Our Pueblo, Pueblo West, CO Podiatric Physician & Surgeon Can Help You
FOOT & ANKLE SURGERY
OUR SURGEONS AT PUEBLO ANKLE AND FOOT CARE SPECIALIZE IN COMPLETE AND COMPASSIONATE CARE OF ALL OF YOUR FOOT AND ANKLE CONDITIONS.
There are two types of physicians that can perform surgery of the foot and ankle. The podiatric physicians at Pueblo Ankle and Foot Care attended 4 years of undergraduate education, 4 years of podiatric medical school and 3 years of extensive elective, limb salvage and trauma surgical residency training. We have focused on the foot from the first day of podiatric medical school.
Orthopedic foot and ankle physicians complete 4 years of undergraduate training, 4 years of medical school, 5 years of general orthopedic surgery and only 1 year of dedicated foot and ankle surgery training.
Elective foot and ankle surgery include painful conditions that are not critical or life threatening. These conditions range from bunions, hammertoes, neuromas, to soft tissue mass removals.
Our trauma surgery services range from acute ankle fractures, heel bone fractures, tendon trauma to foreign body removal.
Limb salvage includes incision and drainage, amputations, and aggressive wound debridement and application of grafts. No matter the surgical foot and ankle need, our team at Pueblo Ankle and Foot Care has got you covered.
Surgery is cool. I get it. Nothing gets you more sympathetic looks and offers of help than saying: “I just had surgery” … read … “Bring me stuff including dinner and come over and visit me and play video games and read me books and watch movies with me – I’m sooo bored because my foot and ankle surgeon said I need to elevate my foot for days and days … ahhh!” Sounds nice right? BUT … In the over-dramatization above what is not mentioned is surgery is painful, there is potential for complications and maybe even recurrence, and could require a prolonged recovery time.
Don’t get me wrong if surgery is needed then we do it. We are good at what we do – including surgery. But we get to the point of having to do surgery by exhausting conservative measures. Rest assured the foot and ankle surgeons at Pueblo Ankle and Foot Care will do everything warranted to get you pain free. This may include orthotics, injections, physical therapy and the anti-pain dance (if there were such a thing) (and we knew it would work). Our goal the first time you come to see us, is within short order we will have you back to doing your normal activities pain free. Even better if it doesn’t require sutures.
SURGICAL TREATMENT OVERVIEW
No matter what your foot problem is, the purpose of podiatric treatment is to reduce the amount of pain you’re experiencing with your condition. Foot surgery is one method used to improve the foot’s functionality and reduce your pain.
Foot surgery isn’t always necessary. Foot problems, particularly mild ones, often respond to more conservative treatments such as making changes to the types of shoes you wear, using orthotics (prescription shoe inserts), or taking medication to reduce pain and inflammation. However, if these treatments fail to adequately improve your condition, or if your condition is more serious, your podiatrist may recommend surgical treatment.
With any treatment you undergo, be sure to approach your doctor with any questions or concerns you might have. Doing so will help you avoid undue anxiety and confusion. Whatever your concerns are, you should certainly never feel that any question you have is irrelevant, since it’s your right and responsibility to share in all decisions about the care you will receive. Being an informed patient will greatly aid you as you seek to make decisions about the care that’s best for you.
Previous Medical Conditions
Before you undergo any type of surgery, you’ll want to discuss your full medical history with your doctor. Certain conditions may make you a poor candidate for surgery, including diabetes, poor circulation, excessive bleeding, a history of smoking, or if you react adversely to anesthesia or other medication. Please make your doctor aware of any previous conditions that may affect your ability to undergo and recover from surgery. This will make your doctor more able to recommend the type of treatment that is right for you.
Part of being informed about surgery is knowing the risks that are associated with it. While many surgeries are performed successfully, complications are known to arise. Some common complications include pain, scarring, infection, swelling, loss of or changes in sensation, and a recurrence of the original deformity.
More rare complications (usually seen in less than 5% of surgical cases) might be an over or under correction of the deformity, highly prominent or enlarged scars that restrict your motion, deep-vein blood clots that form after your surgery, swelling that persists beyond the normal period, bones that fail to reunite (non-union), or tissue or bone death. Very rarely a patient may experience Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, characterized by debilitating, unremitting pain.
Let’s discuss a couple of these complications in a little greater depth.
The most common complication of surgery is excessive swelling at the surgical site. Swelling is the body’s natural response to an injury. Extra blood rushes to the area in order to promote healing, but it’s not always able to drain easily. The tissues can become swollen with fluid, which can put pressure on nerves and become quite painful. Feet are especially prone to swelling since they lie farthest from the heart, and fluids have to contend against the pull of gravity to make their way out.
Excessive swelling in response to surgery occurs in approximately 20% of surgical patients. Being too active after your surgery, or wearing shoes or bandages that are too tight may contribute to this problem. If you experience excessive swelling, you can assist your body by elevating your foot and staying off of it as much as possible. Your doctor may also recommend special compressive bandages or medication to reduce swelling. In some cases, swelling is present for more than a year after the operation.
Pain, or discomfort, is not uncommon after surgical treatment, but it’s usually not severe, and will most likely be manageable by use of pain pills prescribed by your doctor. However, if you experience severe pain immediately or a few days after your surgery, there may be some cause for concern. Pain experienced right after surgery may be due to bandages that are too tight, or it may be caused by putting weight on your feet too soon after your operation, or in other ways failing to give the area adequate rest.
You may develop pain a few days after surgery. While this is often due to an infection developing in the surgical area, it may be due to other causes as well and should be investigated by your doctor.
You may also experience aches that last for quite a while after your surgery, often due to failure to follow physical therapy exercises to maintain or improve your range of motion, or again, due to being too active after surgery. Talk to your doctor if you experience moderate or severe pain after surgery.
Infection is a concern any time the skin is cut open. Many different kinds of bacteria live on the surface of our skin, although not all are harmful. Although your skin at the incision site is cleaned thoroughly prior to surgery, it’s impossible to remove every bacterium that lives there. Some bacteria from your skin may penetrate the surgical wound and multiply, causing an infection which usually shows up a few days after surgery takes place. Such infections are quite rare (somewhere around 1% to 3% of surgical patients), but they do occur.
When you develop an infection at the site of your surgery, you’ll likely be able to treat it using an oral antibiotic. However, if the bacteria infecting the site are resistant to treatment, or are located deep inside your body (such as in the bone), it may be necessary to receive antibiotics intravenously (which are often more potent than oral types). Talk to your doctor if you show any sign of infection, including redness or discharge from the surgical site, or if you develop fever, chills, sweats, or are excessively tired.
Because surgery cuts through small nerves (and occasionally larger ones), you may experience a change or loss of sensation around the surgical site. Having skin that’s rather numb after surgery is actually normal, and usually goes away in a few days. However, some patients experience extreme sensitivity (often an increase in pain or other sensation), or burning, tingling, or sensations of coldness in the area. While these changes in sensation may (rarely) be permanent, most patients experience a return to normal after a few days, weeks, months, or sometimes a year or two.
Scarring is often a cosmetic concern, although there may be some increased sensitivity in scar tissue. Unfortunately, feet (particularly the sole area) are rather more prone to scarring than some other parts of the body, mainly because they’re under such pressure as we walk on them. However, your surgeon will, if possible, attempt to make incisions in areas that are less prone to scarring, and will make incisions that reduce the tension on your skin in order to reduce the amount of scarring that may take place.
While a delay in healing may happen to anyone, this complication is more frequently seen in patients with healing or circulation issues. This group includes diabetics, those with heart or other circulatory problems, and smokers.
In some cases, bones may be slow to knit back together (they normally take about six to eight weeks to do so), or may fail to come back together at all (non-union). Or, your soft tissue may refuse to heal. The surgical site might ulcerate, weep, discharge, or may pull apart before it heals. In less than 1% of patients, tissue may die, although this is slightly more common with patients with circulatory problems (diabetics, etc.).
Recovery time after surgery varies a great deal, and will depend on the type of surgery performed, and even on your own general health. Most patients feel about 75% better by ten to sixteen weeks after surgery. However, full healing may take up to twelve to eighteen months. Your doctor will likely have specific instructions to aid your foot in recovering after your operation. These may include resting the area,
applying ice to reduce swelling and pain, compression (often by use of compression bandages), and elevating the foot. You may also need special equipment or accessories post-surgery, including crutches, canes, casts, braces, bandages, surgical shoes, or splints. Whatever your doctor’s instructions are, it is vital that you precisely follow them after your surgery. Doing so will significantly reduce your risk of developing complications. A failure to do so may result in major problems, including the need to perform the surgery again, the development of moderate to severe complications, or even loss of a limb.
Surgery is something to be serious about, but you don’t have to be afraid of it. Although there are no guarantees that surgery will correct all the problems you may be experiencing with your foot, surgery is usually quite successful at reducing pain and improving quality of life. Again, please discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your doctor. Be sure you understand your procedure and feel confident in your doctor. It is, after all, your health you need to consider.
The knee walker provides a comfortable, pain-free alternative to crutches and is ideal for individuals who are recovering from foot surgery, breaks, sprains, amputations, and ulcers of the foot and ankle. This innovative and stylish crutch substitute can be easily adjusted without tools to meet your needs allowing for increased mobility. The knee walker has height adjustable dual hand brakes ensuring optimal safety and security when in use. The extra thick leg pad can be height adjusted and is channeled to provide increased stability allowing for a more comfortable experience. The knee walker allows you to take weight off of your affected lower extremity in order to assist you in the healing process.