Surgery is usually reserved for serious issues that cannot be adequately treated using more conservative approaches like casting and splinting. Some of the most common issues that may require surgery include:
Surgery is typically used only when more conservative approaches have been tried and have failed to provide long-term or meaningful relief, or in cases where conservative approaches are not appropriate. Before any surgical procedure is performed, a thorough examination and evaluation of the foot and ankle will be performed as well as diagnostic imaging using x-rays or other approaches to ensure surgery is the best approach and to “map out” the procedure.
Minimally invasive surgery uses small incisions to access the injured area and to perform repairs. Smaller incisions result in less bleeding, less tissue damage, less postoperative discomfort and faster recovery compared to more traditional approaches that use large incisions. Many joint surgeries including some ankle surgeries can be completed using a minimally-invasive technique called arthroscopy to access the joint with special instruments designed to be used through small incisions. A tiny camera sends images of the joint interior to a video screen where they can be viewed by the surgeon during the procedure.
Most surgeries require the use of a splint, brace, cast or special supportive boot to enable the bones and soft tissues to heal properly. Physical therapy and use of custom orthotics may also be recommended during healing and recovery to help the foot and ankle regain mobility, flexibility, and strength. Most procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis so the patient can return home the same day.