In today’s society, our feet can be at an increased risk for injury and strain for a variety of reasons ranging from old age to very active lifestyles. With the increased strain on our feet, many patients find themselves looking to find relief for their podiatric conditions. In most cases, invasive methods are not necessary to correct many foot disorders, but patients who have more extreme conditions may find themselves needing surgery
in order to correct their foot problems. The need for surgery will depend on the severity of the condition, the amount of pain the patient is experiencing, and the patient’s past response to various treatments.
What foot conditions most commonly require surgery?
- Hammer Toe: deformity of the lesser toes caused by a tendon or joint imbalance causing crooked toes
- Bunions: Bunions, or hallux valgus, is an enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe, becoming inflamed and painful
- Achilles tendon injuries: may require a lengthening process with or without spur removal and tendon clean-up
- Foot or ankle arthritis: damage can result in bone spurs around the edge of the joints, or bone-on-bone joints which need clean-up or replacements
- Masses: unknown masses such as cysts can develop in the foot, requiring surgical removal
- Flat foot correction: minimally invasive techniques are available to give the foot an arch
Patients who are seeking podiatric surgery will require a physical examination and x-rays to ensure they are candidates for surgery. Your podiatrist ensures that surgery is the best option for you and will determine what procedure will give you the desired outcome. Postoperative care will be dependent upon the type of surgery you receive and the severity of your case. The RICE method is commonly prescribed after surgery, and some patients may require an aid for walking such as a surgical boot, surgical shoe, or crutches. Many patients will also have some form of bandage or cast that may have specific instructions for cleaning and/or replacement that will be given to you with your postoperative instructions.
It is important to note that surgery will only be considered once all other treatment methods have been unsuccessful. Some other treatment methods include medications, exercise, foot care, modified shoes or orthotics. Your podiatrist will examine your patient history and consider any underlying conditions before determining if you are a candidate for surgery. You may also be a candidate for minimally invasive surgery.
WHAT IS MINIMALLY INVASIVE SURGERY (MIS)?
With today’s modern technology, many foot conditions can be treated with minimally invasive surgery (MIS) as opposed to more traditional surgical methods. MIS is generally done on an outpatient basis or in the office, requiring only local anesthesia or conscious sedation. Recovery is much quicker than traditional surgery which means less pain, less downtime, and lower risk of infection. In addition to these benefits, you can also expect a more appealing cosmetic outcome as well because the incisions are much smaller. Discuss with your board-certified surgeon for further information.
What foot conditions are most commonly treated with MIS?
- Bone spurs
- Flatfoot and hyperpronation
- Heel spurs
- Plantar fasciitis
Not all cases will be able to be treated with MIS, and sometimes traditional surgery will be the best option to meet your goals. Your podiatrist will be able to help assess your situation during your consultation and offer a customized treatment plan to best address your concerns and provide the most optimal outcome.