Surgery on the long foot bones is usually performed to correct bunions, callouses or pressure ulcers.

What is Metatarsal Surgery?

This procedure is typically done to correct bunion deformities on the first metatarsal bone behind the big toe, as well as treat callouses or ulcers on the second to fifth metatarsals. It may also be used to fix fractures of those same bones. Metatarsal surgery is a relatively quick and straightforward procedure that can provide relief from pain and discomfort. Metatarsal surgery helps many patients get back on their feet.

Who Should Have Metatarsal Surgery?

In general, the following conditions are cases that result in metatarsal surgery:
  • Injury to metatarsal bones (fracture)
  • Callouses formed by the abnormal alignment of metatarsal bones which can increase pressure over certain areas, if conservative treatment is ineffective
  • Ulcers which can form under excessive pressure in diabetic patients, if conservative treatment is ineffective
  • Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to metatarsal deformity and dislocation that can be surgically repaired if conservative options fail

How Well Does Metatarsal Surgery Work?

This varies widely depending on the condition being treated by the procedure as indicated above. However, the overall success rate is approximately 75 percent or higher. An additional 20 percent are improved, but may still have some limitations or footwear or activities. About 5 percent of patients do not see improvement or worsen despite surgery.

What Can I Expect When I Have Metatarsal Surgery?

You may need a pre-surgical physical to make any necessary accommodations based on your health history. When you arrive at the hospital, you’ll speak to your surgeon and anesthesiologist who will determine the best type of anesthesia for you and the proposed procedure.

You most likely will be using crutches and be placed in a cast after surgery to avoid putting pressure on your surgical foot. Even small amounts of weight in the first few weeks can cause improper healing and complications. Eventually, your doctor and physical therapist will give you strengthening and flexibility exercises to help build back your strength in the surgical area.

There’s no reason why you can’t do office type work and resume your normal life (but with crutches) a day or two after the procedure, but you won’t fully recover to the point you don’t need crutches for about four to six weeks. High impact activities such as running or sports will mostly likely need to wait for closer to eight weeks after surgery.