How to Know When It’s Time for Surgery

Podiatrists have two different general courses of treatment to help our patients overcome pain and restore functionality to feet and ankles – surgical and nonsurgical. Between the two, conservative treatments are typically the preferred course of action (for both us and our patients!). If we can fix your problem without having to use a surgical procedure, we will.4 pocket watches swinging

Of course, there times when conservative care isn’t the best approach. Fortunately, we have various foot and ankle surgeries to handle the job, when needed.

An emergency situation, obviously, can be a clear indication surgery is needed. If you fracture a foot bone that pierces through the skin, you need to seek immediate medical care. While in the emergency room, surgery will be used to put the bone back in place and close the wound. Not all situations are as obvious, however.

Understanding if it’s time for you to consider surgery really comes down to a couple of matters:

Is conservative treatment helping?

The good news about foot and ankle problems is the fact nonsurgical treatment is often quite effective at providing relief from pain and allowing natural healing. Before recommending surgical intervention, we may try to treat the injury or condition using time-proven methods like immobilizing the area (braces, splints, etc.), creating a stretching program, or prescribing medication or orthotic therapy.

Whereas these are often able to get the job done, this isn’t always the case – and that’s one way how you will know it might be time for surgery.

Is the pain severe?

In the cases of severe pain (or dysfunction), there may be something seriously wrong from a structural perspective. To correct structural abnormalities—either inherited or as the result of injury—or arthritic conditions that are causing severe pain, we may recommend a foot or ankle surgery to resolve the problem and provide relief.

Is the condition progressive?

For certain conditions (especially toe deformities), we may be able to address symptoms with the use of nonsurgical treatment. When caught early, this can potentially be the case for bunions and hammertoes. These issues, though, are progressive – which means they worsen over time when left untreated and cannot be corrected without surgical intervention.

If you have been living with a bunion or hammertoe for a long time, it’s possible the condition has progressed to a point surgery is your best chance at finding optimal pain relief.

Are we recommending surgery?

Perhaps the best way to know if it’s time to consider undergoing surgery in a foot or ankle is by our professional recommendation. We do not perform surgeries if they aren’t necessary, so you can trust us to steer you in the right direction when it comes to your treatment.

No matter what type of treatment is best—whether conservative or surgical—you will find the care you need at the office of Kevin J. Powers, DPM. For more information on the services we provide, or to request an appointment for consultation or treatment, give our Bloomington, IN office a call at (812) 333-4422 and one of our team members will be glad to help!