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DoogleNK, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1139
Experience:  MD
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Torn ligament in between second and third toe. Do I need surgery?

Resolved Question:

I have a torn ligament between second and third toe. MRI done. Do I need surgery? How long is recovery?

Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  DoogleNK replied 9 years ago.

What symptoms do you have? For how long? Did you hurt yourself?

Is there any activity limitation because of this problem? Do you have any other disease? Are you on any medications?
Would you please type details of the MRI report?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.

Between second and third toe on right foot. Over did waling up and down stair cases a house warming party.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.

No other disease. I have stayed off foot for most part of 6 months believing it was gout. Just had MRI down, they concluded, I had torn ligament on 2nd toe. I cannot put any weight on foot without body reacting with major pain, tried icing at night and getting elevated. But when I put a load on my foot, pain comes right back.

Expert:  DoogleNK replied 9 years ago.

A complete tear in the ligament connecting the 2nd & 3rd toe would make the transverse arch unstable. (The feet have transverse & longitudinal arches made of bones, ligaments & tendons that act like springs while weight-bearing).

This would manifest as pain on weight bearing, swelling & possibly frequent falls.

The first line of treatment for any complete tear of ligament is rice, elevation, pain medicines & immobilization. Non-weight bearing greatly helps in healing of foot ligaments. This should be combined with supervised physiotherapy & custom-made shoes that provide support to the transverse arch.

Ligaments are having poor blood supply, so their healing is not very good. Besides it has already been 6 months. So, I consider it very unlikely that the torn ligament is going to heal on its own.

If there is a significant limitation of activities, if there are no major medical diseases which will make anesthesia risky & there has been no response to at least 6 weeks of supervised physiotherapy & custom-made shoes, then surgical repair of the ligament may be a good option. Recovery from surgical repair of torn foot ligament would involve non-weight bearing for atleast 6 weeks along with good physiotherapy.

I would suggest consulting an orthopedic surgeon for evaluation & treatment.

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