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Small Joint Surgery for Osteoarthritis

Topic Overview

If osteoarthritis in the joints of the hands or feet is so severe that function is impossible (rare with osteoarthritis), surgery may allow some pain-free motion.

In the hands, the goal is enough pain-free motion to allow the person to do basic daily activities such as eating, bathing, and dressing. Surgery for severe arthritis in the small joints of the hands is more commonly seen with rheumatoid arthritis.

In the feet, the goals of surgery are usually to allow the person to be able to wear shoes comfortably and to walk as normally as possible. Surgery to repair bunions or hammer toes is fairly common in osteoarthritis.

Joining together (fusion) of smaller joints may be more commonly used than replacement.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma
Last Revised April 8, 2013

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