Information for patients
This leaflet can be made available in other formats including large print, CD and Braille and in languages other than English, upon request.
What is podiatric surgery?
Podiatric surgery is the surgical treatment of problems affecting the bones, joints and soft tissues in your foot. The surgery is carried out by podiatric surgeons (specialist podiatrists who have trained in foot surgery).
Most podiatric surgery is carried out as a day case under local anaesthetic (you will be awake but will not be able to feel any pain), which means you are able to return home as soon as possible after the operation. It is important you are aware of the possible risks and complications, before you consent (agree) to foot surgery.
To reduce risks and avoid complications, you will be assessed (checked) and have investigations (tests) throughout your care.
These can include:
- asking you questions about your current and past medical and surgical history.
- having certain tests and investigations, such as foot x-rays, blood tests, circulation and blood pressure checks.
If any of these investigations or tests lead to concerns about the safety of surgery, a medical opinion from your doctor or consultant will be needed.
Sometimes your foot surgery may have to be delayed until the problem is treated or controlled, for example, if you have high blood pressure.
What are the risks and possible complications?
Although risks and complications are uncommon, the following are possible complications that may occur with any foot surgery:
- Deep Vein Thrombosis – DVT (blood clots in the leg veins)
- Pulmonary Embolism – PE (blood clots in the lungs).
All adult patients will have their risk of developing a blood clot assessed at their pre-assessment visit. The healthcare professional who carries out the risk assessment will discuss your risk factors with you and advise on treatment to reduce your risk.
You will be given information, ‘Your personal advice for the prevention of venous thromboembolism (blood clots)’, advising you on how to reduce your risk of developing a blood clot.
- infection of your skin. This can happen to 1 patient in every 83 1. Infection of your skin can be easily treated with antibiotics.
- infection of your bone. This is rare and can happen to 1 patient in every 2,0001. This is a more serious complication; you may need another operation to remove the infected bone, a stay in hospital and long courses of antibiotics.
- failure of the operation of recurrence of your foot condition. This can happen to 1 patient in every 5001.
- delayed healing of the skin or bone in your foot. Although you will be told how long your foot should take to heal, delays in healing of the skin and bone can occur. The information on healing times is given to you as a guide only and you should allow for this when planning your recovery.
- prolonged swelling in your foot. Swelling is always present after surgery as it is part of the normal healing process. Swelling lasting longer than expected can happen to about 1 patient in every 5001.
- haematoma. This is a painful collection of blood within your foot at the operation site. This occurs very rarely and generally settles without any problems.
- thick or sensitive scarring of the incision.
- loosening or movement of the screws or wires that have been put in to hold the bone in your foot. Normally these are left in place, however you may get irritation or pain meaning the screws or wires have to be removed once the bone has healed. This can happen to 1 patient in every 601.
- problems with local anaesthetic. A reaction to the local anaesthetic used to numb your foot is rare and can happen to less than 1 patient in every 10,0001.
- nerve damage. This is usually temporary, but can be permanent. Great care is taken to avoid damage to the nerves in your foot during the local anaesthetic and your operation.
- more pain after surgery. The majority or patients who have foot surgery have less pain after their operation. However, you may have no improvement in your symptoms or more pain after surgery.
- your bone may not fuse (join together). The cut ends of the bone may not heal together as they should and your foot may take longer to heal or you may need to have another operation.
- avascular necrosis. This is a very rare complication. It is where part of the bone in your foot loses its blood supply. Your bone may then become weaker, change shape and become damaged resulting in problems such as arthritis in the joint.
- Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome. This is a very rare condition where pain develops in your foot after your operation and does not settle down. If this happens you would need to be referred to a pain specialist.
This information will be discussed with you in detail at your pre-assessment appointment before your operation and you will be given the chance to ask any questions.
If you have any worries or concerns, you should contact the Podiatric Surgery Team.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust
One Life Hartlepool
Central booking office: 01429 522471
Monday – Friday, 8.30am – 4.30pm
Further information is available from:
Health Professions Council
184 Kennington Park Road
telephone:0845 300 6184
fax: 020 7820 9684
or via the website at www.hpc-uk.org/
The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists
1 Fellowmonger’s Path
Tower Bridge Road
telephone: 020 7234 8620
fax: 0845 450 3721
or via the website at www.feetforlife.org
telephone: 111 (when it is less urgent than 999)
Calls on this number are free from landlines and mobile phones
or via the website at www.nhs.uk
Comments, concerns, compliments or complaints
Patient Experience Team (PET)
We are continually trying to improve the services we provide. We want to know what we’re doing well or if there’s anything which we can improve, that’s why the Patient Experience Team (PET) is here to help. Our Patient Experience Team is here to try to resolve your concerns as quickly as possible. The office is based on the ground floor at the University Hospital of North Tees if you wish to discuss concerns in person. If you would like to contact or request a copy of our PET leaflet, please contact:
Telephone: 01642 624719
Freephone: 0800 092 0084
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4:00pm
Email: [email protected]
Out of hours
Out of hours if you wish to speak to a senior member of Trust staff, please contact the hospital switchboard who will bleep the appropriate person.
Telephone: 01642 617617
Data protection and use of patient information
The Trust has developed Data Protection policies in accordance with Data Protection Legislation (UK General Data Protection Regulations and Data Protection Act 2018) and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. All of our staff respect these policies and confidentiality is adhered to at all times. If you require further information on how we process your information please see our Privacy Notices.
Telephone: 01642 383551
Email: [email protected]Privacy Notices
This leaflet has been produced in partnership with patients and carers. All patient leaflets are regularly reviewed, and any suggestions you have as to how it may be improved are extremely valuable. Please write to the Clinical Governance team, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital of North Tees, TS19 8PE or:
Email: [email protected]
Leaflet Reference: PIL1194
Date for Review: 18/09/2023