BACKGROUND: Hallux valgus and hallux rigidus are common conditions for which numerous operative interventions have been described in the literature. Various clinical and radiological measurements have been used to help grade severity and to guide treatment.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A survey was e-mailed to all members of the Australian Orthopaedic Association. Questions were asked regarding respondents' demographics as well as their preferred treatment for 3 separate cases of hallux valgus and hallux rigidus of varying severity. They were specifically asked about type of deformity correction and type of fixation. The responses were collected and statistically analyzed.
RESULTS: The authors collected the answers of 454 respondents with a response rate of 36%. There was a disproportionately large percentage of respondents who were members of the Australian Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society. Preferred treatments were different for the 3 different cases. Older surgeons were more likely to use Chevron osteotomies, and Australian Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society members were more likely to use a scarf. Scarf osteotomy was preferred by more than 50% for the cases of moderate and severe hallux valgus, whereas first metatarsophalangeal joint fusion was preferred for the case with significant arthritic changes.
CONCLUSIONS: There are significant associations between the surgeons' age and expertise and their training and their preferred operative intervention. Considerable differences were found in the practice of the general orthopaedic surgeons and the foot and ankle specialists. Despite the large number of surgical options available for hallux valgus, only a small number were preferred by the majority of surgeons. Although anecdotally aware that lesser deformity is treated with distal osteotomies and more severe deformity with a proximal osteotomy, the authors are unaware of any current literature that verifies this.