The foot is by no means exempt when it comes to degenerative disease of joints. The media tends to highlight options for replacement of knees and hips and even shoulders, but I don't seem to see a lot with regards to the foot! While I'm not a huge fan of averages, in this case I will point out that the average number of steps in a lifetime is over 200,000,000! If you run, play sports or hike, this number is much higher! Osteoarthritis (the most common arthritis) is also known as DJD (degernative joint disease). It is caused by "wear and tear" of the joint over time. It also can develop from an isolated incident of trauma (most commonly a very bad jamming of the toe).
When it comes to surgical treatment of arthritis in the big toe joint (fancy latin term is hallux limitus/rigidus) there are three main options available. The most simple approach is to "clean up" the joint of excess bone growth and possibly reposition the joint to prevent further wear down. The most definitive approach is a fusion of the joint. The option I will touch on here is joint replacement or resurfacing.
Joint resurfacing or joint replacement in the big toe joint has not been around quite as long as some other joints in the body. It is not by any means less important though! The goal in any hallux limitus/rigidus procedure is to reduce or eliminate painful range of motion within the big toe joint. In joint resurfacing, this does not mean eliminating motion all-together, as would be the case with fusion of the joint. Therefore, one indication for the procedure is to restore a pain-free range of motion and it is therefore can be a good option for more active individuals who fear the complete loss of motion. While the motion may never be the full amount that we had at a younger age, the motion that an implant can afford you will not be painful.
Contact our office today to make an appointment with one of our doctors and we can work together to choose a treatment path that's right for you!
For more information about arthritis in the big toe joint, check this out!