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Foot and Ankle Conditions and Treatments at UPMC in Central Pa.

Foot and ankle pain can impact your quality of life by limiting your mobility. Feet and ankles are susceptible to arthritis, sports injuries, fractures, sprains, and other injuries.

We take a multidisciplinary approach to treating a wide range of foot and ankle conditions, including:

  • Achilles Tendonitis/Tear. The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. It lets you rise up on your toes and push off when you walk or run. An Achilles tendon can partially tear or completely tear (rupture). A partial tear may cause mild or no symptoms. But a complete rupture causes pain and sudden loss of strength and movement.
  • Bone Spurs. A bone spur is a bony growth formed on a normal bone. Most people think of something sharp when they think of a "spur," but a bone spur is just extra bone. It's usually smooth, but it can cause wear and tear or pain if it presses or rubs on other bones or soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons, or nerves in the body.
  • Bunions. A bunion is an enlargement of bone or tissue around the joint at the base of the big toe. The big toe may turn toward the second toe. The tissues around the joint may be swollen and tender. Foot and Ankle Fractures. A fracture is a break in a bone. Fractures can range from a hairline crack in the bone to the bone being broken into two or more pieces that no longer line up correctly. A fracture may occur at the same time as other injuries, such as sprains, strains, or dislocations. Hip fractures are most commonly caused by falls.
  • Gout. Gout is a kind of arthritis. It can cause an attack of sudden burning pain, stiffness, and swelling in a joint, usually a big toe. These attacks can happen over and over unless gout is treated. Over time, they can harm your joints, tendons, and other tissues. Gout is most common in men.
  • Hammer toe. A hammer toe is a toe that is bent into an odd position. The toe bends down toward the floor at the middle toe joint. This causes the middle toe joint to rise up. It usually affects the second toe. Hammer toes often occur with bunions.
  • Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue (ligament) that connects your heel bone to your toes. It supports the arch of your foot. If you strain your plantar fascia, it gets weak, swollen, and irritated (inflamed). Then your heel or the bottom of your foot hurts when you stand or walk.
  • Tendon Pain. Tendon pain can be caused by a number of factors.Tendons are the tough fibers that connect your muscle to your bones. Through aging, overuse or injury, these tendons can get small tears and scarring that make movement very painful.
  • Shin Splints. Shin splints are a condition that causes pain and sometimes swelling in the front part of the lower leg (shin). The pain is most likely from repeated stress on the shinbone (tibia) and the tissue that connects the muscle to the tibia. They are common in people who run or jog.
  • Sprains and Strains. A sprain is an injury to the tough ropey fibers (ligaments) that connect bone to bone. Most muscle strains (pulled muscles) are caused by overstretching muscles. Strains may be minor or severe, such as a torn muscle or tendon.

If you suffer from foot and ankle pain, we will work with you to diagnose the problem and devise a treatment plan that may first include nonsurgical options such as rest, physical therapy, injections, orthotics, or over-the-counter medications to relieve pain and inflammation. But if your symptoms persist or get worse, surgical intervention may be the best option.

Getting Diagnosed

At UPMC in Central Pa., we have a team of experts that include orthopaedic specialists, sports medicine doctors, and podiatrists. Determining the source of your pain is an important first step to effectively treating your condition. Our orthopaedic specialists, sports medicine doctors, and podiatrists use a variety of tests to arrive at a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.

Browse all of the orthopaedic diagnostic procedures offered at UPMC in Central Pa.

Non-surgical Treatment Options

The specialists at UPMC in Central Pa. can diagnose and treat injuries or medical conditions that are affecting your ability to exercise, participate in sports, or maintain an active lifestyle.

Our experts treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions as well as concussion. Should you need surgery, we will refer you to the appropriate specialist.

Browse all of the non-surgical treatment options offered at UPMC in Central Pa.

Surgical Treatment Options

At UPMC in Central Pa., we specialize in minimally invasive surgical techniques that decrease pain and recovery time. Most of our procedures are laparoscopic and use robotic capabilities, resulting in smaller incisions and minimal blood loss and scarring. Types of surgical procedures for the feet and ankles include:

  • Diagnostic exploration
  • Hammer toe correction
  • Bunionectomy
  • Arthrodesis (for flat feet)
  • Achilles tendon lengthening or repair
  • Ankle fusion
  • Percutaneous ultrasound tenotomy

We provide surgical care for a range of common and complex orthopaedic conditions. See the other conditions we treat with orthopaedic surgery.

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