Big Toe Fusion Surgery: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know

Big toe fusion surgery has gained traction over the years and is now a common procedure for podiatrists.

In this post, I answer most people’s questions regarding the surgery.

Who is a good candidate for big toe fusion?
Big toe fusion surgery is often recommended for patients suffering from big toearthritis and severe bunions.

The invasive procedure is extremely helpful in correcting toe malformation and reducing pain in the metatarsophalangeal joint.

Is big toe fusion surgery painful?
The surgery, involving an incision on the upper part of the big toe, extraction of bone spurs, and fusion of the big toe joint with low profile thin plates and screws; is performed under a general anesthetic. This means your foot will be numb during surgery and a few hours post-procedure ensuring minimal pain is felt.

However, because of the tourniquet that will be placed around the thigh during surgery to stop blood from flooding into the operative field, you may feel a little discomfort once you wake up in the ward. This is normal, and the smarting should subside within a day or two.

You will also be prescribed painkillers to manage any ensuing pain when you’re discharged.

What’s the recovery timeline?
Big toe fusion is generally a 45-60 minute procedure. In the majority of cases, you’re sent home on the same day – unless the surgery was performed later in the day, then you may be advised to spend the night at the hospital.

Prior to leaving the hospital, a physiotherapist will teach you how to navigate around using a pair of crutches.

Week 0-2
Expect a week-long bed rest. After 2 weeks, the surgeon will review the wound and will remove stitches.

During this time, you can resume remote working if this is possible. However, if your work involves operating heavy machinery and walking around, you may only be able to return to such an occupation after 3 months.

Week 2-6
Light exercise may be undertaken under the guidance of your doctor. You will continue to wear the post-op heel weight-bearing shoe as well. X-rays to confirm proper fusion will be taken at the six-week mark.

Months 2-6
Swelling may continue but you should now be able to go back to your daily activities without too much trouble. High-impact sports should still be avoided but swimming is generally fine.

Have a question that wasn’t answered?
Do you have any questions or concerns regarding the big toe fusion surgery that I didn’t answer? Get in touch with me or request an appointment today.

Looking for more insight? Check out our previous posts:

Disclaimer: Any information provided in this blog is not intended to replace medical advice given by qualified professionals.