Edited by Haydee Brown, MD
Many patients are able to effectively manage their symptoms non-operatively. However, doing so does not simply involve making a few doctor-prescribed changes. Successful non-surgical management of most chronic foot and ankle problems require patients themselves to gain a greater overall understanding of their condition. Patients must partner with their physicians to improve their foot and ankle complaints. The key to being an effective partner is understanding why the problem occurred, and identifying both alleviating and aggravating factors. Patients who are aware of their condition, especially what irritates and alleviates their symptoms, will often be able to evolve strategies over time that allow them to effectively manage their symptoms without surgery.
Some foot and ankle conditions do require operative management. That decision is best made in concert with your treating physician, in an individualized review of operative and non-operative care. This consultation can prevent patients from having unnecessary surgery, or indicating them when non-surgical treatment is not effective. Active patient education throughout the healing process is essential to most any successful recovery.
Elements of successful non-operative treatment may include:
Heel Cord Stretching
When patients suffer from chronic or acute foot and ankle injuries, one of the main sources of their pain and discomfort stems from loading the joint. Those with arthritis experience more pain when they walk or stand, than when they are off their feet. There are devices available for such patients which aim to decrease the load that goes through the affected area, in order to provide relief.
Identifying how best to lose weight as a comination of both diet and activity. Pain within the foot or ankle does not preclude activity. Patients can pursue low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, and cycling (indoor or outdoor).
- Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy
Edited May 25, 2019