Foot & Ankle Surgery
In an ideal world, every foot and ankle condition would be effectively treated with the use of conservative methods. In the real world, however, there are some cases where surgery is simply the best possible treatment option. Generally speaking, no one ever looks forward to having surgery, but you can take comfort in the fact Mikol Anderson, DPM is an experienced, skilled foot and ankle surgeon.
Why You Might Need Foot or Ankle Surgery
There are a couple of reasons why surgery would be recommended to address a foot or ankle problem. In some cases, the condition is unresponsive to conservative care. Other times, it is progressive and will worsen over time if left untreated. Still, other patients may need a surgical procedure to relieve severe pain or restore normal functionality.
Our goal at Anderson Foot & Ankle Clinic is always to address any lower limb issue with the use of nonsurgical care. To that end, we do attempt everything possible to avoid surgery. Unfortunately, conservative treatment is not always enough. When it’s not, we may recommend surgical procedures so you can have relief from pain and be able to use your foot as intended.
Minimally Invasive Procedures
Whereas surgery is not the preferred form of treatment, minimally invasive procedures—like arthroscopy—are better than invasive ones.
In the case of arthroscopy, the equipment we use is a narrow tube attached to a fiber optic video camera. This avoids the need to make a large incision, as would be used in traditional surgery. Instead, we only use a small incision (roughly the size of a buttonhole), insert the tube, and then use a high-definition video monitor to see what is happening inside your body during the procedure.
Minimally invasive surgeries have an array of benefits over other surgical options, including quicker recovery times, lower infection risk, and less scarring than traditional surgeries. Additionally, they can be performed on an outpatient basis and the risk of complications is low.
We may recommend arthroscopy for issues like:
- Damaged or torn cartilage
- Inflamed joint linings
- Joint pain or infections
- Loose bone fragments
- Scarring within joints
- Torn ligaments
Accordingly, arthroscopy is a great treatment option for patients who have developed an arthritic condition in their feet or ankles.
Plantar fasciitis is the leading cause of heel pain for adults. Fortunately, conservative care is often quite effective at addressing the problem, but there are times when surgery is necessary.
Most plantar fasciitis surgeries are aimed at detaching the plantar fascial ligament from its attachment into the heel bone. This can be accomplished with a small incision on the bottom of the heel or on the side of the heel.
For some patients, we need to perform surgery for Achilles tendon injuries. These can include:
- Achilles tendon ruptures. There are a variety of ways to repair an Achilles tendon rupture. The most common method is an open repair. This starts with an incision made on the back of the lower leg starting just above the heel bone. After we find the two ends of the ruptured tendon, they are sewn together with sutures. The incision is then closed.
- Achilles tendinosis. We make an incision in the back of the ankle directly over the Achilles tendon and then remove the diseased portion of the tendon. If the problem involves the end of the tendon where it inserts on the heel bone, we may need to lift the tendon off the heel bone. The bump at the back of the bone is then removed, and the tendon is repaired back down to the remaining bone.
Surgery for Progressive Conditions
Some conditions, like bunions and hammertoes, can have their symptoms somewhat managed with conservative care, but will not actually improve without surgical intervention. Dr. Anderson is experienced in corrective surgeries and will use the best procedures to correct the condition for you.
When your big toe is misaligned and points inwards (a bunion), it creates a bump on the inner edge of your foot. This causes tremendous pain, discomfort, and can make your life miserable. If conservative care doesn’t provide enough relief and improve the situation for you, Dr. Anderson may recommend a surgical procedure.
Bunion surgery is often a matter of moving the bone and joint back into their natural positions. Once everything is back to where it should be, your bunion pain will be alleviated. Other options include bunionectomy (removing the bony protrusion) or procedures to address the ligaments and tendons surrounding the joint.
Before we start performing your surgical procedure, there are several actions you will need to take, including:
- Consultation – Together, we will discuss your surgery and make sure you understand what is going to happen and what you need to do beforehand. This page provides some guidelines, but it is not a substitute for actually talking with Dr. Anderson about your surgery.
- Making plans – You will need to arrange transportation, time off of work, and possibly child care, depending on your specific circumstances. Transportation is especially important, so make sure you have a friend or loved one who is able to take you to and from your procedure.
- Wear loose clothing – This is an often-overlooked matter, but tight clothing can be difficult to put back on over surgical sites. Instead, opt for comfortable, loose clothes that will not cause pain when you get dressed before leaving.
The actual procedure, of course, is an important part of the whole process, but you do not want to underestimate the importance of post-surgical care. This stage is essential for your safety and optimal recovery. We will provide specific postoperative instructions, and your ability to heal correctly will depend on you following them, but some general considerations include:
- Rest – Surgery is a big deal. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t take as many measures as possible to avoid using it as a treatment option. Since it is, though, you will need to give your body the chance to perform its natural healing processes after the procedure.
- Medication – Depending on your procedure and situation, we will likely recommend or prescribe some form of medication for you. The pain-relieving properties of medicine certainly play a role, but the anti-inflammatory ones can be immensely helpful in assisting with your recovery.
- Restricted movement – In time, the amount and range of movement will increase, but we may recommend you limit how much you move the affected area for at least a certain period of time.
- Assistive devices – Dr. Anderson may prescribe braces, casts, or other devices to help you keep weight off of the repaired, but still allow you to be mobile.
- Physical therapy – As you recover, it will be necessary for you to gradually ease into physical movement. To that end, physical therapy is a key part of post-surgical care. Stretching and strengthening exercises are essential for making sure your movement is as natural as possible.
- Hygienic practices – The potential for infection is one of the risks of surgery. This risk doesn’t end once the procedure is completed, though. It is essential that you keep any insertion points clean to reduce your infection risk.
- Follow-up appointments – Don’t worry, you’re not on your own after the surgery! We will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress and ensure everything is mending like it should.
As we noted earlier, our hope is always that we will be able to treat your foot or ankle condition using nonsurgical methods. In the event surgery is necessary, you can take comfort in the fact that our team at Anderson Foot & Ankle Clinic has your health in mind when we perform surgical procedures. Even better, we are experienced, skilled, and ready to help you overcome your medical problem. Give us a call at (801) 269-9939 for more information or use our online form to connect with our Salt Lake City, UT office right now.