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Foot & Ankle Surgeries

Foot and ankle surgery is a sub-specialty of orthopedics and podiatry that deals with the treatment, diagnosis and prevention of disorders of the foot and ankle.

Types of foot & ankle surgeries:

Bunions, Hammer toes, Metatarsal, Ankle arthritis, Achilles tendon disorders Morton’s neuroma, Tibialis posterior disorder & Plantar fasciitis

1. Bunions:

  • Bunions are bony lumps that develop on the side of the foot and at the base of the big toe.
  • They’re the result of a condition called hallux valgus, which causes the big toe joint to bend towards the other toes and become deformed.
  • If symptoms carry on over a long period, the toe may need to be surgically corrected.
  • This involves straightening the big toe and metatarsals, a process called an osteotomy.
  • Although this may make your joint stiffer, it works to ease the pain.
  • What to expect: Most surgery can be performed as a day case and takes up to an hour. the foot will be bandaged and patient will need to wear a surgical shoe for four to six weeks afterwards.

2. Hammer Toes:

  • As well as bunions, hallux valgus can also cause your other toes to become clawed or permanently bent.
  • This condition is known as Hammer toes.
  • Damages caused by hammer toes can be eased by:

       Arthroplasty – removing the deformed joint between your toe bones (phalanges), which leaves the joint flexible

       Arthrodesis – fusing the phalanges together, which leaves the toe more stable but means patient will only be able to wear flat shoes after the operation.

  • What to expect: Both procedures are performed as day cases and last around an hour. Your stitches will be removed about two to three weeks following surgery and you’ll need another dressing for two to six weeks after that. You should limit how much you walk for the first three days.

3. Metatarsal:

  • The joints in the forefoot can be damaged by inflammation of the lining of your joint (synovitis) in some forms of arthritis, for example rheumatoid arthritis.
  • These small joints are called the metatarsophalangeal joints (MTPJs), and they can become dislocated when damaged by arthritis.
  • The pain and discomfort this causes is sometimes described as feeling like you’re walking on pebbles.
  • If your symptoms are severe and can’t be controlled by other treatment, you may need surgery.
  • What to expect: The exact surgical procedure and the follow-up you’ll need will depend on how severe the problem is, but often surgery to your big toe and removal of the heads of your MTPJs is carried out in order to make your foot more comfortable and walking easier. Your surgeon will be able to give you more information before the operation.

4. Ankle Arthritis:

  • Ankle arthritis is usually caused by osteoarthritis, this is where the cartilage covering the ends of the bones gradually roughens and becomes thin, and the bone underneath thickens.
  • It can also be caused by damage from other rheumatic conditions, for example if you have rheumatoid arthritis, or if you’ve had a previous injury to the area.
  • Symptoms: pain, swelling and occasional deformity of the joint. You may need surgery if your symptoms are severe.
  • There are three surgical options: Ankle fusion – Ankle fusion involves removing the damaged ankle joint and fusing the talus bone to the tibia to form a stiff but pain-free ankle. Your foot is fused at a right angle to your leg, in the position it would be if you were standing up. Your bones are held together using screws and new bone grows across, creating one bone where there were two. It normally takes between 12–14 weeks for the fusion to be complete and your bone continues to become stronger after this.
  • What to expect: In some cases this procedure can be performed using keyhole surgery (arthroscopy), which means it can be done through just a small cut, so your joint doesn’t have to be opened up. The procedure takes between one and two hours. After surgery you’ll need to wear a cast for 6–12 weeks, depending on your situation. You should be able to wear normal shoes after the cast is removed, although some alterations are occasionally needed. It should be easier to walk normally or even more comfortably than you did before surgery if your other joints aren’t affected by arthritis, but running isn’t recommended.

5. Achilles Tendon disorders

  • Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body, and the muscle in the lower leg puts a lot of force through it to make the person move.
  • As we get older it can start to wear, which can lead to painful swellings within the main tendon or where it attaches to the heel bone.
  • Very occasionally surgery can be used as a method of treatment.
  • What to expect: This procedure is usually performed as a day case and you’ll need to wear a bandage and use crutches afterwards.

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