Our surgeons perform the full scope of foot and ankle procedures.
Podiatry refers to the feet and ankle of a patient. A podiatrist is a specialist who can perform surgeries to restore function and relieve pain. Although there can be many different types of foot and ankle problems, there are a few that are the most common. These include:
- Bunion surgery
- Morton’s neuroma
- Clubfoot repair
- Heel surgeries
- Hammer, claw and mallet toe surgeries
Debridement is a cleansing of a wounded area, with dead or diseased tissue removal. Diabetics are at risk for wounds in their feet and ankles due to poor circulation. A diabetic patient may not even notice that his or her feet are injured until they are inspected by a healthcare professional. There are several different methods of debridement, from excising tissue with a scalpel to using chemicals. The method a podiatrist chooses will depend on what type of wound it is and what type of results are hoped for after the procedure.
A bunion is the name given to an enlarged portion of the joint at the base of the big toe. This causes the toe to point outward and curl towards the smaller toes. As the bunion grows, it can cause pain and lack of mobility. Non-surgical approaches may be tried first, such as wearing different shoes and exercising the toes. If surgery is required, the goals are to remove the bony growth and realign the joint. Proper footwear after surgery can help ensure success.
A Morton’s neuroma is a swollen, inflamed nerve in the foot. It is normally located on the ball of the foot, in between the bones. It causes pain and numbness. The pain can progress to the point that the patient does not want to walk, or walks with a limp. Better fitting shoes, ice packs, and rest may be able to relieve symptoms in some people. Cortisone injections may also relieve the pain. If surgery is indicated, the swollen nerve tissue will be removed. The success of the surgery depends on the amount of tissue that was affected.
Some babies are born with one or both of their feet deformed. One type of deformity is called clubfoot. The ligaments and tendons in the foot are too tight to allow the foot to rest in the proper position. Clubfoot is generally caught when the baby is still quite young. Deciding to do surgery to fix the foot depends on the severity of the case. Braces or special shoes may be tried first. If surgery is done, the foot will also normally be casted to keep the foot in position while it heals. Further surgeries may be necessary as the child grows.
Surgery on the Heel
Plantar fasciitis and heel spurs may be treated by surgery. When the fascia of the heel is inflamed, this causes a lot of pain, which is known as plantar fasciitis. Exercises and cold packs can help reduce the pain, but if these methods do not work, the fascia may need to be removed. By removing all or part of the fascia, new fascia can grow in the open space. If plantar fasciitis is not taken care of, a heel spur can develop. This is a small bony growth on the bone itself. Removing the spur will eliminate the pain.
Hammer, Claw, and Mallet Toe Surgeries
While a baby can be born with any number of foot deformities, hammer, claw and mallet toes can also arise later in life. The formation of these problems in adults is often attributed to wearing shoes that are too small. Unless the affected toe is causing unbearable pain or decreased mobility, a patient may opt to try wearing different shoes, using supports or doing exercises. If the pain becomes unbearable, surgery may be indicated. There are three different types of surgery that can be done. Phalangeal head resection is when the surgeon removes part of the toe bone. A joint fusion involves removing part of the joint so that the joint bones grow together, or fuse. Cutting away tissue or tendons around the joint may also solve the problem. Supportive footwear is encouraged after surgery to keep the affected toe or toes in alignment.