Foot fusion surgery helps to reduce pain from arthritis, restore the bones to their normal position, correct deformities and restore stability to the foot arch, according to the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. Doctors commonly perform the surgery to treat arthritis that does not respond to nonsurgical intervention. The surgeon can join some or all of the joints, depending on the severity of the problem.
The joints of the midfoot connect the bones of the toes to the heel and ankle. These joints are relatively fixed and do not move like many other joints in the body. Generally, foot fusion surgery does not cause significant loss of motion, reports the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society.
The surgeon makes two to three small incisions on the top of the foot and uses metal implants to connect the bones. He uses caution to prevent injury to nerves or tendons in the foot. During the procedure, the surgeon removes damaged cartilage and fills any gaps with bone from the patient's body or a donor. In some surgeries, synthetic material replaces the bone. As the immobilized joint heals, the body forms a bridge of natural bone that joins the pieces, states the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society.