Pain in our feet and ankles is a life-altering health issue - but it can be treated. And to help you get back up and move through life pain-free, Matthews-Vu Medical Group proudly offers comprehensive podiatry care for you and your entire family. Our foot and ankle care team provides both surgical and non-surgical treatments for foot and ankle injuries and conditions, including diabetic foot care, wound care, elective surgery, trauma, and orthotics. If you're struggling and need care, contact us online or by phone to schedule an appointment with Podiatrist Dr. Travis Kotter, who oversees Podiatry Services at our Woodmen Campus.
Our feet and ankles endure a lot of "wear and tear" every day. We rely on them to help us walk, run, jump, climb, and engage in many other movements we rarely give a second thought to. As a result of being used so heavily, our feet and ankles are at risk of suffering from many different types of problems. As a result, foot and ankle pain can be a symptom of many different health issues, from acute injuries to chronic inflammation or damage.
Dr. Kotter of Matthews-Vu Medical Group offers comprehensive foot and ankle care for all ages and conditions affecting the foot and ankle. Our care goes beyond supporting your recovery from common foot and ankle problems such as sprains and fractures. Specific examples of the health issues we treat include but are not limited to the following:
Podiatry (i.e. foot care) for people with diabetes is one of the most important yet overlooked aspects of diabetes management. This is because foot problems are a common complication in diabetic individuals. Diabetes can reduce blood circulation (which leads to injuries and wounds healing more slowly in diabetics) and damage the nerves in the feet (which increases the risk of injury since patients lose feeling in their feet).
If you are diabetic, it's very important to have a foot specialist examine your feet for nerve damage or circulation problems on a yearly basis. Dr. Kotter is trained to treat diabetic foot and leg problems, allowing our care team to catch even minor issues early on - which is proven to dramatically decrease hospitalizations and amputations! Our care team will also provide advice on how to properly care for your feet on a day-to-day basis when living with diabetes.
According to research from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 25 percent of athletic injuries are foot and ankle-related. And sports such as running, basketball, soccer, football, and dance are often associated with more foot and ankle injuries. Tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, sprains, neuroma (i.e. pinched nerves), and heel spurs and are examples of common sports injuries that afflict the feet and ankles.
It depends. While foot surgery or ankle surgery is sometimes needed, it's best prescribed only after conservative treatments do not provide relief from pain or deformity of the foot or ankle. In addition to helping to treat health issues that are not responding to non-surgical care, surgery will be needed to treat torn or ruptured tendons, as well as deformities of the bone or muscle that prevent you from enjoying normal activities and cause pain.
Every health issue is different and affects patients differently as well. To determine if surgery would be helpful, talk to your foot and ankle doctor about your specific case and health goals.
Different surgeries include bunion surgery; fusions to treat arthritic or painful conditions; hammer toe surgery; heel spur surgery; ingrown toenail surgery; and tendon surgery. Each surgery will require different preparations and carry different risks, so always discuss your surgical care plan in-depth with your foot and ankle surgeon.
Peripheral vascular disease, often called PVD or PAD (peripheral arterial disease), occurs when narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs. PVD refers to disorders of the blood vessels outside of the heart, such as those of the brain, kidneys or limbs. PVD most often affects the legs and feet. Over time, arteries can build up with cholesterol plaques and become narrow. This can happen to arteries anywhere in the body. For example in the neck arteries that supply the brain, it can cause a stroke. In the heart arteries it can cause a heart attack. In the arteries of the legs, it can cause leg weakness leg cramping/pain, fatigue and walking, slow walking, non-healing wounds, and gangrene. Because PVD is associated with increased risk of heart attack, stroke, non-healing wound, foot infections, and amputations, experts recommend screening for PVD in patients with certain risk factors.
There are many risk factors for PVD. The top two risk factors that most commonly lead to PVD include smoking and diabetes. Poorly controlled diabetes greatly increases the risk of PVD, among other health problems. Other common risk factors for PVD include the following; age greater or equal to 65, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history of PVD, history of atherosclerosis to arteries of the heart, kidneys or neck (coronary, renal or carotid stenosis), and history of aortic aneurysm.
The most common symptom of PVD is calcification, defined as pain, cramping, or aching in the calves, thighs, or buttocks that occurs with walking and is relieved by rest. Extreme symptoms include resting leg pain (pain when legs are elevated), non-healing wound, and gangrene of the foot. Diabetic patients with neuropathy, (numbness of the legs and/or feet), often lack the classic symptom of leg pain. These patients are therefore likely to experience more subtle symptoms such as leg fatigue or slowed walking. For this reason, diabetics are often tested for PVD even when no symptoms are present.
An Ankle Brachial Index exam (ABI) is a quick, easy, and painless test that helps determine if you have PVD. An ABI exam measures blood pressure and blood flow velocity in arms and ankles using blood pressure cuffs. Your doctor may recommend an ABI exam if you have symptoms or risk factors of PVD. The American Diabetes Association and the American College of Cardiology have developed guidelines for testing. If you are experiencing symptoms or have questions, please discuss screening and prevention options with your primary care provider.
If you are diagnosed with PVD, treatment may include medication and exercise. In severe cases were blood flow is nearly completely blocked, surgery may be recommended. Surgical treatment includes stents or bypasses of arterial blockages in order to improve blood flow to the legs and feet. The goals of these treatments are to minimize symptoms, improve quality of life and reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, amputation and other vascular complications. An ABI exam can help to catch PVD early on which will help prevent later complications that result from untreated vascular disease.