Foot and ankle surgery is a subspecialty within orthopaedic surgery dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of conditions and injuries affecting the lower extremities, particularly the foot and ankle. Its roots can be traced back through centuries of medical history, reflecting the enduring importance of addressing problems in these critical areas of the body.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, modern foot and ankle surgery evolved into a distinct subspecialty. Orthopaedic societies were established, and specialized surgical techniques were developed, marking the inception of contemporary foot and ankle surgery.

Today, foot and ankle surgeons are highly specialized medical professionals who manage a broad spectrum of orthopaedic issues in the lower extremities. These conditions encompass fractures, sprains, and injuries to tendons and ligaments, as well as chronic conditions such as arthritis, bunions, and plantar fasciitis. Surgeons also address deformities like hammertoes and neuromuscular disorders, including nerve compression syndromes. The diagnostic process involves employing imaging techniques like X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, and ultrasound to assess the nature and extent of injuries or conditions.

Treatment options within the field are diverse, ranging from non-surgical approaches like physiotherapy, medication, orthotics and immobilization to surgical interventions such as arthroscopy and joint replacements. Foot and ankle surgeons are particularly adept at using minimally invasive techniques, like arthroscopy, to minimize scarring, reduce postoperative discomfort and expedite recovery.

The subspecialty of foot and ankle surgery is characterized by its commitment to providing comprehensive care to patients, from the initial diagnosis through surgical intervention and postoperative rehabilitation. The ultimate goal is to enhance the health, mobility, and overall quality of life for individuals experiencing issues in the lower extremities, emphasizing the importance of a specialized approach to these intricate structures.


Indications: Foot and ankle surgery is commonly performed to address various conditions, including:

      • Bunion Surgery (Hallux Valgus Correction): Surgical correction of bunions involves realigning the big toe joint, typically through osteotomy (cutting and repositioning bones) or arthrodesis (fusion of the joint).
      • Ankle Arthroscopy: This minimally invasive procedure uses an arthroscope to diagnose and treat conditions like ankle impingement, loose bodies, and cartilage damage.
      • Achilles Tendon Repair: Surgical repair may be required for ruptured or degenerated Achilles tendons.
      • Ankle Ligament Reconstruction: To address chronic ankle instability or severe sprains, surgeons may reconstruct damaged ligaments using various techniques.
      • Plantar Fascia Release: Surgery can relieve pain from conditions like plantar fasciitis by releasing tension on the plantar fascia.
      • Ankle Fusion (Arthrodesis): Used for end-stage ankle arthritis, this procedure involves fusing the ankle bones to eliminate motion and reduce pain.

Preoperative Evaluation: Patients undergo a thorough evaluation, including a physical examination, review of medical history, and imaging studies (X-rays, MRI, CT scans) to assess the condition and plan the surgery.


Anesthesia: Foot and ankle surgery may be performed under general anesthesia, regional anesthesia (such as nerve blocks), or local anesthesia, depending on the specific procedure and patient preferences.

Surgical Procedure:

      • Incision: An incision is made at the surgical site, which varies in size and location based on the procedure.
      • Tissue Manipulation: Surgeons address the specific condition by manipulating tissues, which may involve realignment, repair, removal, or fusion.
      • Implantation: In some cases, implants such as screws, plates, or rods may be used to stabilize bones or enhance healing.
      • Closure: After completing the necessary surgical steps, the incision is carefully closed with sutures or staples.

Recovery and Rehabilitation:

      • Post-surgery, patients are closely monitored in the recovery area.
      • Physiotherapy and rehabilitation are typically recommended to promote healing, restore strength, and optimize mobility.
      • The duration of recovery varies depending on the procedure and the patient’s overall health.

Potential Benefits:

      • Pain relief and improved function in the foot and ankle.
      • Enhanced mobility and quality of life.
      • Resolution of chronic conditions and injuries.

    Through a comprehensive approach that spans from diagnosis to postoperative rehabilitation, foot and ankle surgery strives to enhance patients’ overall health, mobility, and quality of life.