The thought of surgery is never a pleasant one, no matter how minor the procedure may be. At Metroplex Foot & Ankle, your friendly Dallas foot surgeons provide treatments, both surgical and non-surgical, for several common foot and ankle conditions.
Below are some of the common reasons patients may require foot or ankle surgery.
Bunions are painful, bony bumps that appear at the base of the big toe. They are typically the result of a condition that causes the big toe to begin to point toward the other toes instead of straight ahead. Eventually it may be necessary to have an osteotomy to correct this. Although an osteotomy can cause some stiffness in the joint, the surgery does decrease the pain. Bunions can also be caused by rheumatoid arthritis, which leads to pea-sized bumps at the joints. These lumps can be surgically removed as well. Osteoarthritis in the big toe is called hallux rigidus; the toe stiffens due to the overgrowth of new bone. If done early enough, surgery can reduce the painful stiffness. If the condition advances past a certain point, a bone fusion may be necessary to relieve the pain.
Hammer toes are a result of the same condition, hallux valgus, that leads to bunions. When this happens, the toes deform and take on a claw-like appearance. An arthroplasty can be performed to remedy the situation, which involves removing the deformed joint. Another option, arthrodesis, involves fusing the toe joints together to stabilize the foot. Both surgeries last just about an hour and can be performed at an outpatient surgery center.
Some types of arthritis cause inflammation in the front part of the foot. The foot bones can dislocate, causing pain that feels like walking barefoot on small rocks. When there is no other relief, surgery may be recommended.
Arthritis of the ankle can make the cartilage rougher and thinner, causing pain, swelling, and deformity. Surgery can give relief and there are several options for treatment, including ankle fusion and ankle replacement.
Ankle fusion involves removing the damaged ankle joint and fusing your talus bone to your tibia to form a stiff but pain-free ankle. Fusions generally relieve the pain, but result in a stiff joint which some people have a hard time tolerating.
A complete ankle replacement is similar to a hip or knee replacement and means the worn out ends of the bones are replaced with artificial ones made of metal or plastic. A replacement retains movement of the joint after surgery, unlike a fusion. These new joints generally last about 10-15 years and the procedure is usually very successful.
Triple fusion is the joining together of three joints (the talonavicular, subtalar and calcaneocuboid joints) as a treatment for arthritis or as a method of correcting a stiff foot deformity. A combination of plates, screws or staples is often used to do this.
Achilles Tendon Disorders
The large Achilles tendon in your lower leg begins to wear with age, which can cause swelling that necessitates surgery. This is usually a day surgery and patients may need to use crutches for a period of time afterwards while the tendon heals.
Morton’s neuroma is a painful condition that involves a nerve, usually between the third and fourth toes, that supplies feeling to two neighboring toes. Sometimes this nerve needs to be surgically removed.
Questions to Ask Before Surgery
Before having any type of foot or ankle surgery, ask your Dallas foot surgeon the following questions:
- Why do I need this surgery?
- Are there any successful, non-surgical alternatives?
- What exactly will be done?
- What do I need to do before the surgery?
- How long will it take?
- What kind of anesthesia will I receive?
- Will it be day surgery or inpatient?
- What will my post op care be like?
- What are the possible risks and complications?
- What will I use for pain control afterwards?
- Will I need therapy afterwards?
It’s always important to weigh the benefits against the risks of surgery and decide if foot or ankle surgery is the best option for you. If you suffer from any of the above listed foot or ankle conditions, contact the Dallas foot surgeons at Metroplex Foot & Ankle today.