A podiatrist is a specialist of the foot and ankle and is trained in diagnosing, treating, and preventing disorders of the lower extremities.
If you have arthritic joints in your foot or an injury to the soft tissues and bones, a podiatrist trained in foot and ankle surgery is probably a better choice. So, to answer your question, no; not all podiatrists can perform surgery. Podiatric surgeons or foot ankle surgeons are a subset of podiatrists who have completed additional training in surgical procedures of the foot and ankle.
What Surgeries Can a Foot and Ankle Surgeon Perform?
A podiatric surgeon is able to use the latest surgical techniques to treat a range of foot and ankle conditions. Below are some examples of foot and ankle surgeries:
Surgery to Correct Deformities
A podiatric surgeon can treat deformities of the bunions, claw toe, and hammertoe.
- Bunions are a deformity of the big toe that causes the big toe to bend towards the second toe and a bony lump to form on the side of the big toe. Surgery performed to correct this is a bunionectomy. The surgeon will make an incision in the skin over the deformity and then realign the bone into its normal position.
- A claw toe is a deformity of the toes in which the middle joint of the toe bends upward, and the end joint bends downward. This causes the toe to resemble a claw. Claw toes can occur on any of the toes but are most common on the second or third toe. Surgery to correct a claw toe involves manipulating the bones and tendons of the toe to return it to its normal position.
- A hammertoe is a deformity of the toe in which the middle joint of the affected toe becomes bent, causing the toe to resemble a hammer. Hammertoes can occur on any of the toes but are most common on either the second or third toe. A foot and ankle surgeon makes an incision at the base of the toe. The bone is then cut and straightened, and any excess bone is removed. The tendon may also be repositioned or shortened.
The bones in the midfoot, hindfoot, and metatarsals (bones of the forefoot) can become fractured. A podiatric surgeon can repair fractures by placing the bones in the correct position to stabilize them and create an environment for proper healing.
One of the most common replacement surgeries a podiatric surgeon performs is ankle replacement. The procedure aims to replace the damaged joint surfaces of the ankle with artificial implants. The most common reason for ankle replacement is arthritis. Arthritis can damage the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones in the ankle, and it can also cause bone spurs to form. These changes can lead to pain, stiffness, and loss of motion in the ankle joint.
Ankle fusion surgery is a procedure that involves permanently joining two or more bones in the ankle joint. This type of surgery is usually performed to relieve pain and improve function in the ankle joint. Ankle fusion surgery is typically needed for severe arthritis in the ankle joint and where conservative treatments have failed. This type of surgery involves fusing the bones in the ankle joints together, eliminating movement in the joint.
Achilles Tendon Repair
The Achilles tendon is the large rope-like muscle that connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. If the Achilles tendon becomes completely torn, it can no longer support the weight of your body. This can lead to serious problems and even disability. Achilles tendon repair surgery involves making an incision through the skin overlying either side of where torn ends of the Achilles tendon are located then using sutures/stitches/tissue glue to reattach each end back together.
Foot and Ankle Surgeon in St. Peters, O’Fallon, and Wentzville, MO
Dr. Anthony Lombardo is our board-certified foot and ankle surgeon at Advanced Bone & Joint who is extensively trained in various foot and ankle surgical procedures and has 20 years of experience treating patients. Dr. Lombardo performs the above-mentioned surgeries and more. Find out how Dr. Lombardo can make your life better through a combination of expertise and patient-centric care. Schedule an appointment by calling our office today at (636) 229-4222 or use our convenient online request form.