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Top Foot and Ankle Doctor in New Jersey for Expert Care

When pain or discomfort strikes your feet or ankles, finding a qualified foot and ankle doctor in New Jersey becomes a priority. Choosing the right specialist ensures you receive an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment. From understanding common conditions to navigating different treatment options, we’ll give you practical knowledge. We asked Dr. Shital Sharma, DPM of LuxStep Concierge podiatry to help with this article which aims to empower you in making informed decisions about your foot and ankle health, guiding you toward the right foot doctor in New Jersey for your specific needs.

Table Of Contents:

Common Foot and Ankle Conditions

Our feet and ankles endure incredible stress daily, making them susceptible to various conditions. Dr. Sharma explains that a foot and ankle doctor in New Jersey often diagnoses and treats conditions including:

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis causes heel pain, particularly noticeable in the morning or after rest. It stems from inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue supporting your foot’s arch. You might experience this heel pain if you have flat feet or fallen arches.

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains happen when your ankle rolls, twists, or turns beyond its normal range of motion, often resulting from falls or sports-related injuries. These ankle sprains can be painful, causing swelling and instability.

They may even require immobilization or, in severe cases, surgery. An ankle surgeon might recommend ankle surgery to repair any damage.

Achilles Tendonitis

Pain, stiffness, and tenderness along the back of your heel are hallmarks of Achilles tendonitis. Overuse, improper footwear, and aging all contribute to inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscle to the heel bone.

Bunions

Bunions appear as bony protrusions at the base of your big toe. They occur due to genetics, tight footwear, or foot structure issues, causing pain and difficulty walking. Bunion correction surgery is a possible treatment option to consider.

Hammertoes

Hammertoes involve a bending of the toe joint, most commonly affecting the second toe. This often arises from muscle imbalances, ill-fitting shoes, or injury. In some instances, a hammer toe can be treated with conservative methods like orthotics or special shoes. However, if those methods fail, hammer toe surgery might be the best course of action.

Finding the Right Specialist for You

Dr. Sharma tells us that there are a lot of medical centers out there. Understanding the types of specialists and when you might need their services is key to getting the proper ankle care and foot care you deserve.

Podiatrist

Podiatrists, also known as doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs), are trained to diagnose and treat foot and ankle disorders. Their expertise encompasses both surgical and non-surgical treatments.

Podiatrists can help with plantar fasciitis, wound care, ankle fractures, and deformities like bunions and hammertoes. They can also help treat diabetic foot problems and provide diabetic foot care to patients.

Orthopedic Surgeon Specializing in Foot and Ankle

Orthopedic surgeons treat musculoskeletal system disorders, and some specialize in foot and ankle surgery. This includes complex fractures ankle, tendon or ligament reconstruction, joint replacements, and congenital deformities.

You might seek their care for conditions like severe ankle instability requiring surgical intervention. For more severe fractures, ankle replacement surgery might be required. Sometimes a total ankle replacement is needed for pain relief and restoring mobility. Be sure to find out if they specialize in ankle surgery for your specific needs.

When to Choose Whom

Determining which specialist suits you depends on your specific condition. Start with your primary care physician for an initial evaluation. They can refer you to either a podiatrist or an orthopedic surgeon based on your needs.

Mild to moderate ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, or ingrown toenails can be initially assessed and managed by podiatrists. Conversely, complex fractures, significant deformities, or requiring surgical reconstruction often need an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon. If your child is having foot issues, you’ll want to find a pediatric foot doctor who can treat your child and address any injuries pediatric patients may face.

What to Expect During Your Visit

Dr. Sharma tells us that going to a foot and ankle doctor involves specific steps for a thorough assessment and diagnosis. It is helpful to know what to expect during your visit so you feel prepared.

Medical History Review

Your first visit includes discussing your symptoms, their duration, and any past medical history related to your feet and ankles. Being open with your doctor allows for personalized treatment plans based on your individual needs.

Physical Examination

This includes visually examining your feet and ankles and physically assessing range of motion, flexibility, and areas of tenderness or swelling. A podiatrist can also check if you have posterior tibial tendonitis which causes pain and weakness in the inner part of your ankle and foot.

Diagnostic Tests

Depending on your condition, your doctor might recommend X-rays, ultrasounds, or MRI scans. These tests give detailed images of the bones, tissues, and joints, helping diagnose the cause of your symptoms.

This ensures they can provide an accurate diagnosis and tailor a treatment plan accordingly. Some podiatrists use advanced imaging technology such as 3-D imaging, for conditions such as a Lisfranc injury, so they can determine if conservative treatments will be enough, or if more aggressive measures are required.

Treatment Options

Depending on your diagnosed condition, various treatment options are available, ranging from conservative measures to surgery. Treatment plans are not a one size fits all and can vary based on the severity of your condition.

Conservative Treatments

Conservative approaches like rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) often form the initial line of defense for many foot and ankle conditions. These can include over-the-counter pain relievers, physical therapy for strength and flexibility exercises, or custom orthotics for arch support and pain relief.

Surgical Procedures

Surgical intervention becomes necessary for cases where conservative treatment fails to provide adequate relief. Surgical procedures may range from minimally invasive techniques to more involved reconstructive surgeries. Some common examples include:

Minimally Invasive Bunion Surgery

For bunions causing significant discomfort, minimally invasive procedures offer faster recovery and smaller incisions. A foot and ankle doctor specializing in minimally invasive techniques may use specialized instruments to realign the bones and correct the deformity through tiny incisions, minimizing scarring.

Achilles Tendon Repair

Ruptures or severe tears of the Achilles tendon may need surgery to reattach the tendon and restore normal function. Your orthopedic surgeon can advise you on how long it will take to recover from an Achilles tendon tear.

Total Ankle Replacement

In cases of severe ankle arthritis, a total ankle replacement may be considered to relieve pain and improve mobility. This procedure replaces the damaged joint with an artificial implant, offering pain relief and enhanced quality of life.

Recovery and Aftercare

Post-treatment, expect personalized aftercare plans from your doctor, ranging from medication management to activity modification. Be sure to listen to your doctor’s advice on how to care for your foot or ankle injury.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy plays a crucial role after many foot and ankle procedures or injuries. Therapists teach exercises, helping regain strength, flexibility, and proper mechanics. They can show you the correct ways to stretch your ankle and foot.

Orthotics and Bracing

After surgery or for chronic conditions, your foot and ankle doctor may recommend custom-made orthotics. These provide support, improve alignment, and reduce stress on your feet. 3-D custom orthotics take this to another level with precise design based on your unique foot structure for enhanced comfort.

FAQs about foot and ankle doctor in New Jersey

What is the difference between a podiatrist and a foot and ankle doctor?

Podiatrists specialize in foot and ankle care, providing both surgical and non-surgical treatments. While the term “foot and ankle doctor” encompasses podiatrists, it can also refer to orthopedic surgeons specializing in the foot and ankle.

This highlights the importance of clarifying the practitioner’s specific qualifications and expertise. Both podiatrists and orthopedic surgeons play crucial roles, and choosing one depends on your condition. They are trained in podiatric medicine and can diagnose and treat foot and ankle conditions including plantar warts and athlete’s foot.

What is the best doctor for ankle issues?

The “best” doctor for ankle issues depends on the condition itself. Simple issues like athlete’s foot or minor sprains may not require a specialist. However, persistent discomfort should prompt a visit to a podiatrist. They can diagnose the problem and initiate treatment.

Severe ankle injuries, deformities requiring surgery, or complex fractures warrant consultation with an orthopedic surgeon specializing in foot and ankle surgery. Selecting the right practitioner for ankle issues involves understanding the condition and consulting appropriate medical professionals. It’s similar to finding a great mechanic – start with general repairs, and graduate to a specialist for complex engine issues. Some foot and ankle doctors also treat conditions such as peripheral arterial disease.

Is it better to see a podiatrist or orthopedist for ankle pain?

If your ankle pain is recent, persistent, or accompanied by swelling, see a podiatrist first. They are specialized foot and ankle doctors capable of addressing various conditions. For pain related to potential arthritis or old, unhealed fractures, a podiatrist can diagnose the issue.

They may utilize imaging like X-rays to confirm suspicions and formulate a treatment plan. This often includes conservative options such as shockwave therapy, custom orthotics, or medications for pain management. In some cases, a referral to an orthopedist may be necessary. Podiatrists go to medical school and complete residency programs, so they are highly qualified in the field of podiatric medicine.

Do podiatrists take care of ankles?

Yes. Podiatrists are healthcare professionals specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, and surgery of foot and ankle conditions. So, they can definitely take care of your ankles. In addition to common conditions, podiatrists can treat less common conditions as well. For example, some of these conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Neuroma
  • Neuropathy
  • Haglund’s Deformity
  • Hallux Rigidus
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease
  • Compartment Syndrome
  • Cavus Foot
  • Foot Brachymetatarsia
  • Contact Dermatitis
  • Fungal Nails
  • Tendon Injuries

Conclusion

Seeking timely and appropriate treatment is vital when facing foot or ankle problems. Thankfully, New Jersey is home to many skilled and experienced foot and ankle doctors like Dr. Shital Sharma, DPM of LuxStep Concierge podiatry, who can provide effective solutions tailored to your needs. Addressing your discomfort head-on lets you enjoy an active lifestyle. Finding the right foot and ankle doctor in New Jersey plays a crucial role in getting you back on your feet.

Remember, you deserve the best care. If you are experiencing any foot or ankle pain, you shouldn’t hesitate to get help. It is wise to prioritize finding a reputable and compassionate foot and ankle doctor in New Jersey that can address your individual needs. Contact your navigator at Pinewood to connect with LuxStep Concierge podiatry today!