What is medical realignment of the foot and ankle?

Medical realignment is the process of putting the bones back into their proper positions after a break or dislocation. Your foot and ankle contain about 30 small bones. That means there are many bones that are vulnerable to damage during an accident or trauma.

Doctors sometimes perform medical realignment by hand. It requires surgery in many cases. This is especially true if your ankle is unstable or multiple bones in your foot are involved in the injury.

What to expect from medical realignment of the foot and ankle

Before any treatment for a broken/dislocated foot or ankle, your doctor takes X-rays or other images to see the injury clearly. These pictures show your doctor what the inside of your foot looks like. If you have a closed break, meaning that the skin is not broken, then your doctor may realign the bones manually. The doctor gives you an anesthetic to reduce pain and help you relax. The doctor manipulates the bones and sets them back in their proper position by hand.

An open break means that the bones pierced through the skin. These injuries require surgery to realign the bones and repair soft tissues. Usually doctors perform this surgery under general anesthesia. That means you're asleep during the procedure and don't feel any pain.

Your doctor makes an incision over the broken bones. They realign the bones and stabilize them using screws or pins. The doctor also repairs any damaged tendons or ligaments. The surgeon cleans out the wound to remove debris, such as bone fragments, before stitching the skin closed.

For less severe injuries, you may need to wear a brace or walking boot. However, in most instances, the doctor puts a cast over your foot and ankle. It extends up to just below your knee. You wear the cast for four to eight weeks, notes the American Health Network. While your foot or ankle heals, you may need to avoid certain physical activities.

Common foot and ankle conditions requiring medical realignment

There are around 30 bones in your foot and ankle. All of these can require medical realignment if they break or dislocate. Some of these bones include:

  • Tibia
  • Talus
  • Fibula
  • Tarsals
  • Cuboid
  • Metatarsals

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