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October 8, 2008 > Learn to Take Good Care of Your Ankles and Feet

Learn to Take Good Care of Your Ankles and Feet

Learn About Treatment Options at Washington Hospital Health and Wellness Seminar

What part of your body has 28 bones and more than 30 joints? It's the foot. A key part of your foot is the ankle - where your shinbone (called the tibia) rests on the uppermost bone of the foot (called the talus). This hinge-type joint allows you to move all the other joints in your foot, including making your toes move up and down. To stay as mobile as possible and avoid pain and discomfort, it's important for people of all ages to take the best possible care of their ankles.

Each year, Americans make more than 11 million visits to the doctor because of foot, toe and ankle problems, says the National Center for Health Statistics. This includes more than 2 million visits for ankle sprains and strains and more than 800,000 visits for ankle fractures.

It's no wonder our ankles are susceptible to injury and disease when you think of what we depend on them to do every day. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:
* Walking puts up to 1.5 times your bodyweight on your feet.
* Your feet log approximately 1,000 miles per year.
* As shock absorbers, feet cushion up to one million pounds of pressure during one hour of strenuous exercise.

If you have questions about taking care of your feet and ankles, or if you or someone you care about is experiencing ankle and foot problems or pain, you'll want to attend the free Health & Wellness Seminar, "Effective Treatment for Common Foot and Ankle Problems," presented on Tuesday, October 14 at 1 p.m. in the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium at 2500 Mowry Avenue (Washington West) in Fremont. Podiatrist Joshua Van Gompel, DPM, and orthopedic surgeon Soheil Motamed, M.D., will discuss the diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle ailments, including sports injuries. The discussion will be followed by a period for questions and answers. Both doctors are affiliated with Mission Peak Orthopaedic Medical Group and are on the medical staff at Washington Hospital.

"People of all ages can have ankle problems," explains Dr. Van Gompel. "As they age, the most common ailments I see are heel pain called plantar fasciitis, bunions, and flat foot deformity called posterior tibial tendon dysfunction or PTTD."

At the seminar, Dr. Van Gompel will talk about these ailments: what are the symptoms, simple treatments you can do at home, when you should see a specialist for diagnosis and treatment, and when surgery might be needed.

He recommends that, when you're experiencing foot and ankle problems, it's usually advisable to try simple home treatments first, such as rest, ice, compression and elevation. If your symptoms don't improve, it's a good idea to see a doctor.

"The practice of podiatry has evolved a lot over the last 10 to 15 years," says Dr. Van Gompel. "I specialize in foot and ankle conditions, which can include anything from bunions and Achilles tendon ruptures to trauma of the foot and ankle. In some cases, to treat these or other conditions, surgery is necessary."

At the seminar, Dr. Motamed will talk about other common ankle problems and when you should see an orthopedic surgeon. He'll address ankle injuries and pain, including sports injuries, as well as arthritis, chronic tendinitis and fractures. And, he'll explain why it's important to keep your ankles healthy and exercising.

"If you've been injured, some signs indicate you should see a doctor rather than rely on self-care. They include the inability to bear weight and/or significant swelling of the foot and ankle," states Dr. Motamed. "If necessary, your primary care provider can refer you to an orthopedic surgeon."

Drs. Van Gompel and Motamed agree that early diagnosis and rehabilitation of foot and ankle injuries is essential.

"The faster you can get diagnosed and treated, the sooner you'll be able to return to your normal daily activities," says Dr. Motamed.

For more information about the upcoming seminar on common foot and ankle problems, or to reserve your space, call Washington Hospital's Health Connection at (800) 963-7070.

Upcoming Health and Wellness Seminar

Seminar: Effective Treatment for Common Foot and Ankle Problems
When: Tuesday, October 14
Time: 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Speakers: Podiatrist Joshua Van Gompel, DPM, and orthopedic surgeon Soheil Motamed, M.D.
Where: Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditoriums, Rooms A&B 2500 Mowry Avenue (Washington West) in Fremont.
Call: Health Connection at (800) 963-7070 to register.

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