Bringing together a team of professionals in an integrative approach, the Foot and Ankle Service at the Orthopaedic Trauma Institute provides state of the art, highest quality consultation and care for the full spectrum of conditions of the lower leg.
Foot and Ankle Fellowship trained Orthopaedic Surgeon, Podiatrists, Physiatrists, and Certified Prosthetists and Pedorthists work in a collaborative environment to provide the optimal management for all foot and ankle disorders.
All service providers are members of the faculty of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at UCSF, bringing academic and clinical excellence to all of our patients.
Prevention and Tips
Foot and ankle injuries are common in sports, especially running, tennis and soccer. But sports enthusiasts can decrease the risk of injury by taking some precautions.
Warm up prior to any sports activity:
- Lightly stretch or better yet, do a slow jog for two to three minutes to warm up the muscles. Don’t force the stretch with a “bouncing motion.”
- Condition your muscles for the sport: The amount of time spent on the activity should be increased gradually over a period of weeks to build both muscle strength and mobility. Cross training by participating in different activities can help build the muscles.
- Choose athletic shoes specifically for your foot type: People whose feet pronate or who have low arches should choose shoes that provide support in both the front of the shoe and under the arch. The heel and heel counter (back of the shoe) should be very stable. Those with a stiffer foot or high arches should choose shoes with more cushion and a softer platform. Use sport-specific shoes. Cross training shoes are an overall good choice; however, it is best to use shoes designed for the sport.
- Replace athletic shoes when the tread wears out or the heels wear down: People who run regularly should replace shoes every six months, more frequently if an avid runner.
- Avoid running or stepping on uneven surfaces: Try to be careful on rocky terrain or hills with loose gravel. Holes, tree stumps and roots are problems if you are trail running. If you have problems with the lower legs, a dirt road is softer than asphalt, which is softer than concrete. Try to pick a good surface if possible. However, if you’re racing, be sure to train on the surface you’ll eventually run on.
- Be careful running too many hills: Running uphill is a great workout, but make sure you gradually build this up to avoid injuries. Be careful when running downhill too fast, which can often lead to more injuries than running uphills!
- Prevent recurrent injuries: Athletes who have experienced ankle injuries previously may benefit from using a brace or tape to prevent recurrent ankle injuries.
- Listen to your body: If you experience foot and ankle pain during a sport, stop the activity or modify the activity until the pain subsides. Also, if you have been injured, you should go through a period of rehabilitation and training before returning to the sport to prevent recurrent injuries.
Running and Tennis Injuries
Running and tennis injuries include ankle sprains, Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. Ankle sprains, a partial or complete tear of any of the ligaments responsible for supporting and stabilizing the ankle joint, usually result from landing on an uneven surface and having the foot turn awkwardly.
Injury to the Achilles tendon, the strongest and largest tendon that connects the back of the calf muscle to the heel bone, occurs from overuse and is usually an acute inflammation or a partial tear. If the tendon is weak, it can rupture with the right force.
It is also common for the plantar fascia, the tough tissue that maintains the arch of the foot and runs from the heel to the toes, to become inflamed, resulting in heel or arch pain.
Runners also may experience injury to the tendons or ligaments located on the outside and inside of the ankle and stress fractures of the foot bones. In running, any one incident may not be enough to fracture the foot; however, over time, repetition of abnormal forces or stress can cause the bone to weaken or break. Five to 15 percent of all running injuries are stress fractures. Of those injuries, 49 percent occurred in those who ran between 25 miles to 44 miles per week.
Unlike foot and ankle injuries in tennis and running, which are usually overuse injuries, soccer injuries often result from trauma such as a direct blow to the lower leg. Because soccer is a contact sport, collision injuries from striking another player are common, accounting for 30 percent of all soccer injuries.
Ankle injuries in soccer account for 20 to 30 percent of all soccer injuries the most common being ankle sprains. Soccer players also may experience turf toe, a sprain that results from stubbing the toe while running or improperly planting one’s cleats.
Treatment for these injuries varies depending on the severity of the injury. Most strains and sprains can be treated with rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). Moderate to severe cases, however, may require some form of immobilization such as a brace or a cast. Certain injuries that don’t heal within the expected time frame may require surgery.
It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible for foot and ankle injuries, especially if it is causing you to limp or there is swelling. Prompt and appropriate treatment and rehabilitation ensures the best possible recovery.
Patients Resources Overview
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
A source for the latest legislation, educational, health care policy and research information related to orthopaedic surgery. The site includes the bylaws and position papers of the AAOS, and the latest federal and state laws enacted that pertain to the practice of orthopaedics and medicine.
American Association of Hip & Knee Surgeons
The website provides a source of information for the latest trends in joint replacement surgery about the hip and knee.
American Society for Surgery of the Hand
The mission of ASSH is to advance the science and practice of hand surgery through education, research and advocacy on behalf of patients and practitioners.
American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society
The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society website has listings for orthopaedic surgery foot and ankle specialists.
The mission of the Arthritis Foundation is to improve lives through leadership in the prevention, control and cure of arthritis and related diseases. The site reviews non-operative means of dealing with arthritis and provides available local resources.
KidsHealth can provide you with lots of general information to help you better understand health issues for kids, teens and adults with kids.
A very high quality resource for consumers seeking health information. Has indepth new articles with reliable health information.
Excellent resource for topical, easy-to-read health information that allows the consumer to stay informed on all aspects of health and medicine with articles written to educate.
Medscape is a free resource for Physicians, featuring Free CME (Continuing Medical Education), medical journal articles, MEDLINE, medical news, major conference coverage, and comprehensive drug information.
National Institutes of Health
The official website for the NIH, the major governmental funding agency for peer-reviewed research in the United States, easy to use and navigate with an advanced search engine.
National Osteoporosis Foundation
The website is a source for information on the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, and provides patient information, including the latest news and research.
Orthopaedic Trauma Association
The OTA is an educational and scientific society dedicated to the discovery and dissemination of knowledge and information regarding the care and treatment of injuries to the musculoskeletal system.
Orthopaedic Research Society
The ORS is an organization dedicated to the advancement of orthopaedic research through education in research, advocacy for increasing resources for research, and increasing awareness of the importance of orthopaedic research.
Web MD Health
WebMD has very good news articles by providing up-to-date information on current health news, has a library of interactive health tools, and is well known as a trustworthy site for the accuracy of its information.
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