Foot Problems Are More Common Than You Think
About 75% of Americans will experience a foot condition at some point. Currently, 6% of Americans have an ongoing foot condition that causes chronic pain and discomfort. For some, foot fusion surgery may be the best solution to deal with long-term pain. Persons who have foot fusion surgery can expect less pain and a better quality of life. But what is foot fusion surgery?
Some bones are stronger together
Foot fusion surgery seeks to strengthen a damaged or weakened joint. The surgery is often performed over general anesthesia. An orthopedic surgeon performs foot fusion using open surgery or minimally invasive methods. While most are performed with minimally invasive methods, there are some cases when open surgery is necessary. To complete the surgery, the surgeon uses 2 or more small incisions to access and remove the damaged joint. The bones are then held in place with screws. These screws allow the bone to grow and fuse to one stable piece. In some cases, additional donor bone is required to fill the space. Surgery is not for every foot condition. However, there are 3 issues that need special mention.
1. Arthritis and foot fusion surgery
Arthritis is a common disease affecting millions of Americans. With arthritis, persons experience severe wear and tear of the cartilage in the joints. Joints are critical for movement, and this can cause severe pain and restrict the quality of life. Since there are over 30 joints in each foot, arthritis can easily affect one or more, causing difficulty walking. There are a few ways to reduce the symptoms of arthritis in the feet. These include maintaining proper weight, proper footwear, pain medication, and physical therapy. However, if these fail, foot fusion is the next best step.
2. Do you have flat feet?
Both feet have a recognizable arch or gap on the inside that’s slightly raised from the ground. With flat feet, also called fallen arches, the arches collapse and become flattened. The soles of the feet end up flat on the floor when standing. While many have flat feet without issue, for some, the condition can be painful. The pain can start in the foot and move to the calf, knees, and lower back. Flat feet can also create an uneven gait, which can further injury. A flat foot can speed up other conditions like arthritis, tendonitis, bunions, and shin splints. A foot fusion surgery may be necessary to stabilize the foot and prevent further injury.
3. Repairing a fractured foot
Out of all the potential issues, a fracture may be the most prominent and common reason for surgery. Fractures happen every day due to slips, trips, and other accidents. Even rolling the ankle or applying force can cause breaks. With the numerous bones and joints in the foot, a fracture can sometimes go undetected. Hairline fractures can be mistaken for everyday bumps or bruises. Some can heal without surgery. However, for long-term pain and discomfort, fusion surgery on the affected joint may help.
Success rates and recovery
Foot fusion surgery has a high success rate in restoring stability and reducing pain. Although surgery stiffens the joint, the procedure significantly reduces pain. Recovery can take up to 12 weeks, with the first half needing extensive rest and physical therapy. The patient will wear a cast or boot during the period. With any surgery, there is a risk of complications. Speak with the orthopedic surgeon about possible risks and concerns.
Consider foot fusion surgery today
A foot fracture, arthritis, or flat feet can cause pain and limit mobility. While there are non-surgical options that work well, foot fusion may be the best option for some patients. Using minimally invasive techniques, the surgeon will perform the procedure quickly, safely, and with minor incisions. Talk to a surgeon today about the possibility of fusion surgery.