What is a Weil Osteotomy?

Weil osteotomy is a procedure which shortens a particular foot bone (metatarsal). The operation is done from the top of the foot and a small screw is used to fix the shortened bone until it heals.

What are the Indications?

Weil osteotomy is useful in the treatment of metatarsalgia, or pain in the ball of the foot associated with a long metatarsal bone. It is often performed in conjunction with other procedures to one or more toes depending on the types of deformity present. If, despite appropriate non-surgical treatment, your metatarsalgia persists, Weil osteotomy may beneficial.

What is Involved?

You may need to temporarily stop certain blood thinning or diabetic medications prior to surgery. You will be informed of this but if you are unsure of your requirements please ask.

The procedure is done under a general or regional anaesthetic. If performed in isolation the procedure is day surgery. If performed with other procedures to the foot an overnight stay in hospital may be required. You will be given a velcro shoe which allows you to walk on the operated foot. You should keep your foot elevated as much as possible and minimise your activity. 

How Long is Recovery?

You will see Dr Freihaut 2 weeks following surgery for suture removal. Once your wound has healed you may mobilise more freely but will need to use the velcro shoe whenever walking for 6 weeks in total. You will not be able to drive for 6 weeks if your right foot was operated on. You will be reviewed at the 6 week mark with an X-ray and start walking in normal shoes. You should not do anything too strenuous for another 6 weeks. Swelling will be present for 6-12 months. 

Is Physiotherapy Required?

Generally not, but occasionally people find it beneficial once the bones have knitted together.

What are the Risks?

Risks include but are not limited to infection, blood clots, injury to nerves and blood vessels, wound breakdown, recurrence of deformity, stiffness, pain in other areas of the foot. A common occurrence after Weil osteotomy is a “floating toe”, thought to be due to stiffness from scar tissue at the surgical site the toe can sit up off the ground slightly. This is generally not painful or a functional problem.