Treating Foot and Ankle Conditions During the COVID-19 Crisis

Press release:

During this unprecedented time, it’s still important to take care of your overall wellness, and your feet are no exception. Healthy feet and ankles are crucial for balance, mobility and a healthy body. 

However, it’s important to identify which issues can be taken care of via telemedicine and which should be done in person. It’s also important to take steps on your own to keep feet healthy. 

“Foot and ankle surgeons are here to help keep you healthy via telemedicine visits for non-urgent care and in the office for urgent or serious issues,” says Dr. Brett Sachs, DPM, FACFAS, a foot and ankle surgeon and Fellow Member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. 

Not sure whether your condition requires an in-person appointment? According to Dr. Sachs and the experts at the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, the following conditions can be seen by foot and ankle surgeons via telemedicine:

  • Heel and arch pain, generalized foot pain
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Skin rashes and athlete’s foot
  • Planter warts
  • Big toe pain
  • Arthritis
  • Gout

However, Dr. Sachs notes that you should visit your doctor for the following conditions and situations:

  • Post-operative care
  • Injuries (sprains or trauma, anything that requires an x-ray for suspected bone fractures)
  • Infections
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Wounds
  • Foot ulcers
  • Calf pain with warmth, redness, or swelling, which could possibly be a blood clot

It’s important to know that if you do have to make an in-person appointment, foot and ankle surgeons are taking many steps to protect patients. These measures include taking patients temperatures and performing a comprehensive screening process, having patients and staff wear masks or face coverings, limiting patients and family in the waiting room, limiting patient appointments to prevent overlap, practicing social distancing where possible, and performing extensive deep cleaning of all patient rooms and common areas throughout the day.

A bit of preventive care can also support healthy feet. Here are a few tips from the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons you can follow while at home:

  • Stay active. Do sit-ups, pushups, planks, squats and leg lifts or check out virtual fitness classes online. You can still get outside for fresh air without putting yourself at risk. Go for a walk, run or hike while practicing social distancing. If you feel better staying inside, take scheduled breaks to get up and walk around your home.
  • If you suffer from foot pain, such as a neuroma, avoid wearing narrow shoes and also avoid walking on hard surfaces barefoot, even in the house.
  • Do eccentric strengthening exercises like calf raises on a step to prevent or treat Achilles tendinitis.
  • Examine your feet regularly for bumps, lumps or other changes.
  • Wear comfortable, sensible shoes, especially for exercise.
  • Continue using padding, insoles or whatever special footwear you’ve been prescribed.

To find a foot and ankle surgeon near you or to find more foot and ankle health tips, visit FootHealthFacts.org, the patient education website of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

“While the COVID-19 crisis is understandably top-of-mind for many right now, taking steps to protect your overall health is vital,” says Dr. Sachs. “Because so many health problems stem from the feet, paying attention to them is essential for your comfort, safety and overall wellness.”

Foot and Ankle Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Press release:

Timely tips from foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons

Rosemont, Ill. (April 13, 2020) – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it may be difficult to determine if your foot or ankle condition requires immediate attention. Follow these guidelines from foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons to take charge of your foot health, prevent injuries and stay active during this challenging time.

“Most foot and ankle surgical procedures will not occur during the current healthcare crisis in efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but let’s not forget your orthopaedic surgeon is still available,” said foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon, Jeffrey S. Feinblatt, MD, from Regenerative Orthopedic Center (ROC) in Portland, Oregon.

Your foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon likely set up telemedicine or limited office hours to ensure continuity of care and answer specific question regarding your condition. Although there is no substitute to consultation, Dr. Feinblatt offers these tips to manage foot and ankle conditions non-operatively during this time:

  • To limit the amount of force put on your foot or ankle, use offloading devices such as a controlled ankle motion (CAM) boot, a cane, crutches, or a walker
  • Manage pain with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), topical pain creams, and Tylenol
  • Wear shoes that fit properly and keep your feet flexible to prevent injuries
  • Remain as active as possible to maintain strength and avoid weight gain

“Staying active may seem like a challenge in states with shelter-in-place orders, but keep in mind there are many online exercise classes that involve stretching, bodyweight lifting, yoga, and other simple exercises that can be done at home,” says Dr. Feinblatt. “Depending on your foot or ankle condition, this may not be feasible, but try to keep your uninjured muscles and joints moving.”

Anything new on Chilblains?

Chilblains are a painful lesion that commonly occurs due to a vasospastic response of the small blood vessels to the colder weather. They start out at reddish painful lesions that may also be itchy. If they become chronic they tend to take on a dark blue color and the skin may break down.

There really have been no advances recently in our understanding and treatment or if you follow all the research on them. Still the best way to manage them is to prevent them with avoiding cold and using good socks and footwear and then if one occurs to use creams to stimulate the circulation. Good wound care is needed if the skin is broken.

Having said that, during the COVID-19 pandemic there have been lots of reports on Chilblains and Covid-19 (Covid Toes). For some reason chilblains are occurring with an increased frequency in those who are infected with the novel coronavirus. A lot of research has gone in to trying to find out why. PodChatLive did a deep dive into those reason: Chilblains and ‘COVID Toes’.

Heel Pain on the Rise among Americans in Quarantine

Press Release:

BETHESDA, Md., May 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Members of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) have noted an increase in reports of heel pain from patients stuck and home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. APMA member podiatrists are physicians and surgeons who treat the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg, and they say footwear—or lack thereof—may be to blame for the upsurge in cases.

“Adults are shifting routines and adapting to new working environments, and it’s easy to neglect proper care and support for your feet,” said APMA member podiatrist and spokesperson Priya Parthasarathy, DPM. “Many podiatrists now have telehealth and in-person appointments. Foot and heel pain is never normal, so see your podiatrist right away!”

Plantar fasciitis, one of the most common causes of heel pain, is inflammation of the band of fibrous connective tissue (fascia) running along the bottom (plantar surface) of the foot, from the heel to the ball of the foot. This condition may cause intense pain in the heel, along with redness, swelling, or heat. This pain may be most acute when a patient takes the first step in the morning or after sitting. Many Americans in quarantine are wearing unsupportive shoes—or wearing no shoes at all—which can contribute to inflammation.

“The top priority when treating plantar fasciitis is to reduce the mechanical strain on the plantar fascia with arch supports and supportive footwear,” said APMA President Seth A. Rubenstein, DPM. “Most cases of plantar fasciitis respond well to conservative (non-surgical) treatment, including anti-inflammatory measures and stretching. However, podiatrists are also well-trained to provide advanced, cutting-edge treatments, including EPAT therapy, platelet-rich plasma injections, and surgical intervention, for more complex cases.”

Although some patients assume all heel pain is attributable to plantar fasciitis, many conditions can cause similar symptoms. Seeing a local APMA-member podiatrist at the first sign of heel pain allows for proper diagnosis and treatment. Other causes of heel pain include heel spurs, Achilles tendinitis, stress fractures, and excessive pronation.

COVID-19 update to podiatrists and podiatric surgeons

Press release from the Podiatrists Board of Australia

COVID-19 update to podiatrists and podiatric surgeons

The current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak is a rapidly changing situation.

The Podiatry Board of Australia (the Board) acknowledges the important role of podiatrists and podiatric surgeons in containing the spread of the virus.

The Board also recognises the additional strain on practitioners, many of whom are anxious and concerned as COVID-19 becomes more widespread.

What does COVID-19 mean for podiatrists and podiatric surgeons?

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, there will be new and regular updates from many important sources, including governments, local health departments and professional organisations, with advice about the emerging needs of the public and how to best meet them.

We remind you that you must comply with the Commonwealth and your respective state and territory jurisdictional health directions and guidance about COVID-19. Please regularly check www.health.gov.au and your local state/territory health department’s website for updates.

You would be aware that Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently announced that non-essential gatherings are suspended to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. The Australian Government has described a healthcare setting as an essential indoor gathering to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

While services provided by podiatrists and podiatric surgeons currently fall within this category (an essential indoor gathering), you should consider the risk environment and public safety when making decisions about whether to defer non-urgent podiatry or podiatric surgical services.

Podiatric surgeons should note that the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has recently recommended cancellation of all non-urgent elective surgery due to concern for the national supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) during this COVID-19 period. Check the AHPPC statement for more information.

Please continue to comply with the Board’s Guidelines for infection prevention and control, available on our website.

As noted in these guidelines, podiatrists and podiatric surgeons must be familiar with and practise within the recommendations of the National Health and Medical Research Council Australian guidelines for the prevention and control of infection in healthcare (NHMRC guidelines) as they apply to the practice setting(s) in which they work. You must continue to comply with the NHMRC guidelines and the specific COVID-19 guidelines, especially with regard to:

  • risk management in infection prevention and control
  • standard precautions
  • transmission-based precautions, and
  • personal protective equipment.