Arthritis of the big toe is one of the most common joints of the foot to get arthritis in. If caught early enough, the joint can be cleaned out surgically to remove the arthritic areas and fragments. Later stage and more severe great toe arthritis involves either replacing the joint or fusing it.

Joint replacement sometimes works but the stage of the disease has to be just right to get a good result.
Fusing the joint (a first MPJ arthrodesis) is one the most effective and almost guaranteed to be successful procedure. While one may worry that fusing the joint will create a lack of motion, it actually stops the small amount of motion that remained which was painful. The procedure was initially developed with two screws and the patient had to be non weight bearing for 6-8 weeks. My procedure involves a more current technique that utilizes a small plate and allows weight bearing the same day.

 

Here is an example of a recent patient who had severe arthritis of both great toe joints.   She had the right one fused 6 months ago and returned to do the left one. At four weeks post op, she already has significant pain reduction and is wearing a running shoe.

 

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