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Cut yourself walking barefoot? It's more serious than you realize

Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, Virginia 5/9/18 Bare feet are universally associated with summer, but for those who enjoy walking barefoot, a local foot and ankle surgeon warns that inattention to seemingly minor puncture wounds on the soles of your feet can allow serious infections to develop and spread.

“Going barefoot heightens risk for puncture wounds, which require different treatment from cuts because the tiny holes often harbor foreign matter under the skin,” says Steven Gordon DPM, FACFAS, a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. “Glass, nails, needles and seashells are common offenders. Regardless of the substance, anything that remains in the wound increases your chances for complications.”

Puncture wounds in the feet too often are superficially treated, according to Gordon, and it is best to get proper care within the first 24 hours to make sure anything that might be embedded in the wound is removed. He notes research suggests that 10 percent of puncture wounds do result in serious infection, but such complications can be prevented with prompt and appropriate medical attention.

The depth and relative cleanliness of a puncture wound are the main factors determining possible infection risk.

“Studies show 60 percent of patients who required incision and drainage of a puncture wound had something embedded,” says Gordon. “With the increasing prevalence of drug-resistant bacteria, even healthy people are getting potentially life-threatening staph infections. So if you step on something and the skin is broken, get treated right away.”

Treatment involves a thorough cleaning to decrease infection risk. Tetanus shots often are needed. Following treatment, the wound should be monitored carefully at home.

“Sometimes an infection can develop later and migrate to the bones,” says Gordon. “So if the wound stays red, swollen and sore after a few days, go back to the doctor for further treatment. In all cases, a puncture wound on your foot should never be taken lightly.”

For further information about puncture wounds and other foot conditions, contact Dr. Gordon at 703-437-6333 or visit the ACFAS consumer Web site, FootHealthFacts.org.

Five myths about foot care

From bunions to broken toes, local foot and ankle surgeon has heard it all

Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg 04/25/2018 “Don’t cross your eyes, they’ll stay that way!”

Old wives’ tales and myths like that example are fun to laugh at. We believed them as children. “Step on a crack and you’ll break your mother’s back.” But there are other myths that are no laughing matter, especially when they involve your health.

From bunions to broken toes, foot and ankle surgeon Steven Gordon, DPM, FACFAS, has heard it all. Gordon treats patients at offices in Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, He shares five myths about foot care and the realities behind them.

Myth: Cutting a notch (a “V”) in a toenail will relieve the pain of ingrown toenails.
Reality: When a toenail is ingrown, the nail curves downward and grows into the skin. Cutting a “V” in the toenail does not affect its growth. New nail growth will continue to curve downward. Cutting a “V” may actually cause more problems and is painful in many cases.

Myth: My foot or ankle can’t be broken if I can walk on it.
Reality: It’s entirely possible to walk on a foot or ankle with a broken bone. “It depends on your threshold for pain, as well as the severity of the injury,” says Gordon, But it’s not a smart idea. Walking with a broken bone can cause further damage.

It is crucial to stay off an injured foot until diagnosis by a foot and ankle surgeon. Until then, apply ice and elevate the foot to reduce pain.

Myth: Shoes cause bunions.
Reality: Bunions are most often caused by an inherited faulty mechanical structure of the foot. It is not the bunion itself that is inherited, but certain foot types make a person prone to developing a bunion. While wearing shoes that crowd the toes together can, over time, make bunions more painful, shoes themselves do not cause bunions.

Although some treatments can ease the pain of bunions, only surgery can correct the deformity.

Myth: A doctor can’t fix a broken toe.
Reality: Nineteen of the 26 bones in the foot are toe bones.

“What I tell patients is, there are things we can do to make a broken toe heal better and prevent problems later on, like arthritis or toe deformities,” Gordon says.

Broken toes that aren’t treated correctly can also make walking and wearing shoes difficult. A foot and ankle surgeon will x-ray the toe to learn more about the fracture. If the broken toe is out of alignment, the surgeon may have to insert a pin, screw or plate to reposition the bone.

Myth: Corns have roots.
Reality: A corn is a small build-up of skin caused by friction. Gordon says many corns result from a hammertoe deformity, where the toe knuckle rubs against the shoe. The only way to eliminate these corns is to surgically correct the hammertoe condition.

Unlike a callus, a corn has a central core of hard material. But corns do not have roots. Attempting to cut off a corn or applying medicated corn pads can lead to serious infection or even amputation. A foot and ankle surgeon can safely evaluate and treat corns and the conditions contributing to them.

To make an appointment with Gordon,  contact  his office at 703-437-6333 or visit his Web site at WWW.FootVA.comFor additional foot care myths, visit the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons’ consumer Web site, FootHealthFacts.org

Popular sandals causing foot problems in men?

Wrong sandal can cause heel pain, Achilles tendonitis, other ailments

Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg April 12, 2018  Footwear has come a long way since Roman armies conquered an empire wearing only sandals on their feet. But what’s old is new again. Recent market research reveals sales of men’s sandals jumped 20 percent between 2005 and 2007.

Along with the growing popularity of men’s sandals come more aches and pains for male feet. Steven Gordon,DPM, FACFAS, a foot and ankle surgeon with offices in (CITY), says the wrong sandal could cause men problems including heel pain, Achilles tendonitis, pain in the big toe and even breaks and stress fractures in some of the foot’s 26 bones.

Dr. Gordon recommends men shopping for a man sandal – or “mandal” as some people call it – look for sturdy, cushioned, supportive soles and padded straps. Men with diabetes should consult their foot and ankle surgeon before wearing sandals.

Despite what many men may tell themselves, foot pain is not normal. Contact Dr. Gordon’s office at  (703) 437-6333 to have your painful foot checked out by a surgeon who is educated, trained and experienced in treating foot and ankle conditions. Dr. Gordon belongs to the 6,000 member American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS), a national medical association of foot and ankle surgeons. For more information on foot and ankle conditions, visit the ACFAS Web site FootHealthFacts.org.

Power Mowers Pose Danger to Feet
Thousands of Foot Injuries Can be Prevented Each Year

Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, Vignina 3/30/2018 -- Lawn care season is back and Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, foot and ankle surgeon, Steven Gordon DPM, AACFAS 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. (LAST NAME). “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.

Spring is ankle sprain season in Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg

Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, Virginia 03/26/2018 Spring is sports season for many amateur athletes and weekend warriors in the Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg area. It's also ankle sprain season for one area foot and ankle surgeon.

Steven Gordon, DPM, FACFAS, a foot and ankle surgeon with offices in Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg, says ankle sprains are one of the most common sports injuries he treats this time of year.

"As people emerge from their winter hibernation and start to get active again, they can injure their ankles playing sports such as basketball, baseball, tennis and soccer," He says.

Anyone who injures an ankle requires prompt medical treatment, whether it's their first sprain or their fifth. Rest, ice, compression and elevation (R.I.C.E.) can reduce swelling and pain until the ankle can be evaluated and treated by a foot and ankle surgeon. A sprain may not always be a sprain; the ankle could be fractured.

Gordon notes that many athletes develop chronic ankle instability from repeated ankle sprains, causing their ankle to frequently "give way." In some cases these players may require surgery. Proper rehabilitation of an ankle sprain reduces the likelihood of developing chronic ankle instability.

Gordon shares three spring ankle sprain prevention tips from FootHealthFacts.org:

1. Perform warm-up stretches and exercises before playing sports.

2. Wear the right shoes for the sport. For example, don't wear running shoes for sports that involve a lot of side-to-side movement, such as tennis and basketball.

3. Wear an ankle brace if you're recovering from an injury or have repeatedly sprained your ankle