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All you need to know about foot surgery

What is foot surgery?

A foot consists of 26 bones and more than 33 joints arranged in columns and arches that vary in stiffness and flexibility. Many common problems may occur in such a complex structure.


The foot has three major parts:


The back of your foot (hindfoot) consists of your heel bone (calcaneus) and your ankle (talus), joined by the subtalar joint, allowing your foot to move from side to side. Your ankle bone is joined to your leg bones (tibia and fibula) at your ankle joint and acts as a hinge, allowing your foot to bend up and down.


The middle of your foot (midfoot) is made up of five tarsal bones and form the arch of your foot. Your tarsal bones are connected to the front and back of your foot by muscles and the arch ligament (the plantar fascia) and act as shock absorbers when you’re walking or running.


The front of your foot (forefoot) is made up of your toe bones (phalanges) and is connected to five long bones (metatarsals) by joints. The joints in your toes don’t move very much and take half of your body’s weight.


Foot surgery is a sub-specialty of orthopedics and podiatry that deals with the treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of disorders of the foot and ankle.

Who is a candidate for foot surgery?

A candidate for foot surgery is someone in good general health with no medical conditions that may impair proper healing.


Even though most people with problems in their feet or ankles won’t need surgery, you may decide to undergo surgery for different reasons:


  • How bad your pain and the effect this has on your quality of life

  • Your response to other treatments

  • Your needs

What are the benefits of foot surgery?

The primary benefits of undergoing foot surgery include:


  • Long-lasting pain relief

  • Better foot mobility and function

  • An improved foot appearance, depending on the procedure

  • A greater choice of comfortable footwear

Which types of foot surgery are available?

There are many foot surgery procedures available for a wide range of foot conditions.


Bunion surgery


A bunion is a bump made of soft tissue and bone located on the first joint of the big toe that becomes painful over time, limiting your ability to walk, wear closed shoes, or perform other daily activities.


Fusion surgery


This type of surgery is done to relieve pain from arthritis that causes cartilage to wear away, allowing the bones to rub together.


Hammertoe surgery


A hammertoe is a foot deformity that causes the middle of a toe to bend upward, causing pain when wearing shoes.


Heel surgery


Heel surgery seeks to relieve pain and usually involves the plantar fascia, which is a band of tissue that connects the toes to the heel bone.


Metatarsal surgery

Your doctor may recommend metatarsal surgery to fix a deformed or dislocated toe and help relieve pain in the ball of the foot.


Neuroma surgery


A neuroma is a thick area of tissue around the nerve in a toe that causes a burning pain or numbness in the ball of your foot or toes.


Tendon surgery


The surgery may shorten, lengthen or reroute a tendon, also called a tendon transfer to improve movement.

What are the possible risks of foot surgery?

Foot surgery is considered a safe and effective surgery for a generally healthy individual.


However, there are possible risks associated with foot surgery that include:


  • Infection

  • Swelling

  • Stiffness

  • Hematoma

  • Pain

  • Redness

What should I expect in a foot surgery recovery?

You should expect a customized recovery plan that includes physical therapy.


Patients usually wear a boot for at least four weeks and a total recovery time of eight to twelve weeks.


During the recovery time, expect a lot of sitting with your foot up and changing bandages.


High -impact exercises should be avoided for a couple of months.

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