Four foot and ankle issues you should never ignore

“Toughen up!” “Push through it!” “Pull it together!”

For generations, these phrases have been yelled by coaches, parents, teammates and more from Brooklyn basketball courts to ice rinks upstate. And, as a nation, we celebrate athletes who persevere through the pain to win big, remembering them as legends as the years pass.

It’s no wonder then that, when it comes to getting hurt, many athletes try to stay strong and play through the pain. They don’t want to disappoint the team or look weak. This never-quit attitude is a concept that can begin at an early age and progress into adulthood – even if the stakes aren’t high. Unfortunately, continuing to play, run or otherwise work after getting hurt can lead to bigger problems, especially if the injury is serious. That’s why it is important to see a professional after an injury. With that in mind, here are four foot- and ankle-related symptoms that you should never ignore:

Trouble walking

If it’s difficult to stand or walk, you need to see a doctor. Among other things, you may be dealing with an Achilles tendon tear which can occur if a tendon is stretched too far or is subjected to repeated stress. Men over the age of 30 are particularly prone to Achilles tears, which can require surgical treatment followed by recovery through physical rehabilitation.

Pain, swelling and popping along outer ankle

While these symptoms might be connected to a host of things, they can be  signs of a peroneal tendon injury. To avoid misdiagnosis, it might be necessary to conduct imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI scan, on the injured area. If the tendon is torn,  it might be possible to treat it with  physical therapy, and a splint, brace or cast. However, that type of conservative treatment does not work for all patients, and surgery might be needed for total healing.

Bruising and swelling under the sole of the foot

Especially when coupled with trouble walking and standing, bruising and swelling on the bottom of a foot are symptoms of a Lisfranc injury. These often take place after a traumatic injury to the midfoot at the tarsometatarsal joint and usually involve a twisting of the foot. Lisfranc injuries are not so uncommon and are often misdiagnosed as sprains. When they do occur, time is of the essence. Without prompt treatment, proper healing may not take place. Surgery is common in the event of a Lisfranc injury, and some athletes should usually be able to return to pre-injury performance levels..

Burning, tingling or numbness of one or more toes

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you might have a neuroma. This condition occurs when the thin nerves that run between a foot’s metatarsals are pinched. At some point, with chronic irritation, a nerve becomes abnormal. The most common neuroma is Morton’s Neuroma, which most often occurs between the third and fourth toes. After imaging and a physical exam,  treatment starts with metatarsal pads and cortisone injections andand can  progresse to surgery if needed.

It’s not healthy to ignore pains. Come in and discuss your options.

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Dr. Hubbard’s goal as a Foot and Ankle Surgeon is to provide expertise in achieving an accurate diagnosis, implementing exceptional surgical technique whenever indicated, and most importantly, utilizing practical judgment to devise an effective individualized treatment plan that will restore the patient’s foot or ankle health and function, improving their overall quality of life.

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