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 In the Season 1 finale of our Orthopedic Anatomy Series: Exploring Your Body from the Inside Out, we tackle the foot & ankle topics that affect you most.

Our panel of five OrthoCarolina foot & ankle specialists partnered with the education experts at Experience Anatomy to explore common conditions they see and the treatment process.



  • Stress Fractures & Sprains
  • Achilles Tendonitis & Tears
  • Bunions
  • Ankle & Heel Pain
  • Arthritis & more!


This virtual event was hosted by Elena Kacan, Marketing Manager at OrthoCarolina; and Rachel Klaus, an academic program specialist with Experience Anatomy.


  • Dr. Malick Bachabi, MD, is a foot & ankle surgeon at OrthoCarolina Concord.
  • Dr. Scott Biggerstaff, MD, is a foot & ankle surgeon at OrthoCarolina Kernseville and Winston-Salem.
  • Dr. Samuel E. Ford, MD, is a foot & ankle surgeon at OrthoCarolina's Foot & Ankle Institute and OrthoCarolina Gastonia and South Park.
  • Dr. Todd A. Irwin, MD, is a foot & ankle surgeon at OrthoCarolina's Foot & Ankle Institute and OrthoCarolina Matthews and South Park.
  • Dr. Scott Shawen, MD, is a foot & ankle surgeon at OrthoCarolina's Foot & Ankle Institute and OrthoCarolina Gastonia.

CASE STUDY – Foot & Ankle Anatomy, Visiting a Foot & Ankle Specialist

In this case study, Dr. Todd A. Irwin, MD, explains the foot & ankle anatomy as well as common ailments and what to expect when you consult a foot & ankle specialist.

CASE STUDY – Common Foot & Ankle Conditions, Bunion & Achilles Tendon Surgery (Cadaver)

In this case study, Dr. Scott Biggerstaff, MD, discusses common foot & ankle conditions and shows us what happens in the operating room during minimally invasive bunion surgery and Achilles tendon repairs.



Our panel of foot & ankle specialists addressed audience questions during an open Q&A. 

Watch the complete Q&A discussion from 35:30 – 1:10:35.

Q: I have severe pain in my feet. I get hot, sharp pains, sometimes in the toes, sometimes in the ball of the foot, sometimes both. Can be either or both feet, and it comes and goes. I'm not sure if it's arthritis or some other problem. Do you have any insights on what I should do?

Dr. Biggerstaff: When you start talking about both feet, you have to start thinking outside the box. It’s most likely arthritis. Burning pain could possibly be burn-related. The best thing to do would be to come in and get in with an evaluation from an orthopedist. If we think it’s more nerve-related, we will get a neurologist involved. A lot of times we see this and the patient has neuropathy. We get medical doctors and neurologists involved if it comes to this.

Q: What is the difference between a podiatrist an orthopedist?

Dr. Irwin: An orthopedist goes to school for 4 years (medical school) then residency for orthopedic 5 years where we learn about the entire body, then specialists spend extra time in that specific field. Podiatrists take different boards and are trained differently. It's a different way to think about fixing the body. We are more based in trauma.

Q: What is the recommended process for fixing claw toes?

Dr. Bachabi: One of the common conditions that we see. Claw toe is a deformity of the toe. It’s really involved in the deformity of multiple joints. Typically by the time patients come to us, they become more rigid than flexible. It's typically related to improper shoe wear.

Q: What is the recovery for bunion repair? How long typically to be back to running? Can bunions cause knee or even hip issues?

Dr. Ford: Our interventions are usually surgical. But if you do undergo a bunion correct, the downtime will depend on how bad your deformity is, and occasionally arthritis can affect it as well, we typically have people only walking on their heel for 2-6 weeks depending on the technique and severity. As soon as the bone heals, typically in adults, that's 2-3 months. Realistically, true running would be more a 4-6 month target.

Q: I turned my left foot over last night and thought I might have sprained my ankle.  However, my ankle seems fine but the top left side of my foot is swollen and slightly blue.  The area is very painful to touch and to put weight on it hurts. Is it possible to fracture a bone on top of your foot or is this just a bad sprain?

Dr. Shawen: you definitely can break other bones on your foot. Typically the metatarsals. If you're having pain when you’re putting weight on it, you should be seen and get an x-ray so that we can effectively check the area.

Q: Can an ankle fusion be reversed?

Dr. Biggerstaff: A lot of factors go into this decision. Yes, it can be reversed, occasionally people will not be happy with theirs and don’t like the stiffness or pain, so we are able to turn the fusion into an ankle replacement.

Q: What is the difference between a tear and rupture in a tendon? Is it the same thing?

Dr. Irwin: It’s the same thing, similar to break and fracture. They are the same thing. When it comes to the Achilles, a tear and a rupture really are the same thing. You can have complete tears or partial tears, but a tear and a rupture are the same thing.

Q: When is it time to consider ankle joint replacement?

Dr. Ford: Ankle joint replacement is similar to other conditions where you really make the decision if you want surgery & then you make those decisions at that point. The decision is really all about your activity and health otherwise. Also, take into consideration the ability to perform your day to day tasks.

Q: I have hammertoes that are flexible.  Are there any exercises I can do that will help with hammertoes?

Dr. Bachabi: Committing to stretching & keeping it flexible.

We're here to help you stay healthy, informed, and uplifted as we navigate unprecedented change in our communities together.

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