Trauma to the foot and ankle can damage bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments, leading to significant pain, disability and wear of cartilage (arthritis) in the joints of the foot. Reconstructive surgery is performed to restore stability and function, reduce pain and prevent further deformity. The many techniques include arthrodesis (fusion of bones at the joints), tendon repair/transfer, joint implantation, osteotomy (excision of bone), bone grafting and soft tissue repair.
Before starting the reconstruction procedure, your doctor will perform a thorough examination of your foot with imaging tests and anesthetic blocks to identify the exact location of the deformity.
Initial treatment involves thorough debridement (removal of foreign bodies and dead tissue), reduction (realigning fractured bones) and external fixation of any fractures (using screws, pins, staples and casts). Injuries of the forefoot may involve covering wounds with skin flaps or amputation of toes. Midfoot injuries may require arthrodesis, external fixation, antibiotic spacer (device placed within a joint to maintain joint alignment and space) and repairing soft tissue injuries. Hindfoot injuries are difficult to treat and require early reduction and fixation of fracture fragments, followed by arthrodesis. Fusion is limited only to selective joints to reduce stress and improve the overall foot function.