In some cases, one surgery alone isn’t enough to fix a foot or ankle problem. It’s possible that the original surgeon made mistakes, or that the medical condition recurred after the surgery. One example is when complications occur with surgical hardware. A podiatrist in Sugar Land may need to remove surgical plates, screws, or rods because of these complications. During this revision surgery , the foot surgeon may also correct other anatomical problems.
Podiatrists differ in opinion as to whether surgical hardware should be routinely removed, even when it isn’t causing any problems. Once the area has healed, and the hardware has fulfilled its function, there’s no need for it to remain. Some foot specialists prefer to remove it preemptively, before it potentially causes complications. Others prefer to leave surgical hardware in place, due to the risks inherent with a subsequent surgery.
It isn’t possible for the surgical hardware itself to get an infection, as it isn’t living tissue. However, hardware can sometimes accumulate bacteria. It can then infect nearby bone or soft tissue. A post-surgical infection is more common among patients with the following risk factors:
- Intravenous drug use
- Immunocompromised due to medications or medical conditions
- Septic joint near the implanted hardware
- Hardware that partially exits the skin (pins or Kirschner wires)
Infections at the surgical site are one reason why a foot doctor would remove the hardware. During the revision surgery, debridement to remove the infection may be necessary.
Atypical Immune Response
Some patients are sensitive to certain metals, such as nickel, cobalt, and chromium. It’s possible to have an adverse immune response to surgically implanted hardware. It’s uncommon, but possible for metal hypersensitivities and allergies to result in the breakdown of bone tissue and the loosening of the hardware.
In some cases, revision surgery to remove the hardware is necessary because the original procedure failed to correct the problem. “Non-union” is the medical term for the incomplete healing of the bone after surgery. During the revision surgery, the podiatrist may need to stabilize the area further, such as by using bone grafts or different surgical hardware.
Patients with diabetes should have a foot specialist on their care team. You’ll learn why when you watch this featured video. It explains that podiatrists in Sugar Land often treat patients with diabetes who sustained foot injuries without realizing it. This is because diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage, can dull sensation in the foot to the point at which it isn’t possible to sense an injury. Additionally, diabetes inhibits blood circulation, and a constant supply of oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood is necessary for wounds to heal.
Without proper treatment, even a minor wound on the foot can quickly become infected. The infection can spread, the wound can become worse, and eventually, the patient may need to have the toe or foot amputated. By seeing a foot doctor for specialized care, patients with diabetes can avoid these problems, or treat them in time to prevent permanent disability.
Morton’s toe gets its name from the first orthopedic surgeon to officially describe the condition—Dudley Morton. If your second toe is longer than your big toe, then you have Morton’s toe . Usually, this congenital condition doesn’t cause any problems. If yours does, a foot specialist in Sugar Land can give you the expert guidance you need. Podiatrists tend to recommend nonsurgical treatment options before considering surgery.
Understanding Morton’s Toe
Your foot has five long bones that connect each toe to the midfoot. These bones are called metatarsals. Your big toe is connected to the first metatarsal, and your second toe is connected to the second metatarsal, and so on. Morton’s toe doesn’t involve an anatomical abnormality with the second metatarsal, but rather with the first. If the first metatarsal is shorter than usual, then the big toe will be shorter—consequently, the second toe looks longer than it should be.
Identifying Possible Complications
Many people with Morton’s toe never see a foot doctor for this condition, as it doesn’t always cause symptoms. In severe cases, Morton’s toe can cause changes in the way a person walks. This imbalance results in excess pressure placed on the second toe or the ball of the foot. The complications that can occur from changes in gait can range from calluses and corns to hammertoes. Hammertoes are characterized by the bent position of the toes. Initially, it’s possible to stretch out hammertoes. Over time, the muscles tighten to the point at which they cannot be manually flexed. If hammertoes become permanent, corrective surgery may be needed.
Trying Nonsurgical Treatment Options
Most patients with Morton’s toe will do well with a change in footwear. Foot doctors recommend wearing comfortable shoes that feature a wide, deep toe box. This will give the toes plenty of space. You may also need metatarsal pads, or custom orthotic inserts to achieve proper foot alignment.
Exploring Surgical Correction
If Morton’s toe is causing significant problems, and a change in footwear isn’t enough, a foot surgeon may perform a surgery that involves shortening the second metatarsal bone. This is an outpatient surgery, during which the doctor will excise a small portion of the bone, and then use surgical hardware to hold the ends of the bone together as they heal.
Surgical hardware is often a part of foot surgery. There are a few different types of hardware that your foot surgeon in Sugar Land may use, depending on the nature of the problem you’re experiencing. In many cases, the hardware works flawlessly to help patients get over their foot pain and regain their mobility, but in some cases, hardware has to be removed during revision surgery. Here are the facts you need to know about surgical hardware and how it is used during foot surgery.
What is surgical hardware?
Surgical hardware consists of implants your surgeon uses during a procedure. The implants can be made of metals, plastics, and composite materials. In foot surgery, the most common types of hardware used are screws, rods, and plates. Your doctor will help you decide which implant material is right for you. Metal implants are visible on imaging tests, so it is easy to see if they could be causing a problem if you experience pain in the future. The downside is that they cover up the bone underneath. Plastic and composite materials are difficult to see on imaging tests, so it’s harder to diagnose a problem with them, but because they don’t cover the bone, it’s easier to see if damage to a bone is causing an issue.
How is hardware used?
Hardware can be used in many different ways in foot surgery, depending on your needs. Screws may be used to hold bones together after they have been broken. Plates and rods can be used for treating fractures. In some cases, hardware is used to strengthen tendons and ligaments or to replace bone that has been lost or is deformed.
When does hardware need to be removed?
Most patients will never need to have their hardware removed. However, if pain persists after surgery or incomplete healing has occurred, your foot surgeon may remove the hardware during revision surgery. Occasionally, scarring after surgery can cause nerve damage. If this happens, your surgeon may opt to remove the hardware.
Ganglion cysts are benign, fluid-filled lumps that appear just below the skin. If you develop one on your foot, your doctor may recommend an aspiration to remove the fluid in the cyst so that it goes down. If your foot doctor in Sugar Land has recommended that you undergo a ganglion cyst aspiration, it’s natural to feel a little anxious. This information will help you feel more confident when you walk into your appointment.
What happens during ganglion cyst aspiration?
During the procedure, your foot doctor will wipe the area with an antiseptic cleanser and then administer a local anesthetic for your comfort. Once the area around the cyst is numb, your foot doctor will use a fine needle to puncture the cyst so that the fluid comes out. The process is very fast and is usually completed within minutes. There is no required recovery time, and you should be able to return to your normal activities right away.
Is it painful?
Your doctor will use a local anesthetic so that you are comfortable during the procedure. You may feel pressure, but you shouldn’t feel pain. In some cases, you may experience some minor swelling or discomfort around the site of the aspiration when the anesthesia wears off. These symptoms should be short-lived and can easily be managed with ice and over-the-counter pain medicines. Most people are in less pain after the procedure, since releasing the fluid eases the pressure within the cyst. If you are concerned about pain, talk to your foot doctor about your worries. In some cases, you could benefit from taking a sedative before the procedure, under the management of your doctor.
Am I a good candidate?
Ganglion cyst aspiration is not right for everyone. If your cyst is small and not causing any symptoms, then your doctor may recommend watchful waiting before trying any treatment. There is also a risk that cysts can grow back after aspiration. If your foot doctor thinks that your cyst won’t be effectively treated by aspiration, he or she may recommend a different treatment plan.
Fungal nails are unsightly, embarrassing, and occasionally smelly. They are also notoriously difficult to treat. A podiatrist in Sugar Land can use advanced treatments that aren’t available at drugstores to eradicate the fungal infection. Once it’s gone, your foot doctor will give you instructions to prevent the fungal infection from coming back .
Keeping Your Feet Clean
For people who are prone to developing recurrent fungal nail infections, showering once daily may not be enough to keep the feet clean enough. If you shower in the morning, bathe your feet again in the evening. You can use a loofah or clean washcloth to thoroughly work the soap around your feet and toes.
Keeping Your Feet Dry
Fungi love damp, warm environments like the insides of your shoes. Each time you take a shower or bathe your feet separately, dry your feet thoroughly with a clean towel. Be sure to dry between your toes. Your podiatrist might recommend applying a topical medication a few times per week after cleaning your feet. You can also apply foot powder to help your feet stay dry. If you tend to sweat heavily, you may need to change your socks during the day.
Using Public Locker Rooms
Fungal infections easily spread in gyms, public pools, and locker rooms. Always wear shower shoes around the edges of the pool and in the public showers. Let your shower shoes dry completely between uses.
Reducing Your Risk of Nail Injuries
Injured nails are more likely to become infected, especially if you have diabetes. Clip your toenails straight across. Don’t trim them too short or in a rounded fashion, or you’ll be at risk of an ingrown toenail. Before getting a pedicure, check that the salon follows strict sterilization procedures. And sterilize your own nail clippers after each use.
Wearing Proper Footwear
Wear shoes that have enough space in the toe box so that your nails don’t touch the inner end of the shoes. Choose shoes with breathable fabric , and purchase at least two pairs for everyday wear. Alternate them each day so they’ll have time to dry out.
Flat feet are a hereditary problem that are usually first visible during childhood. Without treatment, flat feet can lead to a lifetime of foot pain and conditions like hammertoes and bunions. Fortunately, there are options that can help children with flat feet develop an arch and avoid these kinds of complications. One such strategy your child’s foot specialist in Sugar Land may recommend is the subtalar MBA implant .
The subtalar MBA implant is designed to support the arch of the foot and prevent excessive pronation of the subtalar joint, which causes flat feet. The implant, which is made of titanium, is inserted into the subtalar joint, to realign the foot and promote the arching of the foot. Because bones in children are still flexible, the foot tends to respond well to this kind of treatment.
Following surgery, kids usually need a camwalker boot and crutches for about four weeks after the procedure. Following this recovery period, kids can usually return to their normal activities while wearing sneakers and orthotics.
If you’re suffering from foot pain, a neuroma could be to blame. Neuromas, which are also known as pinched nerves or nerve tumors, are benign nerve tissue growths that often occur between the third and fourth toes, typically in women. If you’re experiencing foot pain, see your podiatrist in Sugar Land to get a diagnosis and to start treatment. Here are the answers to some question that you may have about neuromas.
What causes neuromas?
Foot specialists are not sure exactly what causes neuromas, but there are some factors that seem to increase the risk. Trauma that damages nerves in the feet could cause inflammation that leads to neuromas. Repetitive motions that put strain on the region of the foot usually affected by neuromas can also increase the risk. Wearing shoes that pinch the toes or put pressure on the forefoot also seem to raise the odds of developing neuromas. These include pointed toe shoes and high heels.
What are the symptoms?
Pain in the forefoot and between the toes is the most common symptom of neuromas. Some people also experience swelling between the toes. Pain, tingling, and numbness may also affect the ball of the foot, particularly when you take steps. The pain can become severe with movement and will often get worse when left untreated.
What treatments are available?
Treatments vary depending on the severity of your symptoms. If you see your foot specialist at the first sign of symptoms, conservative, non-invasive treatments are usually effective. Padding and taping the ball of the foot can help, as can custom orthotic devices that control your foot functioning and prevent you from aggravating the condition. Sometimes, anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone injections can also ease the pain. Wearing wide-toe box shoes and avoiding high heels is also necessary.
If these treatments are not successful or your neuroma is diagnosed in an advanced state, then surgical treatment may be needed. During surgery, the affected nerve tissue is removed to cure the condition.
After being diagnosed with diabetes, a podiatrist in Sugar Land will become an important member of your care team. Foot doctors are experts in treating patients with diabetes-related foot problems, including peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage that affects the limbs, hands, or feet. Most often, the symptoms are felt in the toes, feet, and lower legs. Diabetes patients are at a higher risk of peripheral neuropathy because uncontrolled blood glucose levels can damage the sensitive nerves.
As a result of the nerve damage, patients may suffer from foot pain, numbness, weakness, and tingling. The pain of peripheral neuropathy is often described as a pins and needles sensation, or a sharp, burning pain. When working with patients with diabetes, the podiatrist will routinely check nerve function in the feet, look for wounds, and provide foot care counseling. With the proper podiatric care, patients with diabetes can greatly reduce their risk of neuropathy-related complications, including infected foot wounds, systemic infections, and amputation.
The Achilles tendon, which is the longest tendon in the body, extends down the lower leg to the heel. Strong Achilles tendons are essential for basic movements, including walking. If you are recovering from an Achilles tendon injury , talk to your foot specialist. Before you begin rehabbing the tendon, your foot doctor in Sugar Land will need to make sure it’s safe for you to do so.
When your foot doctor does clear you to begin strengthening the Achilles tendons, you can watch this featured video, which introduces the topic. It features a fitness expert who discusses the types of exercises you can do and how many reps you should aim for. For instance, your foot doctor may recommend calf raises and presses, and heel raises and presses. You can complete these exercises with the aid of resistance bands, weight machines, or your body weight.
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