What is a Foot and Ankle Surgeon?

Patient being seen by a foot and ankle surgeon - What is a Foot and Ankle Surgeon?

You have foot and ankle pain, but you’re not sure what to do about it. You may be tempted to go to a walk-in clinic, but this can sometimes lead to misdiagnosis or medication that isn’t effective. If you think you need an appointment with a foot and ankle surgeon, this article will help you learn more about what they do and how they can help you get rid of your pain or manage your chronic health condition effectively.

Job Qualifications

A foot and ankle surgeon must complete four years of medical school followed by four years of residency training in orthopedic surgery. Surgeons are trained in lower extremity reconstruction, biomechanics, and general foot and ankle injuries during these years. Surgical residents receive additional training during fellowships where they often focus on a particular aspect of lower extremity surgery, such as reconstructive foot surgery or sports medicine. This fellowship usually lasts one year.
After residency training, many foot and ankle surgeons complete additional fellowship training focusing on certain areas of lower extremity surgery such as general foot and ankle surgery, sports medicine, or reconstructive foot surgery. This additional education provides advanced skills in treating complex problems of patients with foot disorders. An accredited fellowship should be completed within four years after completing orthopedic residency training.

Understanding Potential Complications

Foot and ankle surgery carries risks, just like any other surgical procedure. Complications can arise during or after surgery, especially if you’re not taking good care of yourself before and after. Discuss your concerns with your surgeon—and make sure he or she does too! It’s also important to keep track of any complications that might arise from foot and ankle surgery so you can share them with your doctor. This way, he or she can work more effectively to help prevent complications.
All patients need to know the facts and risks of foot and ankle surgery. Also, they should be given instructions on how to minimize complications before and after surgery. These instructions include doing physical therapy, getting proper nutrients into your body through eating well, and so on. If you’re interested in having foot or ankle surgery, make sure you ask your surgeon about any potential complications associated with your specific procedure.

Diagnosing Problems

When a patient arrives in their office, they have already been diagnosed with some kind of ailment. These ailments can be anything from swollen ankles to hammertoes to cracked heels. Once you know what’s wrong, there are many ways that foot and ankle surgeons fix it. The first step to treating an ailment will likely be non-invasive, such as using ice packs or heat therapy.
If you have been diagnosed with inflammation, whether in your ankle or foot, non-invasive treatments may be used to lessen your symptoms. Ice packs can reduce swelling and inflammation, while heat therapy works by increasing blood flow to an area of concern. If these methods fail, it’s time to look at more invasive procedures. While they can be painful and take a while to heal, surgery can help alleviate some of your problems.
Things like hammertoes can cause discomfort if left untreated, so surgery to get rid of them might be something that seems appealing. The same goes for bunions; these bony growths on your feet may become painful over time, especially when you wear shoes or walk barefoot. For some people with bunions, their doctor may recommend removing part of their big toe bone (first metatarsal) and pinning it down to make room for the bunion. Surgery for bunions can improve mobility and reduce swelling. This is just one of the ways surgeons will diagnose the problem and provide proper treatment. If you’re unsure what’s causing an ailment, an examination from a foot and ankle surgeon can help give answers—and alleviate pain.

Treating Injuries/Problems

A foot and ankle surgeon diagnoses and treats conditions of the bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves of your feet and ankles. They will also advise rehabilitation programs to help you get back to work or sports after an injury. Some of these injuries are complex and require surgery. You must choose a specialist that has experience treating such injuries since they can be difficult to repair if not treated properly.
These specialists often work with other specialists, including orthopedic surgeons, podiatrists, physical therapists, and biomechanists, to provide comprehensive care for foot and ankle problems. Other conditions that can be treated by foot and ankle surgeons include bunions, heel pain, and injuries related to arthritis.
In some cases, doctors might recommend physical therapy to help you regain mobility and strength in your foot and ankle. If you suffer from arthritis, a medical spa treatment may be used to soften your symptoms so that you can resume regular activities like walking, working out, or playing sports.

Common Procedures

When you have an injury or deformity, your doctor may refer you to a foot and ankle surgeon. These doctors often use innovative surgical procedures to correct deformities. In some cases, they might do joint replacements to restore mobility and quality of life. Other patients will receive non-surgical treatment options designed specifically for their needs. Whatever procedure you receive, there are many different types of orthopedic surgery performed by a qualified foot and ankle surgeons in hospitals across America.
One common procedure for people with foot and ankle issues involves joint replacements. These surgeries can be extremely complex and take years of training to perfect. However, they can often restore mobility that would otherwise be impossible. Joint replacements can be used on any number of joints in your foot, including your toes, heels, or ankles. If you experience numbness or other symptoms from an injury, joint replacement may also alleviate pain caused by nerve damage.
Another standard procedure performed by foot and ankle surgeons involves treating a stress fracture. This injury often occurs in runners who overwork their feet or athletes who participate in strenuous sports like tennis, volleyball, or basketball. However, if you experience pain while walking upstairs or during physical activity, you may also be dealing with stress fractures. You’ll need to see a qualified foot and ankle surgeon to treat them properly. If you need foot or ankle surgery, give the experts at Tennessee Orthopaedic Clinics a call today!