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Foot Ankle Int. 2004 Nov;25(11):783-7.

Arthrodesis of the first metatarsophalangeal joint using a dorsal titanium contoured plate.

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Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital, Finglas, Dublin 11, Ireland.



Arthrodesis of the first metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) is used to treat a variety of foot pathologies. Numerous methods of internal fixation and bone end preparation have been reported. In an effort to bring together the best features of the various internal fixation devices, a low-profile contoured titanium plate (LPCT) using a compression screw was designed to be used with a ball-and-socket bone end preparation. A prospective study was carried out to determine the efficacy of this technique.


First MTPJ arthrodesis using an LPCT was done in 12 patients (10 women and two men) either as an isolated procedure (seven patients) or in conjunction with other forefoot procedures (five patients). The changes in the level of pain and activities of daily living were evaluated using the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) hallux score and the Short-Form 36 (SF-36) score. Time to bone union also was assessed. Mean followup was 18 months (+/-6 months).


Statistically significant increases in the AOFAS hallux score and the SF-36 score were noted (p = .002 and .001, respectively). All radiographs showed bone union at 6 weeks and an appropriate degree of hallux dorsiflexion in relation to the first metatarsal (20 to 25 degrees).


The combination of the LPCT plate and a ball-and-socket bone-end preparation has both operative and biomechanical advantages over other fixation techniques. This combination ensures that the anatomical length of the first ray is only minimally shortened and the angle of plantarflexion of the first metatarsal is maintained, resulting in preservation of medial column stability and a better functional result.

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