Arthrodesis of the first metatarsal-phalangeal joint is a reliable procedure for correction of both hallux limitus/rigidus and severe hallux abducto valgus deformities. However, 1 potential contraindication to the procedure is the extended period of non-weight-bearing immobilization that is typically associated with the postoperative course. The objective of this investigation was to perform a systematic review of the incidence of non-union after early weight bearing in patients who underwent arthrodesis of the first metatarsal-phalangeal joint. We performed a review of electronic databases with the inclusion criteria of retrospective case series, retrospective clinical cohort analyses, and prospective clinical trials with n ≥ 15 feet, a mean follow-up of ≥12 months, a defined postoperative early weight-bearing protocol (defined as ≤2 weeks), a clear description of the fixation construct, a reported incidence rate of non-union, and patients who underwent primary surgery for hallux abducto valgus or hallux limitus/rigidus deformities. Seventeen studies met our inclusion criteria, with a total of 898 feet analyzed. Of these, 57 (6.35%) were described as developing a non-union. This would likely be considered an acceptable crude, heterogeneous incidence of non-union when considering this procedure. It might also indicate that arthrodesis of the first metatarsal-phalangeal joint does not always require an extended period of non-weight-bearing postoperative immobilization.
Level of Clinical Evidence: 4