What is Cheilectomy?

Cheilectomy is a procedure performed to improve joint movement in patients with hallux rigidus, a degenerative condition in the main joint of the big toe that causes stiffness and pain. This is accomplished by the removal of bone spurs that grow on top of the joint.

Who needs Cheilectomy?

The joint at the base of the big toe is called the metatarsophalangeal, or MTP, joint. If the articular cartilage that covers the ends of the bones that meet in the MTP joint becomes damaged, it can cause bone to rub against bone. This can create a bone spur on top of the joint, which can make the toe stiff and difficult to bend. Because this joint bends with every step, this can make walking painful. This condition is called hallux rigidus.

Hallux rigidus symptoms vary depending on the severity of the condition, but can include stiffness and pain in the big toe while walking or in colder weather, inflammation, swelling and redness. Other symptoms may include trouble walking and lower back, hip, or knee pain.

What are the steps in this procedure?

Before the Procedure

The top of the patient's foot is positioned to give the surgeon clear access. The patient is given anesthetic, and the area the procedure will be performed on is cleaned and sterilized.

Removal of Bony Growths

The surgeon makes a small incision MTP joint in order to examine the extent of the damage. The surgeon then carefully removes any bone spurs or growths that are causing stiffness or mobility issues.

End of Procedure

The surgeon then closes the incision, which is then bandaged.

After Surgery

This procedure is often performed on an outpatient basis, so many patients are able to leave the hospital that day. Physical therapy exercises will be prescribed by your physician in order to ensure toe flexibility is improved. Adherence to these exercises is important to ensure recovery from the procedure is successful, but patients should avoid straining or aggravating physical activities for at least three weeks after the surgery is performed.

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