Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Here I Go Again

So, the other day I went to see my orthopedic surgeon about my extremely painful feet.

After checking my xrays, bending unyielding toes and poking and prodding each and every osteophyte I own, his recommendation is that I have the metatarsal or big toe joint in both feet replaced. He said the arthritis is about as severe as it can be and there is nothing else short of complete fusion that he can do.

In the metatarsal (MTP) joint, as with any joint, the bone ends are covered by a smooth articular cartilage. If wear and tear or injury damage the cartilage, the raw bone ends can rub together. You can see in the illustration to the right bone spurs or overgrowth which may develop on the top of the bone. This overgrowth can prevent the toe from bending as much as required when you walk. The result is a stiff big toe or hallus rigidus.

Hallus rigidus usually develops in adults between 30 - 60 years of age. There is no known cause why it develops in some people and not others with the same amount of arthritis. It may result from an injury to the toe that damages the articular cartilage or from differences in foot anatomy that increases stress on the joint.

The joint shown in the picture is the one which I will have replaced. This is not a surgery I look forward to. I already have such exquisite pain in my feet (similar to a blow torch with a beat), that I can't even imagine what it will be like recovering from this, but I will hope that a few weeks of pain will give me a lifetime of relief.

My surgeon was amazed that I am walking the distances I do considering the severity of arthritis and my lack of foot mobility which leads to supination (walking on the outside of my feet).

The waiting time for this surgery will be close to one year, so for now, I will just put it out of my mind and continue my walking, cycling and good healthy eating as I continue my journey to good health. My hope is to halt my arthritis from progressing further in other parts of my body.


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