What's Wrong with My Foot?
As Podiatrists, we see clients with many different types of problems ranging from foot and leg pain, running injuries and childhood developmental problems as well as bone, muscle, joint, tendon, skin and nail issues.
I have always been fond of the saying “you can’t fix it if you don’t know what is broken” and this is especially vital in the area of foot health considering the complexity of the foot bones, muscles, joints, ligaments and nerves.
The Right Diagnosis
The first and most important thing for us to do as medically trained health professionals is to diagnose the cause of our client’s problems and develop a plan of care that will address this.
That is to say, make the right diagnosis for the problem at hand (or should that be at foot?).
I decided to write about the importance of the right diagnosis as we have had a number of clients presenting to us in the clinic recently with long-standing, unresolved, foot problems that need up being something a little different than was initially thought.
One case in particular really highlighted this to us.
When is An Ankle Sprain Not an Ankle Sprain?
Kate (not her real name) came to see us complaining of ankle pain that started when she “rolled her ankle” 3 months before.
Kate was initially diagnosed with an ankle sprain by her regular medical professional considering she “rolled her ankle” and treatment commenced based on this.
As treatment progressed and pain did not improve, a CT was ordered that showed no bone damage.
Her medical professional prescribed antiinflammatories and when this failed to help said “I guess you could see a Podiatrist but they probably won’t be able to do anything”.
The Right Professional for the Right Job
When we first met Kate she seemed very down about her problem as it was preventing her from doing the things she really loved.
The first thing we did was spend a lot of time talking and listening about how the injury occurred, what Kate was doing at the time and how the injury first felt as well as palpating and examining the sore areas.
It turned out that Kate had not rolled her ankle sideways (as commonly happens with an ankle sprain) but had fallen into a hole that caused the foot to be forcefully bent downwards at the ankle joint.
Based on this information, we ordered an ultrasound (which is much better at checking the soft tissue structures) and this showed no damage to the ankle ligaments but significant damage to the talonavicular joint (a joint in the foot just forward of the ankle).
Once we had confirmed the true diagnosis of Kate’s problem and identified what tissue structures were actually damaged, we were able to develop a treatment plan for her that focused our attention on the problem area.
Within a week of initiating our plan targeting the correct diagnosis, Kate began walking better and within three weeks was able to return to her beloved Irish dancing and get back into the life she wanted to live.
Getting the right diagnosis is so very important.
If you experience any health or medical problems that are not responding to the treatments you are receiving, ask the question: has the fundamental problem been diagnosed correctly and is my treatment plan appropriately targeting my problem?
We Are Here To Help
If you are experiencing foot pain or problems, the first thing to do is book an appointment with one of the Podiatrists at Complete Podiatry for a comprehensive assessment to identify what is the root cause of your problems.
Once this is done, we will develop a structured management plan for you that outlines our best advice for how to help you return to doing the things you love to do without needing to worry about your feet.
Just call us on 8330 0004, we'd love to talk to you about how we can help you build an amazing life from the feet up!
Yours in helping to build amazing lives from the feet up
Director of Complete Podiatry