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What Is Midfoot Fusion Surgery?

The midfoot – which includes the bones that comprise the arch and connect the forefoot (toes) to the hindfoot (heel and ankle) – contains many small joints. Much like the joints throughout the rest of the body, these joints are susceptible to the effects of wear-and-tear arthritis (osteoarthritis). In addition to being quite painful, joint degeneration in the foot can potentially interfere with mobility, and therefore may require treatment.

Midfoot osteoarthritis can often be treated conservatively

Osteoarthritis symptoms typically progress gradually. If treatment becomes necessary, it usually begins with conservative options such as:

  • Activity modifications
  • Footwear changes
  • Weight loss
  • Calf muscle stretches
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Assistive walking devices to reduce the weight load on the midfoot

If the symptoms continue to worsen despite several months of nonsurgical treatment, midfoot fusion surgery may be discussed.

Surgical treatment for midfoot osteoarthritis

When performing midfoot fusion surgery, a surgeon will fuse the separate bones that make up the arch into a single, solid bone mass. To do so, the surgeon may place metal plates or screws to immobilize the joints and allow for the formation of bone across the joint space (possibly with the use of a bone graft).

This procedure can decrease pain and improve function by:

  • Eliminating painful motion between arthritic joint surfaces
  • Restoring displaced bones to their proper position
  • Enhancing the stability of the arch
  • Addressing a midfoot deformity, such as a bunion or flatfoot

To promote a successful fusion, surgery is usually followed by a period of protection and immobility during which a cast is worn to prevent weight bearing. As healing occurs and comfort allows, a progressive physical therapy program can be performed to restore balance and mobility. The program may begin with weight bearing in a prefabricated boot and gradually transition to a supportive shoe.

To address midfoot osteoarthritis, the board-certified and double-board-certified orthopedic surgeons at Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, TX, offer midfoot fusion surgery, as well as a full range of other treatment options, both conservative and surgical.

To learn more, contact Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, Texas, today.