Foot surgery in rheumatoid arthritis : Hello, I’m new... - NRAS

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Foot surgery in rheumatoid arthritis

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Hello, I’m new here but would like some input from others about foot surgery in rheumatoid arthritis. My feet are very deformed from arthritis. I saw a surgeon last week who said he can put a metal rod into my big toes to straighten them and then remove parts of the bones on the remaining toes to make them less painful when walking. However he has told me to think about it because I am still very active and with the right footwear my feet problems have not stopped me walking reasonable distances or cycling.

Have others had foot operations and what has been the outcomes?

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I had surgery 5 years ago, to remove a bunion in my big toe and straighten, and to straighten my next toe, which was a hammer toe, going over my big toe.

The surgery was ok, pin in my second toe removed after 6 weeks.

However, I still had pain in my foot, and a sensation of string tied very tightly round my toes, which has only just begun to ease.

I was offered surgery on my other foot, due to similar problems, but I declined, feeling very ambivalent about the results. There are so many nerves in the foot, it's not straightforward, and I would think hard and long before you opt for surgery....if you can cope now, it may be an idea to delay until problems get worse.

Ironically, I am just back from my podiatrist. The joint in my other big toe, collapsed completely, and now I am getting sores underneath , which are caused directly by the pressure. It is excruciating. So I think the time may well have come to consider surgery......there appears to be no other long-term solution.

I wish you good luck, I am sure you will come to the best decision for yourself.!l


Many thanks for your reply. I’d forgotten all the nerves in the foot. I will think long and hard before I decide.


Give it a great deal of thought before you go ahead as it is a big

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I had a bunion removed and the second toe straightened with a pin fourteen years ago. Unfortunately after a couple of years the toes started reverting to the bent position. At the beginning of October I went back to the Orthopaedic hospital to see a dr about the possibility of re doing the surgery. He was quite reluctant to agree to it because of the RA meds I’m on making the chance of infection being greater and healing taking longer. He says he will operate as a last resort, but I have to try orthotics first. I’m a bit sceptical about their success because I went down that road before, but we’ll see.

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Hi I think your surgeon is offering sound advice. I had foot surgery 4 years ago and although I have experienced some pain relief this has been far out weighed by the increased deformity and huge issue with finding comfortable footwear. I too am fairly active and walk everyday when possible and indeed just back from a few days on west coast where I managed between 4 - 6 miles everyday. (Happy with this after RA for 34 yeas).

I spent all summer in trainers as could not find anything else and orthotic insoles make finding correct footwear even more of a problem.

I can't give you any suggestions as to the way forward but wish I had been told of level of deformity to expect and therefore level of difficulty getting footwear.

Good luck with whatever you decide.


I had foot surgery...bunion removal & excision of neuromas on both feet (six months apart) in surgeon told me they would only get worse without surgery. Ask your surgeon what your prognosis is without surgery.

Best move I could have made. Although the neuromas have partly regrown & I recently had them injected, won't know if that is successful until December.

Your best move is to try to find out if patients of your surgeon are happy with their results. I had no pain...a bit achey..but nothing major.....It was very disruptive being on crutches for a few weeks, (& not being able to drive when I had right foot done) & not to wear proper shoes for months.

But I went back & had the second foot done, & I wouldn't have done that if the first one had been a terrible experience.

I'd had bunions for for the first time in a long while I don't dread buying shoes,

Good Luck


I had a bunion removed and the crooked big toe fused exactly two years ago. The healing process is fairly long as I just now feel as though it was worth it. Due to the fusion of the toe, I am unable to bend it upward very far, but I was able to adjust to that. I also have some numbness at the tip of my big toe which is annoying but mostly unnoticeable. Be aware that all of your shoes are used to your foot being as it is now. After surgery, you will likely need to invest in different ones since the memory foam or base of the shoe is formed to your pre-surgery foot. As I said, it took me 2 years to be pleased with the outcome. There will be lots of swelling to deal with for awhile, but don't lose hope if you decide to proceed!

All the best!


Yes left foot straightened. right foot is normal. Worked a treat no pain and so glad it was done.


Hi grumpling and welcome.

I had surgery June this year (5.6 months ago) to remove my bunio on my big toe and straighten my 2nd toe, which also was a hammer toe.

I was quite concerned as I live on my own with 5 big dogs. I have a few close friends in the area, though my family are my closest friends and live hours from me. I believe, I am fortunate to be blessed with the 'best RA team' and 'surgeons'.

I really struggled to begin with, not so much with my foot, but with everything else. Walking with crutches when hands and arms hurt so much. Shopping, housework, bathing, getting dressed, getting to appointments, finding footwear with one foot swollen ,in fact too many 'things' to list but for me, the worse of all was having to keep my dogs at arms length ( I have 5 ).

Get through it I did. Five and a half months post op, and the swelling in my foot is almost gone.I can wear 'shoes' again, my left foot looks beautiful (for the first time ever) and best of all I have very little pain there (touch wood). For me personally , it was a goid decision to go ahead.



Yes on foot foot same thing or at least it sounds the same. I like you am active although ill at the moment with kidney failure. The op was the best thing ever ok a bit uncomfortable but after a couple of weeks just a bit lop sided with the blue boot then dancing feet. I love my feet and all pain has gone as has the limp and I can wear normal shoes too.


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