Foot and Ankle Surgery
For most foot and ankle conditions, surgery is considered a last resort. If we are able to take away your foot or ankle pain and fix the problem with conservative care, we will. But, sometimes, this is simply not possible.
At that point, Dr. Sunshein will likely recommend surgery as an option to help restore your foot or ankle back to health.
In certain cases—such as ruptured connective tissues or displaced broken bones—surgical intervention is actually the best way to avoid chronic pain, weakness, or even deformities. Serious arthritic conditions, joint disease, tumors, and birth deformities can all benefit from surgery as well.
There are many different kinds of foot and ankle surgeries, but you can take comfort in knowing that our doctors have extensive experience and
Potential Foot Surgeries
When it is the recommended course of action, the actual procedure performed will depend on an array of factors, including the condition or injury in need of treatment. Some foot problems that may be corrected with surgical intervention include:
- Bunions. This is both a common and progressive toe deformity a patient might develop. When your big toe is misaligned and points inwards, it creates a bump on the inner edge of your foot. This can cause tremendous pain, discomfort, and make your life miserable. If conservative care doesn’t provide enough relief and improve the situation, we will likely recommend a surgical procedure.
- Hammertoes. This particular toe deformity is typically marked by an abnormal bend in the middle joint of the second toe, which forces the top part of the toe to point downwards. There are cases of hammertoe which are successfully treated with nonsurgical methods, but a toe that has become set in the abnormal position will likely need a tendon to be altered surgically. Should it be necessary, there may be a need to remove some bone tissue – which can allow the affected toe to return to a normal, straight positioning.
- Bone fractures. In many cases, treatment for a broken bone is a matter of making sure the broken ends are lined up properly and stabilized for natural healing processes. Some types of breaks, however, are a bit more complicated than that. When there are multiple bone fragments or the ends of a broken bone are not lined up correctly, our doctors may need to use surgery to put everything in its proper place.
- Charcot foot. This deformity is one of the major lower limb concerns that can result from a diabetic condition. Impaired blood flow and damaged nerves can weaken bones, make them more susceptible to fractures, and leave you unaware problems have developed. Normal usage leads to further deformity and ultimately the need for reconstructive surgery (when the problem is caught early enough to avoid amputation).
- Flatfoot. If you have flexible flatfoot, or a child has pediatric flatfoot, there is not likely any need for surgical reconstruction, but a rigid condition causing difficulty and pain with your daily activities may benefit from surgery.
Reconstructive Ankle Surgeries
The ankle joints are essential for keeping you mobile and independent. When medical conditions like bone fractures or arthritis cause pain in an ankle and/or impairs its functionality, the affected ankle will need to be treated.
Arthroscopy is a minimally-invasive procedure Dr. Sunshein may use to fix your ankle. An advantage of this kind of surgery is the fact only a small incision needs to be made. This eliminates a good bulk of the difficulties—including patient pain and potential infection risk—that can accompany larger surgical cuts.
Sometimes we need to use a more traditional procedure known as open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) – which is more invasive than arthroscopy, but necessary for setting fractured bones back into place. The larger incision provides a better view of the entire broken bone. It also allows fractured pieces to be placed into the proper position and secured with the use of metal screws and/or plates.
For arthritic conditions, some of the surgical procedures we may recommend include joint fusion and joint replacement. In ankle fusion, we can use plates, screws, pins, and bone grafts to permanently connect the bones that make up the ankle joint. This type of procedure does eliminate pain from bone-on-bone grinding in a joint, but it takes away a certain degree of joint mobility.
A joint replacement, on the other hand, uses metal and plastic components that recreate the functionality of the natural ankle joint. Depending on the patient, we may need to lengthen a tight Achilles tendon to improve range of motion.
Preparing for Foot Surgery
Some of the considerations you need to keep in mind when preparing for foot surgery include:
- Schedule time off from work. You will need time both for your procedure and the recovery process, so make sure you let your employer know. As we discuss your surgery together, we can let you know what you should expect timewise.
- Follow instructions about when to eat (or not) before surgery. This will be dictated by whether or not anesthesia is going to be used, and what kind is administered.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing. Comfortable clothing isn’t always the most stylish, but you will be glad you opted for loose-fitting clothes when you put them back on over the surgical site.
- Arrange a ride home. Both anesthesia and the affected foot itself are reasons you will likely need someone else to drive you to and from the procedure.
- Make plans for child care. If you have children living at home, especially younger ones, you may need to ask your spouse or family members to help with child care. You will need to spend time resting during recovery and your mobility may be limited, so chasing kids around is out of the question.
Surgical Experience and Skill at
Podiatry Associates Sunshein
If you are experiencing pain in your foot and ankle, it is possible that surgery may be required to heal the condition. Contact
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