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Care of the Feet and Ankles

When to See a Podiatrist

If a foot condition is causing discomfort or preventing you from wearing your favorite sandals, find a podiatrist near you or view a map of Avera podiatry clinic locations.

Experiencing Joint Pain?

If joint pain is keeping you from living life, Avera offers complete orthopedic care. Learn more about Avera orthopedics.

The foot and its related structures are a complex system of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments, and can be affected by a number of painful conditions. Podiatry is a medical specialty dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of the foot, ankle and related structures of the leg.

Doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs) complete four years of training in a podiatric medical school and three years of hospital residency training. They treat conditions such as heel pain, diabetic foot problems, bunions, calluses, corns, hammertoe, toenail issues and more.

Treatments range from outpatient surgery, arthroscopy, prescribed footwear, to medications, physical therapy and exercises.

Foot and Ankle Pain

Foot and Ankle Pain

The foot is divided into three parts: the forefoot, midfoot and hindfoot.

Five phalanges make up your toes, which are connected to five longer bones called the metatarsals. The arches are formed by three cuneiform bones, the cuboid bone and the navicular bone. The largest bone in the foot is the heel bone, or calcaneus. Above the calcaneus sits the talus bone, which forms the ankle and supports the leg.

The muscles, tendons and ligaments that surround the foot provide flexibility and power a variety of movements.

Common foot and ankle pain experiences

If every step causes pain, chances are you’re experiencing other symptoms as well. Bring these notes to your podiatrist.

What to be on the lookout for:

  • Swelling or any deformity in your feet 
  • Limited range of motion or reduced ability to flex your feet 
  • Reduced sensation in your feet due to low circulation 
  • Sharp pain when performing activities, such as walking/jogging or using stairs
  • Consistent or dull pain when performing daily activities
  • Pain while wearing certain footwear

Common foot pain conditions

  • Bunions 
    • A bunion forms when your big toe points toward the second toe. The condition is more common in women due to wearing narrow-toed, high-heeled shoes.
  • Plantar fasciitis 
    • Plantar fasciitis is the swelling of the plantar fascia, the tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch.
  • Hammertoes
    • A hammertoe occurs when the first or second joint in a toe is bent. It can be caused by a muscle imbalance. 
  • Gout
    • Gout is a type of arthritis, the wear and tear of a joint, and is characterized by redness, pain and swelling. It often affects the big toe. 
  • Flat feet
    • The foot’s entire sole is in contact with the ground. 
  • Sports-related conditions
    • Pain can be caused by unsupportive footwear, overuse or excessive training, lack of warm-up, not enough recovery time after an injury and more.

Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetes can affect a person’s extremities, especially the feet. Podiatrists play an important role by helping people with diabetes maintain their foot health — and their feet. Without proper treatment, diabetes can lead to foot amputation. Additional Information

Warning signs of poor diabetic foot health:

  • Decreased circulation and feeling in the feet
  • Cracking skin on the feet or ankles
  • Sores or ulcers that don’t heal quickly
  • Infection of the tissue and bones

Treatment methods

Diabetic shoes are designed to provide extra comfort and softness and reduce friction to help prevent the breakdown of skin.

Prescription inserts are constructed out of soft materials and provide needed support for any of the foot’s bony features. It allows the diabetic foot extra protection against rubbing.

Other Foot Conditions

Other Foot Conditions

Some foot conditions may be painful, annoying or just plain embarrassing. Podiatrists are trained to address many everyday foot concerns, including: