Tarsal tunnel surgery is a procedure performed on either small or large feet, depending on the location of the tarsal tunnel. This procedure can help improve your function by reducing stress on your feet, improving joint movement and stability, and removing an impacted bone that was preventing proper foot placement.
The patient is typically outfitted in custom orthotics and support shoes for several months after the surgery. These will likely be replaced every week or two to keep the foot in place. There is no real test for whether or not the foot has healed because of this as it depends on how long the patient was able to keep it healed before the surgery.
Most patients report an increase in pain after the surgery and a decrease in comfort afterwards, but this varies depending on person. Some even gain pain relief as their body adjusts to being seated in new positions after the surgery.
Expected recovery time for tarsal tunnel surgery
After surgery, your doctor will do a period of physical therapy to help you get back on your feet. This can be done in a group or on your own, both of which are very helpful.
Your doctor will also recommend a follow-up appointment to check on you for progress and to make sure it worked. You will be asked if you would like another procedure if the initial tunneling is not enough, or if it was enough in the first place.
If you decide that more tunneling is needed, your doctor can do it again! This process of re-tethering the bones back to their original position is called castration and re-insertion, or C&R.
You will have some pain during this process and in recovering from the surgery, so look for comfort foods that are healable. You may also want to take up dancing or exercise classes to help with recovery.
Know the risks of tarsal tunnel surgery
While tarsal tunnel surgery is a relatively safe procedure, it is not for the inexperienced surgeon. As the incision is made, it is monitored for any change in mobility or sensation. If these changes occur, a new tunnel has to be created to take over the surgical site.
Procedure-oriented and careful are the best words to describe what the surgeon should be during and after surgery. The surgeon should avoid talking and moving while in recovery, as they get their bearings back. They also should keep their distance from people while they are recovering, as they may have an increased risk of infection.
After surgery, patients need to stay at least a week at a hospital medical center, so that their wounds can heal and collect pus. They also need pain medication and frequent checks are made by doctors.
Know the results of tarsal tunnel surgery
After surgery, your doctor will do some tests to make sure the tunnel has been removed and that the bones have been stabilized.
These include X-rays of the feet, ankle placement, and MRI images. A walk-through is also done to make sure the base of the foot is in place.
Once these tests are in place, your doctor can schedule you for surgery. Some surgeons will wait until after your recovery phase to perform the surgery, but most recommend it during this time because there is more support available.
After surgery, your doctor will teach you how to walk on your own so you can attend a funeral or another important event.
What is the tarsal tunnel?
The tarsal tunnel is a small space between the front part of your foot and the back part of your foot. This space is usually very comfortable and stable.
However, if you have tarsal tunnel surgery, your surgeon will make a small cut in this area to create a new tunnel. This surgery can be done in several ways, but the most common way is with an Allen wrench (which looks like a car tool).
This surgery can be done naturally or post-operatively, which means you can sleep in it! You may need to use special footwear or bedding for about a week after surgery, but you can do that later.
You will be in pain during and after the operation, so it is good to have some pain relief medications prepared. You may also feel sleepy or dizzy following the operation, so it is good to have some things available to help you feel better.
Who is a good candidate for tarsal tunnel surgery?
A patient’s diagnosis of tarsal tunnel syndrome typically includes a high threshold for pain, a marked sensitivity to certain treatments, and/or a history of pain with activity. These factors make it difficult to determine if a patient is appropriate for surgery.
On the other hand, patients who are not eligible for surgery due to their symptoms, such as those with severe footdrop or painful arch, may be able to have surgery. Reopen surgery is an option if there is improvement, but still pain in some cases.
Surgery can be outpatient or overnight, and usually takes between six and twelve months before the patient returns to normal activities. During this time period, the patient must learn how to walk on their own again!
When returning home or in any new environment, the patient should understand that they must take breaks from exercise regularly to prevent re-adductor muscle strain (RMS) or bone loss in the hip.
What are the different types of tarsal tunnel surgery?
Tarsal tunnel surgery is a procedure performed on people who have trouble walking due to a tarsal tunnel. This occurs when the sesamoid bone in the foot becomes thickened and compressed inside the anklebone.
The compression occurs when someone walks, and the foot has to move around in order for the compression to dissipate and heal. When it heals, the foot can look very normal at first, but as time goes on, it can develop cracks or fibers that break off.
This happens more commonly on feet with high heels or small shoes that can not be adjusted properly. It can also happen more frequently if someone has been walking with a short walk or run than with regular steps.
Because of this, it is important to aware of what type of adjustments your surgeon makes during surgery so that nothing affects your healing process.
How does tarsal tunnel surgery work?
After a child’s foot is born through the tarsal tunnel, the baby needs to move forward and backward to develop its knees and ankles.
This process is called development. When development occurs, it creates two new bones called navicular and digital on the same foot. The navicular bone goes forward and the digital bone goes back.
The navicular bone sits behind the big toe while the digital bone sits on top of the little finger. When development occurs, the navicular bone flanks together with the little toe, creating a space where the foot meets the leg.
The digital bone sits in between the two bones as it comes together, giving rise to a small gap where foot and leg join. This gap is what allows for motion during walking. After surgery, these developmental gaps are closed by puttiing new growth on top of them.
Prepare for your operation
Before surgery, your doctor will do a physical exam to check for conditions that may require additional treatment. Such as a weak or absent bone structure in the tunnel, or conditions that may affect the healing process.
Because of this, your doctor may recommend taking certain steps such as exercising or eating a diet that includes calcium and vitamin D to help maintain adequate bone strength.
During surgery, you will be strapped down and receive an electric current through your foot set-up. After this, your doctor will use a series of instruments to join the two bones together. This can take some time so be patient!
Once healed, you should begin practicing walking on your own again. Some doctors suggest one to two months after surgery to let your foot heal completely, so check with your surgeon for re-instrumentation timing.