Foot and Ankle Specialist In Singapore

Dr Poh Seng Yew treats a variety of orthopaedic and musculoskeletal conditions, including foot and ankle disorders, using a range of techniques, including minimally invasive and open surgical procedures.

If you experience any symptoms related to the feet or ankles, you may consult our MOH-accredited foot and ankle specialist for a thorough diagnosis and personalised treatment plan.

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Dr Poh Seng Yew



MMED (Ortho)



Common Foot and Ankle Conditions

The foot and ankle are complex structures comprising multiple bones, tendons, and ligaments. These parts are susceptible to various disorders due to their intricate nature and the load they bear. Common foot and ankle conditions include:

  • Arthritis of the Foot and Ankle - This condition involves inflammation and stiffness in the joints, often leading to pain and limited mobility.
  • Bunions - These are bony bumps that form on the joint at the base of the big toe, causing the toe to lean towards the others.
  • Hallux Rigidus (Stiff Big Toe) - Characterised by stiffness and pain in the big toe, this condition can limit motion and affect walking.
  • Adult Flatfoot - Typically resulting from a fallen arch, this condition can cause the foot to point outward and lead to leg alignment issues.
  • Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction - This condition arises when the tendon that supports the arch of the foot becomes inflamed or torn, which can result in flatfoot.
  • Plantar Fasciitis - This involves inflammation of the tissue connecting the heel to the front of the foot. It commonly causes heel pain.
  • Achilles Tendinitis - This refers to the inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone.
  • Heel Pain - Often a result of overuse or injury, heel pain can stem from various conditions, including plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis.
  • Morton's Neuroma - This condition involves the thickening of tissue around the nerves leading to the toes, often causing pain in the ball of the foot.
  • Hammer Toe - This makes the toes bend at the middle joint (proximal interphalangeal joint). It can cause pain and discomfort.
  • Claw Toe - This deformity causes the toes to bend into a claw-like position and can lead to discomfort and pain.
  • Corns - Thickened skin areas that typically form on the toes or sides of the foot due to pressure and friction.
  • Ingrown Toenail - This occurs when the toenail grows into the skin, leading to pain and possible infection.
  • Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle - Small cracks in the bones caused by repetitive force or overuse.
  • Ankle Fractures - An ankle fracture occurs when there is damage to one or more of the bones in the ankle. It can cause pain and swelling.
  • Ankle Sprains/Instability - These injuries occur when the ligaments in the ankle tear, leading to pain and instability.

Common Causes Of Foot and Ankle Conditions

Foot and ankle conditions can arise from a variety of factors, including the following:

  • Biomechanical Issues
    Structural problems such as flat feet, high arches, and abnormal gait patterns can place undue stress on the foot and ankle, leading to various conditions.
  • Overuse and Excessive Stress on the Foot and Ankle
    Repetitive activities and sports that place stress on the feet and ankles can lead to conditions like stress fractures, tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis.
  • Improper Support for the Foot and Ankle
    Shoes that do not provide adequate support or fit poorly can contribute to the development of bunions, corns, and other foot deformities.
  • Age-Related Wear and Tear
    As people age, they may experience natural wear and tear in the foot and ankle joints, leading to conditions such as arthritis.
  • Traumatic Injuries
    Traumatic events like falls, twists, or impacts can result in acute injuries including sprains, fractures, and tendon injuries.
  • Certain Medical Conditions
    Medical conditions like diabetes, arthritis, and obesity can elevate the risk of foot and ankle issues, as they can alter biomechanics, reduce circulation, or add stress to the joints.
  • Certain Occupations and Unhealthy Lifestyle Choices
    Occupations that require prolonged standing or walking, as well as lifestyle choices like lack of exercise, can contribute to foot and ankle issues.

Symptoms and Signs

Foot and ankle conditions can manifest as a variety of symptoms:

  • Pain and Discomfort: Pain is a common symptom, varying in intensity and location depending on the condition. It may occur in the heel, arch, toe, or ankle and can be sharp, dull, aching, or throbbing.
  • Swelling: Swelling in the foot or ankle often indicates inflammation or injury. It may be accompanied by warmth and redness.
  • Stiffness: Restricted movement or stiffness in the foot or ankle can be a sign of arthritis or injury.
  • Changes in Foot Shape or Alignment Deformities such as bunions, hammertoes, or a collapsed arch can indicate underlying conditions.
  • Difficulty in Walking or Standing: Difficulty or discomfort while walking, standing, or performing activities can signal various foot and ankle issues.
  • Numbness or Tingling: These sensations, often found in conditions like Morton’s neuroma, indicate nerve involvement.
  • Changes in Skin Condition: Calluses, corns, or skin discolouration can suggest areas of high pressure or friction, often due to biomechanical issues or ill-fitting footwear.


Diagnosing foot and ankle conditions involves a combination of clinical assessment and diagnostic tools.

Medical History Review

The initial step involves a thorough review of the patient’s medical history, including any previous injuries, existing health conditions, and symptoms experienced.

Physical Examination

A detailed examination of the foot and ankle is conducted to assess pain, swelling, range of motion, alignment, and any deformities. Specific manoeuvres may be performed to identify the affected area or structure. The patient’s walking pattern may also be observed to provide insights into underlying biomechanical issues or abnormalities contributing to the condition.

Imaging Tests

X-rays are commonly used to visualise bone structure and detect fractures or deformities. For a more detailed view of soft tissues, tendons, and ligaments, an MRI or ultrasound may be employed.

Blood Tests

In cases where an inflammatory or systemic condition like arthritis is suspected, blood tests may be ordered to identify markers of inflammation or autoimmune disorders.

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Non-Surgical Treatment Options

Non-surgical treatments play a role in managing many foot and ankle conditions. Each of these options aims to restore function and relieve discomfort without the need for surgical intervention.

Rest, Ice and Activity Modifications

For acute injuries such as sprains or tendonitis, rest and ice might be recommended to address pain and swelling. Modifications in daily activities and exercise routines can also help reduce strain and prevent the exacerbation of the condition.

Physical Therapy

Tailored exercises and therapies are designed to strengthen the foot and ankle muscles, improving flexibility and enhancing range of motion. This can also include gait training and balance exercises.

Orthotic Devices

Custom shoe inserts, braces, or orthoses can be used to support, redistribute pressure, and address biomechanical imbalances. They are beneficial for conditions like flatfoot, plantar fasciitis, and tendon dysfunction.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation. For certain conditions, other medications like analgesics or corticosteroids may be used.

Injection Therapy

Injections, such as corticosteroids or platelet-rich plasma (PRP), can be used to treat inflammation and pain in specific conditions like arthritis or tendinitis.

Shockwave Therapy

This non-invasive treatment uses sound waves to stimulate healing in conditions like plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis.

Surgical Treatment Options

In cases where non-surgical treatments are insufficient, surgical options may be considered to address more severe foot and ankle conditions. Surgical procedures are selected based on the specific condition, its severity, the patient’s overall health, and the anticipated outcomes.

  • Arthroscopy
    This is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a small camera and instruments to treat joint problems. It is commonly used for conditions like ankle arthritis or impingement.
  • Reconstructive Surgery
    This type of surgery is often used for correcting deformities, such as bunions, hammer toes, or flat feet. It involves realigning bones, repairing tendons, and restoring normal foot and ankle anatomy.
  • Tendon Repair
    This procedure can repair torn or damaged tendons, such as the Achilles tendon or posterior tibial tendon. It may involve tendon transfer or grafting in severe cases.
  • Fusion Surgery (Arthrodesis)
    This procedure involves fusing two or more bones together to eliminate painful movement, typically used for severe arthritis or instability.
  • Joint Replacement (Arthroplasty)
    In cases of advanced arthritis, replacing the damaged joint with an artificial implant can restore function and alleviate pain.
  • Osteotomy
    This involves cutting and repositioning bones to correct deformities and redistribute weight more evenly across the foot and ankle.
  • Excision of Neuromas
    A Morton’s neuroma can be treated with a procedure that excises the thickened nerve tissue causing pain in the ball of the foot.
  • Ligament Reconstruction
    In patients with chronic ankle instability, reconstructive surgery may be performed to repair or reinforce the damaged ligaments.

Preventing Foot and Ankle Complications

Several strategies can help maintain foot and ankle health and avoid complications.

  • Using Proper Footwear to Support the Foot and Ankle: Select shoes that fit well and provide adequate support. Shoes should have a comfortable fit, ample arch support, and sufficient cushioning.
  • Regular Exercise: Engage in exercises that strengthen the foot and ankle muscles to improve stability and reduce the risk of injuries. Stretching exercises, particularly for the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia, are also beneficial.
  • Maintaining a Healthy Weight: Excess body weight can increase stress on the foot and ankle joints. A balanced diet and regular exercise can help alleviate this stress.
  • Avoiding Overuse of the Foot and Ankle: Understanding the limits of one’s body and avoiding excessive repetitive activities can prevent overuse injuries. Try to vary activities and include rest periods in exercise routines.
  • Proper Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs to Prevent Injury: Engage in proper warm-up exercises before physical activity to reduce the risk of injury. Cool-down exercises can also help in muscle recovery.
  • Making Ergonomic Adjustments to Reduce Foot and Ankle Strain: For those whose jobs involve prolonged standing or walking, ergonomic adjustments such as anti-fatigue mats and appropriate footwear can help minimise foot and ankle strain.

Dr Poh Seng Yew



MMED (Ortho)


With over 20 years of experience, Dr Poh Seng Yew is an orthopaedic surgeon specialising in hip, knee, shoulder and elbow surgery, sports medicine, and trauma surgery.

  • Former Director of Sports Service, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Singapore General Hospital
  • Clinical Hip and Sports Medicine Fellow, Orthopädische Chirurgie München (OCM), Germany
  • Fellow, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, FRCSEd (Orthopaedic Surgery)
  • Master of Medicine (Orthopaedic Surgery), National University of Singapore
  • Member, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (MRCSEd)
  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), National University of Singapore



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Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road, #08-62/63
Singapore 329563

Weekdays: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Saturdays: 9.00am – 1.00pm
Sundays and Public Holidays: Closed

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    Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
    38 Irrawaddy Road, #08-62/63
    Singapore 329563

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Can Foot and Ankle Pain Go Away on Its Own?

    Foot and ankle pain varies widely in terms of cause and severity. In some cases, especially those involving minor injuries or strains, rest and self-care measures may lead to improvement. Persistent or severe pain warrants a consultation with a foot and ankle specialist for effective treatment and management.

    What Happens If Foot and Ankle Pain Is Left Untreated?

    Neglecting foot and ankle pain can lead to worsening of the condition, potentially resulting in chronic pain, increased instability, and reduced mobility. Some conditions, if left untreated, may progress and cause long-term damage, making treatment more challenging. Seeking early medical intervention can help prevent these complications.

    When Should I Consider Foot or Ankle Surgery?

    Surgery is considered when non-surgical treatments have been exhausted or are unlikely to be effective. Conditions that may require surgical intervention include severe joint damage, chronic instability, or serious deformities. A foot and ankle specialist can provide a comprehensive evaluation to determine if surgery is the most suitable option.

    What Should I Avoid When I Have Foot and Ankle Pain?

    When experiencing foot and ankle pain, try to avoid activities that exacerbate the pain, such as prolonged standing, walking on uneven surfaces, or wearing ill-fitting or high-heeled shoes. Avoid neglecting the pain or self-diagnosing, as this could delay appropriate treatment.

    How Long Does It Take to Recover from Foot and Ankle Pain?

    The recovery time from foot and ankle pain varies depending on the cause, severity, and the individual’s overall health. Minor injuries may resolve within a few days to weeks with proper rest and care, while more severe conditions may require a longer period, potentially involving physical therapy or other treatments.