavy on the toes as you wear shoes which is where pain and other symptoms develop.
Hammertoes typically begin with small symptoms and deformities and continue to worsen with time. In its beginning stages, hammertoes are often impressionable which means they can be controlled using minimal treatment. It is important to know the signs of hammertoes to get them evaluated early. If left untreated, hammertoes can become more firm and difficult to manipulate, requiring surgery.
Heel Spurs/Plantar Fasciitis
Heel spurs occur in at least 50% of people who have plantar fasciitis. Past treatments for heel spurs, a bony growth that begins on the front of your heel bone and points toward the arch of your foot, included surgery to remove the growth. Nowadays, surgery is rarely a treatment option and more plans for physical therapy, ice, and pain medications are used to treat heel spurs.
We have all made the painful mistake of trimming our nails too short at some point in our lives. Sometimes, this can really affect our foot health by causing ingrown toenails.
This happens when the nail grows downward into the skin instead of straight out, usually causing an infection. Ingrown toenails are most common on the sides of the big toe. It can also be caused by shoe pressure, injury, fungal infections, poor foot structure, etc.
Warm water soaks several times a day, properly fitted shoes and socks, and trimming nails in a straight line (rather than rounded) are ways to treat and prevent painful ingrown toenails. If there is an infection, antibiotics may be prescribed.
A steroid injection — or cortisone shot — reduces swelling, stiffness and pain in your foot and ankle. The steroid acts like the natural hormones that your body makes to stop inflammation. It’s a non-invasive, non-surgical treatment. It can help if medication or physical therapy hasn’t helped with the pain. However, rehabilitation includes shots along with other medications or physical therapy.
Steroid injections treat foot and ankle conditions such as:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Ankle osteoarthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Achilles tendinopathy
- Osteoarthritis in ankle
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome
- Posterior tibial tendonitis
A steroid injection may help if there’s a lot of tenderness, swelling, popping or cracking sounds in your ankle.
Once you have a steroid injection, you’ll feel pain relief within hours or a couple of days. The timing depends on the type of medication you receive. Even with the risks, a steroid injection can be very effective in easing your foot and ankle pain.
An ankle foot orthosis (AFO) is used to improve walking patterns by reducing, preventing or limiting movement of the lower leg and foot and by supporting weak muscles. They are also used to maintain joint alignment, accommodate deformity and to help reduce spasticity. AFOs encompass the leg and foot and are worn with shoes and socks.
Rashes & Infections
A foot rash can be caused by a whole range of things such as an allergic reaction, infection or underlying medical condition. Symptoms of foot or ankle rashes vary from anything from a small, short-lived, mild rash on feet to one that spreads up the leg, returns frequently and is painful or itchy. Accurate diagnosis of foot and ankle rashes is essential to ensure effective treatment and prevent skin rashes from spreading, worsening or becoming chronic (long-term).
There are a number of different causes of a foot rash which all present slightly differently and therefore require different treatment.
- Irritant Contact Dermatitis
- Allergic Contact Dermatitis
- Athlete’s Foot
- Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease
- Insect Bites