Care for Feet and Ankles

Podiatry

Forty-seven percent of Americans suffer from a foot ailment, but only 26 percent have actually seen a podiatrist, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. 

Podiatry is an area of medicine involved in diagnosing and treating conditions of the foot and ankle. A podiatrist is a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM) who completes four years of training in a podiatric medical school, and then spends three years as a resident in a hospital. A podiatrist is different from an orthopedist, who is a medical doctor (MD) or an osteopathic physician (DO), with training in all of the body's bones and joints. Both types of specialists are able to perform surgery and are well trained in their respective specialties.

Podiatrists at Texoma Medical Center recognize how foot and ankle conditions can impact daily activities, so they use non-surgical and surgical techniques to help patients regain pain-free mobility and promote better podiatric health.

Podiatry Services at TMC

Some of the services offered by podiatrists at TMC include:

Bunion care — A bunion is a large lump on the joint at the base of the big toe that results from changes in alignment of bones of the front part of the foot. Bunions can cause extreme pain if left untreated because the joint carries much of the body's weight while walking. Treatment options vary with each bunion, and podiatrists will work with each patient to come up with a plan; surgery is usually the last option and podiatrists encourage patients to make footwear and other changes to avoid surgery. The primary goal of most early treatment options is to relieve pressure on the bunion and halt the progression of the joint deformity.

Diabetic foot care — Because of poor circulation and nerve damage to the feet, those with diabetes are more likely to develop wounds and infections even from a minor foot injury. Diabetic foot infections and wounds don’t typically hurt, but they can often be unrecognized by the patient because of decreased or absent sensation in the foot. When left untreated, they can lead to infection, gangrene and lower limb amputation. For this reason, people with diabetes should treat their feet with special care.

With proper care, diabetic foot wounds can generally heal themselves. Once the wounds are healed, action must be taken to prevent wounds from recurring. Diabetics are also prone to having blockages in the lower leg arteries causing inadequate blood flow to the legs and feet. Improving blood flow will help non-healing wounds due to arterial insufficiency. Treatment options include balloon angioplasty or leg bypass surgery around the blockage. Learn more about wound care at TMC >

Flatfoot reconstruction — As the name implies, flatfoot is a flattening of the arch of the foot. It can occur if the arches do not develop in childhood, from injury or aging. While some with flatfeet can benefit from shoe supports and stretching, others may require surgery to realign the affected foot joints.

Foot and ankle reconstruction — Focuses on surgical and non-surgical treatments for patients who have experienced foot and ankle injuries, have post-traumatic arthritis, or foot and ankle deformities. Learn about TMC's first total ankle replacement surgery >

Hammertoe care —  A contracted or “crooked” toe, which may have resulted from previous trauma or from an imbalance in the muscles or tendons, is called a hammertoe. Hammertoes may be aggravated by shoes that don’t fit properly. A hammertoe may also result if a toe is too long and is forced into a cramped position when a tight shoe is worn. The condition may also be hereditary. Treatment options vary with the type and severity of each hammertoe. Podiatrists work with patients to make footwear and other changes as early on in treatment as possible to avoid surgery. If surgery is needed, podiatrists with a specialty in surgery can remove the tiny bone that is prominent and restore the toe joint to normal alignment, which often relieves pain.  Severe hammertoes may require more complex surgical procedures.

Plantar Fasciitis care — Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the band of tissue (the plantar fascia) that extends from the heel to the toes. The fascia first becomes irritated and then inflamed, resulting in heel pain. People who have problems with their arches, either because of flat feet or high-arched feet, are more prone to developing plantar fasciitis. Treatments include pain relievers (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen), physical therapy and over-the-counter or custom-fitted arch supports (orthotics) to help distribute pressure more evenly across the feet. 

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome — Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a squeezing on the posterior tibial nerve that runs from the inside of the ankle into the foot. It's similar to carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist and can cause tingling, burning or numbness in the area. While tarsal tunnel syndrome can be treated with medication, orthotic devices and physical therapy, sometimes surgery can be the best option to release the compression on the posterior tibial nerve. 

If you need a referral to a podiatrist or other physician at Texoma Medical Center, call our free Direct Doctors Plus® referral service at 1-903-416-3627.