Everything You Need to Know About Rearfoot Surgery

by | Sep 11, 2019

One of the small downsides of having a podiatry practice is sometimes discussing treatments people would prefer not to have, if possible. Surgeries tend to rank high on that list, but we have an outstanding reason to talk about rearfoot surgery in particular.

We are proud to have Dr. Pragnesh Patel join Dr. Thapar as a member of our podiatry team. Among his many specialties, he is highly credentialed in reconstructive rearfoot and ankle surgery.

While we have always had an expert in diagnosing and treating conditions surrounding the rear of the foot and the ankle, we also have a surgical expert should the need arise.

We always seek conservative treatment methods for foot and ankle conditions first, but there will nevertheless be cases where these methods will not work or do not yield the results that are needed. This is when surgical options will be discussed with you as a patient, and you will have the trusted knowledge of Dr. Patel on your side.

Rearfoot Surgery

What Do Ankle and Rearfoot Surgery Include?

Rearfoot surgery includes a variety of surgical procedures that aim to resolve particular issues in the back of the foot. This includes the heel, which is a primary point of impact when we walk and a vital area of foundational support.

Ankle surgery, respectively, refers to surgery to repair damage, relieve pain, increase stability, or resolve other issues of the ankle joint. The ankle, like the heel, is also a crucial part of supporting body weight. That said, it is also highly involved in mobility, balance, and stability.

Conditions that weaken the ankle, such as a bad sprain that did not heal correctly, can have lasting consequences on the stability of the joint. A weaker joint can lead to a higher risk of injuries and an increasingly degraded joint. Surgery is sometimes necessary to end this downward spiral.

Certain conditions that might be (but are rarely) treated via surgery include:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Arthritis
  • Entrapped/compressed nerves
  • Heel spurs
  • Tendon tears and ruptures
  • Haglund’s deformity

Once again, surgery is only considered if it is an absolutely necessary option. Surgery always creates change in the body. The net results of that change must be positive enough to warrant the procedure, but the truth remains that the body will never be exactly the same as it was afterward. If conservative methods can resolve or manage the problem effectively without surgery, they will always be considered first.

What Types of Rearfoot and Ankle Procedures Are There?

Many different surgical procedures exist for the foot and ankle, depending on the needs of the patient. There are many moving parts within the foot that are often working in tandem, after all.

Some of the more common procedures in rearfoot and ankle surgery include:

  • Tendon Repair – The Achilles tendon—which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone—is the largest tendon in the body, but the rear of the foot is home to other tendons as well. When overstrained, tendons can tear or even fully rupture, necessitating surgery to repair them.
  • Plantar Fascia Surgery – The plantar fascia—a thick band of tissue running beneath the foot from the heel bone to the base of the toes—is a common source of chronic heel pain. If conservative measures don’t effectively resolve discomfort, surgery may be considered. A common procedure is a plantar fascia release, in which part of the band is cut to relieve tension and inflammation.
  • Ankle Joint Fusion – In some cases, such as severe arthritis, pain and damage to a joint can be mitigated by fusing two or all of the joint’s three bones together. Joint fusion can be very effective in reducing pain, inflammation, and further damage, but it tends to come with a reduction in mobility. This consequence must be considered, and most who undergo the procedure do not mind this change.
  • Fracture Surgery – Bone fractures can often heal with minimal manipulation and no invasive procedures. In some cases, however, the bones are so out of place or unable to recover on their own in a proper way, and surgery may be needed to properly place and set the bone pieces for a full and stable recovery.

You may also hear the term “reconstructive surgery.” This is a general term that encompasses multiple procedures. Any procedure that attempts to restore normal form and function in a medically necessary way can be considered a reconstructive surgical procedure. The procedures above, as well as cutting and removal of bone and tumor excisions can all fall under this umbrella.

foot surgery recover

Care Before, During, and After Surgery

Whether surgery is a potential option for your condition or not, we never proceed with any recommendations until we conduct a comprehensive and thorough evaluation. In most cases, we can recommend conservative treatments that will provide effective relief.

If the possible need for surgery arises for your condition, however, we will not proceed until we fully explain all the ins and outs of a procedure, including what will happen and what you can expect after the surgery. We never wish to move forward without the full understanding and approval of a patient.

Whatever you do, don’t let consistent foot and ankle problems keep you from enjoying life to its fullest. Give us a call at any of our three locations to schedule an appointment:

  • Hillsborough – (908) 722-3668
  • Edison – (908) 222-8980
  • Warren – (732) 356-3668

You can also fill out our online contact form to have a member of our staff reach out to you.


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