The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Benefits of Foot Surgery

Posted by on Thursday, April 25th, 2013

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In the medical world, foot surgery is viewed as a “last resort” treatment because invasive intervention is riskier by nature — not to mention, more expensive than conventional treatments. Yet, there are plenty of cases where surgery is the most sensible choice. In this article, we’ll talk about some of the procedures we do, possible benefits of foot surgery, and (of course) the risk factors involved.

Foot Pain or Issues That May Warrant Surgery

There are many types of podiatric surgery. Conditions that may warrant surgical procedures include:

  • Bunion or Bunionette
  • Hammer Toe, Claw Toe, Trigger Toe, or Mallet Toe
  • Heel Spur or Plantar Fasciitis
  • Neuroma Pain
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Intractable Plantar Keratosis
  • Digital Fusion
  • Hagland’s Deformity
  • Ingrown Nails
  • Warts
  • Dorsal-Adduction Deformity
  • Ganglions
  • Ulcers
  • Diabetic Wounds

10 Possible Benefits of Foot Surgery

1. Improved appearance: People born with foot deformities can enjoy better comfort and confidence in public.

2. Less pain: The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reports that 85-90 percent of bunion surgery patients are satisfied.

3. Improved mobility: The University of Washington Department of Sports Medicine says surgery can improve joint movement.

4. Greater footwear selection: People with foot issues either find that shoes bother their condition or they can’t fit into most shoes.

5. Response to treatment: Surgery is often used as the last resort for people who show limited or no response to other treatments.

6. Quicker recovery (in some cases): A plantar’s wart could take up to a year to treat. However, surgery recovery is just a few weeks.

7. Effective cure: In the case of recurrent ingrown toenails, fully removing the nail matrix may be the only truly curative method.

8. Infection control: Patients with diabetic wounds may need to have a deep infection controlled.

9. Prevention: Some conditions — like Duchenne muscular dystrophy — require surgery to prevent future foot deformation.

10. Relaxation: If your work gives you some paid time off for medical issues, this can be a good chance for some rest and relaxation!

Possible Risks of Foot Surgery

Foot surgery should not be taken lightly. “If something goes wrong with your foot…. you will be reminded of it every single step that you take — perhaps for the rest of your life,” writes Dr. Howard Luks. “Besides, in extreme cases, if you happen to be diabetic or have poor circulation you could potentially lose part of your foot to an amputation.”

ABC 4 News reports that pulmonary embolisms cause more deaths in the United States than “AIDS, breast cancer and motor vehicle crashes combined.” Yale School of Medicine’s Peter Blume DPM told ABC that “surgery is one of the leading causes of blood clots in patients.” Getting up and moving around after foot surgery can help prevent clotting and there is medication that can be taken as well. That being said, it’s still a risk and certain patients may be at higher risk than others — especially if they have poor circulation to begin with.

Other possible complications include: asymmetrical gait, nerve damage, complex regional pain syndrome, infection, vascular injury, and wound healing problems. Then there is also that one little caveat: surgery is no guarantee your symptoms will all be fully “cured.”

Surgery is a complex decision that is truly unique to each individual. A good doctor of podiatric medicine will be able to discuss the pros and cons of surgery for your condition, given your physical health history, in greater depth and detail than we could ever cover here. Dr. Geldwert invites readers in the New York City area to contact him personally to discuss treatment options.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.