Foot and Ankle Surgery
The feet are made up of 26 bones and with more than 33 joints. These bones and joints are arranged in columns and arches with varying stiffness and flexibility. The foot is a complex structure and many different common problems can affect the feet.
The foot is separated into three major parts. These include:
The back foot (hindfoot):
The back of the foot is made up of heel bone (calcaneus) and ankle (talus). The heel bone and the ankle are joined together by the subtalar joint. The subtalar joint allows your foot to move from side to side. The ankle bone is joined to your leg bones (tibia and fibula) at your ankle joint. It functions as a hinge and allows the foot to bend up and down.
The middle foot (midfoot):
The middle foot is made up of five tarsal bones. These tarsal bones form the arch of the foot. The tarsal bones are connected to the front and back of the foot by muscles and the arch ligament (the plantar fascia). The tarsal bones act as shock absorbers when we are walking or running.
The front foot (forefoot):
This is made up of the toe bones (phalanges) that are connected to five long bones (metatarsals) by joints. The joints in your toes have limited movements. Your forefoot carries half of your body’s weight.
Tendons attach the muscles in your lower leg to the bones in your feet and they control movement that allows us to stand, walk, jump, and go on tiptoes. When you move or jump, the muscles move your toes and control the position of your foot as it hits the ground. It allows the foot to become flexible and cushions the impact.
The Achilles’ tendons connect the heel bone to the calf muscles in your lower leg. The Achilles’ tendon is the most important tendon for movement. The tibialis posterior tendon attaches the underside of the foot to the lower leg. It helps to support the arch of the foot and allows the inward turning of the foot.
Most people with problems in their feet or ankles will likely not need surgery. The decision to undergo a surgical procedure depends on a number of factors which are:
- How bad the symptoms are (pain and the effect this has on the patient’s life)
- The patient’s needs
- The patient’s response to other treatment options
Before undergoing a surgical procedure, first, consult with your healthcare professionals. Your healthcare professionals will be able to advise you whether or not they think surgery would be the best suitable option for you.
The decision to have foot and ankle surgery is usually based on lifestyle choices. It also depends on the information given by your healthcare professionals or surgeons. However, the final decision to go through with the surgery is for you to make.
What is foot and ankle surgery?
Foot and ankle surgery is a sub-specialty of orthopedics and podiatry that are specialized in the treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of conditions or disorders of the foot and ankle.
Surgery is considered to be the last option when all other conservative treatment options have fails to alleviate symptoms or treat the condition. Surgical procedures such as bunionectomy may be used to remove bunions and other foot and ankle deformities, arthrodesis for inflammatory processes, and surgical reconstruction to treat other deformities.
Conditions of the foot and ankle may require surgery include bunions and hammertoes, ankle arthritis, Achilles tendon disorders, and plantar fasciitis.
If your ankle is unstable or the bones aren’t positioned correctly, you will need to undergo surgery so it can be repaired. If there’s a portion of your ankle bone sticking out of the skin, you will most likely need surgery to repair it. If your ankle feels unstable or the bones are probably shattered, you will most likely need to undergo a surgery to put them back together with pins or screws.
Benefits of foot and ankle surgery
- Long-lasting pain relief
- Better function and mobility
- Improved appearance of your feet
- Long-lasting/permanent treatment
Disadvantages of having foot and ankle surgery
As with any surgery, results can vary from person to person and complications can occur during and after the surgery.
Possible side effects that may occur from a foot and ankle surgery include:
- The replaced joints aren’t as long-lasting and effective as natural joints
- There may be some restrictions in your joint movement
- You may not be able to properly use your foot for some time after the surgery. In such a situation, you may be confined to a wheelchair or you may have to use crutches to move around until you’re fully healed.
- Due to the incision made, some small nerves around the cut in your skin can be damaged.
- You may experience complications such as swelling, stiffness or infection.
- If you undergo a bone fusion, the bones can take longer to fuse together than expected and you won’t be able to use your foot properly during this time.
- In rare cases, you may need to undergo another surgery if the first surgery didn’t rectify or treat the condition.
How to prepare for foot and ankle surgery
About two weeks before surgery you will need to avoid anti-inflammatory medications. Your surgeon may ask you to stop taking any aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. You may be allowed to take medicines with acetaminophen, but you need to discuss this with your surgeon before taking them.
About one week before surgery, inform your doctor if you’re currently taking any medications and bring a list of medications you’re taking to the hospital.
Usually, you may be admitted to the hospital between three to nine days before your surgery. This depends on the country you live in, and other preparations such as insurance verification, lab work, X-rays, and electrocardiogram (EKG). Do consult with your surgeon to know exactly when you need to be at the hospital and what needs to be done.
Be well-prepared for life after the surgery because you will not be able to do the normal daily activities you usually do after undergoing the surgery. This is because you will not be able to walk until you fully recover and you will be limited with the nature of things you can do for yourself. Get your home ready for the recovery period after your surgery.
When coming to the hospital, there is a list of the items that you may want to bring with you. These items are needed because you will be at the hospital for a week or two weeks; hence you need to be well-prepared. The items that you need to bring with you to the hospital include:
- Personal grooming items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, comb, deodorant, shaving cream, etc.
- Slippers or flat rubber-soled shoes for walking.
- Loose-fitting clothing.
Ask your doctor if you should bring the medications you are currently taking or just a list of the medications. You may want to include the doses you take and how often you take the medications.
If you have any allergies, inform your doctor. If you use a breathing exerciser (IBE), you may need to bring it with you as you will probably need it right after surgery.
You will most likely not be allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of the surgery. Your doctor and anesthesiologist may prescribe some medications for you to take the evening before surgery.
On the day of the surgery
Your doctor will check your general health and give you information on how you should prepare your body and mind for surgery. You are free to ask your doctor any questions.
Your doctor will discuss how long you’ll need to stay at the hospital and what you’ll need to do before the surgery.
You’ll be asked to sign a consent form. A consent form is a form signed by you that gives your surgeon permission to carry out the treatment. If there is anything you don’t understand, make sure to ask your doctor or any other medical personnel. If you are worried or scared, do inform your doctor. Your doctor will clear your worries and assure you of your safety.
Your doctor will conduct the final general health examinations to ensure that there won’t be problems with using a general anesthetic or any other devices and medications.
You will likely have an X-ray on the affected foot and ankle so that your doctor can see the damaged area that needs to be treated. All additional tests will be performed.
During the procedure
Your surgeon will administer a general anesthetic to put you unconscious during the surgery.
During the procedure, the bone fragments of the ankle will be re-positioned into the appropriate alignment. Your surgeon will then insert screws or metal plates on the outside of the bone. A metal rod may be placed within the bone until it’s healed.
For Ankle fusion, the damaged ankle joint will be removed. Your talus bone will be fused to your tibia to form a stiff but pain-free ankle. Your foot will be fused at a right angle to your leg.
The surgery can take an hour or more to be completed.
Your recovery period depends on the type of procedure and your general health. You will be monitored for some hours before you will be discharged from the hospital. Ask your surgeon what to expect and treatments that you will be needing to aid recovery.
Different people heal at different rates. However, it will take at least six weeks for your bones to heal. If you’ve torn ligaments or tendons, it will take a longer period of time to be healed.
You won’t be able to move your legs after the surgery. You will be limited in your movement to aid healing and avoid injuries. You will need the help of someone to help you move from one point to another and also help you with some other little things that you can’t do by yourself.
You will need to visit your doctor for periodic checkups and X-rays so that your doctor can know your healing progress. During your visits, your stitches may be removed and changed. You will not be allowed to exert weight on your legs until the bones are healed enough. During this time, you may be on crutches or a wheelchair. Your doctor will tell you the right time that you can exert weight on your foot.
When the bones are healed enough, your doctor will likely suggest rehabilitation. You may need to engage in a series of exercises and stretches that will allow you to regain full motion and strength in your ankle. If you have stopped taking your regular medications before the surgery, you may need to talk to your doctor about when to start taking them again. It could take up to a few months to a year before you can get back to normal.
The Best place to get Foot and Ankle surgery in Dallas, Plano & prosper is Graff Foot, Ankle Care.
Graff Foot and Ankle Care is a reliable and highly-rated clinic in Texas that specializes in the treatment of foot diseases and conditions. We have the best medical facilities and highly trained medical professionals that work tirelessly to ensure that our patients are treated and healed regardless of how severe the conditions are.
We specialize in Foot and Ankle surgical treatments by using the best possible techniques for each patient. We perform thorough pre-surgical examinations and tests to ensure the safety of our patients. We provide the best Foot and Ankle surgical treatments that you can get in Dallas, Plano, Prosper, and around Texas as a whole.
We are highly rated and placed among our competitors. Our patients usually go back home healed and happy with our services.
Contact us today if you have any foot injuries or conditions. No matter the state of your condition, we assure you that a permanent treatment will be provided.