If you’re suffering from a great (big) toe joint injury or condition, you know how difficult walking and performing other activities can be. For some
patients, anti-inflammatories and other treatments have little effect. In these situations, the board-certified foot and ankle surgeons at La Peer Health Systems can help improve your mobility and overall quality of life with total great toe joint replacement.
Causes of Toe Joint Problems
A number of conditions can make you a candidate for great toe joint replacement. These include arthritis, prior history of trauma to the big toe joint, untreated bunions, pre-existing hallux limitus (limited range of motion to great toe joint) and other congenital foot conditions. One of the most common big toe joint conditions is Hallux Limitus, which is a loss of motion in the big toe. Over time, this can lead to arthritis when the cartilage covering the bones begins to erode. If you are experiencing pain or limited mobility in your big toe, you should contact an experienced foot specialist to determine if you could benefit from toe joint replacement.
Great Toe Joint Replacement Surgery
Great Toe joint replacement surgery is an elective surgery that offers improved mobility and relief from pain for people with serious big toe joint problems. Typically, the procedure targets the structure at the base of the big toe, known as the first metatarsal phalangeal joint.
During your toe joint replacement, the expert foot and ankle surgeons at La Peer Health Systems will make a small incision to determine the extent of the bone and cartilage damage. When possible, the surgeon will remove only part of the toe joint, replacing the damaged segment with a metal prosthetic. In more severe cases, it may be necessary to remove and replace the entire toe joint. Replacing the entire joint adds more longevity to the prosthetic joint and reduces possibility for further surgery in the future.
Recovering from Toe Joint Replacement
After the new prosthetic toe joint is in place, your surgeon will close the wound with sutures. You will be able to walk immediately after your procedure but you will be required to wear a walking boot called a cam walker at all times when bearing weight and walking to protect your foot after the procedure and to maintain the surgical result. Additionally, you may be instructed to use crutches for a short period of time. Typically, pain associated with toe joint replacement is minimal, and your doctor will advise you about your medication options.
Most patients who undergo toe joint replacement see very good results. However, a period of physical therapy may be required to help you build flexibility in the foot and get accustomed to the feel of the prosthetic. Most people feel no difference in walking compared to their uninjured foot after this advanced surgical procedure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long does a toe joint replacement prosthetic last?
A: The new generation of prosthetic joints lasts longer than ever.
In most cases, prosthetic joints can hold up for longer than your bone and on average our center has seen joints last over 10 years or more.
Q: Will I be able to play sports after having toe joint replacement?
A: You should be able to play sports and return to other activities withing three to six months of having toe joint replacement. In some cases, physical therapy will be required to aid the recovery process.
Q: Will I be in pain during the surgery?
A: Thanks to anesthesia, you should not experience any pain during your toe joint replacement. Some patients experience minimal discomfort after the surgery, but your doctor can help mitigate that with pain medication.
Q: When will I be able to walk again?
A: You should rest and keep your foot elevated for the first 3-4 days after having toe joint replacement. After that, you should be able to walk in a cam walker boot with crutch assistance. Your doctor will give you specific instructions about what to do after your procedure.
Q: Will I need physical therapy?
A: You may need physical therapy to help fully improve your post operative range of motion. Your doctor will advise you about the type and length of physical therapy required in your case.
Contact a Surgeon at La Peer
From walking to dancing, our feet enable us to live life to its fullest. If you think you may be suffering from a toe joint condition, or want to learn more about toe joint replacement, don’t hesitate to contact a skilled podiatrist.
At La Peer Health System’s Podiatry Department, we employ a highly experienced team of doctors and nurses to help with all your foot health needs and are widely regarded as one of the best foot surgery centers and ambulatory surgery centers in the country. Please feel free to contact our Foot and Ankle Surgery Department at 855-360-9119 or by email at [email protected] to learn more about our Los Angeles medical center!
Next, read about Hammertoe Surgery.