Foot Surgery

The doctor will recommend if you need foot surgery and the best setting based on the surgery you will have, your age, medical history, and health plan.

A Look at Common Foot Surgeries


Surgery for Bunions

  • Positional bunionectomy: A positional bunion is a bony growth on the base of the big toe. It enlarges the joint. In a positional bunionectomy, the doctor will remove the bump and may release soft tissue that has tightened. Afterward, the doctor may recommend that you ear a special surgical shoe or splint.
  • Metatarsal head osteotomy: Structural bunions occur when the angle between the first and second toe bones increases beyond normal. Sometimes bony growths may form, resulting in irritation and swelling. A surgeon performs a metatarsal head osteotomy to cut and reposition the bone. Any bumps are remodeled. Afterward, the doctor may recommend that you wear a surgical shoe or cast for about six weeks until the bone heals.
  • Metatarsal base osteotomy: Severe structural bunions result when the angle between the first and second toe bones is excessive. To treat these, a surgeon may conduct a metatarsal base osteotomy. A wedge of bone is removed from the base of the big toe bone and the bone is repositioned. Wires or screws may be inserted to stabilize the bone. Afterward, your doctor may put your foot in a cast.

Surgery for Hammertoes

  • In treating a flexibile hammertoe, the doctor repositions the tendons to allow the toe to lie flat. Afterward, he/she may recommend that you wear a surgical shoe for several weeks.
  • For a rigid hammertoe, several types of treatments are available:
    • Arthroplasty: The doctor removes a portion of the joint and straightens the toe.
    • Fusion: Cartilage between the two toe bones is removed and the bones fuse to form one longer bone.
    • Implant: In some situations, a portion of the bone is removed and replaced with an implant.

Surgery for Arthritis

  • Arthritis is a condition characterized by inflammation and swelling of the joint lining and degeneration of the cartilage. Fluid usually accumulates in the joints. Arthritis can affect the big toe joint, causing pain and reduced motion. A bunion-like protrusion also may be present. There are a variety of surgical procedures to treat this condition.

Surgery for Neuromas

  • When the nerves are compressed between two toe bones, the nerve becomes enlarged. A benign growth, called a neuroma, results. When a neuroma is removed or "excised," a small portion of the nerve is cut out.

Surgery for Ingrown Toenails

  • A nail is ingrown when it curves down at the sides and grows into the skin. With a partial surgical matricectomy, the doctor removes a section of the toenail and the underlying nail matrix (cells that make the nail). This can be done through surgical excision, chemical, or laser destruction.

When to call the doctor:

  Follow your doctor's instructions for continued care of your foot and remember that every individual recovers differently. Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:
  • Blood appears on the bandage (a small amount is to be expected)
  • Your dressing becomes tight or your foot is cold or numb
  • You develop a temperature of 101 degrees or more
  • Your cast or bandages get wet
  • You experience persistent pain