Am I rushing in to surgery?
June 21, 2014 11:45 AM   Subscribe

I posted this question a few weeks ago. Since then I have taken the hive's advice and sought medical attention. The results have been less than thrilling.

So I have gone to the podiatrist, and had the necessary x-rays, I do in fact have an accessory navicular bone, which was presumably causing post tibial tendonitis. We first tried oral and topical anti-inflammatories, which did literally nothing to touch it. Then he injected the tendon directly with steroid, and I had to wear a boot for two weeks. I just came out of the boot yesterday and the symptoms have almost fully returned. The next step is an MRI, and depending on what that shows, as I understand, the real option to actually fix the problem will be surgery. I'm hoping to really luck out and have someone that has had the surgery and can help me weigh the benefits and risks. I am 30, and work on my feet all day. I love my job and don't want a sit down job. I want to do whatever I can now to fix the problem. Even though it isn't debilitating now, presumably it will just continue to get worse with time if it doesn't get better. All of my older co-workers have encouraged me to get it taken care of while I'm young and before it gets bad. What does the hive think?
posted by Quincy to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Among other things, I'd advise getting a second opinion from an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in foot issues if you've so far only seen a podiatrist.

It is true that it's easier to recover from surgery when you are younger.
posted by Jahaza at 11:59 AM on June 21, 2014 [5 favorites]

I'm going through the same thing (and nearly the same diagnostic/treatment path!) with a torn labarum in my hip. 4-6 months of recovery from the surgery pales in comparison to a lifetime of reduced activity and the lack of associated health benefits. I'm chomping at the bit to get it taken care of ASAP, as I'll only get older from here on out.

I'd weigh the likelihood of a positive surgical outcome with the risks/costs.
posted by wrok at 12:10 PM on June 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have to admit up-front that I know nothing about this issue, but I just wanted to point out that if you ask a surgeon whether you need to have surgery, the answer is very likely to be "Yes, definitely". When your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
posted by alex1965 at 12:36 PM on June 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

I would like to add, just to get things back on track a bit, that a podiatrist is a physician specializing in surgery of the foot. Some even micro specialize to the forefoot or the hind foot. And that a responsible surgeon can, and will, avoid surgery if it is not necessary. It sounds like you and your podiatrist have tried more conservative measures, so surgery may indeed be the next step.

Having said all that, I will add that a second opinion is always a good idea when you are facing surgery, whether with another podiatrist or with an orthopod. And now, here's hoping that someone with experience with this particular problem will pop in....
posted by SLC Mom at 12:55 PM on June 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'd recommend seeing an orthopedist to get a second opinion on this.

Podiatrists are limited-scope practitioners and while some are great, they're not all as qualified or well-trained as regular MDs.
posted by yellowcandy at 1:31 PM on June 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I will say that surgery is typically indicated when conservative/medical management has failed, which it sounds like the case here.

Contra alex1965's claim, when a surgeon is consulted by a patient, it usually means that the referring provider thinks that surgical management may be indicated. So, of course, if you're seeing a surgeon, your options will likely include surgery because conservative or medical management have failed and thats why you're seeing the surgeon.
posted by scalespace at 2:08 PM on June 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

Had problem with knee. orthopedic surgeon said we will try this and that and try to avoid surgery. Had trouble years later with back. Same thing: try what we can first in order to avoid surgery.
posted by Postroad at 10:34 PM on June 21, 2014

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