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Int Orthop. 2013 Sep;37(9):1795-8. doi: 10.1007/s00264-013-2011-5. Epub 2013 Jul 18.

The Weil osteotomy for correction of the severe rheumatoid forefoot.

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Department of Orthopaedics, Klinikum Wels-Grieskirchen, Grieskirchnerstr. 42, 4600, Wels, Austria.



In rheumatoid arthritis the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joints are predominantly affected with resultant metatarsalgia and dislocation. Therapy options include many different surgical procedures with results that are not always satisfying. We present the oblique Weil metatarsal osteotomy as a treatment option for the rheumatic forefoot.


A total of 216 osteotomies in 63 consecutive patients (72 feet) with a mean age at the time of surgery of 59.3 years and long-standing rheumatoid arthritis were observed prospectively for an average of 57.4 months (minimum 36 months). All patients received a Weil osteotomy of the lesser metatarsals with at least one additional procedure of the forefoot. Patients were evaluated prospectively for clinical outcome by the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) lesser MTP-interphalangeal scale and subjective satisfaction. In the radiological evaluation weight-bearing X-rays were analysed for alignment, shortening and union.


American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society score increased significantly from 21.9 ± 6.7 to 63.3 ± 9.8 (p < 0.05). The increase was significant for all subgroups regarding pain, function and alignment. All joints were dorsally dislocated preoperatively; a subluxation was present in 13.6 % at follow-up. There was a significant decrease of callositas in 82 %, a decrease in need for orthopaedic shoes in 61 %, a decrease of MTP joint stiffness in 96 % and a relief of severe pain in 97 % of all patients. No metatarsal head dislocation or necrosis, pseudoarthrosis or screw perforation was observed. Of 63 patients, 55 (88 %) subjectively reported excellent or good results.


We conclude that the Weil procedure for lesser metatarsals is a satisfactory method for correcting the rheumatic forefoot and can be recommended as an approach for the future.

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