Toe fusion surgery
Toe fusion surgery is a procedure performed to correct problems with the bones in the metatarsals (toes). A number of conditions can affect the toes and make fusion a necessity. Arthritis, fractures and hammertoe are the most common conditions that can require fusion surgery for correction.
The toe fusion surgery process can differ depending on the toes involved and the condition affecting them:
- Fractured toe fusion – This usually involves creating an incision over the area of the fracture and realigning the affected bone. After the bone is set, the surgeon inserts instrumentation over the bone, such as a metal plate and screws to help keep it immobile during its healing time. The metal plate and screws are removed during follow-up surgery when the bone is completely healed back together.
- Arthritic toe fusion – The surgeon makes an incision along the side of the big toe, then removes the worn cartilage surfaces from the joint. The bones that make up the joint are aligned, then fixed together using screws. The joint will fuse together into one single structure.
- Hammertoe fusion – This procedure is reserved for cases in which the hammertoe has progressed severely and caused the affected toe to become very stiff and rigid. The surgeon will fuse the small joint in the toe to straighten it back to its normal position. Typically a small pin is used to hold the joint in place as the toe heals. The result of this surgery is that the hammertoe is corrected, but you will not be able to bend your toe again.