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Common Foot problems and their surgical correction

Common Foot problems and their surgical correction

While many foot problems can be treated non-surgically, not all problems will improve and some will require an operation.  We have a compiled a list of common conditions which can be successfully treated by an operation. 

If you are considering whether or not to have a foot operation, your podiatric surgeon will usually provide you with advice leaflets tailored to your specific operation.  

Common Foot Problems 

Hallux valgus (Bunion) A painful enlargement of the joint situated at the base of the big toe. A bunion actually refers to the bony prominence or exostosis on the side of the big toe. A large sac of fluid, known as a bursa, can form over the enlarged joint which can then become inflamed and painful.
Surgery to remove the bony prominence is called a bunionectomy. There are over 130 different procedures recorded for treating this condition. Your Podiatric Surgeon will choose the right procedure for your individual needs. Smaller bunions can also develop on the outside of the little toe joint, these are known as Tailors bunions and are also treated surgically using similar techniques.

Please click the link to the relevant advice leaflets:

Bunion (HAV) Surgery:Base wedge osteotomy

Bunion (HAV) Surgery: Lapidus procedure

Bunion (HAV) Surgery: Patient information

Bunion (HAV) Surgery: scarf Akin procedure

Tailor’s bunion surgery


Hallux limitus/rigidus This arthritic condition of the big toe joint can cause pain and loss of motion. Walking requires the big toe to bend upwards or dorsiflex. Without this movement the big toe joint wears out or may even seize up completely. The condition can be treated using a variety of surgical techniques. The most severely affected joints often require a replacement artificial joint or fusion (surgical stiffening).

Please click the link to the relevant advice leaflets:

Hallux Rigidus:Cheilectomy

Hallux Rigidus: Fusion of big toe joint

Hallux Rigidus: Joint replacement

Hallux Rigidus: Keller arthroplasty

Hallux Rigidus: Kessel Bonney procedure


Arthritic damage to the joints in the arch of the foot Arthritis of the joints of the arch of the foot often goes unnoticed until it has become quite advanced. There are many types of arthritis but osteoarthritis is the most common type to affect these joints. Early symptoms can include “aches” within the joints often occurring after activity. In later stages there may be persistent swelling around the joint or hard lumps around the edge of the joints.

In some patients these lumps (called “osteophytes”) are the cause of additional symptoms because they cause pressure on adjacent soft tissue structures. Removal of the osteophytes or surgical fusion (stiffening) of the damaged joints is the usual surgical treatment.

Please click the link to the relevant advice leaflets:

Arch Problems: Arthritis

Arch Problems: naviciular-cuneiform fusion

Arch Problems: MC joint fusion



Hammer, Mallet and Claw toes A deformity in the lesser toes usually caused by tendon or joint imbalance. Hammer toes can be painful and unsightly. The Podiatric surgeon is able to correct this deformity under local anaesthetic as a day case procedure. Surgery to correct the hammer, mallet or claw toe deformity will usually permanently cure the formation of painful corns on skin overlying these joints.

Please click the link to the relevant advice leaflets:

Toe Problems: Hammer toe

Toe Problems: Mallet toe

Toe Problems: Surgical options

Plantar Corns  Many corns that cannot be resolved with conservative treatment, may be permanently removed. Often there is an underlying bony abnormality that needs to be addressed. Corns under the foot often result from a prominent metatarsal bone. Various operations are used to elevate the metatarsal so that the corn no longer forms.

Please click the link to the relevant advice leaflets:

Painful Corns: excisionand rotation skin flap

Painful Corns: Schwartz procedure

Painful Corns: Weil procedure

Neuromas An enlarged nerve, usually between the 3rd and 4th toes caused by nerve irritation and entrapment between bones. The podiatric surgeon routinely removes neuromas under local anaesthetic. Delicate surgical techniques generally result in permanent resolution of this sometimes extremely painful condition.

Plantar Fasciitis An inflammation of the connective tissue found on the underside of the foot. Most patients respond to non surgical treatment such as the prescription of orthoses, but on occasion surgery is required. Key hole techniques are used to treat the condition.

Please click the link to the relevant advice leaflets:

Heel Pain: Plantar fascia release

Heel bumps (Haglund's Deformity) An enlargement of the bone at the back of the heel which can encourage bursitis to develop. Various operations are utilised, ranging from bone removal to the "tilting" of bones into a better position to alleviate the problem.

Lumps, bumps, cysts and ganglions Patients frequently complain of painful lumps that press and rub on the shoe. If a change in footwear or other non surgical measures fail to resolve such problems, surgical techniques can be used to remove bony prominences or soft tissue formations.

Bone spurs An excessive growth of bone causing pain or limitation of movement. Spurs can develop at the edges of joints, tendons and ligaments. Their removal can usually be undertaken under local anaesthetic.

Achilles tendon problems Most patients respond to non-surgical treatment. On occasion the tendon will be stripped of its inflamed thickened tissue. Tendon lengthening is sometimes required to treat the condition.

Please click the link to the relevant advice leaflets:

Problems with the Achilles tendon