What are Common Foot and Ankle Injuries?

Our experienced NYC orthopedic foot surgeons explain what you need to know

Foot and ankle injuries can be very serious and very painful. That’s why it’s important that you take your injury seriously right from the start. Otherwise, your pain or other symptoms could get worse. The longer you wait, the more difficult it could become to effectively treat your foot or ankle injury in some cases.

You can count on our experienced, board-certified New York orthopedic foot surgeons at Island Musculoskeletal Care (IMC Bone Doc) to care for you. We know what different symptoms mean. We know what treatments work and we’re prepared to do the work that needs to be done to help you heal. That’s what comes from more than 100 years of combined medical experience among our doctors.

We also understand the urgency of many foot and ankle injuries. That’s why we often have immediate appointments available the same day. It’s also the reason why we have an MRI machine and other diagnostic equipment in each one of our seven offices. That way, we can figure out what’s wrong and start treating you effectively right away. If possible, we will do our best to schedule all your medical care at one convenient location.

What type of foot and ankle injury do you have?

There many different types of ankle and foot injuries. Some of the most common – and most serious – injuries we regularly deal with at IMC Bone Doc include:

Every injury is unique. That’s why we never take a one-size-fits-all approach to serious foot or ankle injuries. We take the time to diagnose exactly what’s wrong with you. We then create a treatment plan based on your unique symptoms and needs.

Our experienced, New York orthopedic foot surgeons want to help you

Foot and ankle injuries can be painful and uncomfortable. Get the relief you need and deserve. Contact us and schedule an appointment with one of our experienced, New York orthopedic foot surgeon. Call 1-888-BONE-DOC (266-3362) or schedule an appointment online. IMC Bone Doc is an in-network medical provider. As a result, we accept most forms of medical insurance. Our staff can help you if you have any questions about coverage.

What is an ankle sprain?

A sprained ankle occurs when ligaments in the ankle are stretched too far or torn away from the adjacent bones. As a result, the ankle can become unstable and painful to walk on. Sprained ankles often occur due to twisting the joint too fast or landing in an awkward position on the foot. In most cases, resting the ankle and icing it will help promote healing due to a sprained ankle. What might appear to be an ankle sprain could turn out to be a symptom of a much worse ankle injury.

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What is an Achilles tendon rupture?

The Achilles tendon is the strong, cord-like fiber than connects the heel bone to the calf muscles near the back of the leg. When the Achilles tendon tears or ruptures, the pain can be severe and immediate. You will likely know right away that you tore your Achilles tendon. Non-surgical methods (including wearing a brace or a cast) are often used to treat an Achilles tendon rupture. Ankle surgery may be recommended, depending on the severity of your injury.

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What is plantar fasciitis?

The thick band of tissue located on the bottom of the foot is known as the plantar fascia. When this part of the foot becomes inflamed, this painful medical condition is known as plantar fasciitis. Often due to overuse among older adults, plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. Rest and icing the foot are often used to treat plantar fasciitis, but surgery may be necessary in certain extreme circumstances.

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What is an ankle fracture?

The ankle contains three primary bones – the tibia (lower leg bone), talus (ankle bone) and fibula (calf bone). If one of these bones breaks or becomes fractured, the ankle needs to be immobilized as soon as possible. Ankle fractures are common among athletes. Often, putting the ankle in a cast or splint will help realign the ankle and encourage the bones to fuse together. Surgery may necessary if the fracture is too severe to heal using non-surgical medical procedures.

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What is ankle instability?

If the ankle constantly slips out of place, this medical condition is known as ankle instability. An X-ray is often taken to confirm whether a patient has ankle instability. Physical therapy and wearing a brace may then be prescribed to correct this medical condition, but, if the ankle continues to be unstable and does not respond to conservative treatment methods, surgery may be necessary to properly treat ankle instability.

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What are nail bed injuries?

The nails on the toes can very sensitive and very prone to injuries. This is especially true with the nail bed, the soft tissue located beneath the nail. If a nail bed is injured, the nail itself might stop growing or fall off. Heavy objects falling on the toe are a common cause of nail bed injuries. Damage to the toenail and nail bed injuries may also be a symptom of a much more serious toe injury, including a bone fracture. That’s why it’s important to have an orthopedic foot surgeon examine your injured toe and evaluate exactly what’s going on.

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What are osteochondral injuries of the ankle?

Injured to the ankle bone (talus) are known osteochondral injuries. Also sometimes referred to as osteochondritis dissecans, osteochondral injuries often occur in the ankle joint where the tibia (shin bone) and fibula (calf bone) meet. A blow to the ankle or another traumatic event are often the cause of these injuries. Immobilizing the ankle and preventing it from moving are often effective ways to treat osteochondral injuries in the ankle, but ankle surgery may be necessary in certain, extreme cases.

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What is a stress fracture of the foot?

Overuse and wear and tear are common causes of stress fractures (small bone breaks) in the foot. Athletes or people who spend a lot of time on their feet often sustain stress fractures in the foot. Resting the foot and wearing a brace are often an effective method for treating a stress fracture in the foot. Foot surgery may be necessary if a stress fracture fails to respond to these conservative treatment methods.

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What are shin splints?

Officially known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), shin splints are a painful inflammation of the bone tissue, muscles and tendons around the shin bone (tibia). Shin splints are often the result of over-exercising, a rapid increase in physical activity or repetitive activities which place a lot of strain on the muscles around the shin. Rest and icing the muscles are often the most effective treatments for shin splits. Shin splints could be a symptom of a much more serious injury. That’s why it’s important to have a medical professional examine you and determine exactly what’s wrong.

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What is a heel fracture?

The heel bone (officially known as the calcaneus) found near the back of foot often breaks or fractures due to an accident, traumatic event or certain serious bone diseases. A heel fracture is a serious medical issue and can cause long-term medical problems if not treated correctly in a timely fashion. Immobilizing the heel in a cast may be enough for healing the broken bone. In certain extreme circumstances, surgery may be necessary to properly heal a serious heel fracture.

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What is a lisfranc (midfoot) fracture?

Lisfranc is the name used to refer to the middle part of the foot. When fractures happen in the lisfranc area, it can be very difficult for people with broken bones in this part of the foot to stand, walk or perform other routine tasks. Lisfranc fractures often occur between the metatarsal bones in the foot and the tarsal bones in the arch part of the foot. Immobilizing the broken bones in a cast and resting the foot are often effective ways to promote healing in lisfranc area. Surgery may be necessary in certain extreme circumstances.

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What is a talus fracture?

The talus (ankle bone) can break for many reasons but most often, talus fractures are due to falling from a height, car accidents and other traumatic events. An X-ray or CT scan is often used to verify whether the talus bone is broken and the severity of the injury. Immobilizing the broken bone in a cast is often used to promote healing in the fractured talus, but ankle surgery may be necessary if the bone does not heal properly.

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What is a toe and forefoot fracture?

The forefoot is the part of the foot found near the toes. When a bone breaks or fractures in the forefoot area or in one of the toes, these foot injuries can be very painful. Often, these fractures are either stress fractures (often due to overuse) or traumatic fractures. If you have a toe fracture or forefoot fracture, you will likely feel a great deal of pain in this part of the foot. Rest and immobilizing the foot are often the best methods for promoting healing in the foot. Surgery may be necessary, if the bone break is severe enough.

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What is turf toe?

An injury to the ligament at the base of the toe is known as turf toe. This painful condition is often characterized by the toe being bent backwards, often when coming into contact with the ground with extreme force. As a result, turf toe is common among athletes who play high-impact sports such as football, soccer and baseball. Resting the injured toe and immobilizing it are the most common and effective treatments for turf toe but surgery may be necessary if the bone fracture is severe.

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What is a foot fracture?

A fracture or break in a bone in the foot can be a painful, serious condition. Often, foot fractures occur because a heavy object fell on the foot, crushing one or more bones. Other times, foot fractures occur due to bone disease or overuse. In many cases, immobilizing the foot in a cast can be an effective treatment for a foot fracture. If the break is too severe, foot surgery may be necessary to properly treat a foot fracture.

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What is foot and ankle trauma?

Foot and ankle trauma is a broad term used to describe a wide range of injuries to the bones, joints, muscles, tendons or ligaments in the ankle or foot. From ankle sprains to bone fractures in the foot, ankle and foot trauma needs to be properly diagnosed so the patient receives the proper medical care. We regularly take X-rays, MRIs and CT scans to determine the severity of the trauma. That way, our foot surgeons can decide whether or not we should operate on your injured ankle or foot.

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What is a broken ankle bone?

The bones in the ankle – which include the talus – can break for many different reasons. Broken ankle bones are often the result of a car accident or a sports injury. That’s because people playing soccer, football and basketball sometimes trip or fall and break the bones in their ankle. An X-ray will often confirm the severity of the break. Immobilizing the broken bone in a cast or operating on a severe broken bone are often the two main ways our ankle surgeons treat these injuries.

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What is a broken foot bone?

There are 26 bones in the human foot. When one or more of these bones breaks, the pain and discomfort can be severe. An X-ray, MRI or CT scan can often confirm which bones are broken and the severity of the break. Immobilizing the broken bones in a cast is often sufficient for healing the break or bone fracture. Orthopedic foot surgery may be necessary if the break is severe and does not heal using non-surgical treatment methods.

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What is a soft tissue ankle injury?

Injuries to the ligaments, muscles or tendons in the ankle are known as soft tissue ankle injuries. These injuries often happen to active athletes and can include muscle strains, muscle sprains, tendinitis and bursitis (which is the inflammation of the bursa sacs around the joints in the ankle.) Resting the ankle is often the best way to treat these injuries. More aggressive medical treatments may be necessary if the injuries are severe and do not respond to resting the ankle.

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What is a soft tissue foot injury?

Soft tissue (muscles, ligaments and tendons) in the foot can easily be injured in a traumatic event (car accident, blow to the foot, etc.) or due to wear and tear over time. That’s why it’s important that you have an experienced, orthopedic foot surgeon examine your foot and properly diagnose exactly what’s wrong. Resting and icing your foot may be enough to heal your soft tissue foot injury, but you may need foot surgery. That’s why one of our foot surgeons wants to examine your injured foot to determine exactly what’s wrong.

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What is an ankle ligament injury?

The ligaments (thick, rope-like bands which connect muscle and bone) in the ankle can be very sensitive and vulnerable to serious injury. Whether it’s twisting an ankle while playing a sport or tripping while walking downstairs, ankle ligament injuries can be very painful and serious. An X-ray may be necessary to properly diagnose an ankle ligament injury. Resting the ankle and anti-inflammatory drugs are then often used to promote healing, but, if the ligament is severely injured, ankle surgery may be necessary.

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What is an ankle injury?

Ankle injuries are common and can range from mild sprains to severe fractures. Some of the most severe ankle injuries include osteochrondral injuries. These ankle injuries can result in bone and cartilage separating from the ankle, causing pain and discomfort. An injury to the talus (ankle bone) is a common cause of osteochrondral injuries. An MRI, CT scan or X-ray can confirm the severity of the injury. Putting a cast or a brace on the ankle often helps heal these injuries. Ankle surgery may be necessary in certain extreme circumstances.

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What is foot and ankle osteoarthritis?

Inflammation of the cartilage in the ankle joint is a common cause of arthritis, especially among older adults. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and is a degenerative joint disease, meaning the cartilage becomes worn out slowly over time. Osteoarthritis in the foot or ankle can be very painful. Steroid injections, anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy are common non-surgical treatments for osteoarthritis. Otherwise, arthroscopic ankle surgery may be necessary.

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What is Achilles tendon bursitis?

The fluid-filled sacs (known as bursa) in the heel part of the foot beneath the Achilles tendon can swell and become very painful. When this happens, this foot injury is known as Achilles tendon bursitis, which is common among athletes or anyone who runs or walks excessively. An X-ray or MRI may be necessary to confirm whether someone has Achilles tendon bursitis. Resting the foot and corticosteroid injections are often used to treat this condition. In certain extreme cases, surgery may be necessary for severe cases of Achilles tendon bursitis.

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What is a bunion?

A bunion is a thick, bony protrusion often found on the outside of the foot near the base of the big toe. Bunions are often hereditary and can make walking or running very painful. A bunion may also affect other parts of the foot and can get larger and more painful over time. There are non-surgical methods for treating the symptoms of a bunion. Removing the bunion all together is medical procedure known as a bunionectomy.

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What is forefoot pain?

The part of the foot located near the end of the foot near the toes is known as the forefoot. Pain in this part of the foot is known as metatarsalgia. This type of foot pain often occurs in older adults and can make walking, running or other activities painful. Pain relief medications and physical therapy are common methods for treating forefoot pain. Surgery is only rarely used for such foot injuries, but it’s important to fully understand all the treatment options available to you.

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What is intoeing?

Also known as being pigeon toed, in toeing is foot abnormality in which the foot faces inward instead of being straight. Some children with intoeing grow out of the condition as they get older. Severe intoeing might not correct itself and can make walking and running very painful. An orthopedic foot surgeon at IMC Bone Doc can examine your foot if you or a loved one suffers from intoeing.

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What is Morton’s neuroma?

Nerve damage between the third and fourth toes is known as Morton’s neuroma. This chronic, painful condition sometimes occurs among women due to wearing high heels over a long period of time. Men and can also develop Morton’s neuroma, which often causes swelling around the nerve and nearby tissue. Resting and icing the foot are common treatments for Morton’s neuroma. Surgery is only rarely used but it’s critical that you have an experienced, orthopedic foot surgeon examine your foot in order to properly diagnose and treat your injury.

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What is foot pain?

Foot pain can be caused by many different foot injuries or other factors. Sometimes, over-exercising or standing too much is a common cause of foot pain. Other times, foot pain may be due to structural problems in the muscles, bones, ligaments or tendons in the foot. That’s why it’s critical that you have an orthopedic foot surgeon examine your foot and diagnose exactly what’s wrong. Your foot pain may be a mild injury but it could also be something very serious which requires foot surgery.

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What is a flatfoot?

When there is no natural arch in the base of the foot, a person’s foot will completely flatten out and touch the ground when standing. Flat feet can be painful in adults and often contribute to joint pain in the ankles and other parts of the leg. Orthotic devices and physical therapy are sometimes used to treat flat feet. Other times, foot surgery may be advised in cases of severe flat feet. Our orthopedic foot surgeons can explain all these options after we examine you.

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What is a foot drop?

A foot drop (or dropped foot) is a medical condition in which someone is unable to lift their foot when they walk. As a result, they drag their foot along the ground while walking. Foot drop is often caused by muscle paralysis in the foot. Treatments for foot drop vary depending on the cause of such an injury. Wearing a foot brace may be an effective solution. Other times, nerve stimulation, physical therapy or surgery may be recommended for treating someone suffering from foot drop.

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What is a hammertoe?

Deformities in the second through fifth toe are often referred to hammertoe. In particular, someone suffering from hammertoe will often have the middle part of the toe bent upwards. People with hammertoe often experience severe pain and irritation when walking since their toes press up against the tops of their shoes. Corrective footwear can be used to treat hammertoe. Other times, in more severe cases, hammertoe surgery may be necessary.

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What is a mallet toe?

This abnormality in the toe often results in one or more toes bending slightly downward at the middle joint in the toe. Mallet toe often occurs because a tendon in the toe is damaged. Excess stress placed on the toe or the toe being crushed are both common causes of mallet toe. Physical therapy or corrective shoes can be effective ways to reduce foot pain often associated with mallet toe. Mallet toe surgery may be necessary, especially for adults suffering from severe, chronic foot pain.

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What is a claw toe?

Claw toe is a painful, toe deformity in which the toe bends upward like a bird’s claw. Due to such a foot deformity, the skin in this part of the foot often becomes hard and calloused due to rubbing against normal shoes, making walking or running painful and uncomfortable. Nerve damage which weakens muscles in the toes is a common causes of claw toe. Corrective shoes and toe stretching exercises can sometimes alleviate the pain associated with claw toe. Other times, people with severe claw toe undergo corrective surgery. Our orthopedic foot surgeons can thoroughly examine your feet and recommend which approach makes the most sense for you.

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What are limb deformities?

Limb deformities affecting the feet or ankles can cover a wide range. Some deformities are present at birth. These are known as congenital deformities. Other foot deformities develop later in life due to a broken bone, tumor, infection or arthritis.

Common limb deformities affecting the feet or ankles include:

  • Calcaneovalgus foot
  • Congenital genu varus
  • Congenital vertical talus
  • Clubfoot
  • Flat feet
  • Leg length discrepancy
  • Metatarsus adductus
  • Tarsal coalition

 

Each foot condition is unique – and so is our approach. That’s why we want to meet with you, examine your foot and diagnose exactly what’s wrong. That way, our orthopedic foot surgeons can advise you on the best approach for treating your foot or ankle deformity.

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What is a club foot and congenital deformity?

Club foot is a congenital deformity (a medical condition someone is born with) in which one foot develops downward and inward, causing the person to walk on the side or top of their foot instead of the bottom of their foot. Non-surgical medical treatments aimed at realigning the foot are often tried initially after a baby is born with a clubbed foot. If these procedures do not work, club foot surgery may be the best way to effectively treat such a congenital deformity.

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What is heel pain?

Heel pain can be caused by many different medical conditions. Pain in the heel bone (calcaneus) or surrounding muscles, tendons, soft tissue or ligaments can occur for many different reasons. These include Achilles tendinitis, bursitis, bone spurs and plantar fasciitis. Resting the heel, icing it and corticosteroid injections can all be effective treatments for many forms of heel pain. Heel surgery may be necessary in certain circumstances, including severe bone fractures in the heel.

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