Foot and ankle

Foot and ankle treatment at Boston West Hospital

Foot and ankle

Foot and ankle complaints are common. These multifaceted structures comprise of joints, bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves and they undergo a lot of stress.

Conditions such as arthritis, injuries including sporting damage, and lifestyle choices for example ill-fitting shoes are the main causes of foot and ankle problems.

Here at Boston West Hospital we work alongside consultant orthopaedic surgeons with a special interest in the foot and ankle. We offer patients fast access to initial consults, the latest imaging facilities at our sister hospital in Peterborough (Fitzwilliam Hospital), first class physiotherapy services and patient friendly care. We perform day-case procedures at Boston West Hospital and more complex operations are carried out at Fitzwilliam Hospital where patients can stay overnight as required. Our aim is to reduce your pain so that you can become more mobile.

Foot and ankle arthroscopy

Your surgeon may want to look inside your foot or ankle to help diagnose your condition. They will use arthroscopy for this which involves inserting a miniature telescope with a camera and light on the end (arthroscope) into your foot and ankle, and allows images to be displayed on a monitor or eye-piece.

Your surgeon may also perform surgery at the same time once they have confirmed what is causing your foot or ankle pain. If your surgeon decides to treat your foot and ankle pain they may perform one or more of the following:

• Washing out of any loose material in your ankle joint or big toe joint

• Removing bony spurs

• Removing inflamed tissue

• Trimming or repairing torn cartilage

• Ankle, foot or toe fusion

• Fracture repair.

An ankle arthroscopy is usually carried out as a day case procedure whilst you are under general anaesthetic. It offers the benefits of small incisions with minimal scarring and fast recovery.

Foot and ankle arthroscopy is used to investigate and treat conditions including: ankle arthritis, loose bodies of bone or cartilage, torn ligaments, scar tissue, synovitis, ankle fractures, ankle instability, ankle impingement, and infection.

Ankle fusion surgery

Ankle osteoarthritis is the degeneration of the cartilage that covers the ends of the three bones of your ankle joint. It can be caused by wear and tear or a past injury and can be painful. Your foot and ankle surgeon may recommend ankle fusion surgery if your osteoarthritis has become advanced.

Ankle fusion surgery involves removing the deteriorated cartilage and permanently fusing your bones together using metal screws. It’s performed arthroscopically under general anaesthetic and aims to prevent movement of your bones and consequently reduce pain.

Ankle replacement surgery

Ankle replacement surgery may be recommended if your arthritis is advanced or you have severely injured your ankle joint.

It’s a procedure performed under general anaesthetic that involves replacing your damaged ankle bones with artificial ones. It aims to relieve your pain and offer improved mobility of your ankle joint.

Most often ankle replacement surgery is performed on the older generation and ankle fusion surgery is carried out on younger patients.

Forefoot reconstruction surgery

Forefoot reconstruction surgery is recommended when other non-surgical measures haven’t reduced the pain of rheumatoid arthritis conditions such as bunions and lesser toe deformities including hallux rigidus (stiff big toe joint), claw and hammer toes.

This surgery is usually a day case procedure performed under general anaesthetic. There are a number of different procedures used to treat these conditions. Often the main joint of your big toe is fused, known as arthrodesis. Osteotomy is the most commonly used type of bunion surgery. It involves removing the bony lump and realigning the bones inside your big toe. Lesser or small toes can also be straightened. Your foot and ankle surgeon will recommend the best surgical treatment based on your condition.

Morton’s metatarsalgia surgery

Morton’s metatarsalgia (Morton’s neuroma) is a condition that occurs when a nerve in your foot is irritated and becomes thickened. It causes pain in the ball of your foot and if this pain is severe or non-surgical treatments haven’t worked Morton’s metatarsalgia surgery may be recommended.

The procedure is performed under general or local anaesthetic. Your surgeon will increase the amount of space around the nerve in your foot by removing tissue surrounding the nerve or taking away part of the nerve. It aims to prevent irritation and swelling of the nerve.


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