Foot reconstruction is a surgery performed to correct the structures of the foot and restore the natural functionality of the foot that has been lost due to injury or illness.
Flat foot or pes planus is a condition in which the foot does not have a normal arch when standing.
Flat Foot Reconstruction
The primary objectives of flat foot reconstruction are reduction of pain and restoration of function and appearance. This can greatly benefit patients’ medical and aesthetic needs. The surgery to be performed depends on several factors such as the age of the individual, severity and duration of the symptoms.
It is often recommended when conservative treatments fail to resolve the symptoms.
The traditional method of treating flat foot is replaced by a minimally invasive technique (arthroscopy) which can be performed on an outpatient basis.
This procedure is usually performed under general anaesthesia. Several tiny incisions are made by your surgeon to insert an arthroscope and miniature surgical instruments into the joint. The camera attached to the arthroscope displays the internal structures on a monitor and your surgeon uses these pictures to evaluate the joint and direct the small surgical instruments either to repair or remove the damaged bone or tendon depending upon the extent of injury.
At the end of the procedure, the surgical incisions are closed by sutures or protected with skin tapes and a soft dressing pad is applied. Depending upon the surgery, your surgeon will place a cast or a splint to prevent movement of the foot until it regains normal functioning capacity.
Some of the advantages of arthroscopic surgery include:
- Minimal trauma to the surrounding structures
- Shorter recovery time with less post-surgical complications
- Greater range of motion with less post-operative pain
- Decreased muscle atrophy
After the Surgery
Following are the post-surgical guidelines to be followed after reconstruction:
- Make sure you get adequate rest. Avoid using the affected foot for a few weeks.
- Take medications to help alleviate pain and inflammation as prescribed by your doctor.
- Apply ice bags over a towel to the affected area for about 15-20 minutes to reduce post-operative pain and swelling.
- Compression dressings (bandage) are used to support the foot to reduce swelling. Take care not to wrap too tightly which could constrict the blood vessels.
- Keep the foot elevated at or above the level of your heart. This helps minimize swelling and discomfort.
- A wheelchair might be required for a few days in more severe cases.
- Start rehabilitation (physical therapy) as recommended by your surgeon to improve range of motion.
- Crutches or a walker may be used to maintain balance or stability while walking. You should begin appropriate exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles.
- Cover the splint while showering to keep it clean and dry.
- Return to sports once the foot has regained normal strength and function with your surgeon's approval.
The outcome of flat foot reconstruction surgery is greatly improved when you, your surgeon, and the physical therapist work together as a team.