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Reston, Manassas and Leesburg, foot and ankle surgeon says new procedures, techniques speeding patients' recoveries
Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg February 16, 2018 Many Achilles tendon surgery patients in Reston, Manassas, and 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 tendonosis. 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.
Gordon is a member of the 6,000-member American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) and is board Certified in podiatric surgery. He earned his podiatric medical degree from Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine and has been practicing in Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg since 1995. Gordon's phone number is (703) 437-6333 and his Web site is FootVA.com
Go to the ACFAS consumer Web site, FootHealthFacts.org, for reliable information on Achilles tendon problems.
Local foot surgeon urges patients not to ignore foot pain
(Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, VA, 2/9/18) -- Unexplained foot fractures may be the first sign of osteoporosis, a bone thinning disease which affects over 28 million Americans and accounts for 1.5 million bone fractures a year.
According to Northern Virginia foot and ankle surgeon Shaun Hafner, DPM, FACFAS, osteoporosis is frequently referred to as the “silent crippler” since it often progresses without any symptoms or isn’t diagnosed until a person experiences pain from a bone fracture. Dr. Hafner, a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, explains that the porous nature of bones in people with osteoporosis makes them more susceptible to bone fractures, especially in the feet. “Because the bones are in a weakened state, normal weight-bearing actions like walking can cause the bones in the foot to break,” says Dr. Hafner. “In fact, many patients visit their foot and ankle surgeon suffering from foot pain only to find out they actually have a stress fracture, without having experienced an injury.”
While osteoporosis is most commonly seen in women over age 50, younger people and men are also affected. Early symptoms can include increased pain with walking accompanied by redness and swelling on the top of the foot. “Oftentimes patients don’t seek treatment for their symptoms for weeks or even months, thinking the pain will pass,” says Dr. (LAST NAME). “The best advice is, don’t ignore foot pain of any type. Early intervention can make all the difference in your treatment and recovery.”
Foot and ankle surgeons are able to diagnose osteoporosis through bone densitometry tests, which measure calcium and mineral levels in the bones through low-dose radiation x-ray, or possibly through a routine x-ray. “This is why prevention and early intervention are key; women should make sure bone densitometry tests are part of their wellness examinations when indicated by their physicians,” Dr. Hafner explains.
If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, it’s important to protect your feet from stress fractures. Wear shoes that provide support and cushioning, such as athletic running shoes, to provide extra shock absorption and protection. Custom orthotics may also be recommended to protect the foot from pressure and provide shock absorption, particularly during exercise.
Don’t let foot injuries keep you from your fitness resolutions
Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg Virginia --In the New Year, don’t forget to keep your feet in tip-top shape while following through with your resolutions to get fit. Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg foot and ankle surgeon Steven Gordon DPM, AACFAS, 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. Gordon says.
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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.
Above all, it’s important to listen to your body. If you experience an injury or pain, call Dr. Gordon’s office at 703-437-6333 for an evaluation. To learn more about foot and ankle health topics, visit the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons’ website, FootHealthFacts.org.
Rare diabetes foot complication becoming more common
Few people with diabetes know about the limb-threatening foot condition, or its warning signs
Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, VA 1/19/18 As diabetes rates soar nationwide, a Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg 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 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 Gordon. “But diabetes patients frequently won’t feel any pain because they have severe nerve damage in their lower extremities.”
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 Gordon’s office at 703-437-6333 or FootVA.com
Icy conditions cause falls and broken ankles
With the hectic pace of the holidays, serious injuries from ice-related falls inevitably occur. A Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg 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.
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 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.
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.
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 Gordon at (703) 368-7166 or (703) 437-6333.