By the age of 50, most people will have traveled 75,000 miles on their feet. In light of this, foot problems are a common occurrence that affects more than 75% of Americans at one time or another. Foot and ankle problems can develop as a result of injuries, congenital defects, degenerative diseases, impact, stress, and ill-fitting footwear; they can occur while walking, standing, working, running, and playing sports. In some cases, surgery performed by a podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon is necessary to fix the problem and reduce the pain.
Podiatrists and orthopedic surgeons may perform foot and ankle surgery in the office, a surgical center, or a hospital. Many surgeries are done under a local anesthesia; sometimes, it is accompanied by sedation.
Here are some common foot and ankle conditions that can be corrected or improved with surgery:
- Arthritis and joint diseases
- Calluses and corns
- Congenital deformities
- Flat feet
- Heel or toe spurs
- Toe deformities
- Tumors (benign and malignant)
- Sprains and fractures
After surgery, the affected area is usually immobilized and protected with a bandage, splint, surgical shoe, or cast. Any stitches must be kept clean and dry. To reduce pain and swelling, elevation and ice are required; anti-inflammatory medication may be recommended or prescribed (always check with a doctor before taking any medication). The foot or ankle may require rest and not bear weight for several weeks. Physical therapy is sometimes needed to speed recovery, healing, and functionality. Special shoe inserts or orthotics are frequently used with surgery.