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Small Joint Surgery for Osteoarthritis

Overview

Surgery is more common on the larger joints, such as the hip and the knee. But if osteoarthritis in the joints of the hands or feet is so bad that you can't do your daily tasks, surgery may help you move better and with less pain.

In the hands, the goal is to allow you to do basic daily tasks—such as eating, bathing, and dressing—with less pain. Surgery for severe arthritis in the small joints of the hands is more often seen with rheumatoid arthritis.

In the feet, the goals are usually to allow you 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.

In some cases a joint can be replaced with man-made parts. But in the small joints of the hands and feet, it's common to join (fuse) the bones together. This is called joint fusion. It means that the joint can no longer move, but the pain usually goes away.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: November 16, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Kenneth J. Koval MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma

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