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Surgeons Report Toe Joint Surgery Relieves Arthritis Pain

  [ 57 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • March 4, 2002

Seniors with painful arthritis in the joint at the base of the big toe are taking advantage of a surgical remedy to relieve their pain and, as a result, they are able to pursue healthier and more active lifestyles, according to research presented at the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons annual meeting.

The ACFAS study reported that patients with arthritis in the big toe joint (located at the ball of the foot and known as 1st MPJ) get substantial pain relief from surgery that fuses arthritic bones to inhibit motion and eliminate the arthritis. The retrospective analysis revealed that 100 percent of patients who responded to the survey said they were satisfied with the results of the fusion surgery and would undergo the procedure again if warranted.

In evaluating the patient satisfaction results, Lawrence A. DiDomenico, DPM, FACFAS said MPJ fusion surgery can significantly improve activity levels and overall quality of life for seniors with arthritis.

"When the MPJ area becomes arthritic, it is very uncomfortable as this area propels the foot when walking," explained DiDomenico. "Therefore, walking short distances -- even across a room -- can be a painful experience. By eliminating this joint motion, fusion surgery allows the patient to walk pain free and pursue a more active lifestyle."

DiDomenico added it shouldn't be assumed fusion surgery is risky for seniors because of brittle or soft bones caused by osteoporosis. "The success rate of MPJ fusion surgery exceeds 90 percent and one of the patients in our study was 86," he said. "Anyone with extremely painful bunions, painful bunion joints or a history of gout or diabetes should consider this surgery to stop progression of arthritis."

The degenerative type of arthritis that effects bone joints and develops slowly with advancing age is known as osteoarthritis. It also can result from fractures and sprains that were not treated appropriately or didn't heal properly. Surgery to repair or reconstruct an arthritic joint usually is required when arthritis leads to chronic pain, limited motion and foot deformities.

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