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Treating pain in the foot and ankle

‘There’s nothing that can be done for foot and ankle pain.’ Patients would regularly tell Mr Edward Dawe that they had received this piece of advice, often from other healthcare professionals. Here, he explains how modern techniques help make foot and ankle surgery safe and successful

or painful ankle for whom there’s diffi culty establishing a diagnosis, or very limited options for treat- ment. However, for the vast majority of people, a cause can be found and treatments are available. Even a painful little toe can be very disrup- tive to your life, because you walk on it with every other step. T ere’s been an immense devel-


opment in the understanding and treatment of foot and ankle conditions in the past few years. Modern technology in non-surgical treatment, scanning and surgery allows me to treat patients more eff ectively than ever before, while

still hear the phrase from time to time, and there are indeed some people with a painful foot

minimising the risks and recovery times for those treatments. T ere are a huge number of diff erent possible conditions

that aff ect the

foot and ankle. While conventional imaging such as X-rays, ultrasound and MRI are helpful, I now use other types of scans such as Standing CT and CT SPECT. T ese can off er a diff erent perspective on the causes of foot and ankle pain. Standing CT allows imaging of the

foot in a standing position, exactly as your foot is used, and the position where most people experience their pain. T e scan uses a very low dose of radiation and is rapid, taking about one minute. T ere’s no need to go into a narrow scanner tube, required for an MRI scan, which is unsuitable for those with claustrophobia. I

off er an individually tailored

treatment plan to each patient. Understanding your personal circumstances, aims for returning to activity or sport and other pressures on your life such as your job, family life or lems,

indeed other health prob- is of paramount importance

in deciding which treatments are most appropriate. I work with a large team of experts

in rheumatology, musculoskeletal medicine, sports medicine, podiatry, orthotics and physiotherapy in order to look at the broader context of person’s foot and ankle pain. As a surgeon, I use a huge variety of

techniques. T ese include minimally invasive surgery and, where possible, procedures under local anaesthetic to ensure patients are back to normal

While conventional imaging such as X-rays, ultrasound and MRI are helpful, I now use other types of scans such as Standing CT and CT SPECT. T ese can off er a diff erent perspective on the causes of foot and ankle pain.

activity as soon as possible. T ese treatments challenge the misconcep- tion of foot surgery as painful and requiring a long recovery.

For those with severe


arthritis, I use computer-guidance to replace the ankle. I work with a team of specialist engineers to generate a plan for surgery and 3D print personalised cutting blocks to guide the operation. If you have a painful foot or ankle

condition, there can be little relief, and successful treatment may be of huge benefi t not only by reducing pain, but also in allowing a return to exercise and improving your sense of wellbeing.

For appointments, contact Mr Dawe at: Nuffi eld Health Chichester: T: 01243753022 BMI Goring Hall Hospital: T: 01903953201 T e Oving Clinic: T: 01243773167

Mr Edward Dawe is a consultant

orthopaedic surgeon and runs a service for treating patients with foot and ankle problems based in West Sussex.

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