Treatment Options for Foot and Ankle Conditions
Foot and ankle conditions can usually be treated with non-surgical options such as:
- Rice: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation
- Splints, short leg cast or a walking boot
- Use of crutches to limit weight-bearing
- Physical therapy
- Medications to relieve pain
- Corticosteroid injections
For more severe foot and ankle conditions, like a fracture in which bones are not aligned, surgical intervention may be necessary. There are many types of foot and ankle surgeries and some of these include arthroscopy, ligament reconstruction, fracture repairs, fusions and many more.
Reasons for Foot Surgery
There are three basic goals of foot surgery: to relieve pain, to restore function and or to improve the appearance of your feet.
- Relieve Pain.
Feet that hurt interfere with work, family and social life. Pain often signals an underlying problem and fortunately foot treatment and surgery can relieve the pain and correct the problem in many cases.
- Restore function.
When walking becomes a problem, lifestyle is affected. Foot surgery can be performed at almost any age and in most cases, surgery can restore the normal use of the foot.
- Improve appearance.
Foot surgery can often improve the appearance of the feet. However, it is not usually performed for cosmetic reasons alone.
The Healing Process
All foot surgeries involve the skin and, in some cases, the bone inside is cut as well. Skin heals in phases. First, it grows together so the stitches can be removed. The scar may look slightly inflamed and some redness and swelling is normal. Usually after about six months, the scar will blend with surrounding skin.
Bones also heal in phases. A bone like substance forms, bridging the affected bone and allows it to bear weight. Later, the extra bone will dissolve and in six months or so the bone is back to normal strength.