Close to one-fourth of the body's bones are located in the feet. These complex structures include 28 bones, 30 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. All of these components provide support, balance, and flexibility, but damage to any one part can affect the function of the rest of the foot. While many foot problems can be treated with conservative therapy, conditions like a ruptured Achilles tendon, hammertoe or bunions may need surgery.
The Achilles tendon runs from the calf muscle to the heel. This strong fibrous cord can tear under stress, resulting in a partial or complete tear in the tendon. Although both conservative therapy and surgery seem to work well, conservative therapy often takes much longer. People who are younger and more active, as well as athletes, often opt for surgery to repair the tendon. In some cases, the tendon may also need to be lengthened or otherwise modified to prevent future injuries.
A hammer toe is a deformity of one of the smaller toes of the feet. It is usually caused by a tendon or joint imbalance. Sometimes hammer toes can be painful, and they are often unsightly. The problem is relatively easy to correct with surgery. Surgery will permanently correct the problem.
A bunion is typically a painful enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe, although Bunions can also develop on the outside of the little toe. The bony prominence enlarges, and a large sac of fluid known as a bursa may form over the area. The combination causes inflammation and pain. A bunionectomy is a surgical procedure in which the bunion is removed, which relieves the pain and swelling.
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