Foot injuries common after (storms OR hurricanes OR tornadoes)
Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg Virginia – With (HURRICANE OR TORNADO OR FLOOD) season officially underway, a Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg foot and ankle surgeon reminds residents about the risk of serious foot injuries during disaster clean-up.
“In the aftermath of a storm, people just want to clean up the debris as fast as they can and get on with their lives,” says Steven Gordon DPM, FACFAS, a foot and ankle surgeon with offices in Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg. “By taking some simple precautions to protect their feet from injury, they can make the cleanup go more quickly and more safely.”
Many (HURRICANE OR TORNADO) survivors suffer puncture wounds on their feet. After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, foot and ankle surgeons along the Gulf Coast reported treating patients who injured themselves wearing flip-flops and sandals during debris clean-up. Some patients developed bone infections from improperly treated puncture wounds caused by nails and other sharp objects.
According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons’ (ACFAS) FootHealthFacts.org Web site, puncture wounds require medical treatment within 24 hours to avoid infection and other complications from embedded foreign objects. Pieces of skin, sock and the shoe itself can be forced into the wound during a puncture, as well as dirt and debris from the object itself. If medical care is inaccessible, every hurricane survival kit should include first aid supplies.
“If you can’t get to a doctor, you can still irrigate the wound, apply a topical antibiotic, and a clean bandage,” says Gordon“ Then see a doctor for follow- up care, including a tetanus shot if necessary.”
After initial treatment, the ACFAS recommends puncture wound victims see a foot and ankle surgeon for a thorough cleaning and careful follow-up to monitor the wound for infection and to prescribe antibiotics if necessary.
Other storm foot safety tips include:
Watch where you walk. Debris and murky floodwaters can conceal sharp objects. Be careful standing on unstable surfaces and piles of debris that can throw you off balance, causing ankle sprains or fractures.
Wear appropriate shoe gear, work boots if possible. Don’t go barefoot. Avoid open-toed footwear like sandals.
Take precautions when cutting down tree limbs. One hurricane victim broke several bones when sawing down a heavy tree limb that landed on her foot.
For treatment of puncture wounds or other foot or ankle trauma, contact Gordon at 703-437-6333.
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.
The feet endure stress throughout the day as you walk around, climb stairs, or stand for extended periods. Participating in athletic activities or high impact workouts can put additional stress on the feet. Over time, repeated stress can lead to foot pain and other problems, such as stress fractures. A podiatrist can diagnose the problem and recommend an effective treatment option. In Reston, VA, a podiatrist at Reston Foot and Ankle Center, with alternate locations in Manassas and Leesburg, can tell you if you have a fracture and prescribe the right treatment.
A stress fracture occurs when a bone in the foot or toe is cracked. Stress fractures can develop in the feet over time due to repeated stress. For instance, running for extended periods or jumping up and down repeatedly, such as in certain sports, are both high impact activities that can cause stress fractures. Stress fractures can be prevented by wearing footwear with extra padding and by limiting the performance of high impact movements, such as running and jumping.
Resting the feet is important when a stress fracture develops. Resting helps the fracture heal properly. Without sufficient rest, the fracture can become worse and a cast will be needed to heal the problem. Signs that you have a stress fracture include swelling and persistent pain in the feet that gets worse over time. If you suspect you might have a stress fracture, a Reston, Manassas, and Leesburg podiatrist can perform an examination, which might include x-rays. If you do have a fracture, the podiatrist will recommend the appropriate course of treatment.
Fractures in the feet can be successfully healed with proper treatment through a podiatrist. Ignoring symptoms, such as pain or swelling, will only result in the condition worsening over time. It is best to treat a fracture early on when you first suspect you have one. A Reston, VA, podiatrist will confirm whether or not you have a fracture and prescribe a course of treatment if you do. Call (703) 437-6333 schedule a foot exam at Reston Foot and Ankle Center. Call (703) 368-7166 for the Manassas location or (703) 777-2101 for the Leesburg location.
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
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