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Foot and ankle pain, stress fractures, sprains, and strains are common concerns. Whether your pain is chronic or acute, something can be done to resolve it. At Progressive Spine and Orthopaedics, Dr. Rai Kang provides foot and ankle care and healing, from non-invasive treatments to complex surgical procedures.

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What foot and ankle concerns can be treated at Progressive Spine and Orthopaedics?

Dr. Kang's addresses a wide range of foot and ankle concerns at our state-of-the-art center, from serious trauma to bunions. Dr. Kang treats the following foot and ankle conditions at Progressive Spine and Orthopaedics: 

Ankle sprains & fractures

Sprains: An ankle sprain injury is caused by an unusual twist or turn of the ankle that stretches or tears the ligaments. A sprained ankle causes swelling and pain. If the sprain is severe enough, it may require a splint or brace.  

Fractures: An ankle fracture, also called a broken bone, must be immobilized to heal properly. Typically, a stabilizing boot or a cast is required. In more severe cases, surgery is required to insert pins, plates or screws to stabilize and align your bones properly so that you can heal.

Arthritis

The movement of the foot and ankle depends on cartilage, which decreases friction and allows for smooth motion. When cartilage breaks down due to wear and tear or damage, arthritis can develop.The body attempts to heal by making more bone, which is how irregular joints and bone spurs form. Arthritis also causes pain, stiffness and swelling. Depending on your needs, Dr. Kang treats your arthritis with a range of procedures, from orthotics and/or physical therapy to surgically fusing the bones together or replacing the ankle joint completely.

Bunions

A bunion is a bony bump that develops on the side of the foot at the base of the big toe. Structural defects, too-tight shoes, and arthritis can cause the big toe to lean toward the second  toe, causing a change in the bone structure. This is usually painful and can be accompanied by calluses, corns, and redness. Anti-inflammatory medication and steroid injections can help ease discomfort. In more severe or chronic cases, Dr. Kang can perform surgery to remove any inflamed tissue and realign the toe by removing part of the bone.

Hammer Toe

A “hammer toe” describes a deformity of the second, third, or fourth toes. The toe is bent at the middle joint in a way that resembles a hammer.

Flexible hammertoes: Flexible hammer toes are still moveable at the joint and can be treated sooner, before the condition becomes more serious.

Rigid hammertoes: Rigid hammertoes are more serious and can be seen in patients with severe arthritis, or in patients who wait too long to seek treatment for flexible hammertoes. Surgery is typically the only option for patients with rigid hammertoes, as the tendons are tight and the joint is misaligned and immobile.

Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a thick ligament connecting your heel to the front of your foot. It acts as a shock absorber and supports the arch of your foot. Too much wear and tear or stress can damage this ligament, causing a stabbing pain near the heel on the bottom of the foot. If steroid injections and medication do not resolve the situation well enough, a surgery can be performed by Dr. Kang to detach the plantar fascia from the heel bone. 

Achilles tendinitis 

Achilles tendinitis is caused by repetitive strain on the Achilles tendon. This band of tissue connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. Achilles tendinitis is experienced by pain in the tendon or back of the heel that worsens with activity. This condition is treated with rest, physical therapy, and orthotics. Severe cases may require surgery to remove damaged tissue and repair the tendon. 

Neuroma (pinched nerve)

A neuroma (a benign growth of nerve tissue, usually between the third and fourth toe) causes pain between the toes while walking, a burning sensation, tingling, or numbness. Padding, taping or orthotics can relieve the symptoms of simple neuromas. For chronic conditions, surgery may be necessary.

Stress Fracture

A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone or severe bone bruising. Stress fractures are typically caused in the weight-bearing bones of the foot and ankle from overuse. Over time, jumping, walking, running and other activities can cause stress fractures. When an athletic movement is repeated so frequently that the bones in the foot and ankle don’t have time to heal between training sessions, a stress fracture may occur. Stress fractures are treated by keeping the bones immobilized with a walking boot or brace, and keeping the weight off the limb until it’s healed. Severe stress fractures typically require a cast.

Tendon Tears & Ruptures

Peroneal Tendon: The peroneal tendons stabilize the foot and ankle to protect it from injuries such as sprains. These tendons run side-by-side behind the outer ankle bone. Peroneal tendon injuries are typically caused by overuse and repetitive ankle motion.

Achilles Tendon: The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. It is the largest tendon in the body. A complete or partial tear can occur as if the Achilles tendon is overextended from a jump, fall, sudden jerk or pivot, or other accident.  

Tendon tears require immobilization with a bandage or brace and physical therapy to heal. More severe tears or ruptures may require surgery.

What procedures are provided for unresolved foot and ankle conditions?

We offer a full range of procedures to treat foot and ankle pain, sprains, fractures, arthritis and other damage or injuries, including the following:

  • Ankle arthroscopy: Ankle arthroscopy is surgery performed with a tiny camera in the tissues in or around your angle. During this surgery, the camera can be used to examine and diagnose the concern, or to help guide Dr. Kang as she uses specialized surgical tools to repair damaged tissues.
  • Ligament repair: Ligaments that have been stretched or torn are detached and tightened or made shorter, then reattached with small holes drilled into your bone. If the ligaments are too severely stretched, a replacement ligament may be used. This surgery stabilizes the ankle and results in a stronger structure overall to avoid further sprains or trauma.
  • Tendon transfer: A tendon transfer replaces the damaged tendon causing flatfoot by using a functioning tendon and the attached muscle in one part of the foot and moving it to another part to restore function and arch support.
  • PRP injections: PRP injections in the foot and ankle can be an alternative to surgery for some patients. PRP (platelet-rich plasma) is obtained from your own blood and regenerates cells to achieve healing and functionality.
  • Orthotics: Braces, splints, or supports such as shoe inserts to help align, prevent or correction function.
  • Fat tissue injection: Grafting fat from one area of the body into the foot to relieve chronic pain from plantar fasciitis and fat pad atrophy.
  • Flat foot reconstruction: A combination of surgical procedures to correct bone deformities and repair the ligaments and tendons to restore and support the arch of the foot. 
  • Ankle/foot joint fusion: Also known as ankle arthrodesis, this surgery treats arthritis by fusing the ankle bones into one piece.
  • Total ankle joint replacement: Also called ankle arthroplasty, this surgery replaces damaged parts of the ankle with prosthetics of plastic or metal to regain your natural joint function.
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Recovery after foot and ankle surgery

The recovery period after foot and ankle surgery varies depending on which type of surgery was performed and what the extent of the damage or trauma was. 

Dr. Kang will discuss your recovery period with you during your consultation prior to surgery so that you’re prepared and know what to expect. 

For most foot and ankle operations, tenderness and swelling will take 3-4 months to resolve. More complicated procedures or extensive damage may require a healing period of a full year or more.

After your surgery, you will return home with a friend or family member to drive you. You will need to rest and elevate your limb for the first two weeks after your surgery, and keep your cast or bandage dry. Patients who have a sedentary job and can arrange their work environment to keep their feet elevated may be able to return to work within two weeks. Those who have to be on their feet or active in any way should plan on at least eight weeks before returning to work. If the surgery was more complex, it may take 3-6 months to return to a job that requires you to be on your feet. 

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Why choose Dr. Kang at Progressive Spine and Orthopaedics?

If you have experienced an injury or have been suffering from foot and ankle pain, it’s vital to choose an experienced surgeon who you can trust to get you back on your feet and relieve your pain for good. Dr. Rai Kang is board-certified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery. She specializes in sports medicine, trauma, and reconstructive surgeries of the foot and ankle. Her background includes extensive training and experience in foot and ankle trauma and deformities, including reconstruction of the forefoot, rearfoot, and ankle deformities. 

Dr. Kang holds certifications from the Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA), Comprehensive Internal Fixation/Reconstructive Surgery of the Foot and Ankle (AAFAO), and Extremity Fixation for Trauma, Limb Deformity, and Foot & Ankle Reconstruction Surgery. 

Read More About Dr. Kang

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