Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Doctors are urging second opinions for the accurate diagnosis of foot and ankle injuries that can lead to long-term issues like arthritis if misdiagnosed.
A study by orthopedic surgeons found that undiagnosed or misdiagnosed foot and ankle injuries can result in chronic pain, arthritis and long-term disability.
"These types of trauma are a clinically significant source of morbidity and long-term disability among patients, not just those who are elite athletes," Dr. Jessica Reissig, of the Department of Orthopedics at Plainview Hospital in New York and lead author of the study, said in a press release. "In many cases, the clinical symptoms are vague and tough to detect with standard imaging. 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."
Foot and ankle injuries result in 3 million emergency room visits each year in the United States. Untreated fractures, Lisfranc injuries and turf toe have a high risk of developing future arthritis, severe pain and long-term disability, according to Reissig.
Doctors emphasize the importance of additional imaging and second opinions in treating foot and ankle injuries.
"Once the diagnosis is confirmed, in many cases patients can be offered a range of treatment options from conservative to surgical," Dr. Adam Bitterman of the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and co-author of the study, said in a press release. "Choosing the best treatment for the individual can prevent the injury from decreasing the patient's future quality of life."