Our feet and ankles play a very important role in our lives. They are made up of twenty-six bones and more than thirty-three joints as well as ligaments, tendons, and muscles. They support our body weight, allow us to stand and perform movements such as walking, running, and jumping. It is no surprise that having such an important role can take its toll and leave them vulnerable to injury, disease, and infection.
There are many different conditions that can affect the feet and ankles, and most of them won’t require surgery, but surgery may be recommended if:
- Your symptoms are painful and impact on your life
- You have not responded well to other forms of treatment, including medication, orthotics, and physical therapy
- Function and mobility are severely affected
There are also some common conditions that may require surgery, including:
The treatment for a fracture depends on the type of fracture and the bones that are involved. The aim is to align the fractured bones which allows them to heal in the correct position. When a bone gets fractured, it produces a protective blood clot and callus at the break. The cells in the callus allow new bone formation and healing. If a bone has been badly fractured it may not heal properly on its own and will require surgery.
Achilles Tendon Tear
The Achilles tendon is a large, strong fibrous cord that connects the calf muscles in the back of the leg to the back of the heel bone (calcaneus). You rely on it virtually every time you move your foot. If you have torn your Achilles tendon and want to return to an active or sporting lifestyle, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend surgery to reattach the torn Achilles tendon. The surgery does require anesthesia, but the procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis.
Arthritis of the Ankle / Foot
Arthritis is a common disease that can cause cartilage to wear away resulting in joint pain, stiffness, immobility, and swelling. Cartilage is a very tough, shock absorbing material that covers the ends of our bones and forms a smooth surface to allow the bones in our joints to glide easily during motion. Loss of the protective lining means bones rub together causing pain and eventual damage to the ends of the bones. Although medications and physical therapy can alleviate some symptoms, surgery is often required for advanced cases of joint damage.
Toe deformities commonly develop because of structural changes that happen over time in the muscles and tendons that bend the toes, they can also be caused by wearing poor fitting shoes. Hammertoe is the most common toe deformity. Other toe deformities include claw toe and mallet toe.
Toes affected by a deformity may be painful or irritated, especially when wearing shoes. Corns and calluses may develop on the toes or bottom of the foot. Surgery is required when other types of treatment fail to relieve symptoms or for advanced cases of toe deformities.
Foot and Ankle Care in Maryland
At Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland we have a team of board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons, podiatrists, and physiatrists. We have extensive training in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of foot and ankle disorders and use state-of-the-art surgical techniques to help keep you in peak condition and help you resume your favorite activities as quickly as possible after injury.