Hallux rigidus (fusion)

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Can anyone advise me? I am due to have a bunion removed next month but because of arthritus in my big toe I am also having a 'fusion'.

I would love to hear from anyone who has had this operation to know their experiences.

Was it very painful - how long off work . what (if any) height heels can be worn after. I have been told maximum of 1inch - is this corect?

Although my toe/bunion is painful, it is so dificult to know what to do especially as I can find no-one who has had this op?

thanks in anticipation of some advice.

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16 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello MIS

    I had both feet operated on in August. The op was just for bunions, 1 on my left foot and 2 on the right. The op went well and the pain was not too bad, but then everyone is different, I rested for 2 weeks and did not walk very far or do anything to hurt my feet. Today Ive have just had my 6 weeks post op examination and have been advised not to wear high heels or pointed toe shoes,not that I do anyway. Bunions can form again through pressure on the toes. I don't work at the moment as I have just enrolled at college but a friend of mine did go to work as a teaching assistant but had rest times allowed, please listen to what the doctors say and look after your feet. My mom had really bad bunions on both feet and didn't have the op, she couldn't wear normal shoes with comfort and had to cut holes in the uppers.

    Hope this helps, take care, let me know how you get on.

    Heba

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  • Posted

    Hi Heba,

    Thanks for the advice.

    I am due to go into hospital on Tuesday 20th October for bunion removal and a fusion of big toe due to arthritis.

    I'll let you know how I am doing (when I can next get to my PC!)

    Hope you are getting better by the day

    MIS

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  • Posted

    Had this op on the Friday 6/11/09 on my left foot. I was very surprised that there was very little pain following the op. However, to put things in perspective, I did have a shot of morphine in the recovery room. Stayed overnight due to the fact that mine was the last op that the surgeon did, along with coming round in the recovery room at 8.00 pm. Any discomfort subsided by the following Monday 9/11/09 and I stopped taking any painkillers from that day.Soon got the hang of using crutches and it wasn't long before I could up and down stairs. without much problem. To be honest, I have had more discomfort from the plaster cast, which stops just before the ankle. At first it felt like I had tied my shoe laces too tight and as consequence, the veins in my leg used to stick out if I stopped elevating the foot. Another problem is that the cast feels top heavy in bed and foot keeps flopping over.All in all, I have been been pleasantly surprised, with regards the op and the lack of pain.

    Albeit, my care is a manual gearbox, I have been able to drive it over the last few days, without either risk or discomfort. I hope to be back in work (desk jockey) next week (sick of daytime tv) plaster cast and all.

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  • Posted

    I am having this operation (fusion) in January. How are you getting on?
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  • Posted

    Well, it's now over 6 months on from the date of my op. Glad to report that there is no pain or discomfort. Albeit, there is little movement in the big toe, it in no way effects everyday life. Although my toe is now slightly shorter, it is definitely straighter. I would gladly recommend this procedure to anyone suffering from an arthritic joint, as it is pleasure to be from the nagging pain and discomfort when walking. All in all, a resounding success. javascript:emoticon('smile')
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    • Posted

      That's good to hear - I haven't heard many good things about that operation.  Now, I have no family so how do you get along or even go to the bathroom?  And then I have 11 cats to care for.  My boyfriend said he would help me but my dr. seems to think it will be 4-6 weeks at least, off my feet totally.  What did yours say??

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  • Posted

    I am planning to be operated on my big toe for a fusion due to medium hallux rigidus( 3 out of 5).

    I am curious to hear the experience from someone who has had such fusion of the big toe for some years.

    I understand from the previous discussions that ordinary walking (with a rocker shoes) is all right.

    But how is skiing (downhill and x-country), mountain hiking, dancing, yoga etc? Can you still do these things with a fused big toe?

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  • Posted

    Hi Thorwald

    Has your consultant mentioned any joint preserving procedures? I am very active walking skiing, cycling etc.

    The first consultant I saw recommended a fusion for Hallux rigidus. I was somewhat reluctant to go down this route and after a while I saw a podiatric surgeon who mentioned a joint preserving op - kessel bonney procedure. He said however that only when he operated could he be certain which procedure to choose. He dismissed an earlier X - Ray that my first consultant decided from, because it was non weight bearing. With the second set of X Rays he showed me that the second metatarsal joint was also arthritic and that fusing the first could make the second worse. Knowing that this consultant had done hundreds of foot operations was very reassuring. I know this is not the answer you were hoping for, but felt it could be important for you to know the options.

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  • Posted

    Hi Billos,

    Tanks for your intervention. I have considered a new implant method - a small cushion between the two pieces of bones. However my surgeoun said that the durability of these implants over time has not been proven yet and he advised against it since you have to remove some of the bone structure to let room for the implant. I have looked at some reports from the US about fusion vs implants (they are from 2009-10 and the success of implants is about 70% compared to 90-90 % for fusion.

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  • Posted

    My consultant advised against a joint implant as the success range is not high enough - all your weight goes

    through it and only has a small surface, so more stress on the joint. From what I have read people with

    longish big toes are more prone to arthritis, so one answer is to shorten it by having a wedge taken out of it.

    I would have thought having a fusion would mean losing power in your toe which would be frustrating for

    somebody who is very active. It may entail your toe being at an angle to the horizontal, maybe 10 degrees or more. Surprised your consultant has not mentioned any osteotomies. Suggest you ask him about them.

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  • Posted

    Hello. I am due for my six-week follow up next week for bilateral large toe jiont fusions. I am interested in your progression regarding footwear and activities since you posted the above message.
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    • Posted

      High Karen how are you getting on with your billateral joint fusions?

      I had bilateral osteotomies about 7 months ago not sucsessfull then had revision surgery debridement about 8 weeks ago not sure of the outcome yet but will have to consider fusions if this fails.

      So really interested to hear your experiences

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    • Posted

      Hi Karen and Steve

      I'm curious how you are geting on after your joint fusion.  I have level 3 out 5 Hallux Rigidus and I'm considering getting a fusion because it seems to be more successful in most patients and I don't want to get a joint implant and then still need a fusion a few yeas later.

      I'm very athletic with running, sprining, etc., but I've had to cut back considerably because of the pain and I was making my joint worse.  

      I'd trade off a little bit of dexterity after a fusion to get rid of the joint pain and still be able to exercise hard.  Do you (or anyone on this forum) find the fusion has limited your mobilty?

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    • Posted

      Did you ever have your joint fusion? I am seriously considering it this year. I have put it off for several years and this winter it is much worse. I am very active (tennis, cycling, gym, etc.) and hate to be out of commission, but the pain is never going to get better. 

      Also, are most people having surgeries by podiatrists? I am seeking opinions from podiatrists and an orthopaedic surgeon.

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  • Posted

    I also have been told that I should have this done and I am so conflicted.  I have 11 cats that need to be cared for and no family but I do have a boyfriend that will come in a couple times a day.  I don't really know how I am supposed to even go to the bathroom, let alone cook.  Please let me know what your dr. told you about when you could walk as it seems the guy I talked to is really strict but really did not go into details about timing as how soon can you get up, etc.

    PLEASE PLEASE let me know what you doc said - my foot doesn't hurt THAT much but......

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    • Posted

      I'm curious MC did you have the procedure done? What exactly was your op consist of? I ask because my concerns were/are same as yours and more. If you had it done was your recovery successful? I'm one month out post op and it's been awful. I'm hoping for some reassurance it gets better.

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