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Posts for: October, 2017

Old ankle sprains come back to haunt Baby Boomers

The experts at Westmoreland Foot and Ankle Care have a message for people getting back into fitness and sports: Get your ankles checked for chronic instability caused by injuries that might not have healed properly years ago.

Many Baby Boomers who have suffered ankle sprains in their younger years could be at risk for more serious damage as they age and try to stay active. It is estimated that one in four sports injuries involves the foot or ankle, and a majority of them occur from incomplete rehabilitation of earlier injuries.

Pain isn't normal in the ankle, even if you're just getting back into shape.  Swelling is another symptom these previously-injured Boomers may experience. Both amateur and professional athletes often misunderstand how serious a sprain can be, and they rush back into action without taking time to rehabilitate the injury properly.

A sprain that happened years ago can leave residual weakness that isn’t noticed in normal daily activity, but subjecting the ankle to rigorous physical activity can further damage improperly healed ligaments, and cause persistent pain and swelling.  For anyone hoping to regain past athletic fitness, it’s recommended that you have that old ankle injury checked out before becoming active again.

Some sprains are severe enough to strain or tear the tendons on the outside of the ankle, called the peroneal tendons. Research shows that more than 85 percent of athletes who had surgery to repair a torn peroneal tendon were able to return to full sporting activity within three months after the procedure.

Peroneal tendon tears are an overlooked cause of lateral ankle pain.  Although surgery for athletically active patients shouldn’t be taken lightly, surgical repair of the peroneal tendons is proving to be very successful in helping athletes with serious ankle problems return to full activity.

Persistent pain and tenderness after a sprain, especially if the individual felt a ‘pop’ on the outside of the ankle and couldn’t stand tiptoe, might be a warning sign that the tendon is torn or split. The injury is best diagnosed with an MRI exam.

How can we help you?

The professional staff at Westmoreland Foot & Ankle Care find caring for your podiatric health exceptionally rewarding. If you are experiencing pain, please don't wait. Contact the office right away for an appointment at one of our two offices. In Irwin, call (724) 863-0996. For the Greensburg location, call (724) 832-1000.


Check Pain Management Off Your List of Foot Surgery Worries    
Foot and ankle surgeons share reassuring insight on managing pain after surgery

With any surgery comes reasonable concerns. Depending on the person, your mind could start racing anywhere from the seriousness of your condition, to the procedure itself, to out-of-pocket costs or the required downtime. However, when it comes to foot and ankle surgery, there is the inevitable question: How bad will it hurt afterward?

Even if you have a high tolerance for pain, the unfortunate truth is that pain can accompany the healing process following any surgery. But, with the proper care, healing after foot and ankle surgery can be more comfortable than people might expect.

With the availability of such a large variety of highly effective pain medications, fear of pain should be the last deterrent keeping patients from having foot or ankle surgery. Patients can take comfort in knowing that as surgeons, we have an equally vested interest in keeping them comfortable so their surgical experience is positive and they have a speedy recovery.

Patients can receive a local, long-lasting anesthetic immediately following surgery, which significantly decreases pain. Also, in today’s healthcare climate where efforts to reduce prescription drug addiction are at an all-time high, there are stronger anti-inflammatory medications available, which can eliminate the need for pain relievers containing narcotics.

Of course, not all pain being created equal, there are other options for patients to manage their comfort levels following surgery. Depending on the expected degree of pain, patients can take home a pain pump, which allows them to self-administer pain medication intravenously, allowing for a faster and more potent delivery. 

Ultimately, if a patient needs to undergo surgery, it clearly means something is wrong and requires medical correction or extraction. That in mind, we want to help patients feel good about their surgery and think about how better they will feel afterward, versus the pain during healing.  

Pain Management After Foot Surgery

In addition to medication, a tried and true method in controlling pain following foot or ankle surgery is to apply rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). Using the RICE method reduces swelling in the surgical area. By reducing the swelling, inflammation is minimized, which in large part lowers pain.

How can we help you?

The professional staff at Westmoreland Foot & Ankle Care find caring for your podiatric health exceptionally rewarding. If you are experiencing pain, please don't wait. Contact the office right away for an appointment at one of our two offices. In Irwin, call (724) 863-0996. For the Greensburg location, call (724) 832-1000.


Is Your Foot Fracture an Early Sign of Osteoporosis?

Unexplained foot fractures may be the first sign of osteoporosis, a bone thinning disease which affects over 28 million Americans and accounts for 1.5 million bone fractures a year.

Osteoporosis is frequently referred to as the “silent crippler” since it often progresses without any symptoms or isn’t diagnosed until a person experiences pain from a bone fracture.  The porous nature of bones in people with osteoporosis makes them more susceptible to bone fractures, especially in the feet. Because the bones are in a weakened state, normal weight-bearing actions like walking can cause the bones in the foot to break.  In fact, many patients visit their foot and ankle surgeon suffering from foot pain only to find out they actually have a stress fracture, without having experienced an injury.

While osteoporosis is most commonly seen in women over age 50, younger people and men are also affected. Early symptoms can include increased pain with walking accompanied by redness and swelling on the top of the foot. Oftentimes patients don’t seek treatment for their symptoms for weeks or even months, thinking the pain will pass. The best advice is, don’t ignore foot pain of any type. Early intervention can make all the difference in your treatment and recovery.

Foot and ankle surgeons are able to diagnose osteoporosis through bone densitometry tests, which measure calcium and mineral levels in the bones through low-dose radiation x-ray, or possibly through a routine x-ray. This is why prevention and early intervention are key; women should make sure bone densitometry tests are part of their wellness examinations when indicated by their physicians.

If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, it’s important to protect your feet from stress fractures. Wear shoes that provide support and cushioning, such as athletic running shoes, to provide extra shock absorption and protection. Custom orthotics may also be recommended to protect the foot from pressure and provide shock absorption, particularly during exercise. 

How can we help you?

The professional staff at Westmoreland Foot & Ankle Care find caring for your podiatric health exceptionally rewarding. If you are experiencing pain, please don't wait. Contact the office right away for an appointment at one of our two offices. In Irwin, call (724) 863-0996. For the Greensburg location, call (724) 832-1000.