Many of the conditions that affect the back portion of the foot and ankle, including the heel, can be resolved through conservative treatments. However, when pain persists or deformity occurs, surgery may be required.
The podiatrists and surgeons of AFACC always look first to conservative treatment, and only suggest surgery when absolutely necessary.
To learn what rearfoot or ankle surgery & treatment options are best for you, find the AFACC podiatry clinic nearest to you or fill out the appointment form to the right. For more information about the types of rearfoot and ankle surgeries read below.
When is Surgery Necessary?
Although conservative treatment can usually address many heel and ankle issues, surgical care may be warranted to effectively:
- Treat chronic pain
- Correct deformity
- Restore foot or ankle function
Heel surgery can provide relief of pain and restore mobility in many cases.Some of the common conditions that may lead to heel surgery are:
- Plantar Fasciitis – an inflammation of a fibrous band of tissue in the bottom of the foot
- Heel Spur – a bony growth on the underside of the heel bone
- Haglund’s Deformity – a bone enlargement at the back of the heel bone
- Insertional Achilles Calcification/Spur – spur formation or calcification at the insertion of the achilles tendon
There are many other causes of heel pain, which has become one of the most common foot problems reported by patients of podiatric physicians.
Among these additional causes are:
- Stress fractures
- Entrapped nerves
- Arthritis (including Gout)
- Deterioration of the heel’s fat pad
- Improper shoes
Reconstructive Foot Surgery
Reconstructive surgery consists of complex surgical repair(s) that may be necessary to regain function or stability, reduce pain, and/or prevent further deformity or disease. Reconstructive surgery may include:
- Tendon repair/transfer
- Fusion of bone
- Joint implantation
- Bone grafting
- Skin or soft tissue repair
- Tumor excision
- The osteotomy of bone (cutting of bones in a precise fashion)
- Bone screws, pins, wires, staples, and other fixation devices
Preoperative Testing and Care
As with anyone facing any surgical procedure, those undergoing heel or ankle surgery require specific tests or examinations beforehand to ensure a successful outcome. Prior to surgery, the Podiatrists & surgeons of AFACC will review your medical history & conditions, evaluating specific diseases, illnesses, allergies, and current medications you may be using.
Other tests that help evaluate your health status that may be ordered by the podiatric physician include blood studies, urinalysis, EKG, X-rays, blood flow studies (to better evaluate the circulatory status of the foot/legs), and biomechanical examination. Additional consultations with other medical specialists is sometimes advised, depending on your test results or a specific medical condition.
Surgery of the rearfoot requires close care following the procedure. To assure a rapid and correct recovery, it is important to follow your podiatrist’s advice and postoperative instructions carefully. Some commonly prescribed postoperative treatments include:
- Icing the repaired area
- Compression and elevation of your foot and/or ankle
The usage of bandages, splints, casts, surgical shoes, crutches, or canes may be necessary after surgery. Your podiatric surgeon will also determine if and when you can bear weight on an operated foot.
For more information on heel, ankle, or other rearfoot surgery, contact us today to schedule an appointment at the AFACC clinic nearest you.