Abstract

Introduction Forefoot deformities are common in the rheumatoid population and lead to abnormal loading, plantar callosities and metatarsalgia. First MTP joint arthrodesis with lesser toe Stainsby procedures has become a popular method of reconstructing the rheumatoid forefoot but there is little data that reviews the clinical or biomechanical results of combining the two procedures.

Materials & Methods A prospective observational study was set up to review 10 rheumatoid patients (20 feet) undergoing bilateral first MTP joint arthrodesis via a medial approach with Stainsby procedures to all lesser toes via curved incisions with resection of two thirds of the proximal phalanx, repositioning of plantar fat pad, extensor to flexor interposition and temporary stabilisation with k wires. Clinical scoring and dynamic pedobarograph pressure measurements were taken pre operatively and at one year post surgery.

Results Nine female and one male patient with a mean age of 60.2 years were reviewed. Pre operatively there were 11 abnormal high pressure areas in 10 feet, reducing to 8 abnormal areas in 6 feet following surgery. Post operatively the mean pressure time integral increased under the first metatarsal and decreased under lesser metatarsals. Following surgery no patient suffered significantly from callosities or metatarsalgia and AOFAS scores improved.

Conclusion The post operative pressure time integrals suggest the medial weightbearing column is recreated with a reduction of abnormal pressures under the lesser metatarsal heads. These results show that first MTP joint arthrodesis with lesser toe Stainsby procedures reduces the number of abnormal high pressure areas under the forefoot and should be considered for deformity correction in the rheumatoid forefoot.