8 Common Types of Foot Surgery

8 Common Types of Foot Surgery

Article by Dr. JP Elton | Featured on Drelton.com

We know the foot and ankle are quite intricate. In fact, this area is one of the most complex areas of the body. So, as you can imagine, there are several different types of surgery we perform in this area of the body.

Here are some of the most common types of foot and ankle surgery.

1. Metatarsal Foot Surgery

The metatarsal bones are a group of five long bones in the foot. You find them between the “tarsal bones” and the phalanges of the toes.

The small joints in your forefoot (the metatarsophalangeal joints) may become artrhitic. The arthritis can in turn lead to inflammation of the joint lining (called synovitis). When this results in MTPJ joint dislocation, the result is pain and discomfort. Many people report that it’s like walking on pebbles. Not fun.

The details of metatarsal foot surgery depend upon the severity of the injury. There is a chance that other treatments will control the pain, but surgery is a distinct option. We want to make it comfortable for you to walk and remove that pebbly feeling.

When surgery is necessary, a common scenario is the removal of the heads of the MTPJ and surgery to the big toe.

2. Bunions Foot Surgery

We’ve talked quite a bit about bunions here recently. Bunions often affect females because of footwear choices. High heels are a major culprit.

So what are bunions? Let’s rehash. Bunions occur at the base of the big toe, and they are bony lumps resulting from “hallux valgus.” What’s that, you ask. Hallux valgus causes the big toe joint to become deformed when it bends towards the other toes. This, in turn, causes the bunions.

Surgery for bunions is not all that complicated. We perform an osteotomy, which is a straightening of the big toe and the metatarsals. Recovery time for bunion surgery is about 6 weeks.

3. Hammer Toe Foot Surgery

Bunions aren’t the only condition caused by hallux valgus. Another nasty result of this condition is to cause the other toes to bend in a permanent manner. ANOTHER nasty result it can have is to cause the toes become clawed and deformed. We call this hammer toe. It can be quite painful when walking.

We can repair hammertoe by either performing an arthroplasty or an arthrodesis. Don’t worry, I don’t expect you to know what I’m talking about here. An arthroplasty is when we restore your joint flexibility. We do this by removing the deformed joint between the toes.

These foot surgeries are usually outpatient and only take around an hour to perform. Limit your walking for the first couple of days. You should be back to normal (stitches out and dressing done) in six weeks, max.

4. Plantar Fasciitis Foot Surgery

Plantar fasciitis is when the tissue from the heel to the toe (the plantar fascia) becomes inflamed where it joins your heel. We actually don’t need to do surgery for plantar fasciitis very often. But with bad cases of the condition, we release the plantar fascia from the heel bone. It’s a simple foot surgery. After, you need to have it bandaged up following surgery. No big deal.

5. Ankle Surgeries

Pain and swelling in the ankle is the result of either:
  • Osteoarthritis (cartilage covering bone ends thins out and bone underneath thickens)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis resulting from a previous injury.

Surgery to relieve the pain and swelling may be necessary if you are facing severe ongoing symptoms.

In this case, we may perform one of the following procedures:

  • Ankle fushion
  • Triple fushion
  • Ankle replacement

6. Achilles Tendon Disorders

An injury to the achilles tendon is one of the more dramatic lower-body injuries. But even a ruptured achilles is often a result of “wear-and-tear.” The achilles is always working, as it’s necessary to keep you walking and running.

In case of achilles tendon swelling without a rupture, we occasionally perform surgery. After this surgery you’ll be moving around on crutches for a couple of weeks.

7. Morton’s Neuroma Foot Surgery

What Causes Morton’s Neuroma?

This is a condition that affects the nerves of the toes, near the balls of the feet. It can be quite painful. Morton’s neuroma occurs when the tissue around the nerves of the toes becomes overly thickened.

Morton’s neuroma is yet another irritating condition that can arise from excessive wearing of high-heeled shoes

Here are the symptoms of Morton’s neuroma:

  • The notorious “pebble-in-the-shoe” feeling
  • A sharp, burning sensation in the toes or balls of the feet
  • Numb or “tingly” toes

Surgery for Morton’s neuroma involves removing the nerve that is causing your pain. This surgery is an outpatient procedure, and after you will have to wear bandages for a couple of weeks.

8. Tibialis Posterior Dysfunction Foot Surgery

There is a muscle that provides support for your instep arch. We call it the tibialis posterior. The tibialis posterior tendon connects the tibialis to the bone, and it can become swollen and painful when inflamed. This can happen when an athlete falls, or also due to overuse.

We see tibialis posterior dysfunction in athletes who play high impact sports like soccer and basketball. The result of this condition can weaken the tendon and compromise the instep arch. It can result in a “flatfooted” look. This injury can definitely slow down your season if you have it.

If icing and rest do not relieve the pain and swelling, we may have to treat the condition surgically. Depending on the specific case, this may involve:

  • Osteotomy
  • Tendon Transfer
  • Fusion

These procedures will have you in a cast for up to 12 weeks. But afterwards, you should be pain free!


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.