Posts for: December, 2017
For many, winter is fall season--Icy conditions cause falls and broken ankles
With the hectic pace of the holidays, serious injuries from ice-related falls inevitably occur. Falls on icy surfaces are a major cause of ankle sprains and fractures, and it’s critical to seek prompt treatment to prevent further damage that can prolong recovery.
The ankle joint is vulnerable to serious injury from hard falls on ice. Ice accelerates the fall and often causes more severe trauma because the foot can go in any direction after slipping. In cases of less severe fractures and sprains, it’s possible to walk and mistakenly believe the injury doesn’t require medical treatment. Never assume the ability to walk means your ankle isn’t broken or badly sprained. Putting weight on the injured joint can worsen the problem and lead to chronic instability, joint pain and arthritis later in life.
Some people may fracture and sprain an ankle at the same time, and a bad sprain can mask the fracture. It’s best to have an injured ankle evaluated as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment. If you can’t see a foot and ankle surgeon or visit the emergency room right away, follow the RICE technique – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation – until medical care is available.
According to the ACFAS, even though symptoms of ankle sprains and fractures are similar, fractures are associated with:
- Pain at the site of the fracture that can extend from the foot to the knee
- Significant swelling
- Blisters over the fracture site
- Bruising soon after the injury
- Bone protruding through the skin—a compound fracture, which requires immediate attention!
Most ankle fractures and some sprains are treated by immobilizing the joint in a cast or splint to foster union and healing. However, surgery may be needed to repair fractures with significant malalignment to unite bone fragments and realign them properly. Newly designed surgical plates and screws allow repair of these injuries with less surgical trauma. With newer bone-fixation methods, there are smaller incisions to minimize tissue damage and bleeding and accelerate the healing process.
If you fall on an icy spot and hurt your ankle, the best advice is to seek medical attention immediately. This aids in early diagnosis and proper treatment of the ankle injury and reduces the risk of further damage. Be sure to schedule an appointment at one of our two locations if you have injured your ankle in any way
How can we help you?
If you are experiencing pain, please don't wait. Contact us! In Irwin, call (724) 863-0996. For the Greensburg location, call (724) 832-1000.
Don’t let foot injuries keep you from your fitness resolutions!
In the New Year, don’t forget to keep your feet in tip-top shape while following through with your resolutions to get fit. Read more to learn some safety tips for your feet while at the gym.
Start new workouts gradually— Increase your stamina and the length of your workouts gradually to avoid overuse injuries such as stress fractures or tendon strains and sprains. Stretching your muscles before and after workouts also helps prevent these types of injuries. If you do feel you’ve sprained your ankle, be sure to seek treatment right away. Untreated or repeated ankle sprains may lead to chronic ankle instability, a condition that causes persistent pain and a ‘giving way’ of the ankle.
Wear the right shoe and sock—Wear well-fitting athletic shoes designed for the exercise or sport. Shoes that don’t support the arch of the foot and provide cushion for the heel can cause heel pain (plantar fasciitis). Shoes that are too small can also cause a neuroma or a thickening of the nerve tissue, in the foot and may require injections, medication or physical therapy. Wearing cotton or non-slip socks are also key to help avoid painful blisters, which can become infected and cause more serious issues.
Use good technique— Improper exercise techniques can result in injury to the tendons or ligaments in your feet and ankles. Incorrect posture or misuse of exercise equipment can cause decreased stabilization in the foot and ankle, leading to joint sprains and muscle strains.
Protect yourself from bacteria—Sweaty shoes, public showers, exercise equipment and the pool deck at the gym are breeding grounds for fungus, viruses and bacteria, including drug-resistant strains like MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) which has become increasingly more common. Never go barefoot while in public areas; water shoes can provide a great barrier between your feet and the wet surfaces. It’s also best to cover cuts and cracks in the skin or ingrown toenails since these minor tears in the skin’s surface can act as entry points for bacteria. If you have a cut or scrape that becomes red or swollen and is not healing in a timely manner, don’t hesitate to see a foot and ankle surgeon for an examination.
Above all, it’s important to listen to your body if you experience an injury or 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.
Although your toes aren't meant to be stick-straight, deformities of their joints can be disfiguring and painful. One such deformity is called hammertoes, a condition that podiatrists, Dr. Cherrie Cindric and Dr. Todd Cindric, see frequently at Westmoreland Foot & Ankle Care in Greensburg, PA. Below, they describe how hammertoes form and what can be done to treat them effectively.
What are hammertoes?
Hammertoes occur when the muscles and tendons associated with the joints of the four smaller toes contract, pulling the joints upwards and giving the toes a hammer-like appearance when viewed from the side. Pain and inflammation often accompany this condition, as well as blisters or calluses forming on the joints from friction inside the shoes. Hammertoes are a chronic condition that typically worsens over time, with the toes becoming rigid and "stuck" in the bent position. However, early intervention from your Greensburg podiatrist will help to slow down their progression.
How are hammertoes treated?
If the affected toes are still flexible, your Greensburg, PA, podiatrist will often suggest pads to cushion the toes from rubbing against the inside of your shoes. Updating your footwear to a better-fitting shoe with plenty of room in the toe box can also make a big difference. In some cases, splints can also be worn to help guide the toe back into a more natural position. Inflexible hammertoes may require surgery to reposition the joints. Surgery is also a consideration if open sores become a problem for you, especially if you are diabetic and prone to slow healing.
Your foot health is important to your activity and comfort level, so if you've been experiencing symptoms of hammertoes or any other foot or ankle-related issue, it's time to contact the podiatry office of Dr. Cherrie Cindric and Dr. Todd Cindric of Westmoreland Foot & Ankle Care in Greensburg, PA. Our helpful staff will be glad to set you up with an appointment!