Information you need to know before choosing a Foot and Ankle Surgeon
Do I need Ankle Surgery?
Ankle surgery may be required to correct a serious deformity of the ankle and its bone structure. Injury (such as a fracture), birth defects, or changes throughout the course of life are the usual culprits. Diseases, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and neuromuscular conditions, may cause severe foot and ankle deformities that, over time, cause pain and difficulty in walking.
Ankle surgeries emphasize the realignment of the structure either around or after removal of the deformity. Various kinds of internal and external fixation devices—some temporary, others permanent—are often required to maintain the appropriate alignment during, and beyond, the healing process.
Ankle surgeries vary in complexity, length, and severity, yet many of them today are conducted on a same-day, outpatient basis. Patients need to arrange for another person to take them home afterwards and stay with them for the first 24 hours following the surgery. Post-operative instructions, provided by your surgeon, will give you the information needed to care for your recovering ankle following surgery.
Who performs surgeries? What problems may require a surgery?
Surgery on the foot, ankle, or lower leg is usually performed by podiatric surgeons and orthopedic surgeons specializing in the foot and ankle.
Foot and ankle surgeries address a wide variety of foot problems, including:
- Sprains and fractures.
- Arthritis and joint disease.
- Benign and malignant tumors.
- Birth deformities.
- Calluses and warts.
- Corns and hammertoes.
- Heel or toe spurs.
- Neuromas (nerve tumors).
What should I expect the day of and after the surgery?
Many foot and ankle surgeries today can be performed in the doctor's office or a surgical center on an outpatient basis. They frequently can be performed using local anesthesia, in some cases combined with sedation. Most foot surgeries require a period of immobilization after the procedures with protective devices, such as a bandages, splints, surgical shoes, casts, or open sandals. Limited weight bearing, elevating and icing the foot, and keeping the area dry are commonly required for the first two weeks following surgery until sutures are removed. Most surgeons will encourage post-operative exercise of the foot and legs to speed recovery. In addition, many patients need additional therapy or treatments after surgery in order to aid in the healing and recovery process. These may include physiotherapy, orthotic devices, and special footwear. After sufficient healing time, which varies from procedure to procedure, most patients can resume wearing their usual footwear.
For more information, or if you would like to schedule an appointment with a foot and ankle surgeon, call our Reston, VA office at (703) 437-6333.