Complex injuries are those that require special care, as they are either difficult to treat and/or may have additional complications (such as infection) that prevent them from healing normally with standard treatments. Because the foot and ankle are intricate structures, fractures, dislocations or other traumas to this area can sometimes result in damage to blood vessels, nerves or tissue. Complex trauma may require surgery, including limb reconstruction, to restore circulation, sensation or function.
When weakness in certain foot and ankle muscles prevents your foot from flexing upward, walking can become very difficult. This condition, known as drop foot, can be the result of damage to or pressure on the peroneal nerve, which allows your foot and ankle to bend properly. Depending upon the exact cause of the drop foot, nonsurgical treatments may help the condition. Surgical treatment of the peroneal nerve is preferred in severe or difficult cases.
Compartment syndrome is a condition caused by an overgrowth of fascia, the tissue surrounding the muscles, nerves and blood vessels within your leg. If a muscle is swollen because of injury or trauma, this places pressure on the surrounding nerves and can cut off blood flow. Surgical treatment for compartment syndrome will release the pressure in the fascia’s empty space (compartment), helping to restore circulation and nerve function.
A fracture – often referred to as a “broken bone” – is a common form of orthopedic injury. There are several types of fractures that can occur depending upon the force of impact to the bone, and how the injury occurred. A sudden twist or a hard fall can result in a fracture, as can trauma from an accident or a sports injury. While most fractures heal normally, rare complications can occur. In the case of what is known as an open (or compound) fracture, the injury is so severe that the bone can break through the skin. Nonunion fractures are those which fail to heal, even after the typical recovery period. Malunion fractures occur when a break in a bone heals without proper alignment, causing an angle or other deformity in the bone.