Arthrodesis

Arthrodesis is treatment for an arthritic toe.

Common questions

What is arthrodesis?

Arthrodesis is treatment for an arthritic toe. During the operation the joint above the big toe is resected, and a small plate is applied on top of the joint to keep the toe in the right position while the bones heal.

Why would I have arthrodesis?

If you are suffering from an arthritic toe and other non-surgical treatments such as wearing insoles and toe separators have not helped to alleviate the pain.

What happens during arthrodesis?

This is a day case procedure, and you will be at Benenden Hospital for between four and seven hours. During the operation the joint above the big toe is resected, and a small plate is applied on top of the joint to keep the toe in the right position while the bones heal. If the toe is not straight before surgery, we will be able to correct that during the operation. Bony spurs will be gone as well.

What should I expect after arthrodesis?

When you return from theatre your foot will be bandaged and elevated. Before leaving the hospital most patients receive a stiff sole shoe and you are allowed to walk, bearing weight on the heel. Some need crutches for a few days. Most patients who have had the procedure are happy with the result, but some are not pain free. Most patients are able to walk fairly normally after the operation. You should keep the foot in an elevated position (the foot being above the heart) as much as possible – even during the night – for the first two weeks. This will reduce swelling and pain. Two weeks after surgery, most patients will have an appointment in our nurse led clinic, where the dressing and the stitches will be removed. The shoe should be used for six weeks, and it is important that you weight-bear only on your heel. Six weeks after the operation x-rays will be performed and you will see the surgeon in clinic.

Contact Benenden Hospital

It’s easy to make an appointment; you can ask your GP or give us a call on 01580 230661.