When is foot surgery performed?

Foot surgery is usually only performed when more conservative treatments like medication, therapy, custom orthotics, bracing and other non-surgical techniques have failed to provide relief for symptoms, or when a condition is so severe, nonsurgical approaches are not an option, such as when a compound fracture occurs in the ankle. Many foot injuries and conditions can be managed with nonsurgical approaches, but in some cases, advanced surgical techniques are required to restore function, strength and flexibility to the foot or ankle.

What kinds of conditions can be treated with foot surgery?

Today, many types of surgery can be used to help treat problems in the feet and ankles, including procedures to treat:

  • bunions
  • hammertoes
  • flat feet
  • bone spurs
  • plantar fasciitis
  • foot deformities
  • ligament and tendon injuries including tears
  • fractures
  • nerve impingements and neuromas
  • traumatic injuries
  • arthritis

Some surgeries can be used to reposition bones, ligaments or tendons or to remove portions of bone, and other surgeries may use tiny pins or screws to hold joints or bones in place.

What happens during recovery from foot surgery?

Many types of surgery can be performed using minimally-invasive techniques, relying on smaller incisions for faster recovery and less pain and discomfort. Depending on the type of surgery that is performed, a cast or special surgical boot may be applied following the procedure to provide stability for the foot and ankle during healing, and in some cases, crutches or a cane may be needed during the initial stages of recovery to facilitate mobility. Physical therapy may also be recommended to restore movement, flexibility and strength. The time required for complete recovery will depend on several factors, including the type of surgery that was performed and the overall health of the patient. Follow-up visits will be scheduled to ensure the foot heals properly.