Foot & Ankle Reconstruction

What is Foot and Ankle Reconstruction Surgery?

Foot and ankle reconstruction surgery is a specialized medical procedure to restore lower extremity function, stability, and appearance to severe or critical lower extremities. This type of lower extremity surgery is typically required to address a range of conditions and injuries involving the foot and ankle, including severe fractures, deformities, arthritis, and sports-related injuries.

Sometimes foot and ankle reconstruction is needed to revise or (re-do) a “failed” surgery on your foot or ankle.

Dr. Ryan M. Sherick is a Fellowship-trained, Board-Certified, and highly skilled foot and ankle surgeon with advanced training in the most complex foot and ankle reconstruction-type techniques.

The primary goal of foot and ankle reconstruction surgery is to alleviate pain, improve mobility, and enhance the patient’s overall quality of life while providing a stable plantigrade foot that may or may not need bracing long-term.

Surgeons use various techniques, such as fusion, realignment, or joint replacement, depending on the specific issue. Dr. Sherick utilizes numerous modalities to provide cutting-edge surgical techniques to his patients by using the latest technological advances in medicine such as 3-D printed and computer-designed patient-specific surgical instrumentation, surgical hardware such as patient-specific plates and screws, and finally patient-specific 3D printed replacement bones or part of bones. Dr. Sherick also may employ pre-operative computer patient-specific navigation plans for ankle replacement surgery or custom-planned surgeries to ensure the highest quality outcomes available.

Reconstruction surgery of the foot and ankle involves repairing damaged ligaments, tendons, and bones, and sometimes using patient-specific custom implants or grafts to support the healing process. Recovery times can vary, but physical therapy is often essential to regain strength and flexibility.

Before considering foot and ankle reconstruction surgery, it’s important to consult with a skilled foot and ankle surgeon who can assess your condition and discuss the most appropriate treatment options for your unique situation. Contact Dr. Ryan M. Sherick at Apex Foot & Ankle Institute in Thousand Oaks, California today for your consultation!

What are the Indications for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction Surgery?

Dr. Ryan M. Sherick provides comprehensive surgical and non-surgical individualized treatment plans for all foot and ankle-related pathologies in both pediatric and adult patients.

Severe Arthritis: When arthritis damages the ankle or foot joints to the point that it causes significant pain and limits mobility, reconstruction surgery may be considered.
Deformities: Foot and ankle deformities like bunions, hammertoes, or severe flat feet that cause pain and impair function.
Chronic Pain: Ongoing foot or ankle pain, especially when walking or standing, that doesn’t respond well to non-surgical treatments.
Sports Injuries: Severe athletic injuries such as Achilles tendon tears, foot/ankle fractures, or ligament injuries that may require surgical repair.
Fractures: Complex fractures resulting from accidents or trauma that affect the bones, joints, and ligaments in the foot and ankle.
Tumors and Lesions: The presence of benign or malignant growths or abnormalities in the foot and ankle that need removal.
Metabolic Diseases: Conditions like diabetes that lead to severe foot problems, ulcers, or non-healing wounds.
Infections: Severe infections in the foot and ankle bones or soft tissues that may require surgical intervention.
Joint or Bone Instabilities: When joints or bones in the foot and ankle become unstable due to trauma, previous surgeries, or congenital issues.

Why is Foot and Ankle Reconstruction Surgery Performed?

Foot and ankle reconstruction surgery has two main goals: to lessen pain and to make your foot work and look better. The type of surgery you need depends on how old you are, what foot problem you have, and how bad and long you’ve had the issues.

Reconstructive foot and ankle surgery is done to fix problems with your feet, like birth defects, diseases, or other conditions. It can really help you both medically and in how your feet look. Doctors usually suggest it when other treatments can’t make the problems go away. So, if you have issues with your feet or ankles that just won’t get better, this surgery could be a good way to fix them for good.

How is Foot and Ankle Reconstruction Surgery Performed?

Thanks to advancements in surgical technology, traditional methods for treating foot and ankle disorders have been replaced by a minimally invasive approach known as arthroscopy. This procedure is often performed on an outpatient basis, minimizing the need for hospital stays.

Arthroscopy typically involves the use of general anesthesia. The surgeon makes small incisions through which an arthroscope and miniature surgical tools are inserted into the joint. A camera on the arthroscope projects images of the internal structures onto a monitor, allowing the surgeon to assess the joint and guide the surgical instruments. Depending on the extent of the injury, the surgeon can repair or remove damaged bone or tendon.

After the procedure, the incisions are closed with sutures or protected with skin tapes, and a gentle dressing is applied. In some cases, a cast or splint may be used to restrict foot movement until it recovers its normal function. This minimally invasive approach reduces discomfort, promotes quicker healing, and often leads to shorter recovery times.

What are the Advantages of Arthroscopic Ankle or Foot Surgery?

Some of the advantages of arthroscopic surgery include:
Severe Arthritis: When arthritis damages the ankle or foot joints to the point that it causes significant pain and limits mobility, reconstruction surgery may be considered.
Deformities: Foot and ankle deformities like bunions, hammertoes, or severe flat feet that cause pain and impair function.
Minimally Invasive: Small incisions reduce trauma to surrounding tissues.
Quicker Recovery: Patients typically experience shorter downtime.
Less Pain: Reduced post-operative discomfort.
Minimal Scarring: Small incision sites result in less visible scarring.
Improved Visualization: High-definition cameras offer a clearer view of the surgical site.
Targeted Treatment: Precision in addressing specific joint issues.
Outpatient Procedure: Often performed without the need for a hospital stay.
Lower Infection Risk: Reduced exposure to external contaminants.
Enhanced Joint Function: Promotes quicker return to normal activities.

What is the Postoperative Care for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction Surgery?

Postoperative care is crucial for a successful recovery following foot and ankle reconstruction surgery. Here are key aspects of postoperative care:

Immobilization: Patients may be provided with a cast, splint, or brace to keep the foot and ankle stable, preventing unwanted movement.
Pain Management: Medications are prescribed to manage pain and reduce discomfort during the recovery period.
Elevation: Elevating the foot above the heart level helps minimize swelling and promotes proper circulation.
Wound Care: Keeping surgical incisions clean and dry is essential. Patients should follow the surgeon’s instructions for wound care and changing dressings.
Physical Therapy: Rehabilitation exercises are often recommended to regain strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Physical therapy may start soon after surgery.
Weight-Bearing Restrictions: Patients are typically advised on when and how much weight they can put on the operated foot, depending on the surgical procedure.
Monitoring for Infection: Keep an eye out for signs of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, or drainage at the surgical site.
Follow-up Appointments: Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your surgeon to monitor progress and address any concerns.
Lifestyle Adjustments: Temporary modifications to daily activities may be necessary, such as using crutches or a wheelchair to avoid overexertion.
Nutrition and Hydration: A balanced diet and proper hydration are essential for the healing process.
Assistive Devices: In some cases, assistive devices like a knee scooter or handrails may be recommended to enhance mobility at home.
Patience and Rest: Recovery takes time. Rest and patience are key to allowing the body to heal properly.
Emotional Support: Surgery and recovery can be emotionally taxing. Seek support from loved ones or a mental health professional if needed.

Adhering to postoperative care instructions is vital for a successful recovery, ensuring that the foot and ankle regain their function and strength as intended by the surgical procedure.

Dr. Ryan M. Sherick is a Fellowship-Trained Foot & Ankle Surgeon with advanced training in complex reconstruction of the foot and ankle for all foot and ankle-related injuries, and has high-volume experience with foot and ankle revision reconstruction surgery. Dr. Sherick proudly provides foot and ankle reconstruction care to the following areas in Southern California: Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Agoura Hills, Malibu, Calabasas, West Hills, Chatsworth, and the entire Conejo Valley, Santa Rosa Valley, San Fernando Valley, and greater Los Angeles area.

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