Dramatic improvements in medical treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have led to marked reductions in joint damage and deformities. Consequently, surgical methods for treating RA-related foot problems have gradually evolved from joint-sacrificing to joint-preserving procedures. In a recent issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, Yano et al. reported on outcomes of 105 feet in RA patients treated with joint-preserving methods followed up for a mean of 6 years.
What the Researchers Did:
- Performed a proximal rotational closing-wedge osteotomy of the first metatarsal and modified shortening oblique osteotomies of the lesser metatarsals
- Recorded Self-Administered Foot Evaluation Questionnaire (SAFE-Q) scores preoperatively and at latest follow-up
- Measured hallux valgus angle (HVA), intermetatarsal angle (IMA), and medial sesamoid position before surgery, 3 months after surgery, and at the latest follow-up
- Tracked delayed wound healing, hallux valgus recurrence, nonunion, and reoperations
- Calculated Kaplan-Meier survivorship with reoperation as the endpoint
What the Researchers Found:
- Surgery was associated with significantly improved median SAFE-Q scores, relative to preoperative values.
- The average HVA, IMA, and grade of medial sesamoid positioning decreased significantly, compared with preoperative measurements.
- Kaplan-Meier survivorship at 7 years was 89.5%.
- Delayed wound healing was found in 20% of the feet (all wounds healed with nonoperative treatment), hallux valgus recurrence in 10.5% of the feet, and reoperation in 10.5% of the feet.
Yano et al. emphasize several advantages of joint-sparing over joint-sacrificing surgery: preserved range of motion, stability of the metatarsophalangeal joint, and improved plantar-pressure distribution. However, these advantages and the “satisfactory” long-term outcomes noted above come with substantial complications that foot-and-ankle surgeons will strive to address in the future.
OrthoBuzz has previously reported on studies examining the narcotic-prescribing patterns of foot and ankle surgeons. New findings published by Finney et al. in the April 17, 2019 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery strongly suggest that the single most powerful and modifiable risk factor for persistent opioid use after bunion surgery was the opioid dose perioperatively prescribed by the surgeon.
The authors analyzed a US private-insurance database to identify >36,500 opioid-naïve patients (mean age, 49 years; 88% female) who underwent one of three surgical bunion treatments. Among those patients, the rate of new persistent opioid use (defined as filling an opioid prescription between 91 and 180 days after the surgery) was 6.2%, or >2,200 individuals. The authors found that patients who underwent a first metatarsal-cuneiform arthrodesis were more likely to have new persistent opioid use, compared with those who received a distal metatarsal osteotomy, which was the most common procedure performed in this cohort. Additional findings included the following:
- Patients who filled an opioid prescription prior to surgery were more likely to continue to use opioids beyond 90 days after surgery.
- Patients who resided in regions outside the Northeastern US demonstrated significantly higher rates of new persistent opioid use.
- The presence of medical comorbidities, preexisting mental health diagnoses, and substance-use disorders were associated with significantly higher new persistent opioid use.
However, physician prescribing patterns had the biggest influence on new persistent opioid use. A total prescribed perioperative opioid dose of >337.5 mg (equivalent to approximately 45 tablets of 5-mg oxycodone) was the major modifiable risk factor for persistent opioid use in this cohort. The authors also pointed out that 45 tablets of 5-mg oxycodone “is a relatively low amount when compared with common orthopaedic prescribing patterns” (see related JBJS study).
As orthopaedic surgeons in all subspecialties rethink their narcotic-analgesic prescribing habits, they should remember that regional anesthesia and non-opiate oral pain-management protocols have had a positive impact on pain management while minimizing narcotic use. The smallest dose of opioids for the shortest period of time seems to be a good rule of thumb.
OrthoBuzz occasionally receives posts from guest bloggers. This guest post comes from Shahriar Rahman, MS, in response to a recent study in Foot and Ankle Clinics of North America.
It makes sense that orthopaedic conditions with multiple etiologic factors have a corresponding variety of treatment options. So it is with hallux valgus (bunion deformity). In the June 2018 edition of Foot and Ankle Clinics of North America, Smyth and Aiyer1 focus on the pathoanatomy of hallux valgus and various approaches to selecting an operative option.
With more than 100 different operative procedures described to correct hallux valgus, it can be challenging to pick the “right” procedure for each patient. The etiology of hallux valgus includes intrinsic factors (e.g., a long first metatarsal, the shape of the metatarsal head, and soft-tissue imbalances across the hallux metatarsophalangeal [MP] joint) and extrinsic factors (e.g., high-heeled, narrow toe-box shoes). Other kinematic factors of the foot, such as hypermobility of the first ray, are associated with hallux valgus, as is pes planus (flatfoot). Whatever the etiology, hallux valgus almost always progresses in a relatively predictable manner.1
Careful preoperative analysis is required to successfully treat hallux valgus, with the goal of restoring static and dynamic balance around the first MP joint. For optimum outcomes, a soft-tissue procedure (e.g., modified McBride procedure) is now commonly combined with osseous corrective techniques. The chevron osteotomy, which has been modified in multiple ways, achieves acceptable outcomes with reportedly high patient satisfaction levels, as does a percutaneous distal metatarsal osteotomy.2
More severe deformities are usually treated with proximal first metatarsal osteotomies—such as a proximal chevron, Ludloff osteotomy, or Scarf osteotomy—to increase the possible angular correction of the metatarsal. While these procedures are more “powerful” correction options, some studies have shown recurrence rates up to 30% at 10 years of follow up.1,2 In cases of severe deformity accompanied by arthritis of the tarsometatarsal (TM) joint, a modified Lapidus procedure may be an option for stabilizing the first TM joint. Hallux MP arthrodesis is also considered in patients who have severe deformity, arthritis, and neuromuscular disorders, and for the revision of a previously failed hallux valgus surgery.
There is currently no consensus as to which procedure is the gold standard for treating hallux valgus. Despite multiple comparative studies assessing the outcomes of different techniques, the decision ultimately depends on surgeon and patient preferences.
Shahriar Rahman, MS is a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in Bangladesh and a member of the JBJS Social Media Advisory Board.
- Smyth NA & Aiyer AA 2018, ‘Introduction: Why Are There so Many Different Surgeries for Hallux Valgus?’, Foot and Ankle Clinics, 23, no.2, pp.171-182.
- Adams SB, 2017, JBJS Clinical Summary: Hallux Valgus (Bunion Deformity), viewed 27 may 2018, https://jbjs.org/summary.php?id=188
Related Articles from JBJS Essential Surgical Techniques
- Hallux Valgus Correction With Bunionectomy, Lateral Release, And Proximal Opening Wedge Osteotomy Using Wedge-plate Fixation
- Lateral Soft-tissue Release With Medial Transarticular Or Dorsal First Web-space Approach Combined With Distal Chevron Osteotomy For Moderate-to-severe Hallux Valgus
- Treatment Of Advanced Stages Of Hallux Rigidus With Cheilectomy And Proximal Phalangeal Osteotomy
- Arthrodesis Of The Hallux Metatarsophalangeal Joint
Recurrence rates after surgical treatment for hallux valgus (bunion) range from 4% to 25%. Findings from a study by Park and Lee in the July 19, 2017 edition of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery suggest that non-weight-bearing radiographs taken immediately after surgery can provide a good estimate of the risk of recurrence.
The study analyzed proximal chevron osteotomies performed on 117 feet. At an average follow-up of two years, the hallux valgus recurrence rate was 17%. (Recurrence was defined as a hallux valgus angle [HVA] of ≥20°.)
Bunions were 28 times more likely to recur when the postoperative HVA was ≥8° than when the HVA was <8°. The HVA continued to widen over time in patients with recurrent bunions, but stabilized at six months in those without recurrence. An immediate postoperative sesamoid position of grade 4 or greater was also significantly associated with recurrence.
If future studies confirm their results, the authors believe that such data could be used “to suggest intraoperative guidelines for satisfactory correction of radiographic parameters,” and thus help surgeons minimize the risk of hallux valgus recurrence. Commentator Jakup Midjord, MD concurs, noting that non-weight-bearing radiographs can be “closely related to intraoperative radiographs, so we can modify correction as needed in the operating room.”
Every month, JBJS publishes a Specialty Update—a review of the most pertinent and impactful studies published in the orthopaedic literature during the previous year in 13 subspecialties. Click here for a collection of all OrthoBuzz Specialty Update summaries.
This month, OrthoBuzz asked Sheldon Lin, MD, co-author of the April 19, 2017 Specialty Update on foot and ankle surgery, to select the five most clinically compelling findings from among the more than 50 studies cited in the article.
–Recommendations for venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis in isolated foot and ankle fractures are conflicting. In a prospective study, Zheng et al.1 determined the incidence of VTE in 814 patients who received either low-molecular-weight heparin or placebo for 2 weeks postoperatively. The overall incidence of deep vein thrombosis was 0.98% in the heparin group and 2.01% in the placebo group, with no significant difference between the two. The risk factors were high body mass index (BMI) and advanced age. The authors concluded that routine chemical prophylaxis was not necessary in cases of isolated foot and ankle fractures.
Age and Total Ankle Arthroplasty
–Concerns regarding implant survivorship in younger patients have prompted investigations into the effect of age on total ankle arthroplasty outcomes. Demetracopoulos et al.2 prospectively compared patient-reported outcomes and revision rates in patients who were 70 years of age. At the 3.5-year follow-up, patients who were 70 years of age, although no differences were observed in pain, need for reoperation, or revision rates between groups.
Hallux Rigidus/Hallux Valgus
–Joint-preserving arthroplasties for hallux rigidus have been proposed as an alternative to first metatarsophalangeal joint arthrodesis. However, they have shown high rates of failure with associated bone loss, rendering salvage arthrodesis a more complicated procedure with worse outcomes. A Level-I study by Baumhauer et al.3 investigated the use of a synthetic cartilage implant that requires less bone resection than a traditional arthroplasty. Patients were randomized to implant and arthrodesis groups. At the 2-year follow-up, pain level, functional scores, and rates of revision surgical procedures were statistically equivalent in both groups. Secondary arthrodesis was required in <10% of the implant group and was considered to be a straightforward procedure because of preservation of bone stock.
–Hallux valgus surgical procedures are commonly performed under spinal, epidural, or regional anesthesia. Although peripheral nerve blocks have become increasingly popular with the advent of ultrasound, the associated learning curve has limited more widespread use. A Level-I study by Karaarslan et al.4 compared the efficacy of ultrasound-guided popliteal sciatic nerve blocks with spinal anesthesia in patients undergoing hallux valgus correction. The popliteal block group demonstrated decreased pain scores at every time point up to 12 hours postoperatively, longer time to first analgesic requirement, and increased patient satisfaction scores compared with the spinal anesthesia group. The popliteal block group also did not experience the adverse effects of hypotension, bradycardia, and urinary retention occasionally seen with spinal anesthesia.
–Orthobiologics continue to generate considerable interest within the orthopaedic community. Platelet-rich plasma and hyaluronic acid have been investigated as adjuncts to promote healing. In a Level-I study, Görmeli et al.5 randomized patients to receive platelet-rich plasma, hyaluronic acid, or saline solution injections following arthroscopic debridement and microfracture of talar osteochondral lesions. At the intermediate-term follow-up, the platelet-rich plasma and hyaluronic acid groups exhibited a significant increase in AOFAS scores and decrease in pain scores compared with the control group, with the platelet-rich plasma group showing the greatest improvement.
- Zheng X, Li DY, Wangyang Y, Zhang XC, Guo KJ, Zhao FC, Pang Y, Chen YX. Effect of chemical thromboprophylaxis on the rate of venous thromboembolism after treatment of foot and ankle fractures. Foot Ankle Int. 2016 Nov;37(11):1218-24.
- Demetracopoulos CA, Adams SB Jr, Queen RM, DeOrio JK, Nunley JA 2nd, Easley ME. Effect of age on outcomes in total ankle arthroplasty. Foot Ankle Int. 2015 Aug;36(8):871-80.
- Baumhauer JF, Singh D, Glazebrook M, Blundell C, De Vries G, Le ILD Nielsen D, Pedersen ME, Sakellariou A, Solan M, Wansbrough G, Younger AS, Daniels T; for and on behalf of the CARTIVA Motion Study Group. Prospective, randomized, multi-centered clinical trial assessing safety and efficacy of a synthetic cartilage implant versus first metatarsophalangeal arthrodesis in advanced hallux rigidus. Foot Ankle Int. 2016 May;37(5):457-69.
- Karaarslan S, Tekg¨ul ZT, S¸ ims¸ek E, Turan M, Karaman Y, Kaya A, Gönüllü M. Comparison between ultrasonography-guided popliteal sciatic nerve block and spinal anesthesia for hallux valgus repair. Foot Ankle Int. 2016 Jan;37(1):85-9. Epub 2015 Aug 20.
- Görmeli G, Karakaplan M, Görmeli CA, Sarıkaya B, Elmalı N, Ersoy Y. Clinical effects of platelet-rich plasma and hyaluronic acid as an additional therapy for talar osteochondral lesions treated with microfracture surgery: a prospective randomized clinical trial. Foot Ankle Int. 2015 Aug;36(8):891-900.