Foot & Ankle Doctor in Charleston, SC

Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Surgeon

Dr. Ohlson can help you avoid problems and assist you in taking the next step toward healing.

Dr. Ohlson is a fellowship-trained, board-certified foot and ankle  orthopedic surgeon. He treats many conditions, including sports injuries ranging from cartilage, tendon, and ligament disorders to patients suffering from acute fractures and arthritis.

Helping Patients of All Ages Maintain Healthy Feet & Ankles

  • Diagnose and treat foot and ankle injuries: Dr. Ohlson is skilled in diagnosing and treating various injuries, such as fractures, sprains, and strains.
  • Manage foot and ankle pain: Dr. Ohlson can help manage chronic pain related to conditions such as arthritis, plantar fasciitis, and tendonitis.
  • Provide braces, splints, and other devices: Dr. Ohlson can provide braces, splints, boots, and other devices to help support your foot and ankle and promote healing.
  • Perform surgery: If conservative treatments are ineffective, Dr. Ohlson can perform surgery to correct deformities, treat injuries, and alleviate pain.
  • Provide alternative treatments: Dr. Ohlson offers alternatives to surgery including shockwave, PRP injections, stem cell therapy, and laser treatment.
  • Educate patients: Dr. Ohlson can educate you on proper foot care, footwear choices, and exercises to help improve your foot and ankle health.

Treatments for Foot & Ankle

Dr. Ohlson treats lower extremity conditions & injuries for patients of all ages. Listed below are some very important answers to common questions regarding foot and ankle conditions and treatments. Please take a moment to review these topics.

No two injuries and no two patients are exactly the same. We pride ourselves on spending time with patients and ensuring they have the best experience possible. Our goal is to ensure patients have a fundamental understanding of their problems and the options available to alleviate pain and regain function.

Ankle Arthritis

Ankle arthritis is a condition that involves inflammation and degeneration of the ankle joint, which can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in the ankle. Several types of arthritis can affect the ankle joint, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of ankle arthritis caused by the joint’s wear and tear over time. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the joints. Post-traumatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that can develop after an injury to the ankle joint.

Treatment for ankle arthritis will depend on the severity of the condition and the underlying cause. In general, treatment options for ankle arthritis may include:

  1. Non-surgical treatment: This may include pain medications, physical therapy, and assistive devices such as braces or orthotics.
  2. Surgery: If non-surgical treatments are not effective, surgery may be recommended. Surgical options may include ankle fusion or ankle replacement surgery.
  3. Lifestyle changes: Making lifestyle changes such as losing weight, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding high-impact activities can help reduce the symptoms of ankle arthritis.

If you are experiencing symptoms of ankle arthritis, contact Dr. Ohlson. He can help you determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Achilles Tendon Tear (Rupture)

An Achilles tendon rupture is a complete or partial tear of the Achilles tendon, the largest tendon in the human body and connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. This injury often occurs during sports activities that involve sudden stops and changes in direction or when the foot is dorsiflexed (pointed upwards) with force.

Symptoms of an Achilles tendon rupture can include a sudden, sharp pain in the back of the ankle or calf, swelling, stiffness, and difficulty walking or pointing the foot.

Treatment for an Achilles tendon rupture may include:

  1. Non-surgical treatment: This may consist of wearing a cast or walking boot, physical therapy, and pain medication. Non-surgical treatment is typically recommended for less active or older patients.
  2. Surgical treatment: Surgery may be recommended for younger, more active patients or those with a complete rupture. Surgical options may include traditional open surgery or minimally invasive techniques such as percutaneous or mini-open surgery.

Recovery time for an Achilles tendon rupture can vary depending on the severity of the injury and the chosen treatment method. Patients may need to use crutches or wear a walking boot for several weeks, and physical therapy is often recommended to help restore strength and mobility in the affected leg.

If you suspect an Achilles tendon rupture, then contact Dr. Ohlson immediately. Delaying treatment can lead to a less favorable outcome.

Achilles Tendinitis

The Achilles (uh-kill-eez) tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body. It is located at the back of the heel, connecting the calf muscle at the back of the lower leg to the heel. The Achilles tendon allows you to point your toes to the floor, and raise up on your tiptoes. Many athletes and nonathletes complain of pain in the Achilles tendon region. This is a result of overuse of the tendon and has a clinical presence of swelling and inflammation. This is called Achilles tendinitis. In Achilles tendinosis, pain still occurs in the same region, but instead of inflammation or swelling, there is degeneration of the tendon itself. It is believed that in tendinosis, the cells are unable to keep up with the breakdown and repair of the tissue.

There are two types of Achilles tendinosis:

  • Insertional: This type affects the lower part of the heel, where the tendon inserts (connects) to the heel bone.
  • Non-insertional: This type of tendinitis affects the middle fibers of the tendon, where they can break down and swell.

What causes Achilles tendinosis?

It is still unclear what causes Achilles tendinosis, but it is believed that the degeneration of the Achilles tendon occurs as a result of overuse, the decreased blood supply to the area, muscle imbalance, insufficient flexibility, or hyperpronation (foot rolls inward when walking). Additional risk factors include diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.

Symptoms of Achilles tendinosis

Symptoms of Achilles tendinosis include tenderness or stiffness in the back of the lower leg. Heel pain, ankle pain, and leg weakness are also symptoms.

Diagnosis of Achilles tendinitis

Dr. Ohlson will conduct a physical exam of your foot and ankle, and determine the location of the pain, tenderness, or swelling. He will also evaluate the flexibility, alignment, reflexes, and range of motion of your foot and ankle.

Additional tests may be warranted to diagnose Achilles tendinosis. These tests include:

  • X-ray. X-rays won’t visualize soft tissues, but they can help rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms.
  • Ultrasound. The sound waves of ultrasound can help visualize soft tissues like tendons. It can also produce images of the Achilles tendon while it is in motion.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI machines can produce a very detailed image of the Achilles tendon.

Nonsurgical options:

  • Boot Immobilization
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Physical Therapy
  • PRP
  • Stem Cell
  • Shockwave (ECSW)

Surgical Options:

  • Tenex
  • Achilles tendon surgery
  • Nonsurgical treatment of Achilles tendinosis

The pain associated with Achilles tendinosis may be managed by the following:

  • Stop doing activities that stress the tendon. Try lower-impact activities like swimming, to put less stress on the Achilles tendon.
  • Ice the affected area for 20 minutes, as needed throughout the day.
  • Take over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve).
  • Do eccentric (muscle lengthening) stretches daily, such as calf stretches.
  • Wear supportive shoes, heel lifts, or custom orthotics.
  • Wear a splint at night to help the Achilles tendon stay stretched while you sleep.
  • Wear a walking boot if the pain is severe.

If pain persists:

Physical therapy may be prescribed. A physical therapist can provide eccentric strengthening exercises, stretching, and/or massage techniques to promote healing.

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) may be recommended. This uses sound waves to reduce pain and promote healing by improving blood flow to the area.

Surgical treatment of Achilles tendinosis

If nonsurgical options have not been successful, surgical options are available. They include:

  • Debridement and repair. If most of the tendon is healthy, Dr. Ohlson can remove the damaged part and stitch together the healthy tendon. Expect to wear a boot or cast for a few weeks following this procedure.
  • Debridement with tendon transfer. If more than 50 percent of the tendon is damaged, you will need an Achilles tendon transfer. This involves Dr. Ohlson taking the tendon that allows your big toe to point down and transferring it to your heel. You will still be able to move your big toe and run, but this can impact your ability to perform in competitive sports.
  • Gastrocnemius recession. This surgical procedure lengthens the calf (gastrocnemius) muscle.
Ankle Fracture

An ankle fracture is a break in one or more of the bones that form the ankle joint. The ankle joint is formed by the tibia, fibula, and talus bones. The tibia is the larger bone on the inside of the leg, the fibula is the smaller bone on the outside of the leg, and the talus is the bone that sits between the tibia and fibula and connects to the foot.

Ankle fractures are most commonly caused by a twisting injury to the ankle, such as when you roll your ankle while walking or running. Other causes of ankle fractures include falls, direct blows to the ankle, and high-impact sports injuries.

The symptoms of an ankle fracture can include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Deformity
  • Difficulty walking or bearing weight on the ankle

To diagnose an ankle fracture, Dr. Ohlson will typically perform a physical examination of the ankle. He will look for signs of swelling, bruising, and deformity. He will also feel the ankle for tenderness and instability.

In addition to a physical examination, Dr. Ohlson may order imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis of an ankle fracture. These tests may include:

  • X-rays
  • CT scan
  • MRI

X-rays are the most common imaging test used to diagnose ankle fractures. X-rays can show the location and severity of the fracture. CT scans and MRI scans can provide more detailed images of the ankle joint and can help the surgeon determine the best treatment plan.

Once the diagnosis of an ankle fracture has been confirmed, Dr. Ohlson will discuss treatment options with the patient. Treatment for ankle fractures typically depends on the severity of the fracture.

In some cases, ankle fractures can be treated with non-surgical methods, such as rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). In other cases, surgery may be necessary to align the bones and stabilize the ankle joint.

The recovery time for an ankle fracture varies depending on the severity of the fracture and the type of treatment that is used. In most cases, it takes several weeks to several months for the ankle to heal completely.

Here are some of the differential diagnoses for ankle fractures:

  • Ankle sprain
  • Achilles tendon rupture
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Stress fracture
  • Lisfranc injury

If you are experiencing pain, swelling, or other symptoms in your ankle after an injury, it is important to see an orthopedic surgeon to get a diagnosis and treatment. Contact Dr. Ohlson for an appointment.

How is it treated?

The treatment for an ankle fracture depends on the severity of the fracture. In some cases, ankle fractures can be treated with non-surgical methods, such as rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). In other cases, surgery may be necessary to align the bones and stabilize the ankle joint.

Non-surgical treatment

Non-surgical treatment for an ankle fracture is typically used for stable fractures that do not require realignment of the bones. The goal of non-surgical treatment is to reduce pain and swelling and to allow the fracture to heal properly.

Non-surgical treatment for an ankle fracture typically includes:

  • Rest: Avoiding putting weight on the ankle helps to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Ice: Applying ice to the ankle for 20 minutes at a time can help to reduce swelling and inflammation.
  • Compression: Wrapping the ankle with an elastic bandage can help to control swelling.
  • Elevation: Keeping the ankle elevated slightly above the level of the heart can help to reduce inflammation.
  • Pain medication: Over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help to relieve pain.

Surgical treatment

Surgery may be necessary to treat ankle fractures that are unstable or that do not heal properly with non-surgical treatment. The goal of surgery is to align the bones and stabilize the ankle joint so that it can heal properly.

There are a variety of surgical techniques that can be used to treat ankle fractures. The type of surgery that is used depends on the specific fracture. Some of the most common surgical techniques for ankle fractures include:

  • Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF): This technique involves making an incision in the skin and muscle to access the fracture. The surgeon then realigns the bones and uses screws, plates, or pins to hold them in place.
  • Closed reduction and percutaneous fixation (CRPF): This technique involves realigning the bones without making an incision in the skin. The surgeon uses needles to insert screws or pins into the bones to hold them in place.


The recovery time for an ankle fracture varies depending on the severity of the fracture and the type of treatment that is used. In most cases, it takes several weeks to several months for the ankle to heal completely.

After surgery, the ankle will be placed in a cast or brace. The cast or brace will help to protect the ankle and allow it to heal properly. The length of time that the cast or brace is worn depends on the specific fracture.

After the cast or brace is removed, physical therapy may be necessary to help regain range of motion and strength in the ankle. Physical therapy typically involves exercises to help stretch and strengthen the muscles around the ankle.


There are a few potential complications that can occur after an ankle fracture. These complications include:

  • Infection
  • Nonunion: This is when the bones do not heal properly.
  • Malunion: This is when the bones heal in the wrong position.
  • Arthritis: This is a condition that causes pain and inflammation in the joints.

If you have any questions or concerns about your ankle fracture, be sure to ask Dr. Ohlson or one of his staff.

Hallux Rigidus

Hallux rigidus is a condition that affects the joint at the base of the big toe, causing pain, stiffness, and limited motion. It is a form of degenerative arthritis that develops over time, often due to wear and tear on the joint or as a result of a previous injury or trauma.

The condition typically causes pain and stiffness in the big toe, particularly during activities such as walking, running, or bending the toe. As the condition progresses, the joint may become increasingly rigid, making it difficult to move the toe at all.

Treatment for hallux rigidus depends on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, doctors may recommend lifestyle changes, such as wearing shoes with a roomy toe box or using orthotics to support the foot. Physical therapy and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may also be recommended to manage pain and inflammation.

For more advanced cases, a doctor may recommend more invasive treatments such as corticosteroid injections or surgery. In some cases, a surgical procedure called a cheilectomy may be recommended, in which the bone spurs that form around the joint are removed to alleviate pain and improve mobility. In more severe cases, joint fusion surgery may be necessary to alleviate pain. Joint replacement is typically not recommended.

Contact Dr. Ohlson for any pain or stiffness coming from your Great Toe. He can help assess the severity of the condition and determine what treatment is most appropriate.

Hallux Valgus (Bunion)

Hallux valgus is a medical condition that is commonly referred to as a bunion. It is a deformity that affects the joint at the base of the big toe, causing the toe to point towards the other toes and the joint to stick out. This can cause pain, swelling, and difficulty wearing shoes.

A doctor may treat hallux valgus in a variety of ways, depending on the severity of the condition and the patient’s symptoms. Some common treatments include:

  • Pain management: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help alleviate pain and inflammation.
  • Footwear changes: Wearing shoes that have a wide and deep toe box can help reduce pressure on the bunion.
  • Custom orthotics: A podiatrist can create a custom shoe insert that can help redistribute pressure away from the bunion.
  • Physical therapy: Stretching and strengthening exercises can help improve the function and alignment of the foot.
  • Surgery: In severe cases where conservative treatments are not effective, surgery may be necessary. Surgical options include removing the bunion or realigning the joint. In Some cases, this can be performed with minimally invasive techniques.

If you are experiencing symptoms of a bunion, contact Dr. Ohlson. He can help manage your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment options.


Hammertoe is a foot condition in which one or more of the toes, usually the second, third, or fourth toes, bend or curl downwards instead of pointing straight.

This can be caused by several factors, including wearing ill-fitting shoes, genetic factors, or underlying medical conditions such as arthritis.

Symptoms of hammertoe may include pain, stiffness, and inflammation in the affected toe or toes, as well as difficulty finding comfortable shoes that fit properly.

To treat hammertoe, a doctor may recommend a combination of nonsurgical and surgical approaches depending on the severity of the condition. Nonsurgical treatments may include:

  • Changing footwear: Wearing shoes with a wider toe box and lower heels can help reduce pressure on the toes and provide more room for the affected toes to straighten out.
  • Using orthotic devices: Shoe inserts or custom-made orthotics can help correct the alignment of the toes and reduce pressure on the affected area.
  • Physical therapy: Stretching and strengthening exercises may be recommended to help improve the flexibility and strength of the affected toes.

If nonsurgical treatments are not effective, a doctor may recommend surgery to correct the hammertoe. Surgical options may include:

  • Arthroplasty: This procedure involves removing a portion of the affected joint to help straighten the toe.
  • Arthrodesis: This procedure involves fusing the affected joint to provide stability and improve the alignment of the toe.
  • Tendon transfer: In some cases, the surgeon may transfer a tendon from the bottom of the toe to the top to help straighten the toe.

It’s important to consult Dr Ohlson if you are experiencing any symptoms of hammertoe as early treatment can help prevent the condition from getting worse and improve your overall foot health.

Mortons Neuroma

Morton’s neuroma is a painful condition that affects the ball of the foot, most commonly occurring between the third and fourth toes.

It is caused by the thickening of the tissue around a nerve leading to the toes. This can cause numbness, tingling, and burning pain in the ball of the foot or toes, often worsened by wearing tight shoes or standing for long periods of time.

A doctor usually diagnoses Morton’s neuroma by conducting a physical exam. Tests such as MRI may be ordered to rule out other conditions.

Treatment options may include:

  • Changing footwear: Wearing shoes with a wider toe box, lower heels, or cushioned soles can help alleviate pressure on the affected area.
  • Orthotics: A doctor may recommend custom-made shoe inserts to redistribute pressure on the foot and relieve symptoms.
  • Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Injections: Steroid injections can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
  • Physical therapy: Exercises to stretch and strengthen the foot can help relieve symptoms.
  • Surgery: In severe cases where conservative measures have failed, surgery may be necessary to remove the affected nerve.

It’s important to consult with Dr. Ohlson if you suspect you have Morton’s neuroma to receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that causes pain in the heel or the arch of the foot. It occurs when the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs from the heel to the toes, becomes inflamed and irritated.

Plantar fasciitis can be caused by a variety of factors, including overuse, improper footwear, and foot structure or mechanics. It is often characterized by a sharp pain in the heel or arch of the foot, especially when first getting out of bed in the morning or after a period of inactivity.

A doctor can definitely treat plantar fasciitis. Treatment options may include rest and ice, stretching and strengthening exercises, custom orthotics, and physical therapy. In some cases, injections or shockwave therapy may be recommended. Surgery is uncommon.

Dr. Ohlson can help determine the best course of treatment based on the severity of the condition and the individual patient’s needs.

Posterior Tibial Tendonitis

Posterior tibial tendinitis is a condition that occurs when the posterior tibial tendon, which runs along the inside of the ankle and foot, becomes inflamed and painful. This tendon is responsible for supporting the arch of the foot and providing stability when walking or running.

The condition can be caused by overuse or injury to the tendon, which can lead to stretching, tearing, or inflammation. Individuals who participate in sports that involve a lot of running, jumping, or sudden changes in direction, as well as those who have flat feet, are at an increased risk of developing posterior tibial tendinitis.

To diagnose posterior tibial tendinitis, a doctor will typically perform a physical exam and may order imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, to rule out other possible causes of pain and swelling in the foot and ankle.

Treatment for posterior tibial tendinitis typically involves a combination of rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), as well as physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles and improve flexibility. In some cases, a doctor may recommend the use of orthotics or a brace to provide additional support and relieve pressure on the affected tendon. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or reconstruct the damaged tendon.

Contact Dr. Ohlson if you believe you have posterior tibial tendonitis or if you notice the shape of your foot changes. He can help manage your discomfort as well as provide options to prevent the condition from worsening.

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Dr. Ohlson is seeing new patients at his office in Mount Pleasant. Call him at 843-473-4331, use the online contact form if you have questions, or click "request appointment" to schedule your appointment today!