Having healthy feet and ankles is crucial in our daily lives, as they help us stand, walk, and run, thus allowing us to perform our everyday routine with ease. Because of this, developing foot and ankle issues, such as sprains, fractures, heel pain, and even arthritis, can significantly affect your lifestyle.
While some foot and ankle problems may be treated with medication and physical therapy, those with severe symptoms need the attention of a foot surgeon. Here are some common foot and ankle surgeries they perform:
A bunion is a foot condition in which a bony bump develops on the joint of your big toe, causing misalignment. It occurs when your big toe angles towards the rest of your toes, usually caused by wearing ill-fitting shoes or having arthritis. In addition to the visible deformity, symptoms of bunions include pain, redness, inflammation, and difficulty walking.
Different types of bunion surgery may be done depending on your condition. But, one of the most common procedures is an osteotomy, where the foot surgeon makes small incisions and uses screws, pins, and plates to realign your big toe and metatarsals to their correct position. They may also realign any tendons, muscles, and joints as necessary.
Achilles Tendon Surgery
The Achilles tendon allows you to flex your foot, which is crucial for standing, walking, running, and moving around daily. If ruptured, this major tendon can adversely affect your daily routine. An Achilles tendon injury is usually caused by wear and tear, typically from participation in sports and other strenuous physical activities.
If your Achilles tendon is severely damaged, comes with extreme pain, and causes the inability to walk normally, it may require surgery. The procedure is typically done by stitching the torn tendon together. Afterward, recovery may take up to 4 to 6 months with routine physical therapy.
Metatarsal Foot Surgery
The metatarsals are a group of five long bones in your feet, which helps support your body weight whenever you stand or walk. When these bones become fractured or the metatarsophalangeal joints develop arthritis and become inflamed, surgical treatment may be required.
The type of procedure a foot surgeon performs depends on the severity of your condition. But, the most common type of surgery involves cutting the metatarsal bone and repositioning it before fixing it with screws, pins, or plates. For fractures, the broken metatarsal is realigned before being fastened in place.
Plantar Fasciitis Surgery
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia, found on the foot’s heel, becomes inflamed. It is usually the result of overuse, poor shoe support, and standing and walking for long periods. Other risk factors of plantar fasciitis include age and high or low arches in the foot.
Treatments like stretching and physical therapy are enough to ease symptoms of plantar fasciitis. But when they don’t work even after several months, you may consult your doctor about surgery. Plantar fasciitis surgery is done by making a small incision and removing any inflamed tissues or releasing the ligament of the heel bone to relieve tension.
Ankle Arthritis Surgery
Arthritis is a health condition with inflammation in one or more joints. When it occurs in your foot and ankle, it may result in pain, swelling, tenderness, and difficulty standing and walking. Surgeries are commonly performed in treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Different surgical procedures may be done to treat ankle arthritis, including ankle fusion and replacement. With ankle fusion surgery, two or more joints are joined using screws or plates to provide pain relief and increase foot stability. Meanwhile, an ankle replacement involves replacing the damaged joint with an artificial implant.
Talk to a Foot Doctor Near You
Experiencing foot and ankle problems can halt your normal daily routine. While maintaining proper foot care is certainly helpful, sometimes foot conditions and injuries can be unavoidable. The important thing is to get the necessary treatment as soon as possible to avoid more serious foot problems.
If you notice or experience unusual symptoms on your feet and ankles, talk to a podiatrist immediately. Besides assessing your condition and giving a proper diagnosis, they will also perform and recommend the treatment best suited to your needs.