Foot and Ankle Surgery

The foot and ankle is an area of your body that’s prone to problems and injuries. This isn’t surprising as there are 26 bones working under substantial pressure and weight as you move around.

Here at Berkshire Independent Hospital we treat a wide range of foot and ankle problems ranging from arthritis, sports injuries, breaks and fractures, strains and sprains, heel pain, bunions, small toes, high arched and flat feet.

Our orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons work as part of a multi-disciplinary team including: nurses, podiatrists, orthotists, physiotherapists and plaster technicians. They will diagnose foot and ankle conditions and discuss with you your treatment options specific to your individual needs.

The range of foot and ankle surgeries we offer

Bunion (hallux valgus)

Hallux valgus, often referred to as a bunion, is a deformity of the big toe that develops if your big toe starts to angle towards your smaller toes. A bunion can cause discomfort and pain and sometimes the skin over the bunion can become red, blistered or infected. You might find it difficult to walk and to find shoes that fit properly.

You’ll be offered advice on appropriate shoes to wear with a bunion and to take pain killers to relieve the pain and swelling. If your symptoms continue over a long period then you may need to have your toes surgically corrected.

Morton’s neuroma

Morton's neuroma is a painful swelling or irritation of the nerve that most commonly runs between the third and fourth toes. When this nerve becomes enlarged it causes severe pain in the ball of the foot that radiates to the toes.

Symptoms begin gradually, may come and go and progressively worsen. You may feel tingling, or numbness, shooting pains from the ball of the foot through the toes or feel like you’ve a stone in your show.

Anything that causes compression or irritation of the nerve can lead to the development of Morton’s neuroma or make it worse. The wearing of high-heeled, tight or pointed shoes, being overweight, playing sports that place pressure on your foot such as running and racquet sports and other foot problems including: bunions, hammertoes and flatfeet are linked to the condition.

Non-surgical treatment methods may relieve the pain and include: losing weight, using padding, shoe modification and orthotic devices, changing activities, painkillers and injections. Surgery may be recommended in severe cases of Morton’s neuroma to relieve the pressure on the nerve or part of the nerve. Your foot and ankle surgeon will determine the approach that is best for your condition.

Zadeks procedure

This is the surgical removal of your toenail and nail bed. It is performed if the nail is significantly in-grown. It’s a simple procedure usually performed under a local anaesthetic and takes around ten minutes to complete.

In-growing toenails happen when your toenail starts to grow into the skin that surrounds it and over time could lead to infection, pain and difficulty walking. In-growing toenails may happen if you don’t cut your toenails properly, genetically your toenails don’t grow straight or by wearing ill-fitting shoes.

Arthritic toe

Arthritis (wear and tear) of the toe normally refers to osteoarthritis of the big toe. It is called hallux rigidus, a Latin name that refers to stiffness ("rigidus") of the big toe ("hallux"). It is the wearing out of the main joint surfaces of the big toe in the ball of the foot and causes pain and inflammation which can gradually, over time, restrict movement.

The first line of treatment will be non-surgical options including: pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medicines, changes in footwear and inserts, ice or heat packs, or injections into the joint to reduce pain and stiffness.

In some cases, surgery will be required to eliminate or reduce pain. There are several types of surgery for treatment of hallux rigidus. Your foot and ankle surgeon will discuss the best course of action for your individual needs based.

Claw/hammer toes

Claw and hammer toes occur in the four smaller toes (not the big toe) when they bend abnormally. They look unattractive, often corns and calluses appear and you’ll feel pain in your toes and feet.

If you have claw toes your smaller toes curl under your foot and look like a claw. If you have hammer toes your second, third or fourth toes bend at the middle joint and look like a hammer.

Both claw and hammer toes are mainly due to wearing tight and ill-fitting shoes or an underlying muscle imbalance.

Non-surgical treatment will normally be offered initially if your toes are flexible and include: soft shoes with a roomy toe box, toe exercises, orthotics, splints and taping, and medicines. Surgery may be recommended if your claw or hammer toes become rigid and painful or if an open sore forms.  The procedure will straighten your affected toes. There are several surgical options which will depend on if you have claw or hammer toes and the extent of the deformity.

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