Most Common Types of Foot Surgery
If you’re in pain when you walk or stand, it’s time to see a podiatrist. Did you know that 4 out of 5 adults suffer from painful foot conditions that require surgery? The good news is we’re here to help. In this article, you will learn about the most common types of foot surgery and how these procedures may relieve your foot conditions and get you back to living life pain-free.
Hammer Toe Surgery
Hammertoe affects the middle three toes and can form as a result of several different factors. In some cases, it can be the result of a muscle imbalance in the toes which causes the toes to curl downward and develop a claw-like appearance.
Factors That Increase the Risk of Hammertoe
- Family history of hammertoe
- if you are female
- If you have a longer second toe than your big toe
- If you have diabetes or arthritis
There are some nonsurgical remedies for hammertoes such as exercises to strengthen your toes, special footwear or pads to support and protect the hammertoe. If the hammertoe becomes painful to the point where it affects your daily activities you should consult your podiatrist to have your foot evaluated.
Depending on the unique case and severity of the hammertoe, your surgeon may recommend joint resection or fusion. Both procedures are typically done as outpatient surgery.
- Joint Resection: the surgeon makes incisions into the top of the toe to reposition the toe. This surgery may require cutting into the ligaments, tendons, and toe bone in order to restore the correct positioning of the toe.
- Fusion: This procedure requires cutting the ligaments and tendons of the toe and also the ends of the two toe bones to fuse them together.
Recovery from hammertoe surgery typically takes about three to six weeks, during which patients wear a special shoe to keep the toes in position as they heal. It may take up to six months for a full recovery.
Bunions are painful bumps that develop at the point where the metatarsal bone meets the big toe bone. While many researchers believe that bunions are mostly a result of genetics, some evidence suggests that certain lifestyle choices can worsen the condition over time.
Bunions can sometimes be remedied with nonsurgical measures, but if the condition becomes moderate to severe, and causes pain during regular daily activities, surgery may be the best treatment option.
There are two main types of bunion surgery: an open bunionectomy and a minimally invasive bunionectomy. Depending on the severity of the bunion, minimally invasive surgery may be an option for you. The minimally invasive surgery offers a much quicker recovery time than open bunion surgery, and patients can walk immediately after with a surgical boot.
For an open bunionectomy, patients typically cannot bear weight on their foot for 4 to 6 weeks and are generally cleared to resume normal activity within 10 to 12 weeks after this surgery.
For patients who have had a minimally invasive bunionectomy, you can expect to resume normal activity within 4 to 6 weeks.
Plantar Fasciitis Surgery
If you are experiencing pain in the bottom of your foot, particularly your arch or ankle, plantar fasciitis may be the cause.
Non-surgical Remedies for Plantar Fasciitis
- Physical therapy
- Night splints or orthotics
- Walking boot or crutches
If your symptoms persist for more than 6 months after trying natural remedies with no results, it is time to consult your physician to determine whether surgery is the best treatment option for you.
Two Types of Plantar Fasciitis Surgery
- Plantar Fascia Release: In this procedure, the surgeon will cut into the plantar fascia to release the pressure that is built up within the tissue.
- Calf Release: This surgery involves cutting into the calf to alleviate ankle dorsiflexion and will permanently resolve the issue.
Plantar Fasciitis Surgery Recovery Time
Open surgery: 6 to 10 weeks
Endoscopic surgery: 3 to 6 weeks
It may take up to three full months before you are cleared by your physician for high-intensity activities like exercise and sports.
Ankle Arthritis Surgery
Ankle surgeries are commonly performed for both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. If ankle pain does not respond to conservative treatments, surgeons may need to fuse or stabilize the ankle joint or replace the joint altogether.
Types of Ankle Surgery
Debridement: In mild to moderate cases, surgeons remove bone spurs and cartilage from the ankle joint to relieve pain and increase the range of motion. Depending on your case, this surgery can be conducted as a minimally invasive procedure or an open surgery.
Ankle Fusion: If treatments such as ankle braces or medication do not relieve your pain, your physician may recommend ankle fusion surgery. In this procedure, they will fuse the bones together using metal screws and plates. This allows the bone to fuse over time as you recover and makes movement less painful.
Ankle Joint Replacement: If your ankle arthritis is severe and has caused immense damage to your joint, your surgeon may recommend a full ankle replacement. In this case, the bones of the joint are replaced with prosthetics to restore the range of motion and function, allowing you to move the joint again without pain.
Ankle Arthritis Surgery Recovery Time
Recovery time can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the type of surgery you elect to have.
Achilles Tendon Surgery
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in your body. Connecting the calf muscles to your heel, this powerful tendon allows us to walk, run and jump.
Types of Achilles Tendon Injuries
The Achilles tendon can rupture or tear. Though both injuries can cause significant pain, Achilles tendon tears require surgery while ruptures may be self-rehabilitated with proper care.
The Achilles tendon can rupture suddenly when it is overextended, or it can degenerate over time as a result of stress on the tendon. Some symptoms of degeneration in the tendon include dull pain, stiffness, and swelling.
The goal of Achilles tendon surgery is to reattach the torn ends of the tendon. Depending on the severity of the injury, Achilles tendon surgery may be performed as a minimally invasive surgery. In more severe cases, the surgeon may need to replace a portion of the tendon.
Achilles Tendon Surgery Recovery Time
After Achilles tendon surgery, you can expect 3-4 weeks of walking with crutches, not bearing any weight on the foot. Typically, you will be required to wear a boot for 6 to 8 weeks post-surgery. It may take between 6 and 9 months (and even up to one full year) before you can return to vigorous physical activity.
Morton’s Neuroma (Metatarsalgia) Surgery
Morton’s Neuroma is a condition where a nerve within the foot becomes intensely painful. This condition commonly develops between the third and fourth toes but it can develop between the first and second toes as well.
- Numbness between the toes
- Excruciating pain in the ball of the foot
- Pain in the foot that travels up the leg
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Custom orthotics
- Cortisone injections
- Wearing bigger shoes
The most common surgery for Morton’s Neuroma is a neurectomy which removes part of the nerve tissue. This surgery is performed under general anesthesia and the process includes making tiny incisions between the affected toes to either remove the tissue surrounding the nerve, to create more space between the tissue and the nerve or a portion of the nerve may be removed.
- Other foot conditions like bunions and hammertoes
- Spots that increase pressure on the balls of the feet
- Foot shape that causes instability
The recovery time for daily activities is about 3 to 4 weeks but it can take up to 3 to 4 months for a full recovery and to return to sports and high-intensity activities.
Metatarsal bones are the five long bones in the foot that connect the tarsal bones to the toes or phalanges. If the joints in your foot become arthritic and as a result, the joint lining becomes inflamed, the combination of these two factors can cause the joint to become dislocated. When this happens, it becomes increasingly painful and may cause it to feel as if you are “walking on pebbles.”
During this procedure, the surgeon cuts the metatarsal bone behind the toe and places it back into the correct position, securing it in place with metal screws.
Typically, within 6 weeks, pain and swelling reduce enough to bear weight on the foot normally. There may be minor pain or swelling for six months to a year after surgery.
If you’re experiencing any type of foot pain, the team at Triad Foot & Ankle Center is here to help. If you are ready to be evaluated by one of our physicians at Triad Foot & Ankle Center, please call 336-375-6990, or visit our website at triadfoot.com to request an appointment.
Link to Should I have that bunion removed article (or other internal bunion blog if that blog is not published prior to this one).
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