Big Toe Arthritis
Big toe arthritis can cause a condition know as hallux limitus, and be difficult to treat. Conservative care can consist of steroid injections and orthotics, among other treatments. Often, these treatments are exhausted, and with progression of the disease, patients must resort to surgery. No one prefers to lose motion in any joint of their body. Although, the “gold standard” for severe arthritis of the big toe joint is a fusion, there are other surgical options to consider.
Surgical Options for Hallux Limitus:
1. Cheilectomy- This simply means to shave off the painful bumps and prominent bones. It is the procedure with the quickest recovery, but also the quickest recurrence of the problem. This procedure will provide temporary relief of the pain, but will likely reoccur within a couple of years.
2. Arthroplasty- There are various procedures to cut out the joint of the big toe, relieving your pain and increasing your range of motion. The downside is this can create an unstable joint and should not be performed in active patients.
3. Fusion- This is the “gold standard” for severe big toe arthritis. This involves a long period of non weight bearing on the operated foot, as well as loss of motion to the joint. The benefits are your pain will be relieved and the problem will not reoccur.
4. Implant– Like many of the larger joints in the body, there are joint replacements for your great toe. This will allow you to walk immediately on the operated foot, as well as increased motion at the joint and decreased pain. The downside is, they do not last forever, but you could easily get a good 15-20 years out of them!
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to approaching big toe arthritis. It comes down to the condition of the joint, the health and lifestyle of the patient, as well as patient preference. The important thing to know is that there are options out there, and we will work with you to determine which is the best for you.
By: Samantha DelRegno D.P.M.
Hollowbrook Foot Specialists– Serving the Hudson Valley from Wappingers Falls