Thursday, 24 March 2016

Heel, ankle and Rear foot: When is surgery important?

A lot of conditions that affect the rear portion of the ankle and foot, including the heel, can be treated using conservative methods. However, when pain gets worse or deformity occurs, the only option left is surgery.

When does surgery become a necessity?

Even though conservative treatment can normally address a lot of ankle and heel issues, surgical care may be required to effectively:


  • Correct deformity
  • Treat chronic pain
  • Function restoration of ankle or foot

Heel Surgery

Heel surgery can offer pain relief and help restore mobility in several cases. Some of the most common conditions that can lead to heel surgery include:
  1. Heel Spur – a bony development on the underside of your heel bone
  2. Plantar Fasciitis – A swelling of a fibrous tissue band in the bottom of your foot
  3. Haglund’s Deformity –enlargement of bone at the back of the heel bone
  4. Insertional Achilles Spur/ Calcification –calcification or spur formation
There can be several other causes of heel pain, known to be one of the most common problems of the foot.

Among these other causes are:
  1. Entrapped nerves
  2. Stress fractures
  3. Bruises
  4. Arthritis
  5. Bursitis
  6. Improper shoes
  7. Obesity
  8. Heel’s fat pad deterioration
Reconstructive Foot Surgery

Reconstructive foot surgery comprises of complicated surgical repair that are necessary to regain stability or function, decrease pain, or prevent further disease or deformity. Reconstructive surgery can include:
  1. Bone fusion
  2. Tendon transfer/ repair
  3. Joint implantation
  4. Soft tissue or skin repair
  5. Bone grafting
  6. Amputation
  7. Tumor excision
  8. Bone osteotomy
  9. Bone pins, screws, wires, and other fixation devices
Preoperative Care and Testing

Before undergoing an ankle or heel surgery one requires certain examinations or tests beforehand for a successful outcome. Before surgery, the surgeons review the patient’s medical conditions and history, evaluating specific illnesses, diseases, allergies, and medications they could be using.

Other tests that assist in evaluating a patient’s health and can be ordered by a podiatric physician comprise of urinalysis, blood studies, EKG, blood flow studies, X-rays, and biomechanical examination. Added consultation with other medical experts is sometimes advised, depending on specific medical condition and the test results.

Postoperative Care

Rearfoot surgery requires careful care after the procedure. To assure a correct and rapid recovery, it is important to follow advice and postoperative instructions of a podiatrist carefully. Some postoperative treatments that are commonly prescribed include:


  • Icing the affected area
  • Complete rest
  • Elevation and compression of the ankle and/or foot

The use of splints, bandages, casts, crutches, surgical shoes, or canes may be required after surgery. Your surgeon will also evaluate if and when you can put weight on an operated foot. The expert will also suggest different ways to ensure best health.

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