Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Foot FAQ

Question:

My father had a joint fusion of this big toe last month. It needed to be done because of arthritis. The nurses made him get up out of bed right away, despite the fact that he just had surgery. What is the rush?

Answer:

Fusing the joint of the big toe is often done if the damage in the joint is causing a lot of pain and discomfort to the patient. The surgery involves adding pins, screws, wires, and/or plates to stabilize the joint. When to get a patient up out of bed, after surgery, and bearing weight is always a bit controversial because doctors try to find the right combination of the type of surgery and when weight-bearing should start. Early ambulation after surgery has many advantages. Patients who stay in bed after surgery are at higher risk of some complications, such as blood clots and pneumonia. So it is usually in their best interest to move about as early as possible. In the case of foot surgery, this can be tricky, but surgeons have found that after certain types of fusions, if patients are wearing specially fitted shoes, they often can begin weight bearing almost immediately after surgery. This helps the patient resume his or her normal activities while the foot is healing. Robert M. Greenhagen, DPM, et al. Immediate Ambulation after a First Metatarsophalangeal Joint Fusion Using a Locking Plate: Technique and case reports. In The Foot and Ankle Online Journal. April 2010. Vol. 3. No. 4.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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