Foot & Ankle Injuries We Specialize In Treating.
The Achilles tendon is the strongest and one of the most important tendons in the entire body. The Achilles tendon is critical to running, jumping, walking, standing, and assists in overall balance.
Tendinitis is the most common condition that affects the tendon. It is a condition of irritation and inflammation in the back of the ankle. It can also involve swelling and thickening of the tendon, and could lead to further degeneration of the tendon resulting in a complete tendon rupture or tear.
Fractures, Breaks & Sprains
Ankle fractures, breaks, and sprains are common injuries. The tibia, fibula, and talus join to form the ankle joint. The bones are connected by ligaments. An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments are stretched and partially or completely torn. An ankle fracture or break occurs when a strong force breaks one or more of the bones.
Sports, accidents, falls, walking and running are common causes of ankle fractures, breaks, and sprains. Pain, swelling, and bruising are common symptoms. An Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey (OIOCJ) specialist examines the ankle and orders and analyzes X-rays to accurately diagnose ankle fractures, breaks, and sprains. Customized treatment plans quickly reduce symptoms and heal the injury. All OIOCJ specialists are fellowship trained and board-certified.
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Plantar fasciitis occurs when inflammation develops in the band of the fibrous connective tissue along the plantar surface of the foot. The plantar fascia spans from the heel to the ball of the foot. Fasciitis is a common ailment experienced amongst athletes, runners, and those whose profession requires chronic repetitive standing or walking. Plantar fasciitis is by far the most common inflammatory condition experienced in the foot.
Arthritis is a term that broadly refers to a number of different conditions. It literally, however, means “pain within a joint.” Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are many treatment options available. There are different types of arthritis that may affect your foot and ankle. Osteoarthritis is known as the degenerative, or “wear and tear” arthritis. It is a common problem for many people after they reach middle age. The cartilage becomes worn or frayed, which results in pain, inflammation, and swelling surrounding the joint. Post-traumatic arthritis is very common in the foot and ankle. It occurs after an injury and it may develop years after a fracture, dislocation, severe sprain, ligament injury, or crush injury.
A bunion is a deformity characterized by lateral deviation of the hallux (great toe) toward the second digit. Hallux abductovalgus involves several pathologies of the first metatarsophalangeal joint. There is an enlargement of the medial (inner) first metatarsal head and range of motion often becomes restricted. The position of the great toe often continues to deviate more laterally over time, which can lead to arthritic changes of the first metatarsophalangeal joint. Bunions can be genetic or caused from faulty mechanics and are often associated with chronic use of high-heeled or ill-fitting footwear.
Flatfeet, commonly known as fallen arches, can affect as much as 50% of the population. A flatfoot is due to excessive pronation. Pronation allows the foot to adapt and react to the ground. When there is excessive pronation, the foot splays (widens), the arch drops, and excessive stress and strain occur to many of the ligament and tendon structures supporting the foot and ankle. Flatfeet can lead to many painful conditions such as heel pain, tendinitis, arthritis, and difficulty with walking, running, and/or standing. Flatfeet can affect both children and adults. A child with excessive hyperpronation could possibly develop chronic foot pain or permanent biomechanical imbalances. Treatment for flatfeet include orthotics, pain relieving measures such as anti-inflammatory medication, proper shoe wear, and physical therapy. An adult-acquired flatfoot can be a very debilitating condition. Typically it is caused by a breakdown or tear of the posterior tibial tendon and could often lead to significant faulty mechanics of the foot, ankle, and lower extremity.
Hallux limitus is the most common form of arthritis in the foot. It occurs at the base of the big toe. Arthritis of the big toe joint can be very problematic. The condition presents as a stiff joint. It can become chronically painful and cause difficulty in walking and particularly running. Hallux rigidus often progresses in spite of conservative treatment.
When one or more toes (typically excluding the big toe) appear to contract toward the foot in a claw formation, this is known as hammertoe. This condition is caused by an imbalance of the tendons and soft tissue of the affected areas. Discomfort when wearing shoes as a result of pressure on the curled toes and irritation of the knuckle skin is common. A progressive concern, hammertoe will worsen over time without treatment, and increasing pain may be felt in the toes and ball of the foot.
Heel pain has many causes. It can affect the posterior (back near the Achilles tendon), or plantar aspect (bottom) of the heel. Pain in the heel is generally a result of faulty biomechanics (walking or running gait abnormalities). Excessive stress is placed on the heel, which leads to chronic irritation and inflammation.
The nerves of the lower extremities help muscles to function and provide sensation to the skin and tissue. The most common examples of nerve abnormalities include neuropathy, neuroma, and a version of carpal tunnel that affects the ankle called tarsal tunnel. The cause of tarsal tunnel is not fully understood; however, injury, compression, and varicose veins are thought to be contributing factors. Compression, pinching, or abnormal biomechanics of the foot could be a sign of Morton’s neuroma, a thickening of tissue around the nerves in the foot. Complications related to diabetes can also lead to nerve abnormalities, which often feel like tingling, numbness, a burning sensation, pain, and/or weakness, depending on how advanced the condition is. Tingling and numbness may also be a sign of sciatica, typically resulting from a pinched or compressed nerve in the spine.
Osteochondral injuries most often occur after a significant or grade 3 ankle sprain (the most severe type). An osteochondral injury usually occurs when there is an abrasion to the cartilage of the talus (the bone connecting the foot to the leg). If the cartilage injury is severe, it can cause the joint to lock, feel unstable, and may lead to painful joint motion.
A ruptured Achilles tendon often can be very debilitating and, in many cases, surgery is required to repair the tendon directly. The Achilles is the most commonly injured tendon in the foot. It is located on the back of the leg and is a thick, fibrous piece of tissue that connects the calf to the heel bone. Injury most often happens as a result of playing sports, although other causes are possible. Four to six weeks of casting and physical therapy are mainstays of treatment after a complete Achilles tendon tear.
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