We know, we know—we’re not exactly spoiling a big secret here. We hear it from our patients all the time.
And unfortunately, we’ve seen a lot of people walk into our office after months or even years of pain. Why did they wait so long? They were worried we were going to tell them they needed surgery.
(Unfortunately, that decision to delay treatment is often itself the reason that surgery does end up being necessary, when earlier intervention might have prevented the need for it.)
We Don’t Want You to Get Foot Surgery Either
If you don’t have to, that is. If we can help you avoid it, we will.
Don’t get us wrong here. Sometimes surgery is absolutely necessary. And we have a team full of highly trained surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses who make it their mission to provide the highest quality, most advanced surgical care possible.
But all that being said, surgery is a last resort, not a first approach. That’s something we wish every patient understood before coming to see us for the first time!
If we believe your foot or ankle condition can be treated non-invasively, through conservative measures, by all means we will exhaust those options first.
And we actually back that up by providing one of the broadest ranges of advanced conservative treatments and preventative care options you can find from any podiatrist. That includes in-office physical therapists and massage, custom orthotics to address structural and biomechanical problems with your feet, and even advanced MLS laser therapy for many forms of musculoskeletal pain.
So believe us when we say we’re not in the business of rushing people into surgery. Quite the opposite in fact.
However, we aren’t going to lie to you either. Sometimes conservative treatments just aren’t going to solve the problems you have with your feet—or at least not well enough to get you back to the lifestyle you love and deserve.
When Is It Time for Surgery?
Unfortunately, there’s not really one simple answer to this question that’s equally true for every situation. There are many different factors in play. It depends on your diagnosis. It depends on the severity of your symptoms. It depends on the lifestyle goals you wish to achieve.
Other factors, like your medical history or how quickly you need results, might be relevant as well.
However, with those caveats in mind, there are really two big “rule of thumb” checkboxes here. If you check them both, we’re probably starting to take surgery much more seriously as an option.
This can mean different things to different people, but at heart it’s really about determining whether you’re able to live a full, meaningful life they way you want to.
Now, if pain is a daily occurrence that limits your ability to just get through the normal stuff we all deal with—going to work, taking care of the kids, going shopping, cleaning the house, etc.—then the need for treatment is pretty obvious.
On the other hand, maybe your day-to-day activities aren’t significantly affected, but specific recreational activities that you enjoy (for example, running or playing tennis) lead to a lot of pain. This would qualify as well, if those activities are an important part of your preferred lifestyle.
Checkbox number two: Conservative treatment options haven’t been (or won’t be) effective.
As we said before, surgery is a last resort. We always prefer to treat painful conditions non-invasively if possible—an approach that most of patients appreciate and agree with!
There’s one other critical thing to keep in mind here. We alluded to this earlier in the blog as well, but we’ll say it again—the sooner you come see us about your foot pain, the more likely we can help you prevent surgery.
Many foot conditions get progressively worse, rather than better, if you don’t do something about them. Ignoring a bunion, or hammertoe, or aching heel isn’t going to make it go away. And once the condition passes a certain threshold, non-invasive therapies just might not be able to cut it any more.
If You Need Surgery, You’re in Good Hands
So, let’s say you’ve come into the office, we’ve evaluated your condition, and any conservative treatments that might be effective were not, or are no longer, providing the relief you need. Yup, it’s time to schedule that surgery.
We get that it’s natural to be nervous or disappointed. But you really don’t have to be scared! At Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates, you’re in good hands.
For starters, most foot and ankle surgeries can be performed outpatient, right in our office or at a nearby surgical center. Hospitalization is almost never necessary.
Second, you’ve got a team of trained physicians who work exclusively on feet and ankles providing your care. Our diverse team of board-certified foot and ankle surgeons specialize in a wide range of procedures, and we’re always working hard to learn and master the latest innovations and techniques. We strive to always offer the best and most advanced surgical care to our patients.
Third, while it’s true that your surgery will likely require at least a few weeks of recovery time, it really is a small price to pay to get your life back. The sooner you get your surgery done, the sooner you can be back to full activity, and the higher quality of life you’re likely to have in the long run. If you continue to postpone a necessary procedure, the risk is that instead of a few days or weeks of limited mobility you’ll be looking at long-term, or even permanent, consequences.
We say that not to frighten you, but to let you know that you really have nothing to lose—and quite a lot to gain—by seeking treatment now rather than later. We promise we will not recommend surgery unless it’s absolutely necessary, and either way we’re going to take great care of you and make sure you have every chance of making a full recovery as quickly as possible.
So if your feet are hurting, don’t wait any longer—make the call today! We have five convenient clinic locations to serve you. Just call (360) 754-3338, or complete our online contact form to get started.