In the not too distant past, surgery was seen as the best option for many types of injuries, conditions and biomechanical problems of the foot and ankle. Today, with a better understanding and development of many therapeutic and non-surgical treatment options, foot surgery is typically seen by top podiatrists and orthopaedic surgeons as the last treatment option.
Exceptions to the Rule
There are exceptions to the statement above, and in some situations foot surgery may be the only possible treatment. This is often the case when there has been significant trauma or injury to the foot and reconstructive surgery will be required to allow proper use of the foot in the future.
In addition, when a patient cannot complete the alternative treatment options, or if the condition is an inherited or congenital issue or a disease that is destroying the joints of the foot or ankle, foot surgery is a very viable and important option to consider.
With many types of foot surgery, new minimally-invasive procedures may also be used, greatly reducing the risk of infection or post-surgical complications. Minimally invasive procedures can also speed up recovery time.
Podiatrists and orthopaedic surgeons, with their specialized training and understanding of the treatment of the foot and ankle, can often provide alternatives to foot surgery when appropriate.
For many conditions, including issues of foot pain from bunions, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs or tendinitis, rest combined with physical therapy can be highly effective. Combining this with custom orthotics to support the foot and heel in the correct position during movement can help eliminate pain, or greatly reduce it, eliminating the need to consider a surgery.
If you are seeing a general practitioner or a specialist and are told you need foot surgery, make sure to ask questions, specifically if there are any alternatives possible. Remember, it is always a good idea to get a second opinion, particularly if the surgery will result in a significant recovery time, something that is a common issue with many types of surgical procedures in the foot and ankle area.
When foot surgery is your only or best option, be sure to thoroughly research the surgeon and choose a doctor who you can trust. Having this relationship will help you feel comfortable in making the decision to undergo the procedure.
At Suburban Orthopaedics, our doctors can provide information on foot surgery procedures and available treatment alternatives. To see more, visit us online at www.suburbanortho.com.