Each year, millions of Americans experience foot and ankle injuries. Most respond to at-home treatments, like ice and rest, but more serious injuries may require professional intervention. At the Foot and Ankle Institute of Iowa, podiatrist Rudolph La Fontant, DPM, boasts years of experience diagnosing and treating foot and ankle injuries. To make an appointment at the practice in Des Moines, Iowa, call the office today or click the online booking feature.

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What are foot and ankle injuries?

Foot and ankle injuries cause pain, bruising, or swelling. They can affect the hard or soft tissues in your feet or ankles, including the bones, joints, muscles, tendons, or ligaments.

Your feet and ankles are incredibly tough and hard-working, but they aren’t invincible. If you step down awkwardly, drop something heavy on your foot, or fracture your ankle, it’s important to seek professional help right away. 

What are some common causes of foot and ankle injuries?

Foot and ankle injuries occur for various reasons, including:

  • General wear-and-tear
  • Playing sports or exercising
  • Work-related tasks
  • Car accidents
  • Slip and falls
  • Working around the house

You might also experience a foot or ankle injury if you have an underlying condition, like arthritis or osteoporosis, that affects the integrity of your bones or joints.

What are the types of foot and ankle injuries?

Foot and ankle injuries fall into two distinct categories:

Acute foot and ankle injuries

Acute injuries occur suddenly and without warning. Some of the most common types of acute foot and ankle injuries include bruises, puncture wounds, pulled muscles, and broken bones. With early intervention and treatment, acute injuries often heal quickly and don’t require surgery.

Overuse foot and ankle injuries

Overuse injuries occur when too much force or pressure is placed on one of your joints or other tissues. These injuries develop slowly and don’t always present obvious symptoms. Common examples of overuse injuries include plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, and Achilles tendonitis.

How are foot and ankle injuries diagnosed?

To diagnose foot and ankle injuries, Dr. La Fontant reviews your health history and asks about your symptoms, including their severity and if any activities like exercise make them worse. Next, he examines your foot or ankle, gently pressing on it to pinpoint areas of swelling, tenderness, or warmth.

If observation isn’t enough to determine the source of your discomfort, Dr. La Fontant orders diagnostic imaging like X-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI. These imaging procedures capture photographs of your bones, joints, and soft tissues and help Dr. La Fontant make a diagnosis.

How are foot and ankle injuries treated?

Treatment of foot and ankle injuries depends on several factors, including your age, the severity of your symptoms, and their effect on your daily life. Usually, Dr. La Fontant recommends conservative measures of care, including:

  • Mobility devices (like walkers or canes)
  • Ankle supports
  • Topical cannabidiol (CBD)
  • Custom orthotics
  • Splinting
  • Medical-grade inserts
  • Physical therapy
  • Shockwave therapy
  • Gilden Tree wound care products

If your symptoms continue or they get worse, surgical intervention might be necessary. There are several minimally invasive procedures that can safely and effectively relieve foot and ankle pain.

To learn more about your treatment options for foot and ankle injuries, make an appointment at the Foot and Ankle Institute of Iowa, by calling the office today, or clicking the online scheduling tool.