Common Problems

Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Center, PA seeks to educate the patient about their health issues. Listed below are several common issues including:

Ankle instability

Ankle instability is an uncommon condition that results in the ankle being loose and unsteady. Most cases of ankle instability occur from repetitive sprains where the ligaments around the ankle eventually stretch and become dysfunctional. People who have this condition usually describe twisting their ankles when walking on uneven surfaces or the feeling that their ankle is "giving out”. They usually experience pain deep in their ankle joints after waking any prolonged distances. They may or may not experience swelling. The treatment for this condition is either bracing or surgery. Surgery is performed to tighten or augment the “stretched” ligaments that support the ankle. In some cases, if the degree of instability is severe, part of the tendon is taken from the leg and is used to create new ligaments, which support the ankle joint.


Bunion, otherwise known as hallux valgus deformity, is a structural deformity which affects the large toe and it’s associated metatarsal bone. The big toe commonly turns inward towards the second toe. Often there is a visible prominence along the side of the foot. Bunions are a progressive disorder and usually worsen over time. They begin with a leaning of the big toe, gradually changing the angle of the bones, as well as the soft tissue around the large toe joint. Bunions are inherited, but shoe type can influence the size of the deformity. Symptoms include pain and swelling around the side of the large toe joint. Inflammation and redness is often present. In advanced cases, the joint can be stiff and not move as well as it should.


Conservative treatment consists of a combination of wearing the correct type of shoe, as well as judicious use of anti-inflammatory medications. Some people will get relief with pads placed around the deformity. If a person has an abnormally flat foot, which causes pressure along the side of the big toe, a special arch support known as an orthotic may help slow the progression of a bunion. Surgical treatment for bunions involves correcting and re-aligning the deforming soft tissue forces around the large toe joint. This is usually done in conjunction with either breaking the bone or fusing the joint near the bunion. In selecting the procedure or combination of procedures for your particular case, the surgeon will take into consideration the extent of your deformity based on the X-ray findings, your age, your activity level, and other factors. The length of the recovery period will vary, depending on the procedure or procedures performed. It is imperative that you chose a surgeon who is experienced in all surgical methods to correct bunion deformities of all sizes.

Diabetic Foot-Related Problems

Diabetic patients suffer foot-related problems much more frequently than non-diabetics. Their feet are much more susceptible to problems and require special attention. Diabetics should be checked twice a year to monitor the circulation and feeling to their feet. At times, specialized shoes will be required to prevent problems from occurring. Some diabetics should not trim their own nails, as this may lead to infection and long-term problems.


Fractures can occur in any bone and can occur as a result of an injury or simply overloading the bone without suffering trauma. All fractures have some degree of swelling and pain. Most fractures can be treated with either bracing or casting, but some do require surgery. Typically, most fractures can be repaired with screws, plates or combinations of the two. Fractures left untreated will typically heal in a poor position and can lead to permanent disability.

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is a common condition that is actually a skin infection caused by a microorganism, usually fungus. It is more common during the summer months, when people have the tendency to perspire more frequently. It is not necessarily related to personal hygiene. This condition usually starts out either in between the toes or on the bottoms of the feet. It usually presents with a reddened inflamed patch of skin that will usually itch and spread. Small little blisters are commonly present. Treatment is directed at drying the skin and killing the fungus with a prescription cream and/or an oral prescription.

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