Minimally Invasive Surgery

Diablo Foot & Ankle

Dr. Elmi specializes in

Minimally Invasive Surgery

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Minimally Invasive Surgery

Minimally invasive surgery is often a preferred option for obvious reasons. It is used in order to address problems via surgery with minimal recovery time and less risk of complications such as infection. Minimally invasive surgery is especially preferred in the foot and ankle because there are so many small bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles in the feet and ankles. Minimally invasive surgeries are also a good choice for cosmetic reasons. Since the incisions are small, there will be fewer and smaller scars and damaged tissues. This will allow for a cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing appearance after healing. Traditionally, minimally invasive surgery techniques provide easier recovery with less down time. 

Foot and Ankle Problems

What is Plantar Fasciitis (also known as policeman’s heel)?

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain.  It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.  It commonly causes stabbing pain that is particularly worse when you first get up in the morning.  As you move around, the pain normally decreases but may return after long periods of standing, or when you stand up after having been seated for a time.  Plantar fasciitis is common in runners, those who wear shoes with inadequate support, and in those who are on their feet for a large portion of their days.  The plantar fascia supports the arch of your foot and absorbs shock when you walk.  If tension and stress on this structure become too great, small tears can occur in the fascia.  Repeated stretching and tearing can irritate or inflame the fascia.

There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing this condition.  They include the following:

  • Age --most common between the ages of 40 and 60
  • Certain types of exercise---activities that place lots of stress on your heel and the attached tissue, such as long-distance running, ballet dancing, and aerobic dance, can contribute to the onset of plantar fasciitis
  • Foot mechanics--as in other conditions, flat feet or a high arch, or even an abnormal gait cycle, or pattern of walking, can affect the way weight is distributed when you’re standing and put added stress on the plantar fascia
  • Obesity--excess weight puts extra stress on any support structure, including knees, feet, ankles, and, in particular, your plantar fascia
  • Occupations that require you to be on your feet--factory workers, retail workers, restaurant workers, nurses, teachers, and any others who spend most of their working hours walking or standing on hard surfaces can potentially damage the plantar fascia.

Ignoring plantar fasciitis may result in chronic heel pain that hinders your regular activities.  Compensation in your gait cycle, or changing how you walk to ease the heel pain, may also cause undue pressure on the knee, feet, hip, or back, causing other problems.  Most folks with plantar fasciitis recover in several months with conservative treatment, including resting icing, and stretching, and use of custom orthotics. A small percentage of patients go on to needs surgical intervention, which is minimally invasive. Endoscopic plantar fasciotomy is a common surgical treatment procedure for plantar fasciitis, wherein a camera and blade are inserted in the bottom of the heel at the site of inflammation, through a 2 mm incision. The thickened, tight portion of the fascia is released, and the whole procedure takes around 10 minutes. Even less invasive is treatment of the thickened fascia through a pinhole incision, with a special debridement tool that breaks down and cleans the site of inflammation, usually taking 3 minutes. 

What are Hammertoes and Bunions?

Hammertoes are deformities that occur due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight.  Foot structure, trauma, shoes, and certain disease processes can also contribute to the development of these deformities.  Essentially, a hammertoe has an abnormal bend in the middle joint. If conservative treatments don’t help, your doctor might recommend surgery to release the tendon that’s preventing your toe from lying flat.  He or she might also remove a piece of bone to straighten your toe.

A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe.  It occurs when some of the bones in the front part of your foot move out of place, causing the tip of your big toe to get pulled toward the smaller toes and forcing the joint at the base of your big toe to stick out.  The skin over the bunion might be red and sore.  Hammertoe can sometimes be a complication of bunions.  Once again, conservative treatments are usually tried first, but if unsuccessful, your doctor may decide that minimally invasive surgical procedures may be best.  They may include removing the swollen tissue, straightening your big toe by removing part of the bone, realigning one or more bones in the forefoot to a more normal position, or even joining the bones of your affected joint permanently.

As always, consult your physician for appropriate treatment for any condition.

Are you having foot or ankle problems that won’t go away with conventional treatments? Diablo Foot and Ankle can help. We provide minimally invasive surgeries when the circumstances call for it. Reach out to us and schedule an appointment today. We are here to help!