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  • Fusion or Joint Replacement

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    Old 12-28-2011, 08:47 PM   #1
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    Fusion or Joint Replacement

    I am wondering whether I should have a fusion or joint replacement on my left foot. My big toe needs it. I have had about 5 surgeries on my left foot already. It started with bunions. I need help deciding. I am very confused and angry. One doctor said a fusion. Another doctor said a joint replacement. They both had their reasons. I am worried if I went with the fusion because I am very active. I work out 4-5 times per week. I love to run. I love aerobics including kick boxing. I beat my feet up and I love it! I don't have a lot of movement in my big toe now, so I am also wondering what would make a fusion so different. I would be devastated if I could not work out because of this surgery. I really don't care about wearing heels. I never could wear cute shoes any way because of my wide feet. I am also 38 years old. Any help/feedback would be appreciated.

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    Old 12-29-2011, 05:52 AM   #2
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    Re: Fusion or Joint Replacement

    First of all, RUN do not walk away from the doc suggesting the joint replacement. They have a horrible track record.

    Next, fusion will give you a higher level of activity as they fuse the joint at an angle so that you can jog, hike, play tennis, etc. It is a long recovery though - much of it NWB.

    There is another alternative - resurfacing and insertion of either a titanium plate or cadaver material (like hip or knee resurfacing). Those are relatively new procedures (gaining popularity in the past 5 years or so).

    My last suggestion is to find a sports med ortho who is foot and ankle board certified. Not sure where in IL you are but suggest you call the nearest professional football or basketball team, professional dance company or major college athletic department and find out who they use. S/he will be well versed in these options.

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    Old 01-02-2012, 02:55 PM   #3
    debbie g
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    Re: Fusion or Joint Replacement

    i agree. fusion would be better than joint replacement. i never heard of these new procedures. very interesting!

    Old 01-02-2012, 06:46 PM   #4
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    Re: Fusion or Joint Replacement

    I agree with the previous posters....fusion is the way to go. I had a fusion two years ago and am very happy with it. I realized my toe had significantly reduced range of motion anyway, and was very painful, so that helped me decide. The surgeon gave me the choice between a cheilectomy and a fusion, and said the fusion was what he recommended. My joint had no cartilage, so that was where I was heading anyway.

    In August 2011, I walked in a cancer walk and did 60 kilometres in two days. I NEVER would have been able to do that prior to the surgery. I am also able to do yoga better, and can be more active. From what I understand, they recommend fusion over a joint replacement for people who will be active.

    I also quite like telling people I have a titanium reinforced toe for kicking butt.

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