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The big toe is the most common joint affected by toe arthritis. Surgical treatment is aimed at relieving the pain associated with arthritic joints. 

Pain in your big toe from arthritis can keep you from doing things you enjoy. Managing big toe arthritis involves treatments that reduce inflammation, including steroid injections, and anti-inflammatory medications. This often helps for quite a while. However, due to the progressive nature of arthritis, these treatments may fail to provide adequate relief as the condition worsens.

Once you reach this point, you may consider other treatment options, such as toe joint replacement and big toe fusion. Both procedures relieve pain from big toe arthritis (hallux rigidus), but there are some key factors to consider and discuss with your provider when trying to determine which treatment is right for you.

At Inspire Health Clinics, foot and ankle surgeon Matthew Graff, DPM, provides effective solutions for a full spectrum of foot and ankle conditions. Big toe arthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis affecting the foot. When it strikes, nonsurgical treatments are the first line of defense. When those treatments fail to provide relief, you may be a candidate for surgical options such as big toe joint replacement or fusion. In this post you’ll learn about these common treatments for relieving pain from big toe arthritis. 


Big toe joint replacement

Also called first metatarsophalangeal joint replacement, big toe joint replacement involves replacing damaged or missing toe joint cartilage with an artificial implant. This restores joint mobility so that your big toe moves smoothly without the bones rubbing against each other.

Big toe fusion

Big toe fusion involves removing damaged bone and bone spurs and fusing the big toe joint with a small plate and screw. Like big toe replacement, toe joint fusion treats big toe arthritis. However, big toe fusion leaves the big toe in a fixed, rigid position. 

Which procedure is right for you?

Because big toe fusion does not restore mobility of the toe joint, we generally reserve this as a treatment of last resort. While big toe fusion is excellent for relieving pain from big toe arthritis, it eliminates toe movement, which limits certain physical activities such as running.

Big toe fusion may be an appropriate option for patients who are sedentary and who are not candidates for big toe joint replacement, or patients who have a failed joint placement. If you lead an active lifestyle, discuss big toe joint replacement with Dr. Graff.

Scheduling a consultation with Dr. Graff is the best way to find out which treatment option is right for you. Dr. Graff will perform a comprehensive evaluation before discussing the best treatment approach for your big toe arthritis.

Don’t ignore big toe pain. Treatment can relieve your symptoms. To find out more, give us a call to schedule a visit with Dr. Graff. New and existing patients can also request an appointment using our online booking form. 

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