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Dr. Ruth Ann Cooper

By Ruth Ann Cooper 20 Oct, 2017

Is the surgery painful? The level of pain experienced after bunion surgery is different with every patient. Most patients will experience discomfort for three to five days. However, if you closely follow the postoperative care instructions, you can help minimize pain and swelling after your bunion surgery. As part of my protocol, I utilize a MLS robotic laser both prior and subsequent to the procedure to reduce pain and inflammation and promote self healing.

What type of anesthesia is used? Most bunion surgeries involve local anesthesia with intravenous sedation. This means your foot will be numb and you will receive medications to relax you during the procedure.

How soon can I walk after surgery? You may be asked to avoid driving for three to six weeks depending upon the procedure selected for you, which foot you use to drive, how quickly you heal and other factors.

Can the bunion return? Yes, some cases have a risk of bunion recurrence. You can help prevent recurrence by following any instructions to wear arch supports or orthotics in your shoes.

If screws or plates are implanted in my foot to correct my bunion, will they activate metal detectors? Not usually. It depends upon the device chosen for your procedure as well as the sensitivity of the metal detector.

To learn more about what to expect during bunion surgery, consult with a foot and ankle surgeon by calling my office to schedule a consultation with me.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 18 Sep, 2017

Follow these six tips to help protect your children from serious foot and ankle injuries this fall:

1.       Treat foot and ankle injuries immediately. What seems like a sprain is not always a sprain. In addition to cartilage injuries, your child might have injured other bones in the foot without knowing it. Schedule an appointment with my office if you suspect your child has a foot or ankle injury. The sooner treatment begins, the sooner long-term instability or arthritis can be prevented and the sooner your child can safely get back into the game.

2.       Have a foot and ankle surgeon check old sprains before the season begins. A checkup at my office can reveal whether your child’s previously injured foot or ankle might be vulnerable to sprains and could possibly benefit from wearing a supportive brace during competition.

3.       Buy the right shoe for the sport. Different sports require different shoe gear. Players should never substitute baseball cleats for football shoes.

4.       Child athletes should begin the season with new shoe gear. Old shoes can wear down and become uneven on the bottom, causing the ankle to tilt because the foot cannot lie flat.

5.       Check playing fields for dips, divots and holes. Most sports related foot and ankle sprains are caused by jumping and running on uneven surfaces. This is why some surgeons recommend parents walk the field, especially when children compete in nonprofessional settings like public parks, for spots that could catch a player’s foot. Alert coaching officials to any irregularities.

6.       Encourage stretching and warmup exercises. Calf stretches and light jogging prior to competition, help warm up ligaments and blood vessels, reducing risk for foot and ankle injuries.

If you would like a foot and ankle surgeon to evaluate your child’s feet, ankles or athletic shoes, contact my office for an appointment.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 10 Aug, 2017

This thickening and enlargement of the tissue surrounding the nerve in the ball of the foot is the result of irritation and compression caused by repeated pressure. Symptoms of Morton’s neuroma usually begin gradually and may disappear temporarily by massaging your foot or by avoiding shoes or activities that irritate it. Symptoms will become progressively worse over time as the neuroma enlarges and the temporary changes in the nerve become permanent.

If you suspect you have a Morton’s neuroma, make an appointment with my office as soon as symptoms develop. Early treatment with padding, orthotics or medication can help you avoid the need for more invasive therapies.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 20 Jul, 2017

With warm weather in full swing, most of us have been enjoying the outdoors, whether that means tending to our yards and gardens, playing recreational sports or spending time at the beach. However, it takes just one wrong step for summer fun to turn into a painful ankle sprain or fracture. Walking, running and playing on uneven surfaces, such as grassy lawns, beaches and hiking trails, leave us susceptible to ankle trauma. Lightweight,  unsupportive summer footwear, such as sandals or flip-flops, make it even more difficult for us to regain balance on uneven surfaces.

 Sprains are one of the most common ankle injuries, but how can we tell if ankle pain is a sprain or a fracture? An ankle sprain is an injury to one or more of the ligaments in the ankle. These ligaments are like rubber bands that stabilize the ankle and limit the side-to-side motion. When these ligaments are stretched or torn, which can happen, for example, when the ankle is suddenly twisted, a sprain results. A fracture can also occur when the ankle is rolled under and the ankle is twisted. In this case, one or more bones may break or the ligament may pull a piece of bone off when it tears.

 When you have an ankle sprain, rehabilitation is crucial and it starts the moment your treatment begins. Treatment of ankle fractures depends on the type and severity of the injury. If you suffer from an ankle injury, follow the R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) protocol and contact my office for a proper evaluation or seek care at your local Emergency Department after hours. In some case, surgery may be necessary to repair the fracture and other soft-tissue related injuries, if present.


  If you or a family member suffer a sprained or fractured ankle this summer, follow these steps:   

  1.       Stay off it. Walking with a sprain or fracture can cause further damage.

2.       Ice It.   Make an ice pack by wrapping a bag of frozen vegetables in a lightweight towel. Do not apply the ice pack for more than 20 minutes each hour.

3.       Wrap It.   A loosely applied elastic bandage can help stabilize the ankle and can reduce swelling.

4.       Elevate it.   Lie with the leg on a pillow so that the ankle is above the level of your heart. This will help with pain and swelling.

5.       Call my office.   Prompt diagnosis and treatment are important in a successful recovery.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 14 Jun, 2017

  1. Wear comfortable shoes to the airport. You never know how long you will wait in line, how far you will walk to a terminal or if you will need to run to make a connecting flight. Loose fitting flip-flops and sandals increase your risk of tripping, falling and spraining your ankle. Sprains should be evaluated by a foot and ankle specialist within 24 hours to ensure proper healing.
  2. Wear socks with your comfortable shoes.   Not only do socks protect skin from shoe friction that can cause blisters and calluses, they also keep you healthy. Walking barefoot through an airport metal detector exposes your feet to bacteria and viruses that could cause plantar warts and fungus.
  3.   Avoid bringing new shoes on vacation.   If your vacation includes walking tours, hiking or dancing, wear worn-in shoes that support and cushion your feet.
  4. Check your children’s shoes for fit and comfort.   Make sure their shoes are not too big or too small and ensure that they provide proper arch support and shock absorption.
  5. Pack flip-flops or sandals and wear sparingly. Use them in place of walking barefoot in locker rooms and around pools, where you may pick up athlete’s foot, a plantar wart infection or toenail fungus.
  6. Pack an antifungal cream or powder.   Use an antifungal product to help prevent athlete’s foot if you are staying in a hotel or swimming in public pools.
  7. Place a towel on the floor before entering the shower or bathtub.   The towel will help prevent slipping when you exit and will also help dry toes and protect them from infection.
  8. Stretch your legs and pump your feet if you are traveling more than two hours.   This will help circulate your blood to prevent dangerous blood clots in your legs known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  9. Consider wearing compression socks on the aircraft.   These can help prevent blood clots and DVT by pushing the blood through the legs and back to the lungs and heart.
  10. Pack a small first-aid kit. If you develop a blister on your foot, clean your foot with saline solution, apply a small amount of antibiotic cream to the blister and cover it with a Coverlet bandage, Band-Aid or gauze. If you suffer a puncture wound, see a foot and ankle specialist within 24 hours for professional cleaning of the wound to prevent infection and other complications.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 22 May, 2017

What lies hidden in the grass, dirt or sand can definitely wreak havoc on bare feet. From nails, shards of glass, slivers of wood, pieces of seashell at the beach, thorns from trees and plants or sometimes discarded toothpicks, each can puncture the skin of the foot and cause serious injury. Even after the object has been completely removed from the foot, any dirt or bacteria pushed into the wound from the puncture can lead to an infection, painful scarring or even a cyst. Any puncture wounds should be promptly treated in my office within 24 hours.

Besides hidden dangers, “everyday childhood injuries” can also interrupt a summer break. Protect your children’s feet from traumatic injuries, such as bicycle injuries and lawn mower accidents, by making sure they wear sturdy shoes while riding a bike or when cutting the grass.

Do not discount sunburn on the feet. Protect your children’s feet from the sun’s harmful rays by applying sunscreen to the tops and bottoms of their feet. Feet, like shoulders, burn faster than the rest of the body since they are most perpendicular to the sun’s rays. Not only is sunburn of the feet painful, it can also cause skin cancers that often go unnoticed until they become very serious.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 20 Apr, 2017

Competitive youth sports often require many athletes to transition from winter activities to spring activities without considering the increased risk of incurring a foot or ankle injury. Moving from indoor to outdoor playing surfaces with varying impact can stress a young athlete’s feet and ankles. Going from sport to sport without allowing time for muscles and bones to rest can cause overuse injuries.

If your child plans to participate in a sport this spring after playing through the winter sports season, follow these six tips:

  1.       Get a preseason health and wellness checkup. A medical evaluation before the season begins can help identify any health concerns that could possibly lead to injury.

2.       Take it slow. Ask the coach to gradually increase children’s playing time during practice to avoid pushing them full throttle. Your child’s feet and ankles need to become accustomed to the activity level required for a sport.

3.       Wear proper, broken-in shoes.   Different sports require different shoe gear. Wearing the appropriate, well-fitting, broken-in athletic shoes can eliminate heel and toe discomfort.

4.       Check your child’s technique. Watch for any changes in your child’s form or technique. Ask the coach to notify you if your child is placing more weight on wide side of his/her body or limping.

5.       Insist on open communication if your child has pain. Express to your child athlete that s/he should inform you and the coach of any pain or discomfort as soon as it occurs. Overuse injuries, such as Achilles tendonitis and shin splints, can be subtle and develop over time.

6.       If an injury occurs, remember RICE. An injured foot or ankle can often be healed with rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). If your child complains of foot or ankle pain, s/he should take a break from playing and allow time for recovery.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 06 Apr, 2017

This painful condition results from inflammation of the tissue band (the plantar fascia) that extends from the heel to the toes. Repetitive activities, such as a new exercise routine or walking on a daily basis, can put stress on the ligaments in the foot, leading to inflammation and pain.

The good news is heel pain can often be relieved using conservative methods, but it must be treated early.

 Heel pain can become chronic and debilitating if not properly treated.

I can help you find relief with therapies, such as:

  •  Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Stretching exercises
  • Orthotic devices
  •  Physical therapy
  • Footwear modifications
  •  Activity limitations
  • MLS Laser Therapy
  • Extra Corporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)

 Although most patients with plantar fasciitis respond to nonsurgical treatment, some require surgery. If you continue to have heel pain with non-surgical treatment, we can discuss your surgical options.

Heel pain should not stop you from enjoying the beauty of Spring. Make an appointment with my office if you are experiencing heel pain so my staff and I can help you resume a healthy and active lifestyle.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 20 Mar, 2017

Myth: Cutting a notch in an ingrown toenail relieves pain.

Fact: This does not relieve the pain and may actually cause more problems and discomfort. If you have an ingrown toenail, do not perform bathroom surgery-call my office to schedule an appointment. In many cases, a simple in office surgical procedure will fix the ingrown toenail.

Myth: The ability to walk on an injured foot means it isn’t broken.

Fact: Depending on the injury and your threshold for pain, it is possible to walk on a broken foot or ankle. This can make the injury worse and can also lead to serious complications. Stay off an injured foot until you can come to my office for an evaluation.

Myth: Shoes cause bunions.

Fact: Bunions are most often caused by an inherited faulty mechanical structure of the foot, which only surgery can correct. However, there may be treatment options to help your symptoms.

Myth: A doctor can’t fix a broken toe.

Fact: Untreated broken toes may develop arthritis or become deformed. Schedule an appointment with my office immediately if you believe your toe may be broken. Treatment options may include;

  • Rest- Sometimes rest is all that is needed to heal a traumatic fracture of the toe.
  • Splinting- The toe may be fitted with a splint to keep it in a fixed position.
  • Rigid or stiff-soled shoe- Wearing a stiff-soled shoe protects the toe and helps keep it properly positioned.
  • “Buddy taping”- the fractured toe to another toe is sometimes appropriate, but in other cases, it may be harmful.
  • Surgery- If the break is badly displaced or if the joint is affected, surgery may be necessary.

Myth: Foot pain is normal as you get older.

Fact: Foot pain is not normal at any age. I, along with my excellent and caring staff, can provide relief for many painful conditions such as arthritis, bunions, hammertoes and much more. Visit FOOTHEALTHFACTS.org to learn more about these conditions and how to recognize their symptoms so you can get a head start on treatment.  

By Ruth Ann Cooper 21 Feb, 2017

It’s amazing how a body changes during pregnancy. For instance, did you know that a pregnant woman’s feet become wider and longer because her ligaments become easily stretched to prepare for childbirth? The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) shares common pregnancy symptoms along with tips and tricks to keep feet healthy until you finally meet your little one.

 EDEMA

Edema, or swelling, can be caused by the excess blood and fluid your body produces for pregnancy and from the baby compressing the blood vessels. Edema in the feet and ankles can make it uncomfortable to perform simple tasks such as walking and standing. How can you limit swelling and keep your feet feeling good throughout your pregnancy?

  • Wear supportive shoes, orthotics and compression stockings. Comfortable footwear and the right orthotics offer much-needed arch support and help distribute weight more evenly, while compression stockings can help with the swelling.
  • Exercise. The more active you are, the more your blood flows out of your feet and ankles and into the rest of your body. Is painful swelling already making exercise difficult? Try exercises that don’t put as much stress on your feet, like elliptical training.
  • Reduce your intake of salt and drink more water. Small changes in your diet can make significant improvements. Salt can cause your body to retain excess fluids, while drinking more water can flush out excess fluids.
  •  Elevate your feet. Pregnancy can be tiring and you’ve earned some rest and relaxation. When you’re taking a break, try elevating your feet, as well. This can help reduce swelling.
  •  Know your limits. No one knows your body better than you know your body. Trust your instincts and when you feel you might be over extending yourself, stop and take it easy.

 OVER PRONATION

Pronation is the normal flexible motion and flattening of the arch of the foot that allows it to adapt to ground surfaces and absorb shock in the normal walking pattern. Over pronation, common in pregnancy, occurs when the increased weight of carrying your baby stresses the feet and flattens the arches, causing the feet to roll in. Over pronation can stretch the tissues lining the bottom of your feet, also known as the plantar fascia. When the plantar fascia is stretched, it can cause painful inflammation called plantar fasciitis. Over pronation and plantar fasciitis result in pain in the foot and heel. How can you reduce the pain?

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Dr. Ruth Ann Cooper

By Ruth Ann Cooper 20 Oct, 2017

Is the surgery painful? The level of pain experienced after bunion surgery is different with every patient. Most patients will experience discomfort for three to five days. However, if you closely follow the postoperative care instructions, you can help minimize pain and swelling after your bunion surgery. As part of my protocol, I utilize a MLS robotic laser both prior and subsequent to the procedure to reduce pain and inflammation and promote self healing.

What type of anesthesia is used? Most bunion surgeries involve local anesthesia with intravenous sedation. This means your foot will be numb and you will receive medications to relax you during the procedure.

How soon can I walk after surgery? You may be asked to avoid driving for three to six weeks depending upon the procedure selected for you, which foot you use to drive, how quickly you heal and other factors.

Can the bunion return? Yes, some cases have a risk of bunion recurrence. You can help prevent recurrence by following any instructions to wear arch supports or orthotics in your shoes.

If screws or plates are implanted in my foot to correct my bunion, will they activate metal detectors? Not usually. It depends upon the device chosen for your procedure as well as the sensitivity of the metal detector.

To learn more about what to expect during bunion surgery, consult with a foot and ankle surgeon by calling my office to schedule a consultation with me.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 18 Sep, 2017

Follow these six tips to help protect your children from serious foot and ankle injuries this fall:

1.       Treat foot and ankle injuries immediately. What seems like a sprain is not always a sprain. In addition to cartilage injuries, your child might have injured other bones in the foot without knowing it. Schedule an appointment with my office if you suspect your child has a foot or ankle injury. The sooner treatment begins, the sooner long-term instability or arthritis can be prevented and the sooner your child can safely get back into the game.

2.       Have a foot and ankle surgeon check old sprains before the season begins. A checkup at my office can reveal whether your child’s previously injured foot or ankle might be vulnerable to sprains and could possibly benefit from wearing a supportive brace during competition.

3.       Buy the right shoe for the sport. Different sports require different shoe gear. Players should never substitute baseball cleats for football shoes.

4.       Child athletes should begin the season with new shoe gear. Old shoes can wear down and become uneven on the bottom, causing the ankle to tilt because the foot cannot lie flat.

5.       Check playing fields for dips, divots and holes. Most sports related foot and ankle sprains are caused by jumping and running on uneven surfaces. This is why some surgeons recommend parents walk the field, especially when children compete in nonprofessional settings like public parks, for spots that could catch a player’s foot. Alert coaching officials to any irregularities.

6.       Encourage stretching and warmup exercises. Calf stretches and light jogging prior to competition, help warm up ligaments and blood vessels, reducing risk for foot and ankle injuries.

If you would like a foot and ankle surgeon to evaluate your child’s feet, ankles or athletic shoes, contact my office for an appointment.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 10 Aug, 2017

This thickening and enlargement of the tissue surrounding the nerve in the ball of the foot is the result of irritation and compression caused by repeated pressure. Symptoms of Morton’s neuroma usually begin gradually and may disappear temporarily by massaging your foot or by avoiding shoes or activities that irritate it. Symptoms will become progressively worse over time as the neuroma enlarges and the temporary changes in the nerve become permanent.

If you suspect you have a Morton’s neuroma, make an appointment with my office as soon as symptoms develop. Early treatment with padding, orthotics or medication can help you avoid the need for more invasive therapies.

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