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Int J Rheum Dis. 2017 Jan;20(1):46-52. doi: 10.1111/1756-185X.12414. Epub 2014 Jun 19.

Management of pain on hallux valgus with percutaneous intra-articular Pulse-Dose Radiofrequency.

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Department of Diagnostic and Molecular Imaging, Interventional Radiology and Radiation Therapy, University of Rome "Tor Vergata", Rome, Italy.



The purpose of our study was to investigate the role of intra-articular pulse-dose radiofrequency in management of painful hallux valgus refractory to conservative therapies.


Between November 2010 and April 2012, 51 patients (15 male, 36 female) with a median age of 71.4 years were included in our clinical trial. Under fluoroscopic guidance we introduced a 22 gauge 10 cm length cannula by a percutaneous access in the first metatarsophalangeal joint and its tip was placed intra-articularly. After removing the spindle, a radiofrequency needle with a 5 mm active tip was introduced. The following parameters were used: 1200 pulses at high voltage (45 V) with 20 msec duration followed by 480 msec silent phases.


A great reduction in pain intensity was documented at 1 week, 1 month and 3 months after procedures. Pain intensity increased between 5 and 8 months after treatments, so we performed a second procedure in all patients between 7 months and 9 months since the first treatment. Also in this case we obtained a great reduction of pain intensity in the first 3 months after the procedure. Pain intensity returned at preprocedural values after 9 months after second procedure. No complications were observed.


Our experience shows pulse-dose radiofrequency is a safe, repeatable and effective technique for managing patients with symptomatic hallux valgus in the short and medium term. Pulse-dose radiofrequency may improve pain control and quality of life in patients with hallux valgus refractory to conservative therapies.


hallux valgus; intra-articular radiofrequency; pain management; pulse dose radiofrequency; radiofrequency

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