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Pain in your big toe? You may need a replacement

By Ogden Clinic  |  Posted Apr 12th, 2017 @ 8:00am


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You only have two big toes, and they both carry the greatest load of your body weight. Your big toes are critical to overall balance, so taking care of them is a big deal. Podiatrists across the country see patients suffering from arthritic big toe joint or hallux limitus/rigidus, which tends to present symptoms in people between their 30s and 40s. Arthritic big toe joint is one of the most common foot problems that primarily affect women.

Fortunately, people in Northern Utah have access to a leading-edge treatment of arthritic big toe: Arthrosurface® joint replacement surgery. This procedure boasts incredible outcomes with many patients walking pain-free just a few hours after their surgery! Ogden Clinic’s Dr. Jason Bruse performs the most Arthrosurface® joint replacements in Utah and educates doctors around the country about Arthrosurface® HemiCAP toe implants. Learn more this option for big toe pain from Dr. Bruse below.

What are the symptoms of arthritic big toe joint?

“The pain associated with arthritic big toe joint is very severe,” says Dr. Bruse. “The joint appears red, swollen, and may include a bump. Mobility decreases because walking is so painful. Women can no longer wear heeled shoes because even a slight bend or pressure application to the toe causes pain.”

What makes Arthosurface® joint replacement so progressive?

First introduced in 2005, the Arthosurface® HemiCAP toe implant is an alternative to fusion plating. Fusion plating secures bone-on-bone with a plate and promotes bone fusion. The downside of fusion plating is that the big toe’s range of motion is permanently lost. The joint cannot bend so shoe choices are limited and high heels are no longer an option. Patients also undergo a lengthy recovery in a cast and crutches for up to a couple months.

“There’s a huge difference between replacing the joint and fusing it,” says Dr. Bruse. Arthrosurface® joint replacement features an anatomically contoured plate and non-locking screws that preserve the toe’s full range of motion. Dr. Bruse adds, “We’re not waiting for bones to heal and repair so recovery is much less difficult with this surgery.”

What can patients expect during recovery?

Recovery improves significantly when patients choose to replace the big toe joint rather than fusing it. “If I perform this surgery in the morning, my patient can usually begin walking again that evening. Early motion is a good thing so I encourage my patient to remove their surgical shoe and start introducing motion back as soon as they can,” says Dr. Bruse.

“Almost all of patients choose to have the joint replaced after I explain both procedures to them,” he adds. “I would choose the same thing if I needed this surgery because of the recovery process. You can start walking the same day and within weeks, you’re back to walking and even running pain-free.”

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Jason Bruse is a Foot and Ankle Surgeon and Podiatrist in Davis County. He practices at two locations: Ogden Clinic Farmington and Cope Family Medicine | Ogden Clinic in Bountiful. To discuss big toe pain or any other foot condition, contact Dr. Bruse’s office at (801) 397-6080.

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