Surgery becomes an option when conservative (non-surgical) methods have not adequately provided relief of pain, improvement of function or correction of a deformity. Surgery may also be undertaken as a preventive measure to keep some conditions from worsening. This information sheet is designed to help you understand the surgery that has been recommended for your condition. It describes what you need to do before and after your procedure to obtain the best results.
Weighing the Risks and Benefits of Surgery The major benefits of foot or ankle surgery are decreased pain
and improved function. In some cases, surgery is also beneficial as a means to keep a condition from getting worse or causing other problems in the future. As is true in all areas of surgery, any surgical procedure carries risks. The possible risks of foot and ankle surgery include, but are not limited to:
• Infection, possibly leading to antibiotic therapy and/or hospitalization or further surgery
• Loss of blood
• Damage to nerves, arteries, and veins in the surgical area
• Failure of bones to heal (non-union)
• Bone healing in an imperfect position (malunion)
• Failure of incision to heal
• Incomplete correction of the problem
• Painful scars
• Continued pain, especially when wearing shoes or walking
• Recurrence of the condition
• Need for additional surgery
• Gangrene and loss of the toes, foot, or leg
• Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism
• Risks associated with anesthesia (to be explained by the
• Stroke or heart attack
• Possible death
Preparing for Your Surgery
You may need to obtain an additional medical evaluation to
undergo surgery based on your medical status.
Your current medications and supplements.
What medications and supplements are you currently taking?
This includes any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications,
and vitamins, minerals, and other supplements. You may be
advised to stop taking some or all of these prior to surgery, as
Are you allergic to any medications? Are you allergic to latex?
If you are a smoker, this is the perfect time to give up the
habit. In addition to decreasing breathing capacity and causing
other harmful effects, smoking constricts the blood vessels and
therefore delays wound and bone healing after surgery, and
increases your risk of infection.