Why patients should choose an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon
Explained by Dr. Gregory Kirwan and Dr. Karl Henrikson
Anyone from the elite athlete to casual walker can fall victim to foot and ankle pain or injury. It may be difficult to identify what to do if you’re experiencing pain; do you visit your primary care provider, a podiatrist, a foot and ankle specialist?
Seeing an orthopedic foot and ankle specialist at OSMS allows patients to see an expert in all surgical and non-surgical foot and ankle conditions. These doctors have years of training and are constantly staying well-versed in new and existing practices.
What is an orthopedic foot and ankle specialist?
Orthopedic foot and ankle specialists represent the most highly trained individuals among all professionals who care for foot and ankle problems.
All orthopedic foot and ankle specialists are physicians who have completed an orthopedic surgery residency. Residency includes a significant amount of foot and ankle training that is integrated into a whole-body approach to learning the acute and chronic orthopedic conditions.
After graduating with the competency to care for general orthopedic problems, we chose to pursue an additional one-to-two-year fellowship in foot and ankle surgery. During this fellowship, we cultivated advanced skill sets in foot and ankle surgery and learn the latest foot and ankle research and developments.
The entire process of becoming a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon takes around 10 years.
What makes foot and ankle specialists different?
Required by oath, orthopedic foot and ankle specialists practice evidence-based medicine, both on their own merits and by the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society and American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons guidance. This approach usually results in the best treatment outcomes for patients.
Orthopedic surgeons spend their careers staying on top of the latest developments in the field. The anatomy of the foot and ankle is complex, as are the many conditions affecting it, and a foot and ankle specialist is uniquely qualified to address these conditions.
This unsurpassed knowledge not only allows us to fully understand the orthopedic condition, but allows us to understand other medical conditions that may be a factor in whether or not a patient may be a good surgical candidate.
What conditions do orthopedic foot and ankle specialists treat?
Orthopedic foot and ankle specialists can perform all surgeries and treat every condition of the foot and ankle and can overlap significantly with podiatrists. We perform surgeries on complex ankle problems like arthritis,total ankle replacements, and congenital and acquired deformities.
We can also surgically treat more common problems like athletic injuries (sprains, Achilles tendon injuries), traumatic fractures, bunions and hammertoes, and midfoot arthritis as well. Orthopedic foot and ankle surgeons are experts at complicated cases and integrating other orthopedic conditions into a comprehensive treatment plan for the patient’s specific needs.
Should I see a foot and ankle specialist?
If you have medical issues with your feet or ankles, then seeing an orthopedic foot and ankle specialist is the best way to obtain a successful treatment plan and ultimately achieve recovery.
You may consider seeing a foot and ankle specialist if you’re experiencing the following symptoms:
- Difficulty walking due to pain
- Difficulty or inability to put weight on one foot
- A very swollen ankle
- Pain, tenderness, redness or inflammation of the foot
- Consistent or recurring pain in one area of your foot
- Foot, ankle or lower leg pain during and after exercise
- Foot, ankle or lower leg pain worsening throughout the day
- Numbness or tingling in the toes, foot, ankle or lower leg region
If you are experiencing pain but still aren’t sure whether you should see an orthopedic foot and ankle specialist, we recommend requesting an appointment at OSMS. A referral is not always necessary, and we accept most insurance plans.
Dr. Kirwan and Dr. Henrikson are both currently seeing patients between our Green Bay, Fox Valley and Marinette offices as well as the Acute Injury Clinic in Green Bay. Click here to request an appointment.