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Foot & Ankle Problems Message Board

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I had a joint replacement in my big toe in December of 2000. Unfortuantely for me, it was not successful. In Feb of 04 I had the titanium joint removed and had the joint fused. I still think that trying the joint first was the right decision. Fusion should be a last resort. I have read about several people who have had success with the replacement. Having been through both surgeries, the recovery is quicker with the replacement. If you have any other questions, let me know.


I had joint replacement in 1979 (a ******* implant). I was able to run 30 miles a week on it for 17 years before it gave out. I am about to have the toe fused, as there is not enough room for a new replacement and the old implant caused cysts in the bone. My understanding is that the new titanium implants have a life of around 25 years.

I would be glad to answer any questions you may have. I had quite a bit of success with the implant before it gave out.

I was 29 when I had my first foot surgery, and 30 when I had the joint replacement. I had my fusion at 33. My podiatrist did not want to fuse because of my age. In fact when I saw him before making the decision to fuse, he wanted to try another option before fusing. However, I mentally was not able to face a third surgery knowing that a 4th was a very distinct possibility.
I am about 6 months out, and modstly I am pain free. I still have problems with swelling and somne pain, but in so much better than before. Good luck in your decision making. I know that opinions vary greatly amoung podiatrists and orthopedic surgeons. However, if you see an ortho surgeon, make sure it is someone who specializes in feet.


I am interested in this thread because my husband is facing the same decision. He had a steriod injection several months ago, which was successful in reducing the pain and inflamation, but when he returned for a second injection last week, he did not experience the relief he expected. His doctor has also suggested the joint replacement for his toe along with the removal of the spurs (the joint is also riddled with arthritis) and like you, he is trying to decide if he's ready for that step. He is 48. I hope you will keep us posted as to your decision and I will do the same.

I hope that this posting is not too late. Joint implants are no longer in favor (really never were, especially after studying them) unless you are an elderly person with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and probably not then either.

Bottom line, joint implants fail. The usual time to failure is less than 5 years. When they fail, your options are to remove the implant and leave it that way, or to fuse the joint. If the joint is bad enough to warrant an implant (no joint cartilage left), then fusion should be the ONLY procedure in someone that is active. A fusion will give you a solid correction that will NOT fail.

People that have fusions continue to live active lifestyles (marathon running, hiking, etc.) and to only have one procedure is the way to go. Would anyone ever have a procedure done to them that they knew was going to fail in 5 or less years? It just doens't make and never has made sense. I would recommend another opinion.

On the other hand, if the joint is not that arthritic, there are other procedures that can be done to correct the underlying problem and then "clean" the joint of the spurs.

NEVER allow anyone to put an implant in your big toe or other toe for that matter.
Hi Larah,
I am in my early 40's and had a big toe joint fused just over a year ago, and it was luckily a huge success for me. I played a lot of singles tennis, and after about a 5 mo. recovery was back on the court. Yes, I can run better than before, and am back on the court 5-6 days a week.
And the best part is there is no pain anymore, and I can wear nice dress shoes (with the heal limited to about 1"). I think the secret is finding an outstanding dr., and mine was a specialist here @ Yale. He was actually this year's Ct. dr. of the year! So, research it ,find a great dr. and eliminate your pain. I am glad I did. Good luck, and best wishes.
Sue :)
In 1989 I had a bunyonectomy. I was 32 years old, my foot was fine for 8 years and then my big toe turned in towards my other toes. This started to bother my other toes. I also have arthristis in this foot and ankle badly. I never broke my foot or ankle. It was after my bunyonectomy that I developed swelling in my foot and ankle. It was decided that because of the arthristis in this foot that the best for me was to have the big toe fused.
I am differently happy that I did have the toe fused. I work full time and my job requires me to be on my feet. I also am an outdoor person who gardens and rides a motorcycle. Bad new thought, I just cracked the ball of the fused foot and am sitting around recovering for 3 weeks. My big toe did move towards the other toes, dont know what the orthopedic doctor will do yet. Hope this helps

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