Why You Might Need Foot Revision Surgery

What are some of the reasons that might make foot revision surgery necessary?

No one likes having surgery. Well, some people who appear to go way overboard with multiple types of cosmetic procedures might fall in a special category when it comes to that, but, in general, most of us avoid surgery unless it is absolutely necessary. The possibility that our surgery might have to be redone is not something that we want to think about, but it does happen.

Making the decision to have surgery of any kind is never to be done lightly. When it comes to foot surgery, there may be even more factors to take into consideration, because the recovery period may include an extended period of impaired mobility. This makes taking the time to find the very best orthopedic surgeon, one with extensive training and experience in the procedure you are having done, essential. The time and energy involved in finding the most qualified surgeon to do your surgery is the number one thing that you can do to prevent the need for the surgery needing to be redone.

That said, even with the best surgeon, one who makes the right decisions at every turn during the procedure and executes flawlessly, there will be foot surgeries that require being redone. This type of procedure is typically called foot revision surgery and usually involves repairs or the repositioning of bones, ligaments or tendons. 

Why the Foot Is Anatomically Challenging 

Anyone who takes their feet for granted are simply not yet old enough to realize just how much we expect of them and how painful that awareness can be when it comes. Every step we take requires this incredible balancing act done on these relatively small platforms that facilitate movement while supporting the weight and stress of many times our body weight when we are in motion. Add to that the fact that the anatomical makeup of the foot is extremely complex, consisting of 26 bones, well over 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons and a whopping 33 joints. 

All of this, combined with the daily demands we make on our feet makes foot injuries requiring surgery fairly common. This is especially true for those involved in any sort of athletics or occupations that place even more stress on the feet than normal. 

All types of surgery come with the possibility of post-operative infection. With foot surgery, there can also be damage to surrounding nerves, tissue and blood vessels. The complex nature of the foot and the demand placed on it also helps to explain why some of those surgeries end up requiring revision, or a second surgery. In some cases, the patient may not allow sufficient time for healing and the bones, ligaments or tendons may become damaged or misaligned. In other cases, there may be a problem with internal fixation devices. These are special implants, like plates and screws, usually made of stainless steel or titanium, and are used to stabilize repairs. If these devices need to be repositioned or replaced, it will be done through revision surgery. 

If you have questions about revision foot surgery or about any other foot or ankle concerns, Dr. Christopher Hubbard is a board-certified Orthopedic Surgeon with Ortho-Care Wayne in Bergen County New Jersey and is the former Chief of the Foot and Ankle Service at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in NYC.

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