Arthritis

This page will give you information about arthrtis surgery. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

What is arthritis?

A condition causing painful inflammation and stiffness of joints.

What are the benefits of surgery?

Surgery for foot arthritis includes joint preserving surgery to help reduce symptoms or more definitive procedures to remove the arthritic surfaces generally a fusion but in some instances joint replacement surgery.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Shoe wear advice can be given dependent upon the site of arthritis and insoles can be of benefit.

Localised injections of steroid or hyaluronic acid type injections can reduce arthritic pain.

What does the operations involve?

Various anaesthetic techniques are possible. This will be specific to the arthritic area and surgical procedure. It is likely that for the first 2 weeks you will need to be at home and elevating your leg to reduce swelling. You may have a plaster, surgical shoe or boot and advise will be given as to how much weight to place on your foot and for how long.

What complications can happen?

General complications

Pain
Bleeding
Infection of the surgical site (wound)
Unsightly scarring
Blood clots
Difficulty passing urine

Specific complications

Damage to nerves
Problems with bone healing
Later removal of metalwork
Severe pain, stiffness and loss of use of your foot (complex regional pain syndrome)

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day or the day after. The length of recovery depends upon the site and nature of surgery. Swelling can take many months to go down.

Summary

If you have arthrits that is causing pain or stiffness then you may benefit from a discussion as to the non-surgical and surgical options of treatment.

Acknowledgements

Author: Miss Sue Kendall PhD FRCS (Tr. & Orth.)