Foot + Ankle Problems + Treatments

Hallux Rigidus

Type of Procedure: Outpatient
Length of Procedure: 60 minutes
Anesthesia: General or IV sedation with block

Hallux Rigidus

The most common site of arthritis in the foot is at the base of the big toe. This joint is called the metatarsophalangeal, or MTP joint. It’s important because it has to bend every time you take a step. If the joint starts to stiffen, walking can become painful and difficult.

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In the MTP joint, in addition to the damage of the articular cartilage at the ends of the bones, a bone spur may develop on the top of the bone, which can cause stiffness and pain, particularly with certain types of shoewear.

Hallux rigidus usually develops in adults between the ages of 40 and 60 years. The exact cause is oftentimes not easily apparent.

Cheilectomy: What is this Procedure?

The operation is performed for a type of arthritis of the big toe joint.

The key to a successful operation is to maintain the motion which has been achieved in the operating room after the surgery.

As soon as pain permits, begin movement of the hallux, especially bending the toe up (also know as dorsiflexion). This will ultimately improve the final outcome.

Because the underlying condition is from arthritis of the big toe, the final outcome will depend upon the further development of this arthritis.

Specific Post Operative Course for open surgery only

Day 1

  • Foot wrapped in bandage and placed in postoperative shoe
  • Ice, elevate, and take pain medication
  • Expect numbness in foot for 12 24 hours
  • May fully weight-bear

Day 2

  • The postoperative shoe may be removed at night depending on comfort level
  • Ice and elevate as much as possible
  • Remove dressings on day 3 and place a light dressing
  • Begin frequent range-of-motion exercises

Week 2 – 4

  • Remove shoe
  • Continue stretching exercises of the big toe, 3x day for 10 minutes at a time
  • May begin to wear an exercise shoe by 4 weeks
  • Physical therapy to regain movement

Photos of Hallux Rigidus