Plantarflexory base wedge osteotomy in the treatment of functional and structural metatarsus primus elevatus

Clin Podiatr Med Surg. 1989 Jan;6(1):93-102.


Plantarflexory base wedge osteotomy has proven to be a viable, rewarding treatment, where first metatarsal phalangeal joint pathology, as a result of metatarsus primus elevatus, is predicted or in its earliest forms. Although this topic was first addressed by Lambrinudi in 1938, it has received little notice in the literature, and its relevance is probably underestimated. In fact, the diagnosis of metatarsus primus elevatus with associated advancing degenerative joint disease is probably being missed in a significant number of patients. The early signs of this condition are often disregarded even by professionals and the patient frequently is told there is nothing wrong. Not until hallux limitus or hallux rigidus develops is concern demonstrated, at which point a joint preservation procedure is no longer viable. The recovery from plantarflexory base wedge osteotomy does require a longer time period before return to weight bearing as compared with more commonly performed foot surgeries. This must, however, be weighed against the consideration of a patient needing joint resection surgery at a later date, not infrequently in their late 30s or 40s. In fact, a significant patient population in the 35 to 45 age group exists, in whom one prefers to do neither an implant surgery nor a joint destructive surgery, but in whom the joint has been significantly damaged. Performing plantarflexory base wedge osteotomy in appropriately selected patients will re-establish normal function and preserve the first metatarsal phalangeal joint articular cartilage. This approach offers the benefit of arresting the joint destructive process and avoiding the need for a joint destructive procedure in a younger patient.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Joint Diseases / surgery
  • Metatarsophalangeal Joint / surgery*
  • Osteotomy / methods*
  • Toe Joint / surgery*