Posts for: February, 2016
Lawn care season is back and Reston Virginia foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Steven Gordon, DPM, FACFAS cautions homeowners to protect their feet and the feet of those around them when using rotary-blade lawnmowers.
Each year, some 25,000 Americans sustain injuries from power mowers, according to reports issued by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission. “The blades whirl at 3,000 revolutions per minute and produce three times the kinetic energy of a .357 handgun. Yet, each year we continue to see patients who have been hurt while operating a lawnmower barefoot,” said Dr. Gordon a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
Dr. Gordon said children under the age of 14 and adults over the age of 44 are more likely to be injured from mowers than others. He advises anyone who operates a power mower to take a few simple precautions:
- Don’t mow a wet lawn. Losing control from slipping on rain-soaked grass is the leading cause of foot injuries caused by power mowers.
- Wear heavy shoes or work boots when mowing – no sneakers or sandals.
- Don’t allow small children to ride on the lap of an adult on a lawn tractor. Children can be severely injured by the blades when getting on or off the machine.
- Mow across slopes, never go up or down.
- Never pull a running mower backwards.
- Keep children away from the lawn when mowing.
- Keep the clip bag attached when operating a power mower to prevent projectile injuries.
- Use a mower with a release mechanism on the handle that automatically shuts it off when the hands let go.
“If a mower accident occurs, immediate treatment is necessary to flush the wound thoroughly and apply antibiotics to prevent infection,” says Dr. Gordon. “Superficial wounds can be treated on an outpatient basis, but more serious injuries usually require surgical intervention to repair tendon damage, deep clean the wound and suture it. Tendons severed in lawnmower accidents generally can be surgically reattached unless toes have been amputated,” he adds.
New Survey Reveals Majority of Americans Suffer from Foot Pain
Ailments widespread, yet few people address issues
Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, VA, 2/16/16—The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) today announced the results of its Today’s Podiatrist survey, which measures the public’s attitudes toward foot health. The study, which surveyed 1,000 US adults ages 18 and older, found the majority of Americans say they have experienced foot pain (77 percent), but only a third of those would seek expert care by a podiatrist.
Foot pain can have a profound impact on quality of life. Half of all adults say that foot pain has restricted their activities—like walking, exercising, working, or playing with grandchildren—in some way. For those with chronic foot pain, that number jumps to 83 percent. People say they would exercise more (39 percent) and participate in more activities (41 percent) if it weren’t for their foot pain.
While foot ailments are widespread, familiarity and experience with the podiatrists who treat them is considerably lower. Most adults would speak with their primary care physician (60 percent) or do a Web search (48 percent) to answer questions about foot health before considering a visit to a podiatrist.
“Podiatrists are physicians, surgeons, and specialists. They’re ready and able to treat diseases, injuries, and deformities of the foot and ankle, as well as the foot problems Americans experience most often: heel pain, plantar fasciitis, nail fungus, and foot odor,” said APMA member Dr. Shaun Hafner. “They can also catch signs of diabetes, arthritis, and nerve and circulatory disorders, all of which can be detected in the feet.”
The good news: Among those who have visited a podiatrist, 88 percent said their podiatrist was able to quickly provide a clear diagnosis, and 76 percent said their podiatrist was able to prescribe an effective treatment regimen and/or medication that helped their foot- or ankle-related issues improve or go away.
In addition, more than a third (34 percent) of those who visited a podiatrist said their podiatrist helped identify another health-related issue they had, such as diabetes, circulatory problems, or nerve issues. Those who have visited a podiatrist are also extremely satisfied with their care; in fact, more are satisfied than those who sought out a primary care physician for foot care.
“Foot pain is never normal, and it’s critical that anyone experiencing chronic pain seeks care from an expert,” said Dr. Hafner.
Treatment for foot pain in Northern Virginia is available at Dr. Shaun Hafner’s practice— Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg Foot and Ankle Centers. To schedule an appointment or talk to one of Dr. Shaun Hafner’s staff, call 703-437-6333 for the Reston Office, 703-368-7166 for the Manassas Office, and 703-777-2101 for the Leesburg Office or visit www.FootVA.com for more information.
For many, winter is fall season
Icy conditions cause falls and broken ankles
With the hectic pace of the holidays, serious injuries from ice-related falls inevitably occur. A Reston 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 A. 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. 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.”
- 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. 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 Dr. Gordon at (703) 437-6333.