Foot and Ankle Center of Northern ColoradoMake and Appointment with Foot and Ankle Center

The doctors and staff at the Foot and Ankle Center of Northern Colorado wish all of you a safe and healthy winter!

Dr. Stacy Atherton is in our Longmont office. She is a superb teacher and educator of surgery. Our surgical residents benefit greatly from her expertise. Dr Atherton also leads the wound center at McKee Medical Center in Loveland.

Dr Vaardahl is busy not only as residency director of the training program at North Colorado, but in the local community as well. He manages to find time to participate in his sons' school and scouting activities along with a very busy practice. He is on the school board for University Schools in Greeley. He also is director of the diabetic foot wound center at North Colorado Medical Center

Dr Hatch enjoys lecturing on foot and ankle surgery throughout the US and internationally. He lectures and conducts surgical skills workshops for the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. He also speaks at conferences for the Podiatry Institute and the International Foot and Ankle foundation. He will be on his bi annual mission trip to Mexico this February to help perform reconstructive surgery on underprivileged children.
Don't Invite Gout to Your Holiday Feasts
With the holiday season upon us, be aware that sudden changes in your diet can trigger painful gout attacks, especially in your feet.

Gout attacks are caused by the accumulation and crystallization of uric acid in joint tissues. The big toe is most often affected by this painful condition because it is the coolest part of the body and uric acid is sensitive to temperature change. The hallmark for a gouty attack is a red, swollen and extremely painful toe to the touch that normally presents in the early morning hours.

Foods high in purines contribute to uric acid buildup. These include shellfish (shrimp, crab, etc.), organ meats (kidney, liver, etc.), red meat, red wine and beer.

Gout can be treated with medications, diet changes and increasing consumption of water (approximately six to eight glasses a day).

If you are suffering from pain in your feet or big toe this holiday season, call our office to schedule an exam.

Holiday Feast

Ice-Related Falls Can Wreak Havoc on Ankles
Ice-Related Falls

Serious injuries from ice-related falls often occur during the hectic holiday season. Falls on icy surfaces are a major cause of ankle sprains and fractures, and it is critical to seek prompt treatment to prevent further damage that can prolong recovery.

The ankle joint is vulnerable to serious injury from hard falls on ice. Ice accelerates the fall and often causes more severe trauma because the foot can go in any direction after slipping.
Even though ankle sprains and fractures can have similar symptoms, such as pain or soreness, swelling, bruising or difficulty walking, fractures are associated with:
  • Pain at the fracture site that can extend from the foot to the knee
  • Blisters over the fracture site
  • Bone protruding through the skin
Many ankle fractures and sprains are treated by immobilizing the joint in a cast or splint to foster healing. However, surgery may be needed to repair fractures or severe ligament tears to allow them to heal properly with appropriate alignment.

In cases of less severe fractures and sprains, it is possible to walk and mistakenly believe the injury does not require medical treatment. It is also possible to fracture and sprain an ankle at the same time, and a bad sprain can mask a fracture. Putting weight on the injured ankle can worsen the problem and can lead to chronic instability, joint pain and arthritis over time.

If you injure your ankle or foot this winter, come to our office as soon as possible for evaluation, diagnosis and treatment. However, if you cannot visit us or the emergency room right away, follow the RICE protocol - Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation - until your appointment.

Keep Your Feet Safe at the Gym in the New Year

In the New Year, be sure to keep your feet in tip-top shape while following through with your resolutions to get fit.

Start new workouts gradually. Increase your stamina and the length of your workouts slowly to avoid overuse injuries, such as stress fractures or tendon strains and sprains. Stretching your muscles before and after workouts also helps prevent these types of injuries.

Wear the right shoes and socks. Wear well-fitting athletic shoes designed for the exercise or sport. Shoes that do not support the arch of the foot and provide cushioning for the heel can cause heel pain (plantar fasciitis). Shoes that are too small can cause a neuroma (thickening /inflammation of the nerve) or toenail injuries and may require injections, medication or physical therapy. Wearing wicking-type socks can also help prevent painful blisters, which can become infected and can cause more serious issues.

Use good technique. Improper exercise techniques can result in injury to the tendons or ligaments in your feet and ankles. Incorrect posture or misuse of exercise equipment can cause decreased stabilization in the foot and ankle, leading to joint sprains and muscle strains.
Protect yourself from bacteria. Sweaty shoes, public showers, exercise equipment and the pool deck at the gym are breeding grounds for fungus, viruses and bacteria. Never go barefoot while in public areas-wear water shoes to protect your feet from wet surfaces and cover any cuts or cracks in your skin, as well as ingrown toenails, since minor tears in the skin's surface can act as entry points for bacteria.

If your feet or ankles hurt while exercising or if you suffer a foot or ankle injury, call our office immediately to schedule an evaluation.

Keep Feet Safe at the Gym

This information was developed by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons