Tips for Preventing Foot and Ankle Injuries

Tips for Preventing Foot and Ankle Injuries

Article Featured on UCFS Health

Foot and ankle injuries are common in sports, especially running, tennis and soccer. But sports enthusiasts can decrease the risk of injury by taking some precautions.

Warm up prior to any sports activity

Lightly stretch or better yet, do a slow jog for two to three minutes to warm up the muscles. Don’t force the stretch with a “bouncing motion.”

Condition your muscles for the sport

The amount of time spent on the activity should be increased gradually over a period of weeks to build both muscle strength and mobility. Cross training by participating in different activities can help build the muscles.

Choose athletic shoes specifically for your foot type

People whose feet pronate or who have low arches should choose shoes that provide support in both the front of the shoe and under the arch. The heel and heel counter (back of the shoe) should be very stable. Those with a stiffer foot or high arches should choose shoes with more cushion and a softer platform. Use sport-specific shoes. Cross training shoes are an overall good choice; however, it is best to use shoes designed for the sport.

Replace athletic shoes when the tread wears out or the heels wear down

People who run regularly should replace shoes every six months, more frequently if an avid runner.

Avoid running or stepping on uneven surfaces

Try to be careful on rocky terrain or hills with loose gravel. Holes, tree stumps and roots are problems if you are trail running. If you have problems with the lower legs, a dirt road is softer than asphalt, which is softer than concrete. Try to pick a good surface if possible. However, if you’re racing, be sure to train on the surface you’ll eventually run on.

Be careful running too many hills

Running uphill is a great workout, but make sure you gradually build this up to avoid injuries. Be careful when running downhill too fast, which can often lead to more injuries than running uphills!

Prevent recurrent injuries

Athletes who have experienced ankle injuries previously may benefit from using a brace or tape to prevent recurrent ankle injuries.

Listen to your body

If you experience foot and ankle pain during a sport, stop the activity or modify the activity until the pain subsides. Also, if you have been injured, you should go through a period of rehabilitation and training before returning to the sport to prevent recurrent injuries.

Running and Tennis Injuries

Running and tennis injuries include ankle sprains, Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. Ankle sprains, a partial or complete tear of any of the ligaments responsible for supporting and stabilizing the ankle joint, usually result from landing on an uneven surface and having the foot turn awkwardly.

Injury to the Achilles tendon, the strongest and largest tendon that connects the back of the calf muscle to the heel bone, occurs from overuse and is usually an acute inflammation or a partial tear. If the tendon is weak, it can rupture with the right force.

It is also common for the plantar fascia, the tough tissue that maintains the arch of the foot and runs from the heel to the toes, to become inflamed, resulting in heel or arch pain.

Runners also may experience injury to the tendons or ligaments located on the outside and inside of the ankle and stress fractures of the foot bones. In running, any one incident may not be enough to fracture the foot; however, over time, repetition of abnormal forces or stress can cause the bone to weaken or break. Five to 15 percent of all running injuries are stress fractures. Of those injuries, 49 percent occurred in those who ran between 25 miles to 44 miles per week.

Soccer Injuries

Unlike foot and ankle injuries in tennis and running, which are usually overuse injuries, soccer injuries often result from trauma such as a direct blow to the lower leg. Because soccer is a contact sport, collision injuries from striking another player are common, accounting for 30 percent of all soccer injuries.

Ankle injuries in soccer account for 20 to 30 percent of all soccer injuries—the most common being ankle sprains. Soccer players also may experience turf toe, a sprain that results from stubbing the toe while running or improperly planting one’s cleats.


Treatment for these injuries varies depending on the severity of the injury. Most strains and sprains can be treated with rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). Moderate to severe cases, however, may require some form of immobilization such as a brace or a cast. Certain injuries that don’t heal within the expected time frame may require surgery.

It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible for foot and ankle injuries, especially if it is causing you to limp or there is swelling. Prompt and appropriate treatment and rehabilitation ensures the best possible recovery.

8 Common Types of Foot Surgery

8 Common Types of Foot Surgery

Article by Dr. JP Elton | Featured on

We know the foot and ankle are quite intricate. In fact, this area is one of the most complex areas of the body. So, as you can imagine, there are several different types of surgery we perform in this area of the body.

Here are some of the most common types of foot and ankle surgery.

1. Metatarsal Foot Surgery

The metatarsal bones are a group of five long bones in the foot. You find them between the “tarsal bones” and the phalanges of the toes.

The small joints in your forefoot (the metatarsophalangeal joints) may become artrhitic. The arthritis can in turn lead to inflammation of the joint lining (called synovitis). When this results in MTPJ joint dislocation, the result is pain and discomfort. Many people report that it’s like walking on pebbles. Not fun.

The details of metatarsal foot surgery depend upon the severity of the injury. There is a chance that other treatments will control the pain, but surgery is a distinct option. We want to make it comfortable for you to walk and remove that pebbly feeling.

When surgery is necessary, a common scenario is the removal of the heads of the MTPJ and surgery to the big toe.

2. Bunions Foot Surgery

We’ve talked quite a bit about bunions here recently. Bunions often affect females because of footwear choices. High heels are a major culprit.

So what are bunions? Let’s rehash. Bunions occur at the base of the big toe, and they are bony lumps resulting from “hallux valgus.” What’s that, you ask. Hallux valgus causes the big toe joint to become deformed when it bends towards the other toes. This, in turn, causes the bunions.

Surgery for bunions is not all that complicated. We perform an osteotomy, which is a straightening of the big toe and the metatarsals. Recovery time for bunion surgery is about 6 weeks.

3. Hammer Toe Foot Surgery

Bunions aren’t the only condition caused by hallux valgus. Another nasty result of this condition is to cause the other toes to bend in a permanent manner. ANOTHER nasty result it can have is to cause the toes become clawed and deformed. We call this hammer toe. It can be quite painful when walking.

We can repair hammertoe by either performing an arthroplasty or an arthrodesis. Don’t worry, I don’t expect you to know what I’m talking about here. An arthroplasty is when we restore your joint flexibility. We do this by removing the deformed joint between the toes.

These foot surgeries are usually outpatient and only take around an hour to perform. Limit your walking for the first couple of days. You should be back to normal (stitches out and dressing done) in six weeks, max.

4. Plantar Fasciitis Foot Surgery

Plantar fasciitis is when the tissue from the heel to the toe (the plantar fascia) becomes inflamed where it joins your heel. We actually don’t need to do surgery for plantar fasciitis very often. But with bad cases of the condition, we release the plantar fascia from the heel bone. It’s a simple foot surgery. After, you need to have it bandaged up following surgery. No big deal.

5. Ankle Surgeries

Pain and swelling in the ankle is the result of either:
  • Osteoarthritis (cartilage covering bone ends thins out and bone underneath thickens)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis resulting from a previous injury.

Surgery to relieve the pain and swelling may be necessary if you are facing severe ongoing symptoms.

In this case, we may perform one of the following procedures:

  • Ankle fushion
  • Triple fushion
  • Ankle replacement

6. Achilles Tendon Disorders

An injury to the achilles tendon is one of the more dramatic lower-body injuries. But even a ruptured achilles is often a result of “wear-and-tear.” The achilles is always working, as it’s necessary to keep you walking and running.

In case of achilles tendon swelling without a rupture, we occasionally perform surgery. After this surgery you’ll be moving around on crutches for a couple of weeks.

7. Morton’s Neuroma Foot Surgery

What Causes Morton’s Neuroma?

This is a condition that affects the nerves of the toes, near the balls of the feet. It can be quite painful. Morton’s neuroma occurs when the tissue around the nerves of the toes becomes overly thickened.

Morton’s neuroma is yet another irritating condition that can arise from excessive wearing of high-heeled shoes

Here are the symptoms of Morton’s neuroma:

  • The notorious “pebble-in-the-shoe” feeling
  • A sharp, burning sensation in the toes or balls of the feet
  • Numb or “tingly” toes

Surgery for Morton’s neuroma involves removing the nerve that is causing your pain. This surgery is an outpatient procedure, and after you will have to wear bandages for a couple of weeks.

8. Tibialis Posterior Dysfunction Foot Surgery

There is a muscle that provides support for your instep arch. We call it the tibialis posterior. The tibialis posterior tendon connects the tibialis to the bone, and it can become swollen and painful when inflamed. This can happen when an athlete falls, or also due to overuse.

We see tibialis posterior dysfunction in athletes who play high impact sports like soccer and basketball. The result of this condition can weaken the tendon and compromise the instep arch. It can result in a “flatfooted” look. This injury can definitely slow down your season if you have it.

If icing and rest do not relieve the pain and swelling, we may have to treat the condition surgically. Depending on the specific case, this may involve:

  • Osteotomy
  • Tendon Transfer
  • Fusion

These procedures will have you in a cast for up to 12 weeks. But afterwards, you should be pain free!

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

How to Tell if Your Foot is Broken: Symptoms & Treatment Options

How to Tell if Your Foot is Broken: Symptoms & Treatment Options

Article Featured on Mayo Clinic


Foot and ankle bones

A broken foot is an injury to the bone. You may experience a broken foot during a car crash or from a simple misstep or fall. The seriousness of a broken foot varies. Fractures can range from tiny cracks in your bones to breaks that pierce your skin.

Treatment for a broken foot depends on the exact site and severity of the fracture. A severely broken foot may require surgery to implant plates, rods or screws into the broken bone to maintain proper position during healing.

Symptoms of a Broken Foot

If you have a broken foot, you may experience some of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Immediate, throbbing pain
  • Pain that increases with activity and decreases with rest
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Deformity
  • Difficulty in walking or bearing weight

When to see a doctor if you think your foot is broken

See a doctor if there is obvious deformity, if the pain and swelling don’t get better with self-care, or if the pain and swelling gets worse over time. Also, see a doctor if the injury interferes with walking.

Common Causes of a Broken Foot

The most common causes of a broken foot include:

  • Car accidents. The crushing injuries common in car accidents may cause breaks that require surgical repair.
  • Falls. Tripping and falling can break bones in your feet, as can landing on your feet after jumping down from just a slight height.
  • Impact from a heavy weight. Dropping something heavy on your foot is a common cause of fractures.
  • Missteps. Sometimes just putting your foot down wrong can result in a broken bone. A toe can get broken from stubbing your toes on furniture.
  • Overuse. Stress fractures are common in the weight-bearing bones of your feet. These tiny cracks are usually caused over time by repetitive force or overuse, such as running long distances. But they can also occur with normal use of a bone that’s been weakened by a condition such as osteoporosis.

Risk factors

You may be at higher risk of a broken foot or ankle if you:

  • Participate in high-impact sports. The stresses, direct blows and twisting injuries that occur in sports such as basketball, football, gymnastics, tennis and soccer can causes foot fractures.
  • Use improper technique or sports equipment. Faulty equipment, such as shoes that are too worn or not properly fitted, can contribute to stress fractures and falls. Improper training techniques, such as not warming up and stretching, also can cause foot injuries.
  • Suddenly increase your activity level. Whether you’re a trained athlete or someone who’s just started exercising, suddenly boosting the frequency or duration of your exercise sessions can increase your risk of a stress fracture.
  • Work in certain occupations. Certain work environments, such as a construction site, put you at risk of falling from a height or dropping something heavy on your foot.
  • Keep your home cluttered or poorly lit. Walking around in a house with too much clutter or too little light may lead to falls and foot injuries.
  • Have certain conditions. Having decreased bone density (osteoporosis) can put you at risk of injuries to your foot bones.

Complications from a Broken Foot

Complications of a broken foot are uncommon but may include:

  • Arthritis. Fractures that extend into a joint can cause arthritis years later. If your foot starts to hurt long after a break, see your doctor for an evaluation.
  • Bone infection (osteomyelitis). If you have an open fracture, meaning one end of the bone protrudes through the skin, your bone may be exposed to bacteria that cause infection.
  • Nerve or blood vessel damage. Trauma to the foot can injure adjacent nerves and blood vessels, sometimes actually tearing them. Seek immediate attention if you notice any numbness or circulation problems. Lack of blood flow can cause a bone to die and collapse.


These basic sports and safety tips may help prevent a broken foot:

  • Wear proper shoes. Use hiking shoes on rough terrain. Wear steel-toed boots in your work environment if necessary. Choose appropriate athletic shoes for your sport.
  • Replace athletic shoes regularly. Discard sneakers as soon as the tread or heel wears out or if the shoes are wearing unevenly. If you’re a runner, replace your sneakers every 300 to 400 miles.
  • Start slowly. That applies to a new fitness program and each individual workout.
  • Cross-train. Alternating activities can prevent stress fractures. Rotate running with swimming or biking.
  • Build bone strength. Calcium-rich foods, such as milk, yogurt and cheese, really can do your body good. Taking vitamin D supplements also can help.
  • Use night lights. Many broken toes are the result of walking in the dark.
  • Declutter your house. Keeping clutter off the floor can help you to avoid trips and falls.

Diagnosing a Broken Foot

During the physical exam, your doctor will check for points of tenderness in your foot. The precise location of your pain can help determine its cause. They may move your foot into different positions, to check your range of motion. You may be asked to walk for a short distance so that your doctor can examine your gait.

Imaging tests

If your signs and symptoms suggest a break or fracture, your doctor may suggest one or more of the following imaging tests.

  • X-rays. Most foot fractures can be visualized on X-rays. The technician may need to take X-rays from several different angles so that the bone images won’t overlap too much. Stress fractures often don’t show up on X-rays until the break actually starts healing.
  • Bone scan. For a bone scan, a technician will inject a small amount of radioactive material into a vein. The radioactive material is attracted to your bones, especially the parts of your bones that have been damaged. Damaged areas, including stress fractures, show up as bright spots on the resulting image.
  • Computerized tomography (CT). CT scans take X-rays from many different angles and combine them to make cross-sectional images of internal structures of your body. CT scans can reveal more detail about the bone and the soft tissues that surround it, which may help your doctor determine the best treatment.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to create very detailed images of the ligaments that help hold your foot and ankle together. This imaging helps to show ligaments and bones and can identify fractures not seen on X-rays.

Treating a Broken Foot

Treatments for a broken foot will vary, depending on which bone has been broken and the severity of the injury.


Your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).


After your bone has healed, you’ll probably need to loosen up stiff muscles and ligaments in your feet. A physical therapist can teach you exercises to improve your flexibility and strength.

Surgical and other procedures

  • Reduction. If you have a displaced fracture, meaning the two ends of the fracture are not aligned, your doctor may need to manipulate the pieces back into their proper positions — a process called reduction. Depending on the amount of pain and swelling you have, you may need a muscle relaxant, a sedative or even a general anesthetic before this procedure.
  • Immobilization. To heal, a broken bone must be immobilized so that its ends can knit back together. In most cases, this requires a cast.

    Minor foot fractures may only need a removable brace, boot or shoe with a stiff sole. A fractured toe is usually taped to a neighboring toe, with a piece of gauze between them.

  • Surgery. In some cases, an orthopedic surgeon may need to use pins, plates or screws to maintain proper position of your bones during healing. These materials may be removed after the fracture has healed if they are prominent or painful.

Preparing for your appointment for a Broken Foot

You will likely initially seek treatment for a broken foot in an emergency room or urgent care clinic. If the pieces of broken bone aren’t lined up properly for healing, you may be referred to a doctor specializing in orthopedic surgery.

What you can do

You may want to write a list that includes:

  • Detailed descriptions of your symptoms
  • Information about medical problems you’ve had
  • Information about the medical problems of your parents or siblings
  • All the medications and dietary supplements you take
  • Questions you want to ask the doctor

For a broken ankle or foot, basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What tests are needed?
  • What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
  • If I need a cast, how long will I need to wear it?
  • Will I need surgery?
  • What activity restrictions will need to be followed?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • What pain medications do you recommend?

Don’t hesitate to ask any other questions you have.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor may ask some of the following questions:

  • Was there a specific injury that triggered your symptoms?
  • Did your symptoms come on suddenly?
  • Have you injured your feet in the past?
  • Have you recently begun or intensified an exercise program?

What to do in the meantime

If your injury isn’t severe enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room, here are some things you can do at home to care for your injury until you can see your doctor:

  • Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, every three to four hours to bring down the swelling.
  • Keep your foot elevated.
  • Don’t put any weight on your injured foot.
  • Lightly wrap the injury in a soft bandage that provides slight compression.

Adult Acquired Flatfoot

Article Featured on AAOS

A variety of foot problems can lead to adult acquired flatfoot deformity (AAFD), a condition that results in a fallen arch with the foot pointed outward.

Most people — no matter what the cause of their flatfoot — can be helped with orthotics, braces and physical therapy. In patients who have tried these treatments without any relief, surgery can be a very effective way to help with the pain and deformity.

This article provides a brief overview of the problems that can result in AAFD.

Adult acquired flatfoot

One of the more common signs of flatfoot is the “too many toes” sign. Even the big toe can be seen from the back of this patient’s foot. In a normal foot, only the fourth and fifth toes should be visible.


Depending on the cause of the flatfoot, a patient may experience one or more of the different symptoms below:

  • Pain along the course of the posterior tibial tendon which lies on the inside of the foot and ankle. This can be associated with swelling on the inside of the ankle.
  • Pain that is worse with activity. High intensity or impact activities, such as running, can be very difficult. Some patients can have difficulty walking or even standing for long periods of time.
  • When the foot collapses, the heel bone may shift position and put pressure on the outside ankle bone (fibula). This can cause pain on the outside of the ankle. Arthritis in the heel also causes this same type of pain.
  • Patients with an old injury or arthritis in the middle of the foot can have painful, bony bumps on the top and inside of the foot. These make shoewear very difficult. Occasionally, the bony spurs are so large that they pinch the nerves which can result in numbness and tingling on the top of the foot and into the toes.
  • Diabetics may only notice swelling or a large bump on the bottom of the foot. Because their sensation is affected, people with diabetes may not have any pain. The large bump can cause skin problems and an ulcer (a sore that does not heal) may develop if proper diabetic shoewear is not used.


As discussed above, many health conditions can create a painful flatfoot.

Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD)

Damage to the posterior tibial tendon is the most common cause of AAFD. The posterior tibial tendon is one of the most important tendons of the leg. It starts at a muscle in the calf, travels down the inside of the lower leg and attaches to the bones on the inside of the foot.

The main function of this tendon is to hold up the arch and support your foot when you walk. If the tendon becomes inflamed or torn, the arch will slowly collapse.

Anatomy of the foot

The posterior tibial tendon attaches the calf muscle to the bones on the inside of the foot.

Women and people over 40 are more likely to develop problems with the posterior tibial tendon. Other risk factors include obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. Having flat feet since childhood increases the risk of developing a tear in the posterior tibial tendon. In addition, people who are involved in high impact sports, such as basketball, tennis, or soccer, may have tears of the tendon from repetitive use.


Inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can cause a painful flatfoot. This type of arthritis attacks not only the cartilage in the joints, but also the ligaments that support the foot. Inflammatory arthritis not only causes pain, but also causes the foot to change shape and become flat.

The arthritis can affect the back of the foot or the middle of foot, both of which can result in a fallen arch.


An injury to the ligaments in the foot can cause the joints to fall out of alignment. The ligaments support the bones and prevent them from moving. If the ligaments are torn, the foot will become flat and painful. This more commonly occurs in the middle of the foot (Lisfranc injury), but can also occur in the back of the foot.

In addition to ligament injuries, fractures and dislocations of the bones in the midfoot can also lead to a flatfoot deformity.

Diabetic Collapse (Charcot Foot)

People with diabetes or with a nerve problem that limits normal feeling in the feet, can have arch collapse.

This type of arch collapse is typically more severe than that seen in patients with normal feeling in their feet. This is because patients do not feel pain as the arch collapses. In addition to the ligaments not holding the bones in place, the bones themselves can sometimes fracture and disintegrate – without the patient feeling any pain. This may result in a severely deformed foot that is very challenging to correct with surgery. Special shoes or braces are the best method for dealing with this problem.


Adult acquired flatfoot is one of the most common problems affecting the foot and ankle. Treatment ranges from nonsurgical methods — such as orthotics and braces — to surgery. Your doctor will create a treatment plan for you based on what is causing your AAFD.

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Causes and treatments for pain in the arch of the foot

Causes and treatments for pain in the arch of the foot

The arch of the foot is an area along the bottom of the foot between the ball and the heel. Pain in the arch of the foot is a common problem, especially among athletes. The arch is made up of three separate arches that form a triangle. Each arch is made up of bones, ligaments, and tendons.

There are many potential causes of pain in the arch of the foot. Keep reading for more information on these causes, as well as the possible treatments.


The two most common causes of pain in the arch of the foot involve injury and structural issues. Structural issues typically refer to high or low arches or other abnormalities in the foot and surrounding area.

In both cases, several factors can trigger or aggravate these issues, including:

  • aging
  • overuse
  • weight gain
  • physical stress
  • neurological conditions

Causes of pain in the arch of the foot include:


Overpronation refers to how a person’s foot moves while walking, running, or jogging. A person who overpronates strikes the ground with the outer portion of the heel first. As the person completes the step, the foot rolls too far onto the arch. The extra pressure causes the arch to flatten.

Long term, overpronation can damage the tendons, muscles, and ligaments. This damage can lead to pain in the arch, knee, hip, or back. It may also cause hammertoe and calluses. A person who overpronates often benefits from extra support when walking. Support can include stability shoes and prescription arch supports.

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a degenerative condition of the plantar fascia and a common causes of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a ligament that connects the back of the foot to the front.

Common causes of plantar fasciitis include:

  • injury
  • overuse
  • inflammation

Anyone can get plantar fasciitis, but activities such as running can increase the risk. If a person has plantar fasciitis, they often feel pain when waking up. The pain typically gets worse throughout the day with walking and standing. In addition to arch pain, a person may feel stiffness in the heel or ball of their foot.

People with plantar fasciitis may need to stop doing activities such as running to let the foot heal. They can also consider wearing support shoes or using inserts to help take pressure off the arch.

Cavus foot

Cavus foot is a structural abnormality that causes a high arch. Causes of cavus foot include:

  • genetics
  • stroke
  • cerebral palsy
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

If a person has cavus foot, they may feel pain when walking or standing. They may also have reduced stability, which can lead to ankle sprains and injuries.

A person may have other issues related to cavus foot, including:

  • claw toe
  • hammertoe
  • calluses

People with cavus foot can consider support shoes or inserts to help stabilize their feet and avoid pain and possible injury.

Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction

The posterior tibial tendon connects one of the calf muscles to the inner part of the foot. Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD) occurs when this tendon is injured or inflamed. If the posterior tibial tendon cannot support the arch, a person may feel pain there as a result.

PTTD pain typically occurs in the inner part of the ankle and back of the calf. The pain usually occurs while running or walking briskly and goes away once a person stops. An ankle brace or specially designed inserts can help correct PTTD.

Flat feet

Flat feet can occur in children or adults. In many cases, flat feet cause no issues, but they can also cause a person to experience pain in the arch, other areas of the foot, legs, ankles, and back.

A person may not realize they have flat feet until symptoms occur. A doctor may recommend using supportive shoes or inserts to help provide additional support for the arch.


In some cases, home treatments and stretching are not enough to relieve pain. If this is the case, a doctor or podiatrist may recommend one or more of the following:

  • physical therapy
  • night splints
  • braces
  • casts
  • surgery
  • cortisone injections
  • prescription pain relievers (prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications)
  • prescription orthotics, support shoes, or inserts

Home remedies and stretches

While undergoing treatment, a person should still consider home remedies and stretches to help alleviate the pain. A person should not attempt these if a doctor advises them not to move the foot.

Some home remedies include:

  • Resting: Stop or significantly reduce doing any activity that aggravates the arch.
  • Applying ice: Apply an ice pack wrapped in a cloth to the arch and other tender areas to help reduce swelling.
  • Wearing socks: Avoid walking around in bare feet.
  • Using support: Consider using cushions, inserts, and support shoes.
  • Splinting: Ask a doctor about splinting the foot at night to help keep it supported while sleeping.
  • Using medication: Try over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen.

In addition, there are a few different techniques a person can do to help alleviate pain and make the arch less prone to injury. These include:

Foot Stretch

To perform this stretch:

  • sit down
  • place the foot on the opposite thigh
  • hold the toes with one hand while pushing in and down on the heel with the other
  • gently push the toes towards the heel and hold for 3–5 minutes

Calf stretch

When a person stretches their calves, they can relieve pain and pressure on the arch of the foot. To perform a calf stretch:

  • stand facing the wall and place both hands shoulder width apart on the wall
  • take a step back with one foot
  • bend the front knee forward while keeping the back knee straight and the heel on the floor
  • hold the stretch for 20–30 seconds, repeat three times and then switch legs

Roller or ball foot massage

A person can use a small tennis ball or foam roller to perform a massaging stretch on the foot. This technique is easiest to do while sitting. To use this technique, a person should:

  • take off their shoes and sit in a chair
  • place the ball or roller under the arch of the foot
  • roll it back and forth from the ball of the foot to the heel over the arch

About the arch of the foot

The arch is responsible for several functions in the foot. Some things the arch does include:

  • helps bear weight
  • helps stabilize movements
  • allows the foot to adapt to changes in the terrain as a person walks or runs
  • helps absorb shock
  • helps maintain balance

A person may feel an injury to the arch directly in the area. It is also possible to feel pain or discomfort in other areas, including the:

  • heel
  • ball of foot
  • top of foot
  • hips
  • legs
  • knees
  • back
  • ankles

In some cases, a person may feel the worst pain in the morning. However, most people will experience worse pain during activities, including standing, that directly involves the feet.

When to see a doctor

For occasional pain, resting, ice, and stretching are usually sufficient. However, if the pain does not go away after a few days, is severe, or frequently comes back, a person should talk to a doctor.

A doctor may refer a person to an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in the feet and ankles or a podiatrist, who is a foot specialist. They can examine the person’s foot, how they walk, and other factors to determine what the underlying issue is.

An examination may include:

  • looking for inflammation, tenderness, swelling, deformities,
  • checking balance, coordination, reflexes, sensation, and muscle tone
  • tests such as X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, or ultrasounds

Once a doctor determines the underlying cause of the pain, they will recommend treatments that specifically target the underlying cause and help alleviate pain.


Arch pain is a common problem, especially among athletes. In many cases, a person can stretch, rest, and ice the arch of their foot until the pain goes away.

Problems with the arch of the foot can also cause pain in different parts of the body, including the ankle, heel, legs, knee, and back. It is essential to treat the problem early to ensure that foot problems do not lead to back or knee injuries.

If the pain persists, gets worse, or is chronic, a person should talk to their doctor about additional treatment options.

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Flexible Flatfoot in Children

Flexible Flatfoot in Children

Article Featured on AAOS

When a child with flexible flatfoot stands, the arch of the foot disappears. Upon sitting or when the child is on tiptoes, the arch reappears. Although called “flexible flatfoot,” this condition always affects both feet.

Flexible flatfoot is common in children. While parents often worry that an abnormally low or absent arch in a child’s foot will lead to permanent deformity or disability, most children eventually outgrow flexible flatfoot without developing any problems in adulthood. The condition is usually painless and does not interfere with walking or participation in sports. If your child’s flexible flatfoot does not cause pain or discomfort, no treatment is needed.

Flexible flatfoot

Flexible flatfoot, showing the absence of an arch when standing. The arch reappears when the patient is sitting or on tiptoes.


A flexible flatfoot is considered to be a variation of a normal foot. The muscles and joints of a flexible flatfoot function normally. Most children are born with very little arch in the feet. As they grow and walk, the soft tissues along the bottom of the feet tighten, which gradually shapes the arches of the feet.

Children with flexible flatfoot often do not begin to develop an arch until the age of 5 years or older. Some children never develop an arch. If flexible flatfoot continues into adolescence, a child may experience aching pain along the bottom of the foot. A doctor should be consulted if a child’s flatfeet cause persistent pain.

Doctor Examination

To make the diagnosis, your doctor will examine your child to rule out other types of flatfeet that may require treatment. These include flexible flatfoot with a tight heel cord (Achilles tendon), or rigid flatfoot, which may be a more serious condition.

Tell your doctor if anyone else in the family is flatfooted, as this may be an inherited condition. Your doctor will need to know about any known neurological or muscular disease in your child.

Your doctor will look for patterns of wear on your child’s everyday shoes. He or she may ask your child to sit, stand, raise the toes while standing, and stand on tiptoe. In addition, your doctor will probably examine your child’s heel cord (Achilles tendon) for tightness and may check the bottom of your child’s foot for calluses.

Flexible flatfoot

The arch disappears when standing (left) and reappears when the child is on tiptoes (right)Reproduced from Sullivan JA: Pedatric Flatfoot: Evaluation and Management. J Am Acad Orthop Surg 1999;7:44-53.


Nonsurgical Treatment

Treatment for flexible flatfoot is required only if your child is experiencing discomfort from the condition.

Stretching exercises. If your child has activity-related pain or tiredness in the foot, ankle, or leg, your doctor may recommend stretching exercises for the heel cord.

Heel cord stretch

Heel cord stretch.

  • Heel Cord Stretch
    Lean forward against a wall with one leg in front of the other. Straighten your back leg and press your heel into the floor. Your front knee is bent. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Keep both heels flat on the floor. Point the toes of your back foot toward the heel of your front foot.  This stretch should be performed three times on each leg.

Shoe inserts (orthotics). If discomfort continues, your doctor may recommend shoe inserts. Soft-, firm-, and hard-molded arch supports may help relieve your child’s foot pain and fatigue. They can also extend the life of your child’s shoes, which may otherwise wear unevenly.

In most cases, there is little benefit to using custom-molded arch supports.  Over-the-counter arch supports, which are available at most sporting goods and running shoe stores, can be just as effective and are much less expensive to replace as your child grows. Online retailers often have inserts in difficult-to-find sizes.

Additional treatment. Your doctor may prescribe physical therapy or casting if your child has flexible flatfoot with tight heel cords.

Flexible flatfoot corrected over time

A child at age 3 years (left) with flexible flatfoot. The same child at age 15 years (right) has a normal arch despite having received no treatment. Reproduced from Sullivan JA: Pedatric Flatfoot: Evaluation and Management. J Am Acad Orthop Surg 1999;7:44-53.

Surgical Treatment

Occasionally, surgical treatment may be recommended for an adolescent with persistent pain. Surgery is typically performed to create an arch in the foot and lengthen tendons that may be tight and causing pain. The surgery is usually performed in stages. One foot is corrected then, after several months of recovery, the second surgery takes place.

In a small number of children, flexible flatfeet become rigid instead of correcting with growth. These cases may need further medical evaluation.

What May Cause Foot Pain After Running

What May Cause Foot Pain After Running

By Christine Luff| Featured on Verywellfit

Are you feeling post-run pain in your arch, top of foot, toes, heel, side of foot, toenails, or maybe more than one spot? Foot pain is a common ailment among runners and also one that can be confusing because the causes and treatments for the pain can vary widely.

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How to Tell if Your Toe is Broken

How to Tell if Your Toe is Broken

Is it a sprain or a break?

If you’ve ever stubbed your toe hard, the immediate, severe pain can leave you wondering if your toe is broken. In many cases, the injury winds up being a sprain. This is painful, but it means the bone itself is still intact.

If the toe bone breaks into one or more pieces, then you have a broken toe.

Learning to recognize the symptoms and treatment of a broken toe is important. If a broken toe is left untreated, it can lead to problems that may affect your ability to walk and run. A poorly treated broken toe may also leave you in a lot of pain.

Symptoms of a Broken Toe

Throbbing pain in the toe is the first sign that it may be broken. You may also hear the bone break at the time of injury. A broken bone, also called a fracture, may also cause swelling at the break.

If you’ve broken your toe, the skin near the injury may looked bruised or temporarily change color. You’ll also have difficulty putting any weight on your toe. Walking, or even just standing, can be painful. A bad break can also dislocate the toe, which can cause it to rest at an unnatural angle.

A sprained toe shouldn’t look dislocated. It will still swell, but will likely have less bruising. A sprained toe may be painful for several days, but should then begin to improve.

One other key difference between a break and a sprain is the location of the pain. Usually a break will hurt right where the bone has fractured. With a sprain, the pain may be felt in a more general area around the toe.

The only way to tell for sure if the injury is a break or a sprain is to see your doctor. They can examine your toe and determine the type of injury.


The two most common causes of a broken toe are stubbing it into something hard or having something heavy land on it. Going barefoot is a major risk factor, especially if you’re walking in the dark or in an unfamiliar environment.

If you carry heavy objects without proper foot protection, such as thick boots, you’re also at a higher risk for a broken toe.

What to expect when you see your doctor

A broken toe can usually be diagnosed with the use of an X-ray. If the pain and discoloration don’t ease up after a few days, you should definitely see your doctor.

A broken toe that doesn’t heal properly could lead to osteoarthritis, a painful condition that causes chronic pain in one or more joints.

Your doctor will examine your toe and ask for your medical history. Tell your doctor as many details as you can about the injury and your symptoms. Be sure to tell your doctor if you notice a loss of feeling or tingling in your toe. This could be a sign of nerve damage.

If there’s a chance the toe is broken, your doctor will likely want to get one or more X-rays of the injured toe. Getting images from different angles is important to understand the extent of the break.

Information from the X-ray will also help your doctor decide whether surgery is necessary.

Treatment of a Broken Toe

With most cases of a broken toe, there’s little your doctor can do. It’s mostly up to you to rest your toe and keep it stable.

Even before you know whether your toe is broken, you should ice the injured toe and keep it elevated. You may also take over-the-counter painkillers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (AdvilMotrin), or naproxen (Aleve).

If you have surgery to repair the toe, your doctor may prescribe stronger pain medicines.

Splinting your toe

Typical treatment for a broken toe is called “buddy taping.” This involves taking the broken toe and carefully securing it to the toe next to it with medical tape. Usually, a gauze pad is placed between the toes to prevent skin irritation.

The non-broken toe is basically used as a splint to help keep the broken toe from moving too much. By taping the broken toe to its neighbor, you give the injured toe the support it needs to begin healing.

Surgery and additional treatment options

More serious breaks may require additional treatment. If you have bone fragments in the toe that need to heal, taping may not be enough.

You may be advised to wear a walking cast. This helps keep the injured toe stable while also giving your foot enough support to reduce some of the pain you may have while walking.

In very serious cases, surgery may be necessary to reset the broken bone or bones. A surgeon can sometimes put a pin or a screw into the bone to help it heal properly. These pieces of hardware will remain in the toe permanently.

Your toe is likely to be tender and swollen, even after a few weeks. You’ll likely need to avoid running, playing sports, or walking long distances for one to two months after your injury.

Recovery time can be longer if the break is in one of the metatarsals. The metatarsals are the longer bones in the foot that connect to the phalanges, which are the smaller bones in the toes.

Your doctor can give you a good estimate of recovery time based on the severity and location of your injury. A mild fracture, for example, should heal faster than a more severe break.

With a walking cast, you should be able to walk and resume most non-strenuous activities within a week or two after injuring your toe. The pain should diminish gradually if the bone is healing properly.

If you feel any pain in your broken toe, stop the activity that’s causing the pain and tell your doctor.


The key to a good outcome is following through on your doctor’s advice. Learn how to tape your toe properly so you can change the tape regularly.

Carefully try to put more pressure on your broken toe each day to see how it’s recovering. Take any slight improvements in pain and discomfort as signs that your injury is healing.

Tips for recovery

Here are some things you can do to improve your recovery.


You may temporarily need a bigger or wider shoe to accommodate your swollen foot. Consider getting a shoe with a hard sole and a lightweight top that will put less pressure on the injured toe, but still provide plenty of support.

Velcro fasteners that you can easily adjust can provide additional comfort.

Ice and elevation

Continue to ice and elevate your foot if your doctor recommends it. Wrap the ice in a cloth so that it doesn’t come into direct contact with your skin.

Take it slow

Ease back into your activities, but listen to your body. If you sense that you’re putting too much weight or stress on the toe, back off. It’s better to have a longer recovery and avoid any painful setbacks than to rush back into your activities too quickly.

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Orthopedic Shoes: What To Look for When Buying

Orthopedic Shoes: What To Look for When Buying

Article Featured on HealthyFeet

If there’s a recurring theme in the report, it’s that buying the right orthopedic shoeis an investment in foot health. But how do you find an orthopedic shoe that fits properly and provides adequate support, without falling prey to commercial claims by shoe stores and manufacturers that may have no scientific basis?

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