Foot surgery can be performed on the joint of the big toe, the joints in the middle of the foot, the joints in the lesser toes, or the joints beneath the ankle.
If damage to a foot joint is causing significant pain and immobility, your doctor may recommend a fusion (arthrodesis) of two or more bones in the toe or foot. In this procedure, surgeons bind together the bones of the arthritic joint using small metal screws and occasionally metal plates. These bones begin to grow together, resulting in one fused bone. Joint fusion has the advantage of completely eliminating painful movement between bones in the joint, though it also eliminates movement in that joint. Most people can expect to go home the same day as the surgery.
If you have mild to moderate arthritis in the big toe, your doctor may recommend a procedure called debridement, also known as cheilectomy, in which a surgeon cleans out any pieces of cartilage, ligament, or bone interfering with joint movement. These stray pieces of bone and tissue accumulate as a result of increased friction in the joint as cartilage erodes and bones rub directly against each other. Debridement reduces pain caused by bone spurs or other irritants and may also increase range of motion in the joint. This is usually a day surgery procedure after which you’ll need to wear a supportive shoe for a few weeks during recovery.
Often used for treating bunions, a painful, bony bump that can form at the first joint of the big toe, an osteotomy is a form of surgery where small cuts in the bone are made to realign the bone. Many of these cuts will be made to make the bone straight again, then the realigned bone will be fastened with pins or screws.
Arthritis of the big toe joint (metatarsophalangeal joint) is a common condition. Hemiarthroplasty is a surgical option where an implant is placed in the bone to improve pain, movement and function. The synthetic implant provides a new, smooth surface for your toe to move properly and avoiding bone on bone contact.