How Podiatrists Can Help You With Your Foot Conditions
Imagine having a condition that brought immense pain while just standing. Imagine spending most of your days sitting or lying down, unable to walk. Imagine having to wonder if you might need to use a wheelchair for the rest of your life.
These thoughts were reality for Sherri Bird, a patient at Memorial Regional Health who recently underwent surgery for flatfoot correction. Bird, who consistently worked 12-hour shifts on her feet, experienced pain from her flat feet for nearly a year before opting for surgery.
What are Flat Feet?
An individual with flat feet has no arches in their feet or arches that are extremely low, potentially causing them great discomfort as a result of strained muscles and connecting ligaments, according to Medical News Today. Many individuals with this condition can be treated without surgery if managed during the early stages through orthotics, specific exercises, physical therapy and more.
“My pain went from a 1 to 10 in a short amount of time, and the arch in my foot fell completely flat,” she explained. “I put up with the pain for a while, but it got to a point where I just couldn’t handle the pain anymore.”
That’s when Bird scheduled an appointment with Dr. Derek Harper, a highly skilled and experienced podiatrist at MRH. He recommended flatfoot surgical correction; a procedure Bird had in April. Though she is still recovering, Bird is hopeful that she will one day return to her active lifestyle filled with hiking, waterskiing and general mobility in her foot.
Dr. Derek Harper, the region’s only foot and ankle specialist.
There are multiple causes of flat feet including biomechanical and/or genetic factors, weak soft tissues, injuries to the ankle or foot and damage or dysfunction of the posterior tibial tendon. Individuals with flat feet may experience abnormal pain or swelling in the feet, ankle, calf, knee, hip, lower back and lower legs.
“I made the decision to stay local and, boy, am I glad I did,” Bird said. “Dr. Harper is a physician that puts his patients first, and I had a great experience through the surgery and now after.”
Other Podiatry Treatments and Surgeries at MRH
Dr. Harper performs an array of podiatry surgeries and treatments, and JoAnn Simmons is another patient who recently received his care after experiencing an ankle fracture that was more complicated than usual. Dr. Harper performed a procedure to help her return to life as normal.
In a typical ankle fracture surgery, incisions are made to the outside and, sometimes, inside of the ankle. In the case of Simmons, an incision was made to the back of the ankle in order to access and fully correct her fractures.
This procedure was chosen specifically to give her the best chances of recovery without significant arthritis in the future. Recovery time can take anywhere between six months to a full year, so Simmons is still wearing a brace and recovering. But she’s thankful she no longer is living in pain.
“I am just so pleased with the attention I got and the care that I got,” she said.
When to See a Podiatrist:
Podiatrists are foot and ankle surgeons who treat all symptoms and conditions affecting the foot and ankle, including the following:
Heel pain (plantar fasciitis)