Foot problems plague many people. From arthritis to sports injuries to fractures, when your foot hurts, it really limits your ability to move and engage in everyday activities. Some issues can be resolved with rest, icing, physical therapy, and other conservative measures, but sometimes an orthopedic surgeon for foot problems becomes necessary.
What Can an Orthopedic Surgeon Do for Foot Problems?
Orthopedic surgeons specialize in treating conditions associated with the musculoskeletal system. Some specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions specific to the feet and ankles. These specialists have been to medical school, have completed orthopedic surgical residencies, and have additional orthopedic training for foot and ankle care.
The first thing an orthopedic surgeon can do to help you with foot issues is a thorough evaluation. Using a physical exam and appropriate diagnostics, they can determine what is causing your symptoms and provide treatment options.
Not all foot issues require surgery. Some can be managed with rest, specific exercises, physical therapy, injections, pain medications, and other measures. But for some foot conditions, patients will not get relief or restore mobility without a surgical procedure to correct it.
Foot Conditions and Orthopedic Surgical Treatments
Orthopedic surgeons specializing in foot issues can help patients with many different symptoms, conditions, and injuries. Some of the common causes of foot pain surgeons treat include:
- Hammer Toe. Hammer toe is a foot deformity, often caused by wearing high-heeled shoes, that pushes the joints of the middle toes upward. It causes significant pain and makes wearing shoes difficult. Hammer toe surgery can be done with a minimally invasive procedure, usually on an outpatient basis.
- Claw Toe. This painful condition is similar to hammer toe. Claw toe forces the toes to bend up from the ball of the foot and the joints downward. It is also caused by uncomfortable shoes. If conservative methods like roomy shoes, orthotics, and stretches do not help, an orthopedic surgeon can correct the deformity surgically.
- Bunions. Yet another issue caused by wearing poor-fitting shoes for years, bunions occur when the big toe turns in toward the smaller toes. This results in a painful, bony lump on the outside of the big toe. If it causes significant pain, a surgeon can correct a bunion. They can remain largely symptomless for years, but bunions get progressively worse over time. Most people eventually need surgery.