recovering from foot surgeryThe mere thought of undergoing surgery might make you feel apprehensive or hesitant, especially if you were hoping that alternative treatments could provide relief. However, it's important to acknowledge that while conservative treatments are often preferred, there are instances where surgical intervention becomes necessary. 

At Northwest Extremity Specialists, we recognize the significance of exploring conservative treatments as the first line of defense against foot and ankle conditions. Our team of highly trained medical professionals is dedicated to providing patients with comprehensive care that emphasizes non-surgical approaches. Through a personalized assessment and thorough examination, they strive to understand the unique needs and challenges faced by each patient.

The experienced specialists at Northwest Extremity Specialists leverage a wide range of conservative treatment options, including physical therapy, orthotics, medication management, and targeted injections. These interventions are designed to minimize discomfort, promote healing, and enhance overall function. By adopting a conservative approach, the team aims to help patients avoid surgery whenever possible. However, it is essential to acknowledge that conservative treatments may not always yield the desired results. 

Some foot and ankle conditions may require surgical interventions to achieve long-term pain relief and functional improvement. In such situations, Northweast Extremity Specialists possess the expertise and technological advancements necessary to provide state-of-the-art surgical solutions.

Conditions That Might Require Surgery

When conservative measures such as orthotics, padding, or modified footwear do not alleviate the pain, you might be a candidate for surgery. Here are some conditions that may require surgical intervention:

  • Fractures that involve significant damage to the surrounding soft tissues, such as nerves, blood vessels, or tendons, may require surgical intervention to repair the associated structures and ensure proper healing.
  • Stress fractures, which are small cracks in the bone caused by repetitive stress or overuse, may require surgery if they do not respond to conservative treatment measures such as rest, immobilization, and activity modification.
  • Bunions are painful bony bumps that develop at the big toe joint. They are corrected by a bunionectomy, a common surgical procedure that realigns the affected joint.
  • Hammer toes can cause pain or difficulty when wearing regular shoes. Surgical procedures involve releasing or repositioning tendons or sometimes fusing joints to straighten the affected toes.
  • Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that can usually be controlled by stretching exercises, orthotics, and physical therapy. When symptoms do not respond to traditional methods and last for more than three months, surgery to release the tight plantar fascia might be needed.
  • Morton's neuroma is a thickening of nerve tissue in the ball of the foot. The surgery involves removing the affected nerve or releasing the pressure on it.
  • Flatfoot (Pes planus) does not normally require a surgical intervention. Severe cases that cause significant pain and functional limitations may be relieved by surgery that involves tendon repairs, joint fusions, or realignment of the bones in the foot.
  • Ankle instability may be due to repeated ankle sprains or ligament damage. Surgery to repair or reconstruct the affected ligaments and stabilize the ankle joint may be needed.

Signs That Surgery May Be Necessary

When alternative methods have been ruled out, there are several common signs that should guide you in deciding to undergo surgery. Contact Northwest Extremity Specialists if you experience these conditions or any foot and ankle condition that affects your health.

Here are seven signs that you may need foot or ankle surgery:

  • If the pain persists for more than a few days
  • If your pain continues to get worse
  • If your range of motion is affected
  • If you have recently been in an accident
  • If the pain is accompanied by other symptoms, such as swelling or fever
  • If the pain keeps you from sleeping
  • If weather conditions, such as cold or rain, bring on pain

The longer these conditions persist, the more likely you will require surgery. Consult with the orthopedic experts at Northwest Extremity Specialists to discuss your foot or ankle problems. 

How to Fit Surgery Into Your Life

Plan your surgery to give you maximum flexibility in your schedule. The days immediately following your surgery are essential for healing properly. We’ve provided some general tips here, but your doctor can offer guidance on scheduling your surgery with your specific needs in mind. 

Seasonal Considerations

There are benefits to having your surgery in the wintertime. One that is often overlooked is the fact that casts and other compression garments do not generally cause sweating in cooler temperatures. 

On the other hand, summer can be an excellent time to have your surgery—especially if you have children. Send the kids away to camp or the grandparents for a week or two while you recover in relative quiet. Stick to your air-conditioned spaces, however, as exposure to direct sunlight can interfere with wound sites and incisions. 

Paid Time Off 

Lining up your surgery with your available PTO allows for a less stressful recovery. If you’re married, you may also want to consider your spouse’s available PTO. Having someone around to help with tasks while you need to stay off your feet can be hugely beneficial. 

Telecommuting or Job Modifications

Remote work lets recovering patients stay off their feet as much as possible without missing important job duties. If you must work outside the home, ask your doctor about the best ways to keep you healing while maintaining a regular schedule. It may be necessary to modify your work duties to reduce the stress on your feet. 

Dr. Ron Bowman
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