It is estimated that as many as 75% of Americans will experience foot health problems of varying degrees of severity at some point in their lives. Some cases will be minor, requiring simple self-care steps to eliminate pain or a superficial infection, while others will warrant foot surgery to correct serious orthopedic issues or deformities which have developed.
If you do need to have reconstructive foot surgery to relieve chronic pain or to restore normal foot and ankle function, it helps to understand the process – not only to make an informed decision, but also to understand how you will be able to heal as swiftly and effectively as possible.
Types of Foot Surgery
Common surgical procedures of the foot include:
- Bone fusion – Used to treat severe arthritis affecting the foot or ankle, bone fusion involves the removal of all cartilage from a joint and then enabling the two adjacent bones to fuse together naturally. This is done with the surgical implementation of pins, plates, and/or screws to help the bones to stay in place while they fuse.
- Bone osteotomy – Performed as part of treatment for a bunion, heel spur, or hammertoe, this procedure involves removing or cutting away parts of bone in the foot for proper shaping. Once the foot is repaired in this manner, walking becomes much easier and more comfortable.
- Bone grafting – In this procedure, healthy bone tissue is usually taken from another part of your body to replace diseased or deteriorated bone in the foot. Your doctor may also use synthetic (prosthetic) bone.
- Tendon surgery – This procedure is performed to repair a severe injury to a tendon, or to lengthen or shorten a tendon in order to improve function and mobility in a foot or ankle.
- Skin or soft-tissue repair – This type of surgery is performed on the foot to remove warts, remove ganglion cysts, and treat severe foot fungus.
Planning and Preparing for Your Foot Surgery
Before your procedure, your foot doctor will review your foot condition and medical history, order lab tests, and ensure that you are healthy enough for surgery. Your surgeon will also explain the procedure to you in full. If you have any questions about the procedure and your recovery, be sure to speak up, and don’t hesitate to get clarification.
Also be sure to provide a complete list of all of your medications and supplements to your surgeon – including over-the-counter drugs – as you may be instructed to stop taking them during the days before the operation, or to change the way in which you take them.
What Is Done in Foot Surgery?
Depending on the kind of surgery you are having, you may be administered general anesthesia or local anesthesia. Some types of foot surgery are outpatient procedures, so you will be able to go home later that same day barring no complications, such as an infection. More complex foot procedures, however, may require an overnight stay in the hospital. Either way, your foot doctor will inform you of what to expect.
Your Post-Operative Recovery
Most types of foot surgery require a period of rest afterward, during which time you will need to keep your foot elevated as much as possible. Gradually, you will be able to put pressure on your foot with the help of crutches, a cast, a cane, and/or surgical shoes.
After your surgery, you will have a series of follow-up appointments with your foot doctor to monitor the progress of your recovery. The doctor will also tell you when you can resume your normal activities.
Expert Orthopedic Surgeon in Maryland
When foot surgery is your best option to finally find relief from your chronic foot pain, to repair an injury, or to correct a deformity, the Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland are here for you. Our medical staff includes board-certified orthopedic doctors, physical therapists, physician’s assistants, and nurse practitioners who will focus on your total health and well-being while you receive outstanding treatment.
We have five convenient locations across the Baltimore area, including a dedicated physical therapy facility in Jessup. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, call our office today at (410) 644-1880 or (855) 4MD-BONE (463-2663), or fill out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you get back in step!