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Foot and Ankle Surgery: The Branch of Podiatry

Foot & Ankle Surgery In India

What Is Foot And Ankle Surgery?

Foot and ankle surgery is the sub branch of orthopedic surgery which deals exclusively with the surgical management of disorders of the ankle and the foot in particular. It is also known as podiatry as includes the other parts of the lower extremity as well. This branch also deals with the thorough diagnosis and treatment planning of the diseases which affect the foot and ankle, apart from just the surgical management. Majorly encountered are the sprains, ligament tears, bursitis, fractures and dislocations in the tarsal and metatarsals of the foot along with the ankle bone.

Conditions that Require a Foot and Ankle Surgery:

  • Fracture in the lower end of tibia, fibula, tarsal, metatarsals or the phalanges
  • Diabetic foot disorder
  • Acquired flat foot, neuromuscular deformities
  • Clubfoot
  • Plantar heel fasciitis 
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Arthritis of the ankle and foot joints
  • Tumors of the ankle and foot
  • Bony unions in the lower extremity
  • Trauma to the foot owing to road traffic accidents, fights
  • Soft tissue lesions of the foot and ankle, muscle pulls
  • Congenital deformities of the foot and ankle
  • Foot and ankle disorders are majorly encountered by sports persons and athletes who are involved in vigorous workout sessions and heavy sports regimens.

Signs and Symptoms A Foot and Ankle Surgery Is Needed:

  • Pain in the ankle and foot while walking, standing’
  • Swelling in and around the ankle/foot
  • Itchiness in the sole
  • Cramps and muscle pull in the lower extremity
  • Pain radiating to the calves, knee and hip
  • Edema in the lower leg

Diagnosis Required Prior To The foot And Ankle Surgery:

  • Physical examination: The podiatric surgeon examines the site of chief complaint of the patient. The ankle/foot/toes are checked for any visible swelling/edema or bruises and blood clots. The site is then palpated to check for any obvious dislocations, pain or discomfort on touching. Once it is established that an obvious deformity is present, the surgeon then proceeds to confirm the ailment with the help of various radiographic images.
  • X-rays: The routine PA and AP views of the bones of the foot are taken and the site of fracture or dislocation is confirmed. On the basis of this the surgeon will decide the treatment plan and the prognosis of the case. However since this imaging technique gives a two dimensional view, an additional CT or MRI may also be needed.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging MRI: This is helpful where there are tears in the ligaments, tendons or bursae (soft tissue). Soft tissue lesions including tumors of the ankle and foot are also diagnosed with the help of this imaging technique.
  • Computed Tomography CT: This will give a more detailed and a three dimensional image of the foot and ankle for help in a more accurate and detailed treatment planning.

Foot and Ankle Surgery Procedure:

The surgical procedures performed on the ankle and feet are done under general anesthesia and require a hospital stay for about two to three days. During this period the vitals of the patient are monitored and the site of operation is checked for healing, movement and prevention of hospital acquired infections.

  • Fracture repair: In cases of through and through fracture of the bone, an open surgery is required. In this procedure, plates and screws are used to reduce the fractured and broken bone segments. A callus formation takes place and then takes the place of the bone.  During this time, the patient is advised to keep immobile so that the healing the takes place without any disturbance. A greenstick or a hairline fracture usually does not require a surgical opening. It needs to be kept immobile and held together with plaster of Paris or a bandage and the patient is kept on pain killers and calcium supplements.
  • Ankle distraction arthroplasty: It is an option for the cases of rheumatoid arthritis hitting the ankle in young adults. In this procedure the cartilage that has been damaged is respected from the joint and the remaining parts are repaired and the joint is closed. Movements after the surgery are done as per the guidance from the physiotherapist and the orthopedic surgeon.
  • Ankle arthroscopy: This is a surgical procedure that uses a fiber optic camera for viewing the ankle is various angles and operate over the same through multiple small incisions with the help of miniature surgical tools. It is also considered as a minimally invasive surgical procedure.
  • Ankle fusion: This procedure is done to treat arthritis of the ankle. The cartilage from the ankle joint is carefully removed since it is the area which is inflamed and is the cause of pain and discomfort. The remaining part of the ankle is then cleaned thoroughly and checked for any bony spicules or rough areas. Once this is done the area is closed and the patient is advised to move the part as per the instructions given by the physiotherapist.
  • Ankle replacement: In this surgical procedure the damaged parts of the ankle or the entire ankle in toto is removed. A prosthetic ankle commonly called as the artificial ankle is then placed and fixed which would now help in the proper movement of the joint helping in locomotion.

Complications And Risk Factors Associated With Foot And Ankle Surgery:

  • Restriction in the joint movement
  • Joint replacements may not turn out as efficient as the natural joints
  • Patches of numbness if the incisions damage your nerves
  • Infections at the site of suture
  • Non bony reunions, faulty and weak callus formation, need for a second surgical attempt

Am I Good Candidate For Foot And Ankle Surgery?

If you are suffering from any of the following conditions, you are an ideal candidate for the foot and ankle surgery:

  • You have fractured any of your toe/toes, ankle which is followed by tremendous pain, swelling and edema and restricted movements
  • You have sprained your foot
  • You are anticipating a ligament tear or a muscle pull
  • You have been diagnosed with ankle arthritis
  • You are aware that you are suffering from a congenital foot disorder
  • You are suffering from diabetic foot; might have to undergo amputation
  • You have been diagnosed with cancer of the foot

Recovery Time of Foot and Ankle Surgery:

  • It takes a minimum of three to four weeks time to completely recover from a foot or ankle surgery. 
  • After this you are required to follow the instructions given to you by the physiotherapist on how to begin moving your ankle/foot steadily without putting any undue pressure. You will be made to do a few exercises based upon the type of surgery you have undergone and amount of movement that is to be needed.
  • At the same time, pain killers, anti inflammatory drugs and calcium supplements are also given for a period of two to three weeks.

Success Rate of Foot and Ankle Surgery:

Ankle and foot surgeries have a success rate of approximately around 90 percent for a span of ten years. However they are no as successful as the hip replacement surgery  and knee replacement surgery.

Benefits of Foot and Ankle Surgery:

A foot and ankle surgery at the right time will help you in the following ways:

  • Help you while walking, standing, driving and prevent restricted movements
  • Prevent you from suffering from undue pain and discomfort
  • Prevent infection from spreading to the other parts of the body in cases of diabetic foot
  • Prevent bony fusions
  • Reduce the chance of tumor getting metastatic since it will removed in the early stage

Cost Comparisons for Foot and Ankle Surgery:

The cost for ankle replacement/fusion or replacement will cost you around 75,000 to 1,50,000 INR in India which is like fifty percent lesser than that you should be expecting to pay at places abroad. 

Why choose India?

Team MedcureIndia deals with medical tourism all over the world dealing with the pathologies from head to toe. We assure our highly esteemed clients how valuable their lives are for us. And keeping the same in mind, we direct our clients to the best affordable podiatric (foot and ankle) surgeons with a promise of complete recovery.


Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ):

• Is ankle surgery inpatient or outpatient procedure?

It can be both, depending upon the gravity of the case.

• How should I bathe after my ankle surgery?

Try to avoid getting the bandage and the site of suturing wet. Make sure you keep it dry and wipe the area with a soft cotton napkin to keep the area clean.

• Is ankle fusion a painful process?

It is quite obvious that any surgery brings stress and pain to the body. However with time the ankle begins to heal and the pain starts withering away.

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