The average American takes between 8,000 and 10,000 steps each day, and for those suffering from foot problems, each step can be agonizing.
Foot disorders are among the most widespread and neglected health problems affecting people in this country, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. The association notes that the neglect may stem from “a curious misconception that feet are supposed to hurt.”
“That’s not the case,” says George Fahoury, D.P.M., who serves a chief of podiatry at Monmouth as well as co-medical director of the hospital’s Wound Treatment Center. “It is estimated that more than 75 percent of Americans will experience foot problems to some degree, and the American Podiatric Medical Association is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of foot and ankle health.”
The human foot is a complex structure containing about one-fourth of all the bones in the body, as well as muscles, nerves, ligaments and blood vessels, and is designed to give us balance and mobility, according to Dr. Fahoury. Podiatry is a highly specialized field that is dedicated to ensuring these complex structures are able to stand up to years of wear and tear, and at Monmouth Medical Center, a team of podiatric surgeons offers the training and expertise to keep their patients’ feet healthy and working well.
“Due to the very specialized training we receive, podiatrists are highly qualified to perform reconstructive procedures on the foot and ankle,” he says. “We take a unique approach to foot biomechanics. Podiatrists use a wide range of therapies and surgical procedures to treat conditions related to foot structure and function, and we also educate our patients in ways to avoid future foot problems.”
Common conditions treated by podiatrists include heel pain, foot and ankle trauma, arch problems, bunions (unsightly bumps on the side of the foot by the big toe), hammer toes (uncomfortably bent toes) and other deformities, ingrown nails and skin problems such as fungal infections or corn and calluses. Sports-related injuries also account for a high percentage of visits to a podiatry office, according to Dr. Fahoury, who notes that runners in particular are vulnerable to these problems.
“Sedentary people who want to start running should see a podiatrist for a gait analysis and biomechanical exam, because any imbalances they have are multiplied three to four times during the act of running,” he says. “As more Americans are engaging in exercise and fitness regimens, they are becoming increasing aware of the limits foot and ankle problems impose.”
And in addition to treating these conditions, podiatric surgeons are trained to detect warning signs of conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and cardiovascular disease that may affect the lower extremities. Podiatrists treat patients across the lifespan, and in fact, Dr. Fahoury notes that surgical advances now offer relief to children born with painful flatfoot (low arches). While flatfoot often can be treated with supportive shoes and special shoe inserts called orthodics, 5 percent to 10 percent of children with flatfoot are unable to function without pain, he says.
“Children’s arches should form between the ages of 2 and 3, but for some they never do,” Dr. Fahoury says. “Most kids go untreated, but this imbalance can lead to degenerative disease and future problems with the ankles, knees, hips and back.”
To correct this deformity, Dr. Fahoury has introduced to Monmouth Medical Center an advanced surgical procedure utilizing a revolutionary titanium implant. The Subtalar MBA implant is a small device that is inserted into the foot, preventing the loss of the arch.
“It is like an internal orthotic that allows the bones in the foot to grow to a more normal structure,” Dr. Fahoury says. “The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and recovery typically involves two weeks in a weight-bearing cast with gradual return to normal activity.”
Dr. Fahoury notes that Monmouth’s podiatric surgeons perform many procedures in Monmouth’s Cranmer Ambulatory Surgery Center — a 19,000-square-foot building adjacent to the hospital's main lobby. The center offers a spacious post-anesthesia care unit and recovery lounge and a full array of amenities specifically designed for children, including private pre- and post-operative rooms, a playroom and child life services.
[ top ] [ back to department index ]