Any injury or deformity of the five metatarsal bones can lead to debilitating pain, problems walking, and other symptoms. The long bones behind the toes are the metatarsals, and sometimes, surgery is required to correct defects and injuries of these structures. Metatarsal surgery involves resetting the metatarsal bone, allowing the surgical site to heal, and pinning the bones in place.
What is the reason for metatarsal surgery?
Metatarsal surgery is used to correct many foot problems, such as:
- Metatarsal fractures
- Bunion deformities
- Calluses on the ball of the foot
- Foot problems from arthritis, diabetes, and other diseases
How do I prepare for foot surgery?
Before the operation, the doctor will take a medical history and conduct a physical examination. After reviewing all risks and benefits with you, the doctor will have you sign a consent form. When you arrive at the surgical center, a nurse has you change into a gown and places an IV in your hand.
How is the metatarsal surgery performed?
Metatarsal surgery is an outpatient procedure, which is performed under heavy sedation of general anesthesia. After you are asleep, the skin is cleaned and prepped with an antiseptic solution. The surgeon makes a small incision just behind the toe, and accesses the metatarsal bone. After incising the bone, and placing it in proper position, the surgeon pins the bone in place with a screw or metal pin. Bone grafting may be necessary to repair metatarsal fractures. Afterwards, the incision is closed using sutures.
What can I expect after metatarsal surgery?
Immediately after surgery, your foot will be in heavy bandages. A nurse will give you pain medicines, and instruct you on homecare. After the metatarsal repair procedure, the patient must wear a cast for 6-8 weeks while the bones heal. Crutches are used during this time, and the patient can resume normal activities after 2-3 months.
What are the types of metatarsal surgery?
There are many types of foot surgery that involve the metatarsal bones. These include:
- Exostectomy – To remove a bunion, the metatarsal head is removed.
- Metatarsal osteotomy – Removal of a small wedge of bone from the foot.
- Osteotomy – When the surgeon incises and repositions a bone.