Many patients are able to effectively manage their symptoms non-operatively. However, doing so does not simply involve making a few doctor-prescribed changes. Successful non-surgical management of most chronic foot and ankle problems require patients themselves to gain a greater overall understanding of their condition. This includes gaining a greater understanding of what improves and aggravates their symptoms. Patients who are aware of their condition, especially what irritates and alleviates their symptoms, will often be able to evolve strategies over time that allow them to effectively manage their symptoms without surgery.
That is not to say that all conditions can be managed non-operatively. Patients should consult their doctors to further discuss their options and whether non-operative treatment could help them avoid a potentially unnecessary surgery. Active patient education throughout the healing process is essential to most any successful recovery.
Elements of successful non-operative treatment may include:
When patients suffer from chronic or acute foot and ankle injuries, one of the main sources of their pain and discomfort stems from loading the joint. Those with arthritis experience more pain when they walk or stand, than when they are off their feet. There are devices available for such patients which aim to decrease the load that goes through the affected area, in order to provide relief.
Edited October 4, 2015