Mr Adam Ajis, Consultant Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgeon specialising in disorders of the foot and ankle, explains everythink you need to know about hallux rigidus or big toe arthritis.
What is big toe arthritis or hallux rigidus?
This is a condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness at the base of the big toe. It is made worse by activity and eased by rest in early stages.
Are there different types of big toe arthritis?
Arthritis in the big toe can be divided into mild moderate or severe. It can also be inflammatory or degenerative.
What are the symptoms of big toe arthritis?
Pain at the base of the big toe which can radiate across the foot. The big toe often doesn't move as much as it did before and can have hard lumps around the joint.
Who does big toe arthritis affect and how can I reduce the risk of getting this?
Anyone can suffer from it. People with gout or other inflammatory arthritis can have it earlier. People with the wear and tear type of arthritis tend to develop it later in life. The underlying structure of the bones in the foot can play a role in getting it.
What treatments are available for big toe arthritis?
Footwear modifications and injections tend to have a short-lived effect. At Goring Hall Hospital, West Sussex, a quick 15 minute keyhole procedure can be done to keep symptoms at bay and maintain joint range of movement in the first instance. Other non keyhole treatments are also possible.
What are the benefits of having surgery for big toe arthritis?
Keyhole surgery can be done without a general anaesthetic with immediate full weight bearing and a rapid return to work. Only one stitch is necessary which can be removed after 2 weeks.
What are the risks of having surgery for big toe arthritis?
As with any operation there is always a small risk of infection, bleeding, numbness, blood clots and symptom recurrence. However having keyhole surgery at Goring Hall significantly reduces most of these uncommon risks even further.
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
Once taking pain killers, foot wear modifications and injections stop working, surgery is the best way forward. There are procedures that can maintain movement but at the end of the line a fusion of the joint might be required to remove pain.
What made you want to be a Consultant Foot & Ankle Surgeon?
The foot & ankle is the most complex and interesting part of the body from a mechanical perspective. The demands placed on these structures mean that surgery not only has to correct deformity but also has to withstand incredible forces. From fine soft tissue surgery to complex fusions and ankle replacements, the variety and breadth of skills required and surgeries possible are unmatched by other branches of orthopaedic surgery.
What would you say is the focus of your practice?
Because Foot & Ankle surgery is rapidly advancing I take pride in developing new techniques and different approaches to solve common problems. Staying at the forefront of this field isn't easy and I frequently find myself at international meetings learning new techniques keeping up to date with the latest cutting edge technology. Patient satisfaction is a big focus for me and I will do whatever I can to ensure this and the latest techniques and technology is available to my patients.
At BMI Goring Hall we offer orthopaedic services including a Foot and Ankle clinic. Our range of services is wide covering cancer care services, diagnostic and imaging, or physiotherapy.
17th July 2017