Do I need surgery?

     Patients who present to my office with a variety of foot conditions ultimately want to know if they should consider a surgical option.  These conditions range from hammertoe and bunion deformities to issues that are chronic in nature.  The first thing I always ask the patient is if they are having pain.  If the answer is no I will normally recommend we consider a conservative approach to their condition. So the simple answer here is, if it does not hurt leave it alone.  

     Sometimes despite our best efforts the patient's pain does not go away.  In these cases we have to consider the degree of pain.  Normally I ask the patient "how negatively is this thing impacting your life"  My opinion is that if the condition is keeping you from doing what you like to do then you should indeed consider surgery.  At this point the patient and I need to have an in depth discussion about expectations and outcomes. 

     It is paramount that the patient and the surgeon have goals that are alinged.  This way we are both "rowing the boat in the same direction". Key considerations for the patient include: what will the weight bearing status be post op? for how long?  will they need to miss work and if so for how long?  Is this a busy time of year for the patient at work?  Needless to say I am not doing surgery on alot of accountants on April 1st. 

     All of these questions need to be answered honestly by the patient and the surgeon before even considering surgery.  By having as much information as possible the well informed patient can ask the correct questions and make the decision that is right for them.  While this is surely a brief overview I hope it has helped. 

     If you or a family member is considering surgery of the foot or ankle please feel free to make an appointment with one of our surgeons.  

Author
Dr. H. Austin Hewlett Dr. Hewlett is Board Certified in both Foot and Reconstructive Rear Foot Surgery by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. The highest certification in the field of Podiatry. He has been practicing at Cambridge Foot and Ankle Associates for 18 years and is also the longest sitting Podiatrist on the Orthopedic Executive Committee at Saint Josephs Hospital in Orange Ca. In addition Dr. Hewlett serves as the director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship at Specialty Surgical Center of Irvine. He has been surfing for over 40 years and absolutely loves raising his daughter. Dr. Hewlett is available for consultation in both the Orange and Newport Beach offices of Cambridge Foot and Ankle. He specializes in all treatment aspects of the foot and ankle ranging from skin infections to complicated reconstructive surgery of the foot and ankle.

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