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What does a Foot and Ankle Surgeon do?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2016
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A foot and ankle surgeon performs surgical procedures on the foot and ankle. This may include reconstructive surgery and cosmetic surgery. Some of the procedures a foot and ankle surgeon may do also involve correcting foot deformities and repairing injuries due to trauma.

There are special facilities such as a foot and ankle clinic where trained specialists treat their patients. A podiatrist or a foot surgeon may examine and treat patients at these clinics. Clinics may offer treatment for walk-in patients without an appointment, which makes it more convenient for some.

Some of the major procedures a foot and ankle surgeon may perform would be to treat fractures resulting from injury. Broken toes, broken ankles, or fractures of the foot may require surgery to repair. This is often referred to as orthopedic surgery. Some foot and ankle specialists treat all ages, and some specialize in pediatric care.

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When a patient complains of heel pain, a physician may take an x-ray of the heel of the foot to determine the cause. If there are significant fractures or a heel spur that cannot be corrected through another course of treatment, the patient may be referred to a foot and ankle surgeon. The patient may have an open, closed, or displaced fracture of the heel bone, which the surgeon can repair through surgery. The surgery may be necessary to restore complete function of the foot and to avoid later complications. Bone smoothing or grafting may be involved in these procedures.

Accidents such as automobile crashes or falls may result in trauma to the foot or ankle. A foot and ankle surgeon or specialist may be called in to evaluate the case. If there are broken or crushed bones of the foot or ankle, the surgeon may need to repair the injury through surgical procedures. Removing chipped pieces or fragments of bones is one surgical method. Inserting metal pins to hold a bone in place may also be required.

Stress fractures to the forefoot or toes are a type of injury a foot and ankle surgeon may treat. If there appears to be multiple fractures or toes look to be dislocated, the surgeon may need to take a bone scan as well as x-rays. He may attempt to reduce swelling before he proceeds with surgery.

An advanced foot and ankle surgeon may utilize the latest techniques and technological advancements in his field to treat patients. He is generally board certified and specializes in reconstructive surgery of the foot and ankle. He may also treat special needs cases, such as foot wounds resulting from diabetic complications. In slow-healing wounds of the foot, a surgical procedure that requires removal of dead tissue may be one method of treatment.

Patients with flat feet may be referred to a foot and ankle surgeon or specialist. The surgeon may perform a procedure that involves implantation of a device to reposition the foot and ankle. This will allow greater movement and ease when walking.

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