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Medical & Surgical Treatment of Foot & Ankle

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Category Archives: Running and Foot Care

Governor Snyder Hospitalized With Blood Clot in Leg

snyderGovernor Snyder was hospitalized Thursday with a blood clot in his right leg where he has been wearing a protective boot due to his torn Achilles tendon.  He was taken to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital after he noticed swelling the injured leg.

Blood clots can happen after injuries when the foot or leg are immobilized.  Blood clots occur due to the blood not moving, while they are not very common they do happen and can be very serious.  An injury causing damage to the veins in the legs can begin a clot, then when the lower leg is immobilized with a cast or other device, the blood does not move.  When blood is stationary it can firm up and become a clot.  There is always a chance of a clot forming after an injury or surgery when the leg is immobilized.  The scary part of a blood clot is if it breaks loose because it can become stuck in the lung, preventing oxygen from getting to the blood, which in rare cases can be fatal.

Symptoms of a blood clot often include pain and swelling of the calf muscles, but there are not always symptoms.  Therefore it is always advisable to occasionally contract the calf muscles after an injury or surgery to keep the blood moving and preventing it from clotting.

Some things that put someone at a higher risk for blood clots are: taking birth control pills, being in a cast or other device that stops the muscles from contracting, smoking, being overweight, or flying in a plane.

At Fenton Foot Care, we are always monitoring for blood clots and taking precautions for our at risk patients.  We don’t use a cast unless absolutely necessary, as we prefer to use walking boots.  Not only are walking boots more comfortable, they can also be removed so the patient can move their foot up and down, making the muscles pump blood which not only prevents blood clots, but can also make for a more speedy recovery.

Dr. Hirt Comments on Governor Snyder’s Injury

SnyderGovernor Rick Snyder will be in a cast for the next 6 weeks as he recovers from a tear of his Achilles Tendon. The Governor took up jogging as part of his Healthy Michigan Initiative and feels he definitely went too far too fast. “I tend to get fairly focused in things and I over did it” he said, telling the press “now you guys get to pick on me even more”.

“There are a couple common ways to treat Achilles tendon tears and injuries” says Dr. Hirt. “Minimal tears like the one Governor Snyder suffered can be treated non-surgically, typically with a cast.  The doctor has his foot plantarflexed (bent downward; toes pointed) and the foot and lower leg are casted into this position.  He is going to have to stay off the foot completely, using crutches or other device to get around.”  Explained Dr. Hirt, adding ” these restrictions usually last 6-8 weeks, then the patient can slowly get back to normal activity.  Sometimes physical therapy is needed to get back to 100%.”

Had the tear been larger or more damaging to the tendon, surgery would likely had been necessary to repair the tendon. Surgery is more invasive but often speeds the recovery time as the tendon can be repaired which shortens the time needed to heal.  Surgery involves taking the two torn ends of tendons and suturing them back together.  If there are any deficits in the tendon or if it is severely damaged, Dr. Hirt will use a synthetic tendon graft to fill gaps and strengthen tendon.  After surgery, a cast and crutches are used for 6-8 weeks.  “In my experience, surgery is much more reliable in healing the tendon and getting patients back to their normal activity.  If it was my Achilles tendon that was torn I would opt for surgery to make sure it was fixed, so I could limit the time off the foot.”

The biggest worry about not performing surgery and only casting and using crutches is the potential that the tendon will not heal correctly and surgery will be needed later.  “I have had patients that opted for cast and crutches and the tear did not heal, and we had to later do surgery which then kept them off their feet for another 6-8 weeks.  So if the Governor would have been my patient, I would have recommended we fix his tendon surgically to virtually guarantee he would be back on his feet in 6-8 weeks.”

Heel Pain Relief Center Now Open!

Reception Area @ FFC

Reception Area @ FFC

Introducing the Heel Pain Relief Center, now open at Fenton Foot Care!  If you have not experienced heel pain yourself, you probably know someone who has.  As a recent article points out, 85% of adults will develop heel pain in their lifetime.  Without treatment this heel pain will last on average for 3 years, but with expert treatment from our highly-trained doctors, it can usually be resolved in less than a month.  James Hirt, DPM is an expert in treating and preventing heel pain.  Dr. Hirt is a board certified physician with 3 years of surgical training, along with advanced training in Endoscopic Plantar Fascial Release surgery.   Dr. Hirt has performed hundreds of Endoscopic Planter Fascial Release surgeries, and has the expertise and experience to identify and treat your heel pain.  There are multiple causes of heel pain, and no one treatment works for every patient or condition.  Surgery is not necessary in the majority of cases, and our doctors have the philosophy that the least invasive option is always best.

The Heel Pain Relief Center offers:

  • In-office Muscular-Skeletal Ultrasound Diagnostics
  • Custom Functional Orthotics specifically tailored to relieve your heel pain
  • Night Splints
  • Hi-Resolution Digital X-Rays
  • As well as an array of Physician-Selected over-the-counter treatment products

If you are experiencing heel pain, make an appointment today by calling 810.629.3338 [FEET].  Don’t live with heel pain, let our expert doctors help you to get back on your feet again, pain free!

Is Heel Pain Slowing You Down?

The website Competitor.com, an online resource for running and runners, has identified the 5 most troublesome injuries runners face.  Number one on that list: Plantar Fasciitis, the most common cause of the heel pain that some runners experience.  Dr. Hirt agrees that 1 in 4 patients he sees suffers from heel pain.

There are several treatments for Plantar Fasciitis, and since no two people’s feet are the same, there is no cookie-cutter approach to treatment.  Plantar Fasciitis is a result of the thick ligament [the Plantar Fascia] that runs from the base of the toes to the bottom of the heel being stressed. This stress causes the fibers that attach to the heel to pull away from the bone, causing inflammation, swelling, and pain in the heel.

Some of the most common treatments for Plantar Fasciitis and the associated pain are:

  • custom functional orthotics
  • night splints
  • proper shoes
  • stretching
  • corticosteroid injections
  • NSAIDS and other anti-inflammatories
  • endoscopic plantar fasciotomy surgery (EPF)
  • plantar fascial supports
  • topical anti-inflammatories

It is typically a custom-designed treatment plan based on the individual foot, using a combination of treatments that achieves the quickest result.  Dr. Hirt is an expert in treating Plantar Fasciitis and the resulting foot pain.  “Without treatment, heel pain will last, on average, for 3 years.  Whereas in the office we can usually resolve it in less than a month” says Dr. Hirt, adding “I don’t know many people who can tolerate heel pain for 3 years.”  If you are experiencing heel pain that is impacting your quality of life, call and make an appointment today at (810) 629-3338 (FEET).  Let us help you keep your feet happy so you can get back to the activities you love, just in time for summer!