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4 Common Foot And Ankle Surgeries Performed By An Orthopedic Surgeon

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4 Common Foot And Ankle Surgeries Performed By An Orthopedic Surgeon

Walking is easy to take for granted, however, when you have pain, inflammation, and swelling, it’s hard to think about anything else. Your feet are one of the most complex structures in your body. Made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, and multiple tendons, ligaments and muscles, your feet are vulnerable to injury, trauma, and disease. Foot discomfort and pain can affect your posture, your gait, and can limit mobility. After exploring more conservative treatments, it may become necessary to consult your orthopedic surgeon to discuss surgical options. The benefits of surgery include improved function, reduced pain, and structural repair.

Foot And Ankle Surgery With An Orthopedic Surgeon

If you have unexplained pain or swelling in your foot and ankle, inflamed tissue that is not responding to more conservative treatments, torn ligaments, or a possible fracture or sprain, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend a surgical approach. Your surgeon will review your overall health, condition, and symptoms to assess whether you are a surgical candidate, and may recommend surgery. Here are 4 common foot and ankle surgeries to help you get back to your daily activities:

  1. Foot And Ankle Arthroscopy - An ankle arthroscopy provides the orthopedic surgeon an opportunity to look into the joint using a thin, fiber-optic camera. This arthroscopic camera transmits images that help the orthopedic surgeon identify problems that may be treated with surgery. While ankle arthroscopy is a diagnostic tool, it can be used to surgically remove inflamed tissue that does not respond to non-surgical treatment. Ankle arthroscopy can be combined with procedures that help relieve arthritis, such as ankle fusion, and can be used to flush out infection, and remove cartilage, bone, and scar tissue from the joint. This surgical approach often reduces pain in the foot and ankle, and improves overall function.
  2. Foot And Ankle Fusion (Arthrodesis) - If you are experiencing arthritic pain in your ankle, you may require an ankle fusion surgery, or arthrodesis. An ankle fusion surgery involves installing screws or plates to fuse your ankle bones so that your arthritic pain is reduced, or even eliminated. Your orthopedic surgeon fuses your ankle by removing the cartilage between the bones, so that they will become one immobile joint once they heal. Many patients find that ankle fusion, with appropriate post-operative rehabilitation, allows them to return to activities they enjoy.
  3. Achilles Tendon Repair - A torn, ruptured, or degenerating tendon is a cause for concern. Not only painful, a damaged tendon results in instability that can cause further injury in other areas of the body. The Achilles tendon is a strong, fibrous cord that connects your calf to your heel. Without it, you would have trouble walking, running, or jumping. This surgery can range from a minimally invasive repair, to removal and stitching of damaged tissue, or even a full replacement. Your orthopedic surgeon, in this case, would use a scope to replace the tendon with a healthy one taken from another area of your foot. 
  4. Calcaneal Osteotomy - Your heel bone, or calcaneus, is essential for your foot and ankle to function properly. A calcaneal osteotomy is performed by an orthopedic surgeon to correct a deformity of the foot and ankle. First, the surgeon will cause a controlled break of the heel bone, then will realign it to repair any deformities, and foot or ankle problems. A calcaneal osteotomy can address high or low foot arches, or straighten the outside of the foot. The ultimate goal of a calcaneal osteotomy is to reduce pain, adjust alignment, and reduce the potential of arthritis occurring. 

 

Each foot or ankle injury is unique, so patients require customized surgical treatment plans.

You can read more about these and other types of foot surgery here.
When deciding whether foot and ankle surgery is the right option for you, there are many factors that must be taken into consideration. If you smoke, have an active infection, or have poor circulation, wound healing may be difficult. Our team of experienced orthopedic surgeons at Okanagan Health Surgical will be able to determine which option is best for your personal circumstances and goals for surgery.  To book your complimentary consultation call us at 1-250-868-9799 or fill out the contact form.

 

FAQ

Q: What will happen during my surgery?
A: The majority of foot and ankle surgeries take approximately 3 to 4 hours. Your orthopedic surgeon will let you know if your foot and ankle surgery will require a local or a general anaesthetic. You will be observed for a few hours after your surgery to ensure your health is stable. But many foot and ankle surgeries are performed as outpatient procedures; you will likely be released the same day to complete your recovery in the comfort of your home. You will not be able to drive following your surgery, so ensure you enlist the help of family or a friend to help you get home safely.

Q: How long does it take to recover from foot and ankle surgery?
A: After an orthopedic surgery such as ankle surgery, you will most likely have to keep all weight off of it for a minimum of 6 weeks. Your recovery time will depend on the type of surgery you receive, the extent of the injury or damage, and your overall health before heading into the procedure. It will be imperative to follow your orthopedic surgeon’s instructions for recovery. Getting back to work too early, putting too much pressure on your foot or ankle right away, and not getting enough rest will definitely slow your recovery, or even worse, reinjure the area. After surgery, you will have a bandage covering the incision and sutures that your doctor may want to check on at some point to ensure they are healing well. Your orthopedic surgeon will determine the best time to begin range-of-motion and ankle exercises. The related swelling and bruising can take anywhere from 2-4 months to disappear completely. 

Q: What are the risks associated with foot and ankle surgery?
A: There are always potential risks relating to surgical treatment. Depending on each person’s health condition, age, and post-operative compliance, the following outcomes are possible: 

  • Excessive bleeding or blood clots
  • Nerve damage
  • Wound infection
  • Anesthesia complications
  • Weakness in the calves
  • Pain in your foot and ankle

If you have any concerns about undergoing foot and ankle surgery, your orthopedic surgeon will explain the risks that may apply to your situation. 


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