Understanding Foot and Ankle Injuries

Sponsored by Baptist Memorial Hospital – North Mississippi

Pain around the foot and ankle is a common occurrence for people during their lifetime. Some recover quickly, but for a few, the pain affects how they function in their daily lives. People do not even have to leave Oxford to have surgery or specialty ankle and foot care.

Most Common types of foot and ankle injuries

The most common type of ankle and foot injuries that most people deal with, according to Dr. Steven Blackwood, who specializes in foot and ankle care at Oxford Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Oxford, Mississippi, are Achilles tendonitis, ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, ankle fractures and stress fractures.

 Achilles tendonitis usually develops as an overuse injury with pain in the top and back of the heal, closer to where the Achilles attaches to the heel bone. When an ankle sprain occurs, one or more ligaments have been stretched or torn. The pain will usually be found around the outside of the ankle just beyond the end of the outside bone of the ankle, the fibula, where ligaments attach. Swelling and bruising are common within a couple of hours of an ankle sprain.

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the fascia band of tissue in the arch of the foot becomes inflamed. Pain is localized to the bottom and inside of the heal, where the fascia attaches to the heel bone. Usually, pain occurs for the first couple of steps in the mornings and typically will improve with activities as the fascia stretches out but recurs after a period of rest.

Ankle fractures normally happen after a traumatic event or impact to the ankle.

Pain and swelling result from the injury and develop around the entire ankle. Patients typically are unable to put weight down on the foot because of pain, which can be a distinguishing difference from an ankle sprain.

The impact of excessive and repetitive force can cause damage to the bones in the foot. If the bone does not heal faster than the repetitive stress, then a stress fracture can develop. The pain will be localized to the bone that is injured, and swelling and redness may also occur. Most frequently, these stress fractures are found in the long bones of the feet.

Most Common types of Orthopedic procedures performed

The most common orthopedic surgeries that are performed by Dr. Steven Blackwood are Bunion corrections, hammertoe correction, ankle fractures, Achilles tendonitis surgery and flatfoot reconstruction. “Diagnoses such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, bunions, hammertoes, flatfeet all have conservative treatments. However, if we are unable to improve pain and comfort with conservative measures, surgery might be the next step,” said Blackwood.

Recovery time for patients after surgery depends on the severity of the injury and bone healing, and rehab is also required for patients “Usually, the minimum recovery from surgery is 2 weeks to allow for surgical sites to heal before patients can resume normal activity. If bone healing is involved, recovery time is usually closer to the 6 weeks before getting back to more normal activities. Rehab is typically utilized 4-6 weeks after surgery, to allow patients to recover strength and range of motion in a protected environment,” said Blackwood.

 What happens if injuries are left untreated?

If injuries are left untreated, they can cause serious pain for the person. “Leaving injuries untreated can lead to long term wear and tear to the ankle joint in particular. Even something as simple as an ankle sprain, if left untreated, can lead to long term problems with chronic ankle pain, damage to the ankle joint cartilage and early onset ankle arthritis,” said Blackwood.


Dr. Steven Blackwood

Why Oxford?

 In September 2018, Dr. Steven Blackwood began his practice as a foot and ankle specialist at Oxford Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Oxford, Mississippi. When deciding on where to settle, it was an easy choice for the Blackwood family. “When my wife, Sara, and I started looking at opportunities, we initially thought we would end up in Atlanta. Atlanta was home to us, as we grew up there, met at Georgia Tech, and both our families still live there. However, we took a chance to interview with Oxford Orthopedics and immediately fell in love with Oxford. During our first visit, we appreciated the pride residents take in being a part of the Oxford community, along with family involvement in the community and schools. As a former Division 1 baseball player at Georgia Tech, it was a unique and incredible opportunity to join a group who provides orthopedic coverage for the University of Mississippi,” said Blackwood.

For more information about what types of Orthopedic procedures Baptist has to offer, visit https://www.baptistonline.org/services/orthopedic-surgery. If looking to schedule an appointment, visit https://www.oxfordortho.org/request-an-appointment/ or call 662-513-2000 to find out more.