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Many foot problems and conditions can be treated without the need for surgery. However, in some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the problem. Here are some of the most common conditions that may require surgery.
Bunions occur when the joint at the base of the big toe becomes enlarged and sticks out. This condition can be quite painful, particularly when a patient is wearing shoes. While bunions can be treated without surgery, surgery may be considered if a patient has difficulty walking, or if nonsurgical treatment does not improve pain. Some patients also choose to have bunion removal surgery for cosmetic reasons.
The goal of bunion surgery is to correct the position of the big toe by realigning the bones, ligaments, and tendons in the foot. Bunion surgery can often be done on an outpatient basis.
Claw and Hammer Toes
Claw toes and hammer toes are similar in that the toe is bent downward at the middle joint in both conditions. However, with claw toes, the toe is also bent upward from the joint at the ball of the foot in a way that causes the toe to resemble a claw. If left untreated, these conditions can cause permanent deformities that make it difficult to find comfortable shoes. If treated early, these conditions may not require surgery, but if nonsurgical treatment does not help to straighten the toe, surgery may be considered.
The surgical procedure used to correct these conditions will vary based on the type and extent of the deformity. Surgery may involve removal of a portion of bone to realign the toe; tendon release; fusion of the toe joints; or an implant to straighten the toe.
Achilles Tendon Repair
The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. Achilles tendon tears are common among athletes, as this tendon is used when walking, running, and jumping. The Achilles tendon can also become inflamed or tear due to tight calf muscles or bone spurs. During an Achilles tendon repair surgery, the torn ends of the tendon are sutured back together. Patients may be placed in a cast or brace after surgery to allow the tendon to heal.
Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a long, thin ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot, connecting the heel to the front of the foot. The plantar fascia can absorb most of the stress we put on our feet, but too much stress can damage the tissue or cause it to tear. Tight calf muscles can contribute to strain on the plantar fascia. This condition results in inflammation, pain, and stiffness in the heel.
Most cases of plantar fasciitis can be treated without surgery, but if nonsurgical treatment does not help, surgery may be considered. Surgery for plantar fasciitis may involve lengthening the calf muscle, or a partial release of the plantar fascia ligament.
A bone spur is a bony growth that forms on normal bone. Bone spurs are usually smooth, but they can rub against the soft tissues in the foot, resulting in damage to the tissues. Bone spurs occur most commonly in the heels, and are sometimes referred to as “heel spurs”. Bone spurs commonly occur alongside plantar fasciitis. If bone spurs are causing foot pain, they may be surgically removed. If bone spurs occur alongside another condition that requires surgery, like plantar fasciitis, bone spurs may be removed during that procedure.
Arthritis wears down the articular cartilage that lines our joints. When arthritis is present in the ankle, it can make walking difficult and painful. If nonsurgical treatment does not improve your symptoms, surgery may be an option. Depending on the extent of the arthritis, there are different surgical options that your doctor may recommend. Arthroscopic surgery may be used in the early stages of arthritis to “clean up” the joint by removing any debris or bone spurs that may be present. In the more advanced stages of arthritis, the bones may be surgically fused together with rods, pins, screws, or plates. In other cases, ankle joint may be replaced with artificial implants.
Peroneal Tendon Tears
The peroneal tendons are a pair of tendons that run side by side behind the outer ankle bone. These tendons help to balance the ankle and keep it from turning inward. One or both of these tendons can be torn in a fall or athletic injury, which can result in pain, swelling, and instability. Surgery is necessary to correct this tear and restore instability. During surgery, the torn tendon is stitched back together, or in the case of a severe tear, repaired using a tendon graft.
Ankle Instability (Ligament Tears)
Ligament tears in the ankle can result in instability. Torn ligaments sometimes require surgical intervention to restore ankle stability. During the surgical procedure, any scar tissue present can be removed, and the torn ligament may be stitched back together, or a small anchor may be used to reattach the ligament to the bone. A tendon graft may be used to reinforce weak ligaments.
Foot Surgery in Beaumont, TX
The skilled surgeons at Beaumont Bone and Joint Institute can treat a full range of foot and ankle problems. Our experts treat foot and ankle problems with nonoperative measures whenever possible, but are skilled in a wide variety of foot and ankle procedures should surgery be necessary. If you would like to learn more about our foot and ankle services or schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, please contact our Beaumont office at (409) 838-0346, or our Port Arthur office at (409) 729-5633.