The big toe joint (first MTP joint) can be fused to relieve pain and disability due to MTP joint damage, which has usually happened through age-related changes known as osteoarthritis. Some individuals undergo a midfoot joint fusion due to fractures or rheumatological diseases which have deteriorated the joint over time.

Phase oneThe first phase of your recovery will be focused on managing your swelling and pain and early mobilization of your knee and ankle to prevent excessive stiffness in the operated leg as a whole. You will be encouraged to fully weight bear through the heel of your operated foot in a specialist shoe immediately after your surgery. Initially after surgery, it is advisable to elevate your lower leg and perform ankle pumping movements regularly to help reduce swelling.

Phase twoUnder normal circumstances, your active recovery will begin six weeks after surgery, when you will be asked to wean off your specialist shoe. At this stage, your physiotherapist will supervise you taking appropriate weight through your operated foot as you get used to walking without movement of your big toe joint. Your physiotherapist will advise you of some stretches to your calf muscles to restore normal flexibility. Provided that a normal walking pattern is achieved, walking distances can be gradually increased as far as your pain allows.

Phase threeThe third phase of your recovery will begin when you have recovered enough strength and balance in your operated leg to commence more vigorous, weight- bearing exercises. The exercises our physiotherapists prescribe during this phase will typically take into consideration your normal activity levels, sports and hobbies and will aim to increase functional strength. Examples of exercises that may be prescribed are step ups to increase your strength and balance when climbing stairs or shallow squats to enhance your ability to go from sitting to standing.

The AlterG anti-gravity treadmill and Hydro Physio aquajogger may help rehabilitation following a 1st MTP joint fusion

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Circle Health Group, 1st Floor, 30 Cannon Street, London, EC4M 6XH