What is Cavus Foot Reconstruction?
Cavus foot reconstruction is a surgical procedure performed to correct a condition known as cavus foot, which is also referred to as high arches or pes cavus. In this condition, the arch on the bottom of the foot is more pronounced than usual, extending from the toes to the heel. This high arch can cause pain and instability of the ankle, particularly when standing, walking, or running. Cavus foot reconstruction aims to correct the shape of the bones in the foot, as well as address issues such as muscular imbalance, foot and ankle instability, and misalignment that may arise from this condition.
The goal of cavus foot reconstruction is to restore the high arch to a more normal position, allowing the arch to make contact with the ground again, which is called a plantigrade foot. During the surgery, the surgeon also pays attention to preserving the foot and ankle joints to minimize the loss of significant bone and muscle tissue. Osteotomy, a procedure involving cutting and reshaping of bones, is often performed to address the structural alterations and deformity of the foot. Additionally, tendon release and bone fusion may be necessary as part of the operation.
Cavus foot reconstruction becomes necessary when non-surgical treatments, such as stretching exercises and foot orthotics, have proven ineffective in correcting high arches and providing stability and comfort. If you are considering cavus foot reconstruction at Flint Foot & Ankle, the medical team will thoroughly examine your foot and ankle. They will also take into account your overall health, medical history, medication history, and lab results. X-rays are typically performed to obtain detailed views of the ankle and foot joints, which enable the surgeon to plan the most suitable surgical approach for your specific case.
Cavus Foot Reconstruction Procedure
Every case of cavus foot is unique, and no two deformities are exactly alike. As a result, each surgery for cavus foot reconstruction is tailored to the specific needs and challenges of the individual patient. The surgeon will employ a combination of procedures to reconstruct the foot and address the particular issues the patient is experiencing. By customizing the surgical approach, the surgeon can effectively correct the deformity and optimize the outcome for each patient’s unique condition.
During the Procedure
During the cavus foot reconstruction procedure, the patient is administered general anesthesia to ensure they are comfortably asleep throughout the surgery. Incisions are made at the surgical site on the foot. These incisions serve as entry points for the necessary tools, such as retractors, which are used to carefully separate the muscles from the bones and soft tissue. The use of retractors helps protect the soft tissue and minimize blood loss.
The specific structural deformity is corrected based on its underlying cause. The surgeon may perform tendon release, tendon transfers, osteotomy, or arthrodesis procedures. Tendon release involves cutting or detaching a tendon to improve the foot’s range of motion. This may include lengthening the Achilles tendon, plantar fascia, or deltoid ligament to address the cavus foot deformity. Osteotomy involves cutting or reshaping bones in the foot or ankle to improve their function. Arthrodesis refers to the fusion of two or more bones to enhance stability or alter the foot’s shape. This procedure often utilizes plates, pins, or tiny wires to provide increased stability.
Once the foot is properly aligned and achieves the desired alignment, the incisions are carefully closed, and a soft splint is applied to protect the foot.
Post Surgical Care
Following the surgery, it is common for patients to remain in the hospital for a period of 1-2 nights to facilitate the initial healing process. During this time, it is important to minimize weight-bearing activities to promote proper healing. To support the foot during the healing process, a cast will be required.
After discharge, a post-surgical visit is scheduled to assess the progress of healing. During this visit, any bandages and stitches are typically removed, and the surgical site is examined to ensure proper healing is taking place. This visit allows the medical team to monitor your recovery and address any concerns or questions you may have.
Cavus Foot Reconstruction Risks
Cavus foot reconstruction, like any surgical procedure, carries certain risks and potential complications. These include:
- Pain and swelling: It is common to experience pain and swelling following the surgery. Proper pain management techniques and post-operative care can help minimize these symptoms.
- Infection: There is a risk of developing an infection at the surgical site. Precautions such as sterile techniques during surgery and appropriate post-operative wound care can reduce this risk.
- Damage to surrounding tissues: During the surgery, there is a possibility of unintentional damage to the surrounding tissues, nerves, or blood vessels. Surgeons take precautions to minimize this risk, but it is a known possibility.
- Bone healing issues: When fusions are required to correct the deformity, there is a risk that these may not heal.
- Side effects of anesthesia: General anesthesia carries inherent risks, including potential reactions or complications. These risks are generally well-managed by the anesthesia team.
- Revision surgery: In some cases, the initial surgical procedure may not achieve the desired outcome or complications may arise, necessitating revision surgery. This additional surgery carries its own set of risks and considerations.
It’s important to note that these risks are not unique to cavus foot reconstruction but are general risks associated with surgical procedures. The surgeon will discuss these risks with the patient beforehand and take appropriate measures to minimize them. It’s also crucial to follow post-operative instructions and attend follow-up appointments to ensure proper healing and address any concerns.
If you are experiencing pain and instability caused by cavus foot, undergoing surgical reconstruction may be a crucial step towards improving your overall quality of life. The pain and instability associated with this condition can significantly impact various aspects of daily life, making finding relief an important milestone. At Flint Foot & Ankle, our team of specialists, including Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Wesley Flint, can assess your foot and any associated deformities to determine the most appropriate treatment plan tailored to your needs. Taking proactive steps towards addressing your cavus foot can lead to significant improvements in your well-being and mobility.