Reconstructive foot surgery is surgery that is performed to repair the skin, bones, muscles or ligaments of the foot. The surgery might be done for a variety of reasons and, depending on the extent of the problem, might consist of one or several procedures. Like any surgical treatments, foot reconstruction has the potential to cause infections and other health concerns. A surgeon typically will discuss all of these issues with the patient before scheduling the procedure.
Any injury to the foot could result in the need for reconstructive foot surgery. Broken bones from a car accident or a bad fall, for example, might not heal properly. This could cause pain when walking, a limp or another condition that requires treatment.
Sometimes, a baby is born with a clubfoot or other foot deformity. In this case, reconstructive treatments might be recommended early in life so that the problem can be fixed before he or she begins to learn to walk. Other times, the surgeon might advise waiting until the child is older.
As a person ages, he or she might experience painful issues that reconstructive foot surgery could fix. These include flattened foot arches, arthritis, bunions and heel spurs. If a person needs surgery on both feet, the surgeon might elect to do both at once or one foot at a time.
After reconstructive foot surgery, the healing process might include varying amounts of pain or discomfort. The patient might need to use crutches, a walker or a wheelchair while the surgical site heals. If this is the case, the doctor might refer the patient to an occupational or physical therapist to practice walking again after the foot has had a chance to recover. Antibiotics, painkillers or other medications might be needed during this time period. The patient should take all medications as prescribed and should contact his or her doctor to ask any questions about medications or the healing process.
Any surgical procedure, including reconstructive foot surgery, might result in an infection. The patient should follow the doctor's instructions on examining the incision regularly to check for any signs of infection, such as redness, pain, an increase in swelling or pus in the area. He or she also might feel sick or have a fever. If any of these signs or symptoms are present, a healthcare professional should be consulted as soon as possible. Infection and other complications might be more likely if the patient is diabetic, smokes or has reduced immune system function for any reason.