Surgical procedures for foot injuries or conditions are generally reserved for patients who have not received adequate relief from more conservative treatments. Foot surgery might be necessary if your foot pain or deformity prevents you from doing normal activities or enjoying life. A skilled orthopedic specialist can advise you and help you decide if surgery is the right step.
Types of Foot Surgery
Orthopedic foot specialists use several surgeries to manage or treat a variety of injuries, conditions, and degenerative diseases of the foot:
- Bunion Surgery. If a bunion gets worse, causes enough pain to limit your mobility, or does not respond to orthotics and shoe inserts, surgery can help. Bunion surgery specifics vary by patient but generally involves realigning the deformity in the toe joint.
- Hammertoe Surgery. A bunion that goes unchecked for too long, and other issues, can cause a hammertoe, a curving of the smaller toes. Surgery realigns the affected toes using fusion, temporary wire, or removal of part of the bone.
- Flat Foot Surgery. This is a foot reconstruction surgery that repairs ligaments and tendons in the foot. This repair restores support to the arch to bring back normal mobility.
- Joint Replacement. As with other joints in the body, arthritis can lead to significant deterioration and pain in toe joints. Replacement of the joint is one surgical option for treatment.
- Fusion. Fusion procedures can be used to treat arthritis. It involves fusing bones together so they can no longer move and cause pain.
- Neuroma Surgery. Neuromas are enlarged nerves that cause numbness, tingling, and pain. They often occur in the ball of the foot and cause symptoms in the toes. Most people do not need surgery for this condition, but it becomes necessary in about 20% of patients.
- Plantar Fasciitis Surgery. Most patients get relief with non-surgical treatment for this condition, inflammation and damage in the ligament on the bottom of the foot. In some cases, surgery is needed to relieve pain. Surgery involves releasing tension in the ligament or lengthening a calf muscle.
- Fracture Surgery. An injury that fractures a foot bone does not always require surgery. For severe injuries, a surgeon may need to rearrange the bones or use pins and other devices to reconstruct proper foot structure.
How to Prepare for Foot Surgery
Your surgeon will explain the procedure before you go through it and describe what you need to do in advance. For instance, you might need to stop taking certain medications.
Preparing your home ahead of surgery is also important because your mobility will be limited. Set up a sleeping area where you can access it easily and avoid stairs. Move furniture and other items to avoid trip hazards.