The foot and ankle are made up of 28 bones, 30 joints, and many muscles, tendons and ligaments that together help in movement. The bone ends at these joints are cushioned by spongy cartilage tissue and a thin lining called synovium, which prevents painful rubbing of the bones. Wear-and-tear of the cartilage, attack of the synovium by an autoimmune response, injury or fracture can lead to a painful condition called arthritis. Other deformities of the foot include bunions (bony overgrowth), hammer, mallet and claw toes (abnormally bent toes), corns (thickened tissue), Achilles tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon at the back of the leg) and Plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the tissue at the underside of the foot). Some of the common methods to correct these deformities include:
- Arthroscopic debridement: Removal of loose cartilage, bone spurs and inflamed synovial tissue from around the joint. Useful during the early stages of arthritis.
- Arthrodesis: Fusion of bones in a joint with screws, plates, pins or rods, resulting in an immobile, fixed union. This is done to reduce pain by preventing motion.
- Joint replacement: Metallic or plastic joints surfaces replace damaged cartilage and bone. Useful for ankle arthritis.
- Bunionectomy: removal of bunions formed at the base of the first toe
- Tendon release: Releasing tension and relieving inflammation of Plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendon