Podiatric surgery is suitable for people who need their feet to be surgically corrected. Conditions include bunions, hammer toes, chronic corns, bony lumps, neuromas or even in the most severe cases, flat feet.
Most podiatric surgery is carried out as day case surgery using local anaesthetic. However, your consultant may recommend you stay a little longer.
A bunion is a bony lump on the side of the foot at the base of the big toe. It may be painful and make it difficult to wear certain shoes. Different surgical procedures can be used to treat this condition. Your surgeon will choose the right procedure for you. See Bunion surgery for more information.
Hallux limitus (rigidus)
This condition of the big toe, where movement of the toe is restricted to varying degrees, can cause pain and loss of movement. When you walk you need to bend the big toe upwards. If you’re not able to do this, the big toe joint may wear out or seize up completely. Different surgical procedures can be used to treat this condition. Sometimes artificial joints may be used to treat the condition, should the joint be beyond repair.
Arthritic damage to the joints in the arch of the foot
Arthritis of the joints in the arch of the foot often goes unnoticed until it has become quite advanced. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to affect these joints. Early symptoms include achy joints often occurring after activity. In later stages there may be persistent swelling around the joint or hard lumps around the edge of the joints.
In some patients these lumps may cause added symptoms because they cause pressure on adjacent soft tissue structures. Surgical treatment usually involves removing these lumps or surgically fusing the damaged joints.
Hammer toe (mallet toe, claw toe)
This is a deformity in the lesser toes that is usually caused by tendon or joint imbalance. Hammer toes can be painful and unpleasant to look at. The podiatric surgeon is able to correct this deformity under local anaesthetic as a day case procedure. Surgery to correct the hammer, mallet or claw toe deformity will usually permanently cure the formation of painful corns on skin overlying these joints.
Many corns that cannot be resolved with traditional treatment may be permanently removed. Corns under the foot are often the result of a prominent metatarsal bone. Various operations are used to raise the metatarsal so that the corn no longer forms.
An enlarged nerve, usually between the third and fourth toes caused by nerve irritation and entrapment between bones. The podiatric surgeon routinely removes neuromas under local anaesthetic. Delicate surgical techniques generally result in permanent resolution of this sometimes extremely painful condition.
This is an inflammation of the connective tissue found on the underside of the foot. Orthotic insoles are normally all that is needed, but surgery may be required. Keyhole techniques are used to treat the condition.
Heel bumps (Haglund’s deformity)
This is an enlargement of the bone at the back of the heel that can encourage bursitis to develop. Bursitis is the inflammation of one or more bursae (small sacs) of a thick stringy fluid known as synovial fluid in the body. The bursae rest at muscles and tendons. Various operations are possible, ranging from removing the bone to tilting the bones into a better position to ease the problem.
Lumps, bumps, cysts and ganglions
Painful lumps that press and rub on the shoe are common. If changing your footwear doesn’t resolve the problem, surgery may be recommended to remove the bony prominences or soft tissue formations. See Excision of a ganglion for more information.
These are additional growths of bony material that cause pain or limit your movement. Spurs can develop at the edges of joints, tendons and ligaments. They can usually be removed under local anaesthetic.
Achilles tendon problems
If non-surgical treatment doesn’t work, the tendon will occasionally be stripped of its inflamed thickened tissue. It may be necessary to lengthen the tendon.