The Podiatric Medicine and Surgery Department staff provide medical and surgical care of all conditions of the foot and ankle. The ability to walk without pain is fundamental to all of our patients.
What we treat: Foot and ankle
Foot and ankle injuries can happen in a fall or from wear and tear from everyday activities or even from ill-fitting shoes. When injury occurs, the foot and ankle’s ability to function is disrupted, impacting the intricate workings of bones, muscles, ligaments and other structures.
Common types of reconstructive surgery include correction of foot deformities such as painful bunions, arthritis, toe deformities, and nerve procedures. Podiatric surgeons can also correct painful complex deformities of the foot and ankle and repair trauma, including fractures and residual arthritis. All of the staff podiatric providers have an interest in providing state of the art treatment in diabetic wound care and diabetic limb preservation. The providers work closely with many medical specialists at Hennepin Healthcare to ensure that our patients suffering from diabetes or vascular disease maintain their ability to walk and to keep their independence.
Flattened arches are caused by a number of issues. In adults they often come from problems with the main tendon just behind the inside bone of your ankle. Patients may initially complain of pain and swelling just behind this bone. As the condition progresses, patients may experience severe pain on the outside part of their ankle, on the opposite side of the foot, as the foot points further and further outwards.
- Flattened arch
- Difficulty going up on your toes
- Prominent bump on the inside of the foot
- Foot and toes pointing outwards (laterally)
- Pain behind the inside bone of the ankle (early)
- Pain in the outside part of the foot, just below the ankle (late)
- Pain in the arch of the foot
Fractures of the foot and ankle
Fractures, or broken bones, usually happen after an injury such as falling or twisting one’s foot, dropping objects on the foot, or higher-energy injuries such as car, motorcycle, or snowmobile accidents. However, they can also be caused by overuse, or, in weak bone, they can even result from normal activity.
- Pain around the fracture area
- Swelling and potential bruising
- Area is tender to the touch
- Increased pain with activity, relieved with rest
Achilles Tendon injuries are common injuries that can occur from sports or from repetitive loads in unhealthy tissue. They can include tendinitis or ruptures (tears). Symptoms include:
- Noise such as a "pop" or "snap" heard when it was injured
- Pain and swelling near heel
- Trouble walking normally
- Unable to point the foot downwards
- Inability to go up on toes on affected foot
Hammer toes are toes that are abnormally pushed up with the tips curved downwards.
- Pain and redness, and even skin being rubbed off, at the top of the toe at the middle joint
- Callouses at the tips of the toes where they curve downwards
- Pain that is worse when wearing a shoe
- Pain underneath the ball of the foot
A Morton's Neuroma can occur when the nerve between the bases of toes is irritated, such as from tissue around it causing pressure on it. It usually occurs between the third and fourth toes.
- Pain and burning sensation at the ball of the foot
- Pain may radiate to toes
- Pain may increase with activity
- Pain usually alleviated by removing the shoe
- Numb or tingling feeling in toes
- No outward signs are usually visible
Bunions occur from the big toe pointing outwards (laterally), giving the appearance of a “bump” on the side of the big toe. They can be caused by loose joints in the middle part of your foot, heredity (genetics), or flattened arches. Improper shoe wear can make the symptoms worse. Symptoms include:
- Pain(mild to severe) in big toe or foot
- Pain can be constant, or happen periodically
- The appearance of a bump on side of the big toe
- Restricted range of movement in big toe or foot
- Swelling and redness around joint in big toe
- Big toe pushing on the second toe or even overlapping it
- Calluses or corns on the inside of the big toe, or underneath the base of the second toe
Plantar Fasciitis occurs when the ligament from the heel to the forefoot becomes inflamed from overuse. Patients usually feel pain on the inside part of the heel. Typically patients have significant pain on first arising in the morning and then the pain gradually lessens. The condition can last for a very long time. Stretching exercises and proper shoewear are important. It is very common in runners.
- Sharp heel pain, may start as mild pain in heel
- Pain can arise after activity, rather than during
- Pain when walking after a long period of inactivity, such as sleep or sitting
- Limited swelling in affected area
- May affect one or both feet
An ankle becomes sprained when ligaments stretch beyond what they can bear. They may partially, or even completely tear. Most of the time, the ligaments will heal without the need for surgery, with the assistance of physical therapy or home exercises, bracing and/or taping, rest, ice, and elevation. The time to return to activity can vary greatly depending on the severity of the tear.
- Pain, increased with activity
- Tenderness to touch, usually on the outside (lateral) part of the ankle just below or in front of the side ankle bone
- Swelling, which can often be very dramatic
- Bruising around the ankle
- Reduced range of movement
- Feeling that the ankle is unstable
- Sound of a "pop" may be heard at time of injury
This is a hospital-based clinic owned by Hennepin Healthcare. Many insurance plans pay for health care services provided in a hospital-based clinic differently than those provided in a doctor’s office. Your insurance may require that you meet your annual deductible and/or require that you pay a percentage of the bill rather than just an office visit co-payment. You should check with your insurance company if you have any questions. Read our FAQs about hospital-based clinics to learn more.