Your foot is comprised of 26 bones, all of which can be fractured if they suffer acute trauma or are overburdened. Sometimes these fractures need immediate treatment by a professional, while others can heal on their own with conservative care. Here’s a look at why surgery might be necessary for your foot fracture, and the goals of the operation.
The Need For Foot Fracture Surgery
There are several factors that determine whether or not surgery would be in the patient’s best interest. Those factors include:
- Which bone or bones have been broken
- Whether the bone shifts out of place (displaced fracture)
- If blood flow to the fracture site is inhibited.
- The likelihood that the fracture will heal correctly with conservative care compared to surgery.
- Patient demographics (age, activity level, related health conditions, etc.)
The goals of surgery will be tailored to your specific situation, but in general, the goal of a foot fracture operation is to restore the fractured bone to its correct location and to stabilize the bone in such a location to encourage healing, restore function and reduce the likelihood of future foot problems. In some cases this can be achieved simply by shifting the bone into place, while other times hardware may need to be inserted to hold the bone in the correct location while healing takes place.
How Is Foot Fracture Surgery Performed?
Similar to the above goals, your specific operation will depend on the exact circumstances of your injury. However, here’s a general rundown of what happens during a standard foot fracture correction procedure.
The patient is sedated and will not feel any pain during the operation. The surgeon then makes a small incision over the fracture location and maneuvers around any soft tissues so they can access the bone. The fractured bone or bones are then realigned into their correct position and stabilized with implants like screws, pins, wires or plates. After the surgeon is confident that the fracture site has been stabilized and will not shift, they close the incision site, add a sterile dressing, and place the foot in a cast, boot or another immobilization device.
Recovery after surgery is again dependent on your specific operation, so follow your surgeon’s instructions for how to best manage any pain or discomfort in the days after surgery. In most cases, you are advised to stay non-weight bearing for a short period of time to help ensure the bone heals as it should. Elevating the foot can also help prevent and reduce swelling. After a designated period of time, your doctor may have you schedule a follow-up appointment to check on your progress. They will typically take an X-ray of the foot to look for signs of bone healing or potential issues that may have arisen. If everything checks out, your doctor may adjust your timeline for becoming weight bearing and returning to work or athletic activity.
Knoxville Foot Fracture Surgeon
Dr. Ferguson has helped many patients recover after a foot fracture, whether that’s in the form of non-surgical management or by mapping out and performing a precise operation to stabilize the injured bone. Whatever treatment you need, Dr. Ferguson can provide it. Reach out to his clinic for more information.