Foot and Ankle Surgery
Foot and ankle surgery is a sub-specialty of orthopedics and podiatry that deals with the treatment, diagnosis and prevention of disorders of the foot and ankle. An orthopedic surgeon has a Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine medical degree and training that encompasses both orthopedic residency and an optional 6-month to one year of fellowship training specific in techniques of foot and ankle surgery.
Foot and ankle surgeons are trained to treat all disorders of the foot and ankle, both surgical and non-surgical. Additionally, the surgeons are also trained to understand the complex connections between disorders and deformities of the foot, ankle, knee, hip, and the spine. Because of this training, the surgeon will typically see cases that vary in nature:
- Trauma – such as malleolar fractures, tibial pilon fractures, calcaneus fractures, navicular and midfoot injuries and metatarsal and phalangeal fractures.
- Arthritis care – which is primarily surgical, of the ankle joint and the joints of the hindfoot (tarsals), midfoot (metatarsals) and forefoot (phalanges)
- Congenital and acquired deformities – these include adult acquired flatfoot, non-neuromuscular foot deformity, diabetic foot disorders, hallux valgus and several common pediatric foot and ankle conditions (such as clubfoot, flat feet, tarsal coalitions, etc.)
Patients may also be referred to a foot and ankle surgeon for proper diagnosis and treatment of heel pain (such as a consequence from plantar heel fasciitis), nerve disorders (such as tarsal tunnel syndrome) and tumors of the foot and ankle. Ankle arthroscopy (the use of a laparoscope in foot and ankle surgical procedures) have emerged as prominent tools in foot and ankle care.
In addition, more applications for laser surgery are being found in the treatment of foot and ankle disorders, including treatment for bunions and soft tissue lesions. A patient may also be referred to a foot and ankle surgeon for the surgical care of nail problems and phalangeal deformities (such as bunions and buniettes.)