Posts for: November, 2017
Foot and ankle surgeons share reassuring insight on managing pain after surgery
Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, Virginia 11/09/2017 – With any surgery comes reasonable concerns. Depending on the person, your mind could start racing anywhere from the seriousness of your condition, to the procedure itself, to out-of-pocket costs or the required downtime. However, when it comes to foot and ankle surgery, there is the inevitable question: How bad will it hurt afterward?
Even if you have a high tolerance for pain, the unfortunate truth is that pain can accompany the healing process following any surgery. “But, with the proper care, healing after foot and ankle surgery can be more comfortable than people might expect, according to Virginia- based foot and ankle surgeon and American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeon Fellow Member, Steven Gordon, DPM AACFAS.
“With the availability of such a large variety of highly effective pain medications, fear of pain should be the last deterrent keeping patients from having foot or ankle surgery. Patients can take comfort in knowing that as surgeons, we have an equally vested interest in keeping them comfortable so their surgical experience is positive and they have a speedy recovery,” said Dr. Gordon
Dr. Gordon explains that patients can receive a local, long-lasting anesthetic immediately following surgery, which significantly decreases pain. Also, in today’s healthcare climate where efforts to reduce prescription drug addiction are at an all-time high, there are stronger anti-inflammatory medications available, which can eliminate the need for pain relievers containing narcotics.
Of course, not all pain being created equal, there are other options for patients to manage their comfort levels following surgery. Depending on the expected degree of pain, patients can take home a pain pump, which allows them to self-administer pain medication intravenously, allowing for a faster and more potent delivery.
“Ultimately, if a patient needs to undergo surgery, it clearly means something is wrong and requires medical correction or extraction. That in mind, we want to help patients feel good about their surgery and think about how better they will feel afterward, versus the pain during healing,” reasons Dr. Gordon.
- more -
Pain Management After Foot Surgery
In addition to medication, a tried and true method in controlling pain following foot or ankle surgery is to apply rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). “Using the RICE method reduces swelling in the surgical area. By reducing the swelling, inflammation is minimized, which in large part lowers pain," added Dr. Gordon.
The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons recommends patients talk to their foot and ankle surgeon before their procedure to determine how much pain they can expect and the plan of action for managing their pain after surgery.
For more information on controlling your pain after foot or ankle surgery, contact Dr. Gordon at (703) 368-7166 (703) 368-5103, or visit the American College of Foot and Surgeons’ patient education website at FootHealthFacts.org.
Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, foot and ankle surgeon says new procedures, techniques speeding patients' recoveries
Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg Virginia 11/10/2017 Many Achilles tendon surgery patients in Reston, Manassas, Leesburg are getting back on their feet faster, thanks to new procedures and techniques.
Steven Gordon, DPM, FACFAS, a foot and ankle surgeon with offices in Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, says the introduction of tissue graft products, bone anchors, radio frequency treatments and new arthroscopic procedures provide patients with less invasive treatments and speedier recovery times.
"These surgical advances will shorten recovery times for many patients, allowing them to get back to their jobs and active lifestyles in less time," says Gordon.
The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone in the back of the leg and facilitates walking. The most common Achilles condition is tendonitis, an inflammation of the tendon. Gordon says most tendonitis cases can be successfully treated with non-surgical methods such as rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy.
But some tendonitis patients develop scar tissue on the tendon, or their tendon fibers weaken and develop microscopic tears, a condition called Achilles tendinosis. Fixing these problems may require surgery and weeks to months of recovery.
Gordon says recently-introduced radio frequency technology can shorten recovery time for some patients by using radio waves to stimulate healing in the tendon. The procedure requires smaller incisions to insert the wand-like radio frequency device. Smaller incisions mean less damage to skin and muscle, less pain, and lower risk of surgical infections. Patients recover faster.
Overuse, especially in athletes, can cause the Achilles tendon to tighten and pull so hard on the heel bone that a bone spur, or bump, develops. Shoes can rub against the spur and cause pain. In addition, a painful fluid-filled sac called a bursa can develop between the heel bone and the tendon. Traditionally, correcting this tightness involved cutting the tendon, removing the bone spur or bursa, and then reattaching the tendon.
According to Gordon, new arthroscopic techniques can provide a minimally invasive option to removing bone spurs and bursas without significant damage to the Achilles tendon. When the tendon does have to be surgically detached, new bone anchor constructs (screws that are drilled into the heel bone to secure the tendon and tissues) can reattach the tendon, minimizing the chance of a potentially painful knot developing on the back of the heel.
Achilles tendon ruptures are the most serious Achilles injuries. Most patients require surgery to decrease the likelihood of a re-rupture. Various techniques are available, and increasingly may include tissue grafts used as a bridge to link the detached tendon lengths. The graft provides a scaffold on which new tissue grows, increases the overall strength of the repair, and is usually absorbed by the body within a year.
Go to the ACFAS consumer Web site, FootHealthFacts.org, for reliable information on Achilles tendon problems.
Don’t let foot injuries keep you from your fitness resolutions
(Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, VA – 11/3/17) -- In the New Year, don’t forget to keep your feet in tip-top shape while following through with your resolutions to get fit. Northern Virginian foot and ankle surgeon Steven Gordon, DPM, FACFAS, offers tips for foot safety while at the gym.
Start new workouts gradually— Increase your stamina and the length of your workouts gradually to avoid overuse injuries such as stress fractures or tendon strains and sprains. Stretching your muscles before and after workouts also helps prevent these types of injuries. “If you do feel you’ve sprained your ankle, be sure to seek treatment right away,” Dr. Gordon, a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons explains. “Untreated or repeated ankle sprains may lead to chronic ankle instability, a condition that causes persistent pain and a ‘giving way’ of the ankle.”
Wear the right shoe and sock—Wear well-fitting athletic shoes designed for the exercise or sport. According to Dr. Gordon, shoes that don’t support the arch of the foot and provide cushion for the heel can cause heel pain (plantar fasciitis). Shoes that are too small can also cause a neuroma or a thickening of the nerve tissue, in the foot and may require injections, medication or physical therapy. Wearing cotton or non-slip socks are also key to help avoid painful blisters, which can become infected and cause more serious issues.
Use good technique— Improper exercise techniques can result in injury to the tendons or ligaments in your feet and ankles. “Incorrect posture or misuse of exercise equipment can cause decreased stabilization in the foot and ankle, leading to joint sprains and muscle strains,” Dr. Steven Gordon says.
Protect yourself from bacteria—Sweaty shoes, public showers, exercise equipment and the pool deck at the gym are breeding grounds for fungus, viruses and bacteria, including drug-resistant strains like MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) which has become increasingly more common. Never go barefoot while in public areas; water shoes can provide a great barrier between your feet and the wet surfaces. “It’s also best to cover cuts and cracks in the skin or ingrown toenails since these minor tears in the skin’s surface can act as entry points for bacteria. If you have a cut or scrape that becomes red or swollen and is not healing in a timely manner, don’t hesitate to see a foot and ankle surgeon for an examination,” Dr. Gordon says.