Foot problems plague many people. From arthritis to sports injuries to fractures, when your foot hurts, it really limits your ability to move and engage in everyday activities. Some issues can be resolved with rest, icing, physical therapy, and other conservative measures, but sometimes an orthopedic surgeon for foot problems becomes necessary.

What Can an Orthopedic Surgeon Do for Foot Problems?

Orthopedic surgeons specialize in treating conditions associated with the musculoskeletal system. Some specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions specific to the feet and ankles. These specialists have been to medical school, have completed orthopedic surgical residencies, and have additional orthopedic training for foot and ankle care.

The first thing an orthopedic surgeon can do to help you with foot issues is a thorough evaluation. Using a physical exam and appropriate diagnostics, they can determine what is causing your symptoms and provide treatment options.

Not all foot issues require surgery. Some can be managed with rest, specific exercises, physical therapy, injections, pain medications, and other measures. But for some foot conditions, patients will not get relief or restore mobility without a surgical procedure to correct it.

Foot Conditions and Orthopedic Surgical Treatments

Orthopedic surgeons specializing in foot issues can help patients with many different symptoms, conditions, and injuries. Some of the common causes of foot pain surgeons treat include:

  • Hammer Toe. Hammer toe is a foot deformity, often caused by wearing high-heeled shoes, that pushes the joints of the middle toes upward. It causes significant pain and makes wearing shoes difficult. Hammer toe surgery can be done with a minimally invasive procedure, usually on an outpatient basis.
  • Claw Toe. This painful condition is similar to hammer toe. Claw toe forces the toes to bend up from the ball of the foot and the joints downward. It is also caused by uncomfortable shoes. If conservative methods like roomy shoes, orthotics, and stretches do not help, an orthopedic surgeon can correct the deformity surgically.
  • Bunions. Yet another issue caused by wearing poor-fitting shoes for years, bunions occur when the big toe turns in toward the smaller toes. This results in a painful, bony lump on the outside of the big toe. If it causes significant pain, a surgeon can correct a bunion. They can remain largely symptomless for years, but bunions get progressively worse over time. Most people eventually need surgery.
  • Flatfoot. Flatfoot, or a fallen arch, results from damage to the tendon that supports the arch. It can result from years of playing high-impact sports, but certain chronic health conditions are also risk factors. Flatfoot causes pain, swelling, and difficulty standing for long periods of time. A surgeon can reconstruct the bottom of the foot if conservative treatments do not help.
  • Big Toe Arthritis. Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, including the big toe. Arthritis here can cause significant pain and swelling and limit mobility. An orthopedic foot specialist can perform a big toe replacement surgery to bring relief when other measures cannot.
  • Fractures. Fractures can occur in any bone in the foot. A stress fracture results from repetitive motions over time that put stress on the bones. This often happens in active people, for instance in runners who overtrain. An acute fracture occurs suddenly in response to a force, like a fall. A fracture in the foot might need surgery if it is complicated or the bones shift out of position.
  • Plantar Fasciitis. This painful condition is caused by irritation and inflammation of the ligament on the bottom of the foot. It can be frustrating for patients, but even orthopedic surgeons urge conservative treatments for plantar fasciitis. If non-surgical remedies bring no relief, a surgeon can perform an endoscopic plantar fasciotomy, a minimally invasive procedure.

The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society does not recommend foot surgery for cosmetic reasons. It does, however, support surgical interventions by orthopedic experts when conservative treatments fail to bring relief. If a bunion or hammer toe, for instance, is unsightly and also limiting your mobility, a surgeon can help.

Do I Need a Referral to See a Foot Doctor?

This depends on your insurance plan. Some require patients to see their primary physician first. There, they can get a referral to an orthopedic specialist or a podiatrist. If your insurance does not require a referral, you can reach out to specialists in your area and request a consultation for possible surgery.

Where Can I Find the Best Foot Surgeon Near Me?

Orthopedic foot and ankle surgeons are right in your backyard. The specialists at EmergeOrtho serve the residents of North Carolina with multiple offices in the Foothills, Triad, Triangle, Wilmington, and Blue Ridge regions.

Our specialists include orthopedists, orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine specialists, and foot and ankle specialists. They provide on-site diagnostics and a full range of non-surgical and surgical treatments for all kinds of foot issues. Contact EmergeOrtho today to request an appointment.

Find a Foot and Ankle Specialist Now

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