Severe Foot Pain

Severe Foot Pain without Surgery: Why Surgery is a Last Resort Option

Severe Foot Pain

There are a number of different options for treating a painful foot, but surgery is a last resort option. Yes, surgery is usually almost guaranteed to help your foot long term wise, whereas a lot of the other treatments may or may not work.

These other forms of treatments include wearing different kinds of shoes that have more cushion and a better arch for your foot, to correct your posturing, take pain reliever medication, an injection into your foot as recommended by your doctor, or to rest often and elevate your leg and foot into the air.

Most of these treatments should work, or at least help, the pain in your foot. But if they don’t then that’s when you want to turn to surgery.

If your doctor is good (hopefully he or she is!) they will recommend these or other types of treatments before turning to surgery as an option. That’s because surgery is a last resort option.

If you do decide surgery is the way to go for you, your doctor will discuss with you the different options available with special consideration for your condition, age, previous medical history, and health insurance.

If you do decide to go forward with surgery, you will have to realize that it takes commitment on your part.

Besides the surgery, there are other tests and x-rays that will need to be performed as well, and you doctor will provide you with strict instructions to follow once the surgery is complete.

Next, we will explore some of the more common forms of foot surgeries to give you an idea of what they entail…and why you may want to try other treatments instead.


Arthroplasty is the surgical replacement of a joint that is either diseased or in need of replacement.  If no other non-surgical replacements are helping provide relief to your joint(s), then Arthroplasty is a viable last resort option.

If you choose to go forth with the procedure, your joint can be repair by having your bones resurfaced during the surgery.

The good news about Arthrosplasty is that the overwhelming majority of people who have done it have reported a drastic alleviation in the pain they were feeling in their joints.

On the other hand, many people may feel the same way using other treatments, and like any surgery, the surgical procedure may have some potentially dangerous side effects.

Arthroplasty is particularly used to treat poor and painful joint conditions in the foot and ankle. Many of these conditions include arthritis or circumstances where the bones and cartilage in their feet are being destroyed.

If you go under Arthrosplasty, the chances of arthritis developing again in the joints of your feet will be drastically reduced. Arthroplasty can either be a major or a minor surgery, as determined by your doctor.

How will you know if you need Arthroplasty? 

If you have consistent and constant pain in your joints that has caused your walk to become increasingly painful or in some cases disabled, then you should consider Arthroplasty. But a doctoral recommendation for the surgical procedure will only be made after all of the other possible treatments have been tried and haven’t worked.

There are many dangers to Arthroplasty, however.  These include developing a potential infection, bleeding, developing a fracture in your foot, or the failure of the surgery all together.


Fasciotomy is a form of foot surgery that should only be used if the pain in your foot caused by a physical activity (such as fracturing a part of your foot while playing a sport).

When pressure builds on your muscles to dangerous levels, this will decrease the blood flow to the foot’s nerves and cells, which to put it simply, is bad news for your foot.

The unfortunate truth is that many people who have undergone Fasciotomy often have to take some form of rehabilitation therapy afterwards, because the tissue in the foot will be in a soft sate after the surgery.

While the actual surgery of Fasciotomy is usually successful, these are just some of the side effects that can ensue as a result.

It may also be difficult for you if you have a job that requires you to be walking or standing up.

Since the tissues in your foot will be in their soft state, you will need to avoid standing and walking as much as you can and rest by keeping your leg and foot elevated in the air.

You should only consider Fasciotomy as an option if you are feeling progressive pain in your toes, foot or ankle that has led to a decreased amount of motion that you can perform.

Fasciotomy should also only be considered if the pain in your foot is related to a fracture or a physical injury.

Symptoms you should be able to feel will include a consistent and constant pain in your toes or feet, weak pulses, more pain when pressure is applied to the sore part of the foot, and if any bleeding has resulted.

As with most surgeries, Fasciotomy is only used when there is no other alternative, meaning that other forms of treatment have all failed or had a very limited effect on healing your foot.

While Fasciotomy usually has a high success rate, there are also a wide variety of other potentially dangerous complications that can arise, so you should try any other types of treatments that you can first.

Ankle Fusion

The last type of surgery that we will talk about is ankle fusion. Ankle fusion is only used for patients who have a deformed or impaired ankle that is causing them severe pain.

The result from ankle fusion surgery will keep your ankle join from moving while you are walking or performing other physical activities.

Therefore, ankle fusion should only be considered if the other joints in your foot are in good condition and can provide you with good mobility.

If successful, ankle fusion surgery should relieve the pain in your foot.  However, it does come with a number of risks.

If you have a history of arthritis or any other condition that is causing your foot, then undergoing ankle fusion surgery is a huge risk.

Ankle fusion surgery is usually only performed after all other non-surgical treatments have failed to work.

One Comment

  1. As someone who has been in precisely this situation, I need to point out that you are missing a potential option. I had what were probably two very unnecessary ankle surgeries and years of pain before anyone realized that I have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. While it’s not incredibly common, it’s worthy of note. From anecdotal evidence based on a bunch of people I’ve spoken with who also have CRPS, it seems pretty common in feet.

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