Expert care for sprains, fractures, and more
Your feet and ankles work hard every day, but you may not notice how important they are—until they start hurting. The structures of the foot and ankle are highly complex. If you fall or twist in just the wrong way, or wear the wrong shoes for an extended period of time, you may need medical or surgical treatment to get back on your feet. In some cases, underlying factors, such as arthritis, diabetes, or inherited deformities may cause an injury or make it worse.
At MedStar Health, our podiatric surgeons treat a range of foot and ankle conditions, including:
- Fractures and dislocations of the foot and ankle may be treated by using a cast for six to eight weeks. In cases with extensive damage, a surgeon may repair the fracture surgically using plates, metal, or absorbable screws, pins, staples, or tension bands to hold the bones in place.
- Ankle sprain injuries are often treated with RICE (e.g., rest, ice, compression, and elevation) and over-the-counter medicine. In severe cases, surgery may be required to repair the ligaments.
- Achilles tendon ruptures may occur if the Achilles tendon is overstretched or torn and you feel a snapping or popping sensation in your heel. Treatment may include having surgery to repair the tendon and/or wearing a cast.
- Foreign body removal (such as glass fragments, metal, or plastic objects) may require special care to prevent infection.
- Talar dome lesions happen when the cartilage in the ankle is damaged. Treatment may involve arthroscopic removal of damaged cartilage and, in some cases, replacement or transplant of bone and cartilage.
- Foot and ankle arthritis may be caused by osteoarthritis (due to age, wear-and-tear, or a previous joint-related injury) or rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune condition affecting joints throughout the body). Arthritis may be treated with a conservative approach including medications, injections, physical therapy, and orthotics. In some cases, arthroscopic surgery or artificial joint replacement surgery may be needed.
Hallux limitus/rigidus are types of foot arthritis that affect the big toe joint, causing limited ability to move your big toe up or down (limitus) or loss of movement of the big toe (rigidus). The condition may be treated with medications, injections, physical therapy and orthotics, or with reconstructive foot surgery.
Planning and recovery
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Frequently asked questions
Do I need to go to the doctor for a foot or ankle injury?It’s best to have your injury checked out by a doctor. Without an X-ray, it may be impossible to know if you have a fracture or a sprain, and sometimes a bad sprain may require medical treatment to heal properly. Although many people may be tempted to “walk it off” or just rest for a few days, a foot or ankle injury can have serious, long-term implications if not properly diagnosed and treated.
Will I need foot and ankle surgery?Your doctor will assess if you would benefit from surgery depending on the type of injury, the severity of symptoms and your needs. Your doctor may recommend conservative treatments such as medications, orthotics, or special footwear before considering surgery as an option.
Is podiatric surgery covered by insurance?Your procedure may be covered by insurance if it is deemed medically necessary. Please contact your insurance company to determine your coverage.
How should I prepare for surgery?Before surgery, you may be asked to get blood tests and take or adjust medications. If you smoke, quitting will help you heal faster and better avoid complications. You’ll be given special instructions to follow prior to your surgery.
How long does it take to recover from podiatric surgery?Recovery time depends on the type of surgery and level of correction needed, and it may take a few weeks or a number of months. Your surgeon will discuss a realistic time frame for your recovery.
Will I need physical therapy?Your doctor may recommend a physical therapy program to help you get the best results from your surgery. Physical therapy can help you regain range of motion, strength, and flexibility after surgery.
Distance from Change locationEnter your location
MedStar Health: Plastic Surgery at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
3800 Reservoir Road NW, BLES Building 1st. Floor Washington, D.C., 20007
MedStar Health: Podiatric Surgery at MedStar Washington Hospital Center
106 Irving St. NW POB North Ste. 3400 Washington, D.C., 20010
MedStar Health: Plastic Surgery at Mitchellville
12158 Central Avenue Mitchellville, MD 20721