Authors: Thomas Roukis DPM, Tristan Meusnier MD, Marc Augoyard MD
Abstract: Myriad forms of fixation have been proposed for arthrodesis of the first metatarsal-phalangeal joint (MTPJ). Regardless of the fixation type, nonunion of the arthrodesis site has been purported to be a common complication. We performed a retrospective review of all patients undergoing arthrodesis of the first MTPJ for end-stage hallux rigidus with 2 crossed flexible titanium intramedullary nails and a dorsal static 10-mm titanium staple followed by immediate protected weight-bearing. The inclusion criteria were as follows: the exact internal fixation technique described was employed for end-stage hallux rigidus of the first MTPJ only; preoperative and at least 6 weeks of postoperative weight-bearing radiographs were available; weight-bearing was initiated on the operative foot immediately in a protective shoe; the patient was followed for at least 6 months postoperatively; any complication was documented; and bilateral surgery was not done in the same setting. A total of 42 female patients (51 feet) with a mean age ± SD of 69.4 ± 9.2 years met the inclusion criteria. Complications resulting from technical error during insertion of the crossed titanium flexible intramedullary nails occurred in 3 feet (5.9%), but none led to nonunion or revision surgery. One delayed union (2%) occurred but it ultimately united. The incidence of nonunion after arthrodesis of the first MTPJ consisting of 2 crossed flexible titanium intramedullary nails and a dorsal static 10-mm titanium staple for end-stage hallux rigidus in an exclusively female population was lower than the historic mean for most other fixation techniques. However, methodologically sound prospective cohort studies that focus on the use of isolated arthrodesis of the first MTPJ for end-stage hallux rigidus in both male and female patients are still needed, as are comparisons of the presented technique with other modern osteosynthesis techniques.