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The joints where the foot bones join the toes are called the metatarsal phalangeal (MTP) joints. They make up the middle part (ball) of your foot. In joint fusion surgery, the surgeon removes part of the toe joint and lets the toe bones grow together (fuse). They will not bend when you walk.
Fusion surgery may help relieve pain and swelling so you can walk more comfortably. It's done if other treatments for chronic pain and arthritis haven't worked.
To do the surgery, your doctor will give you medicine to help you relax and to numb your foot. Or you may get medicine to put you to sleep.
Your surgeon will make one or more small cuts near your MTP joint. These cuts are called incisions. The doctor will remove small pieces of bone and cartilage. He or she will position the bones together and join them with plates or screws that help the bones fuse. The plates or screws usually stay in your foot.
The surgery will leave scars that fade with time.
You will probably go home on the day of your surgery. If your surgery is more complex, you may spend the night in the hospital.
It may take 6 weeks or longer before swelling goes down and you have healed enough to return to your normal routine. You may not be able to put weight on the foot during those 6 weeks. You may have some swelling and pain for up to 6 months.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: March 2, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Steven J. Atlas MD, MPH - Internal Medicine & Robert B. Keller MD - Orthopedics & Marco Mannarino MD - Family Medicine
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