Misdiagnosed Foot and Ankle Injuries May Result in Arthritis and Chronic Pain

Misdiagnosed Foot and Ankle Injuries May Result in Arthritis and Chronic Pain

By Staff

Physicians have been advised to err on the side of caution when diagnosing common foot and ankle injuries, or it may result in arthritis, chronic pain and disability, new research suggests.

A new study by orthopedic surgeons published in the February edition of the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, outlined subtleties that complicate identification and treatment of “snowboarder’s fractures” (lateral talar process fractures) as well as os trigonum injuries, Lisfranc injuries, turf toe, navicular stress fractures and syndesmotic injuries.

These types of injuries account for more than 3 million emergency room visits in the United States each year are related to common foot and ankle injuries.  The authors encourage clinicians to obtain additional imaging or a second opinion from an orthopedic surgeon to confirm the initial diagnosis.

“These types of trauma are a clinically significant source of morbidity and long-term disability among patients, not just those who are elite athletes. In many cases, the clinical symptoms are vague and tough to detect with standard imaging,” said lead author Jessica Reissig, DO, of the Department of Orthopedics at Plainview Hospital in New York in a press release. “As an osteopathic physician, I view treatment of foot and ankle injuries as acute and preventative care because a mismanaged injury leads to so many future problems for patients.”

The authors noted that the potential for severe pain and disability, as well as a high correlation to future arthritis are associated with untreated snowboarder’s fractures.  Additionally, improper treatment of other foot and ankle traumas can result in compensation injuries and other issues including tendinitis and recurrent ankle sprains.

While in many cases, these injuries can be resolved with a combination of medication, immobilization, ice and rest, some require surgical intervention.  Elite athletes may also opt for surgery in order to resume their sport sooner, said co-author Adam Bitterman, DO, of the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine.

“Once the diagnosis is confirmed, in many cases patients can be offered a range of treatment options from conservative to surgical. Choosing the best treatment for the individual can prevent the injury from decreasing the patient’s future quality of life,” Dr. Bitterman explained.

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Authored by: Staff

There are 4 comments for this article
  1. Candice at 8:57 am

    Doctors of Osteopathic medicine use whole body heakth and healing. For example, probiotics, herbal tea and Dicyclomine for Spastic Colon or IBS. It doesn’t mean they just use herbal or homeopathic treatments. I’m sorry you had such an experience Joan but our family doctor is a DO and was the only doc who diagnosed my CML and the new oral treatment for it. They are required to get CEUS in traditional medicine and had to take Med School just like all docs. Sounds like you got a doc who didn’t go the extra mile to help a child. Shame on him.

  2. Jean Price at 1:47 pm

    Joan…oh, my! Your past experiences are much more than awful…they are abusive, bordering on criminal—in so many ways and from many people, also! I’m so sorry you had to go through this horror, and yes…God does pull us out of the fire many times…especially when we are in desperate need of care! Or our lives depend on it! Sadly there are people in all areas and levels of health care who are not suited for job, and many who are plainly more focused on THEIR incomes and monetary rewards than healing or helping patients. We see this today, too…and likely always will. It’s wrong, and yet there was much power in the past that doctors wielded over their patients! They were thought of as gods! So, many patients did not seek other care providers, and just went along with the atrocious and ridiculous care they received,,,perhaps thinking this was the best they could do! Yet it was not, even then! Unfortunately, you bore the brunt of this doctor’s extremely poor care and of not being able yourself to seek other care. So very sad, and wrong!

    Yet this can and does happen with MDs also. I will say, I have worked as a nurse with many of both, MDs and osteopathic doctors over the years, in many different areas of health care…and the manipulations definitely now aren’t the focus of their practice, and haven’t been for some time. (Although some do seem much more knowledgeable about the musculoskeletal system in general than many MDs do!). Earlier, I think social factors were the biggest factor for choosing an osteopathic medical degree over an MD…since it took a great deal of social clout, and of course lots of money, to be admitted to medical school! If you didn’t have connections and society’s elite behind you, AND money….admission was a long shot, at best. So people who really wanted to practice medicine could go into osteopathic colleges, and end up being DO, a doctor of osteopathy.

    Their training changed at some point long ago, and has since been very comparable to what an MD receives. In light of this, they were even accepted on staff by hospitals everywhere, as basically equals…where they used to have their own osteopathic hospitals and weren’t allowed on staff at the others. (This happened even before the early 70’s, I think…but for certain it had occurred by then.) I believe one early impact of this was a big benefit to family care medicine, to cover the need for more doctors…since many MDs were leaving family care practices to specialize. Osteopathic doctors definitely had the educational requirements and they filled this need.

    Many osteopathic physicians I have worked with tended to be much more patient-centered in their care, with better bedside manners, and were much more likely to consider the whole person (and even the whole family!) when they took care of a patient! And I really truly preferred working with many of them over some of the MDs…especially since their skill levels and knowledge were comparable. My parents, and our whole family, went to an osteopathic doctor long ago when I was a child also…yet I never had even one manipulation…just good sound medical care! So, as always…it depends entirely on the individual, the person giving the care! Some will be great and some will be horrible, like I think sadly you already know!

    I just felt it was important to say this, to honor the good doctors I’ve known, worked with, and been cared for medically. Yet please know, it in no way is meant to diminish the awfulness of your care at the hands of your outrageously poor doctor. Or minimize your feelings! Today, the manipulations used to treat people are done mostly by chiropractors, who can ALSO be really good or fall short of what we need in care. As adults, the only thing we CAN do, in fact MUST do…is seek care elsewhere, whenever we run into these situations or doctors we believe are delivering poor or harmful care! To be at the mercy of someone who lacks knowledge, listening skills, and either the ability or the willingness to give appropriate care is nothing short of a nightmare! And there are a lot of nightmares out there even now, it seems! (Although I think your experiences were some of the worst I’ve heard, dear Joan! And I’m so glad you survived them!! Bless you!)

  3. Tim Mason at 9:55 am

    Risk taking has taken a backseat in all professionals from chemical engineering, medicine and rocket science. We went to the moon and back on a slide rule the equivalent of a Commodore 64 (only it was bigger then).
    Before any task is undertaken there is a great deal of “red tape” consisting of numerous documents and signatures. This assessment includes everything from a laboratory centrifuge to a valve on a pipe line. Lock out, tag out, try out. LOTOTO.
    I remember putting my initials and on my right thigh before a hip replacement 3 years ago.
    It is a crazy world we live in now.

  4. Joan Hamm at 7:45 am

    I cannot believe you are making statements that Osteopathic Doctors know real health and medical problems. All my life my mother went every few weeks for adjustments from a Osteopathic Doctor for all health problems. She took her children for any illness to osteopathic Doctors. None of which ever helped any of us. My mother was conned to believe that adjustments can help or cure her deafness. An adjustment is you lay on your back.. Relax your head and the Osteopathic would turn your neck to the left and right. Hearing cracks like cracking your knuckles. It did not hurt but NEVER helped my Thematic Fever disease or my measles or me being severely I’ll. None of these Osteopathic Doctors told or insisted I see a regular Doctor or a hospital!!! My mom was brainwashed therefore I almost died from being in and out of consciousnesses for months. With Diapers on me due to too ill to be moved. The pain I felt was extreme when I woke up and passed out again. God must have saved me due to I had this happen to me age five and age eleven. No one ever too or called a Doctor. My mother would ask Osteopathic Doctors for answers never to see a Doctor. They didn’t want to lose my mother’s faith and money. I was layed on an Army cut. My bed was an Army cut. At age eleven in the Army cut in and out of consciousnesses sick as anything put in the middle of a kitchen while my mother’s Eleven brothers and my mothers mother would get together drinking laughing every month. One time I woke up laying in the kitchen and my Aunts face was very close to mine and I heard an uncle ask her what she was doing and she said “I want to see if she is still breathing!! I passed out into sleep right after. I couldn’t move my body… Too painful and I would fall into unconsciousness again. All due to Osteopathic Doctors care or not care. I was neglected every illness I had as a child. God had to have kept me alive thru all this. I couldn’t move my head up to eat and urinated in cloth diapers which caused skin pain due to bad care. I begged as a young teen the Osteopathic Doctors to put me in the hospital or see a Doctor. I eventually realized that Osteopathic Doctors know nothing… Just good for adjustments done which never helped any illness!!!! So you say the Osteopathic Doctors you have discovered are now saying they know about foot and ankle injuries…. Bull !!!!! Many foot and ankle injuries cause many people to get RSD CRPS which you fail to mention here!!! 😢😢 Wake up do not identify any injury one has as a label by the Osteopathic Association!!! We need real Doctors And real Scientists to identify each individual sufferings and prescribe medicines to ease the disease pain. Individually!!!