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Posts for: November, 2014

High heeled winter boots dangerous on ice and snow

This winter’s fashionable high-heeled boots put women at risk for slips, falls, and injuries on ice and snow, warns Northern Virginia foot and ankle surgeon Steven A. Gordon, DPM, FACFAS.

These popular boots typically feature tall, spiked heels and narrow, pointed toes.

“Wearing high-heels makes you more unstable when walking or standing on dry surfaces, let alone slippery ones like ice or snow,” says Dr. Gordon. “A stylish low-heeled winter boot is a lot more fashionable than a cast and crutches.”

Dr. Gordon also recommends women scuff-up the soles of new boots, or purchase adhesive rubber soles, to provide greater traction.

Falls from high-heeled winter boots can lead to a number of injuries, depending on how the woman loses her balance. If her ankles roll inward or outward, she can break her ankles. If her ankle twists, ligaments can be stretched or torn, causing an ankle sprain. According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons consumer Web site, FootHealthFacts.org, broken and sprained ankles can be present at the same time. Dr. Gordon is one of 6,000 ACFAS members.

“This time of year I see a variety of broken bones occurring in patients who have slipped on the ice,” says Dr. Gordon. “These include broken toes, metatarsals, heels and ankles.”

Dr. Gordon urges women hurt from slips and falls in high-heeled winter boots to contact his office at (703) 368-7166 for prompt evaluation and treatment. In the meantime, immediately use the “R.I.C.E.” method – rest, ice, compression and elevation – to help reduce swelling, pain and further injury.

“Delaying treatment can result in long-term complications such as chronic ankle instability and pain, arthritis, or deformity,” says Dr. Gordon. “Even if you’re able to walk on the injured foot, pain, swelling, or bruising indicates a serious injury.”

To contact Dr. Gordon, call (703) 368-7166


For many, winter is fall season

Icy conditions cause falls and broken ankles

(Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, VA – 11/14/2014) With the hectic pace of the holidays, serious injuries from ice-related falls inevitably occur. A Northern Virginia foot and ankle surgeon says falls on icy surfaces are a major cause of ankle sprains and fractures, and it’s critical to seek prompt treatment to prevent further damage that can prolong recovery.

Steven Gordon, DPM, FACFAS says the ankle joint is vulnerable to serious injury from hard falls on ice.

“Ice accelerates the fall and often causes more severe trauma because the foot can go in any direction after slipping," he says.

Dr. Gordon is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) with offices in Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, VA. He adds that in cases of less severe fractures and sprains, it’s possible to walk and mistakenly believe the injury doesn’t require medical treatment.

“Never assume the ability to walk means your ankle isn’t broken or badly sprained," he says. "Putting weight on the injured joint can worsen the problem and lead to chronic instability, joint pain and arthritis later in life."

Some people may fracture and sprain an ankle at the same time, and a bad sprain can mask the fracture.

“It’s best to have an injured ankle evaluated as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment,” says Dr. Gordon. “If you can’t see a foot and ankle surgeon or visit the emergency room right away, follow the RICE technique – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation – until medical care is available.”

According to the ACFAS consumer Web site, FootHealthFacts.org, even though symptoms of ankle sprains and fractures are similar, fractures are associated with:

  • Pain at the site of the fracture that can extend from the foot to the knee
  • Significant swelling
  • Blisters over the fracture site
  • Bruising soon after the injury
  • Bone protruding through the skin—a compound fracture, which requires immediate attention!

Most ankle fractures and some sprains are treated by immobilizing the joint in a cast or splint to foster union and healing. However, surgery may be needed to repair fractures with significant malalignment to unite bone fragments and realign them properly.

Dr. Steven Gordon said newly designed surgical plates and screws allow repair of these injuries with less surgical trauma.

“With newer bone-fixation methods, there are smaller incisions to minimize tissue damage and bleeding and accelerate the healing process,” he says.

Dr. Gordon recommends scheduling an appointment with his office if you have injured your ankle in any way.

“If you fall on an icy spot and hurt your ankle, the best advice is to seek medical attention immediately," he says. "This aids in early diagnosis and proper treatment of the ankle injury and reduces the risk of further damage.”

For further information about ankle fractures and sprains or other foot and ankle problems, contact the Reston office at (703)437-6333, Manassas office at (703)777-2101, or the Leesburg office at (703)777-2101.


Rare diabetes foot complication becoming more common in Northern Virginia

Few people with diabetes know about the limb-threatening foot condition, or its warning signs

As diabetes rates soar nationwide, a Manassas, VA foot and ankle surgeon says he’s seeing more patients with a rare diabetic foot complication.

The condition is called Charcot foot (pronounced SHAR-co). Foot and ankle surgeon Steven A Gordon, DPM, FACFAS, says it involves a sudden softening of the foot’s bones. This can trigger an avalanche of problems, including joint loss, fractures, collapse of the arch, massive deformity, ulcers, amputation, and even death.

“As the foot’s structure collapses, the bottom of the foot can become convex, bulging like the hull of a ship,” says Dr. Gordon. “But diabetes patients frequently won’t feel any pain because they have severe nerve damage in their lower extremities.”

Dr. Gordon says every person with diabetes should know the Charcot foot warning signs: a red, hot, swollen foot or ankle. Several other dangerous conditions, such as deep vein thrombosis and acute infections, share these symptoms. A red, hot, swollen foot or ankle requires emergency medical care.

The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) estimates less than one percent of people with diabetes develop Charcot foot. But nationwide, the College’s 6,800 members say they’re noticing more Charcot cases as more Americans develop diabetes.

Charcot cannot be reversed, but its destructive effects can be stopped if the condition is detected early. People with diabetes play a vital role in preventing Charcot foot and its complications. Diabetes patients should keep blood sugar levels under control. This has been shown to reduce the progression of nerve damage in the feet. People with diabetes should also inspect both of their feet every day, and get regular check-ups from a foot and ankle surgeon.

For more information on Charcot foot and other diabetic foot conditions, visit the ACFAS consumer Web site, FootHealthFacts.org or contact Dr. Gordon’s office at (703) 368-7166 or www.FootVA.com