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Arthritis on toe! Surgery recovery time

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I will be getting a surgery due to a previous accident playing volleyball 3 Tera ago I already had one surgery done and that was when they removed the broken cartilage in my toe but now I'm stuck with arthritis and I need to get a cartilage implant and I would like to know how long after the surgery will I be able to at least walk on my own???
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replied August 2nd, 2011
Especially eHealthy
Gaap,

What you have is called Freiberg's Infraction or Disease. Treatment method used to be just resection of the metatarsal head. But more recently, osteochondral transplants have been tried.

The graft can come from several areas, but the some of the most common, are allograft (banked graft), an autologous graft of a rib costochondral cartilage, and an osteochondral plug from the knee.

The graft is fixed, bone to bone, thus there is better healing and incorporation. You cannot transplant just cartilage, it has no healing potential.


So, how long you will be off of the foot, depends upon how long it takes for your body to heal the bone. essentially, it is like a fracture healing. It usually takes about 4 to 6 weeks for bones to heal in the foot. But, in this case, the surgeon may be over cautious, because displacement of the graft would be a disaster (whereas in a regular fracture the bones can just be put back together.)

You will most likely be nonweight bearing for around 6 weeks. Some surgeons will begin range of motion exercises pretty early, as long as the fixation is stable. ROM is very important in this procedure, to sculpt the cartilage, so the joint becomes congruent.

Then once you begin weight bearing, it will be a gradual increase. Usually most patients are walking without any ambulatory aids by about 8 to 10 weeks.

Whether or not you ever get back to running, jumping, and playing, depends upon how your body ultimately incorporates the graft.


This is just general in terms of time. Every patient reacts to surgery and healing differently. You should speak with your surgeon, to get his/her protocol for post-op rehab and that will give you a better idea of what to expect.

Good luck.
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