Implants of the first metatarsal phalangeal joint are procedures utilized for correction of multiple disease conditions of the Big Toe joint. The most common indications are for treatment of degenerative joint disease caused by biomechanical deformities like hallux limitus, hallux rigidus, and bunions. The exact procedure used for these conditions will be up to your podiatric surgeon considering many factors such as age, active lifestyle, bone quality, and post-operative expectations.
An implant arthroplasty is the procedure used to place an implant within a joint. This is a joint destructive procedure as commonly both sides of the joint are completely removed using a saw, blade, or rasp. There are many types of implants and each made of different materials. Some are made of Silicone material, others are made of metals like titanium. It is important to let your physician know of any allergy to metals if considering this type of implant.
Post-operative Care and Risks of an implant of the first metatarsal phalangeal joint depends on the type of implant used and surgeons preference. You may need a cast to protect you for a short time with little or no weight on the foot. Sometimes a soft bandage with a post-operative shoe is allowed. You should expect some pain following surgery as well as swelling. Especially for the first 48 hours you should keep your leg elevated and occasional ice placed over the area of surgery (about 20 minutes per hour). Surgical cuts are made through the skin so a scar is expected. If you are a keloid former, let your surgeon know. Surgical cuts are not only made through skin, but through other layers of tissue as well, a scar may form within your foot and lead to adhesions. Your surgeon may allow you to place some weight on the heel. You may use crutches, a walker, or wheelchair to help you keep weight off of this foot. Motion at an implanted joint is usually started early in the recovery process in a limited fashion and gradually increased over time. Your physician may give you specific exercises and stretches to perform during this time. Healing is influenced by many factors including your nutrition, circulation, and other medical conditions. If you are a smoker you can expect to take longer to heal. If you are required to keep pressure off of your foot your leg muscles are not being used as they were before surgery. This allows for slower movement of the blood through the leg vessels. Occasionally this can lead to a blood clot in the leg which can become life threatening. Hip and knee flexion and extension exercises as well as wiggling your toes gently can help prevent this from occurring. If you have a history of blood clots you should let your surgeon know.