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Foot surgery

Almost all front foot surgical procedures are performed under local anaesthetic meaning that only the foot itself is anaesthetised. In the past the foot was anaesthetised through injections around the toe area. This was fairly painful and resulted in many opting not to operate their toes. Nowadays the anaesthetic is administered by a small injection located just beneath the inside ankle joint and two injections in the upper side of the foot. Since the needles are very thin these are not felt and you now do not need to be afraid of local anaesthetics.

During all surgical procedures we use so-called blood restriction which means that a blood pressure cuff is placed above the ankle and inflated. This prevents the blood flow and stops blood from entering the foot during surgery. The patient may experience slight discomfort to begin with but quickly gets used to it. After surgery you are required to lie still for an hour or so mainly to prevent blood entering the bandaging. Expect to be collected by someone else or to take a taxi. You are unable to drive yourself.

After 3-4 days the wound is checked and dressings are changed by the district nurse. The dressing is replaced with a smaller one and it is now time to start range of movement exercises. The stitches are removed after two weeks also by the district nurse. Certain surgical procedures use metal staples to keep the tissues in place during the healing period. The staples stick out through the skin. These usually cause no problems at all and are painlessly removed upon your check-up appointment. Sick leave periods/convalescence periods vary depending upon the type of procedure and depending your type of job. Jobs involving being up and about and walking around often require 4-6 weeks of sick leave. As with all types of foot procedures you have to expect some amount of swelling. This swelling usually subsides within four weeks but in extreme cases some amount of swelling may remain for up to twelve months after surgery.

Prior to surgery and during the first twelve months following surgery patients are required to fill in a form showing the final result. The form is sent home to the patient. It is important that as many patients as possible return these forms otherwise it is very difficult to know how effective the various surgical procedures are.

Patients should always be aware that surgery and operations always entail a slight element of risk. This may be an infection or some other complication which means that the foot does not improve or in a worst case scenario is worse than prior to surgery. These risks are small but mean that you should only consider surgery when you have severe problems or pain. Approximately 90% are satisfied with their surgical procedure.