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22 May, 2016

Summary - a good place to start

I am sharing my experience from the treatment of hallux rigidus. It is a condition where one gets osteophytes (spurs) over the metatarso-phalangeal joint (this is the one on the base of your big toe), plus damage to the cartilage of the joint. With time, these cause big toe pain (right at its base), limited dorsiflexion (ability to bend your toe upwards), and there are "lumpy knuckles" that cause aesthetic problems especially to the ladies (we guys usually do not care that much, although some do....). The condition is developed after acute or chronic trauma, or is genetically conditioned, or - like many things in human medicine - one simply does not know the causes yet.

You will find the history of my recovery on the right side of the page, or below if you are viewing this blog on a mobile device. It has a table of contents format, starting on the day of the surgery. Many readers have provided their comments, experiences, asked and answered questions (you can see in the table of contents how 'active' each topic has been so far.

Full history of the recovery can be found here. There is also a Cheilectomy Recovery Survey that allows you to see the experience of others, and share your own experience.

This blog was created in real time, each post was written on the actual day following the surgery (and not retrospectively). You may get a good idea what is the post-operative recovery time for a cheilectomy, although there is an obvious element of variability here, and your healing and recovery may differ.

Your thoughts, comments, or questions to me or other readers are most welcome.


55 comments :

  1. This has been a great blog to read. Thank you for capturing your recovery. I was so unsure about the surgery before I had it, and I read such awful things about other's experiences. I was hoping my recovery would be more like yours, and so far it is pretty good. I had a great doctor and I think that makes a difference. Today is day 20 post-op. The stitches came out on day 10 and although I'm still in the post-op shoe I am trying to walk as normally as possible. Yes, it's uncomfortable, but I think that's to be expected. I am waiting a couple more weeks to go back to the gym (I previously worked out 4 days a week) but I feel better every day. I know that things will continue to improve - and again I thank you for blogging about your experience. I really appreciated it!

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  2. I'd like to first thank you for taking the time to write this blog, it helped me a lot with my decision to go ahead with my cheilectomy. Now to briefly share my experiences. In am 3 days after my surgery and feeling great. In am a 42 y/o male, fairly active, but not an athlete by any stretch. I had been suffering with an increasing sore right foot in the big toe joint over the last few years and since I started a new job that is a 25 min walk each way from home it had become really annoying, but not unbareable. I had it checked into and after ruling out gout and a x-ray, they settled on halllux ridigdus. The doc said they could remove the one spur and perhaps fuse the joint. It really wasn't that bad, I didn't like the idea of fusion, but decided to go ahead with the Cheilectomy only. They did anankle block and put me into a light sleep, but not full general anaesthesia. That worked great, I was asleep for to op, but felt fine an hour later. The ankle block lasted about 24 hrs after, so I really didn't feel much pain later. I did take the prescribed oxycodone the night and day after, but didn't need it after a day. I was able to walk/shuffle on it immediately and it's been getting steadily better since. 3 days after I am able to walk about mostly pain (and drug) free. I am still using the post-op shoe at work, but think I will back in regular shoes in a few days. Toes movement is still limited, but that feels more due to the sutures than mechanical. Doc said they got 90 degrees movement post-op. glad I was asleep for that... Anyway, just wanted to let folks know that in perhaps less severe situation, the recovery seemed quite manageable. Did it on Friday, back to work on Monday, walking to work on Wednesday, hope to play rec beach volleyball 6s next Wednesday, stitches out the following Thursday. Good luck folks.

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  3. Are you in NZ? You sound like you were pretty happy with your specialist - can I ask who you used?

    Cheers!

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    1. I have lived in a few countries, but not yet in NZ, maybe in a few years. Now I am in North Carolina, USA. I am sure you have a few good orthopaedic surgeons there!

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    2. Just had my cheilectomy here in NC as well!

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  4. Thanks for sharing all of this. Just had the surgery two days ago. I am also an avid runner/highly active person, so was grateful to read your successful account of recovery.

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  5. Thank you for this blog. As someone who loves to run and play squash (pretty sure I am one of 100 people in the States that plays this outside of New England) the slow degradation of hallux limitus has been excruciating both physically and mentally. I had the surgery on 11.22.13 and now, 4 weeks out I am finding that my joint is still double, maybe closer to triple the size of the opposing great toe joint and the pain and stiffness seems to be getting worse, rather than better. It is nice to know that I may just be expecting too much too soon and to just keep plugging away at the recovery.
    Cheers!
    Tony Robinson

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  6. Thanks so much for your blog. I'm a 63 year old female, but extremely active and fit. I usually play tennis six days a week, and am also a steady gym rat. I will be scheduling my surgery as soon as possible. I've been trying to hold off until our tennis "playoffs" in March 2014, but realized the pain is now slowing me down on the courts so much that I can no longer play competitively. We're opting for the cheilectemy rather than fusion because I hope to be able to wear heels again some day! Again, my sincere thanks!!!

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  7. Hi there!

    I'm so grateful to have found and read your story. I'm a runner with a very painful right big toe. Orthotics have helped, but I'm again symptomatic to the point that I'm considering this surgical intervention. The only time it does not hurt is when I'm in my running shoes!!! I live in Connecticut and wonder how to best find a surgeon that can do the procedure. I'm very worried that I won't be able to run even after having this. I'm nearly 60 and a female, but I've been running since I was 25.

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  8. I am not in position to advice the names in Connecticut... but it is always good to ask around for recommendations, especially if you know any physicians etc.

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  9. Surgery for my right toe is scheduled for April 14. I'm both apprehensive and looking forward to getting this done, as I'm sick of being in pain. I'm very worried about a long lay off from running, as I've been a runner for a very long time. Encouraged by the comments that you've made, Parsifal, about the possibility of speedier healing time due to being in shape. Hope that's the case for this old gal...

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    1. Hope your surgery went well. Mine was yesterday - same procedure - Cheilectomy. More pain today after the ankle block wore off - but percocet helps. All the best - Scott

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    2. Scott,

      Hope you see this reply! My surgery went extremely well!! I took exactly 5 percocet pills, 5mgs each. A couple Motrin after that. I'm wearing this big boot nearly 24/7, but I'm wiggling this toe like crazy! I have no pain, except for the mental thing about not being able to run. Hoping to get these stitches out by my orthopaedic surgeon tomorrow. I kept the foot elevated for most of the first 3 days, but started running (well, not really, just staying on my feet) around thereafter, elevating and icing it if it felt "full." I notice you're a DO. I have used the services of one of your colleagues in Hamden, CT with great success. I have such respect for you all!! Wonder if you have words of advice re: how much I should work this toe. I do plan to do PT ASAP. I can't stand not being able to run. Bought a new stationary bike to ease me back into exercise, but it's just not the same high. My DO also did acupuncture. I wonder if that would help with healing??

      How are you doing with your post op?

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  10. I am in Charlotte, NC. Did you happen to have your surgery there? Would you share your surgeon's name--if not here then via email? I've been to OrthoCarolina for another issue and was very pleased, so had planned to start there. Thank you for this great blog!

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    1. Actually I had my surgery in Wilmington, NC. I can give you the surgeon's name by email, you can contact me on inwi00-chtmy@yahoo.co.uk (this is a temporary address and will expire in a few days).

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  11. For those of you who have done this surgery, did any of you have an experience that was significantly different from that described by Parsifal in his most helpful blog?

    Also, what kind of surgeon performed the surgery: podiatric; orthopedic; orthopedic specializing in foot surgery?

    Finally, did anyone also do subchondral drilling? This is intended to stimulate the body into producing fibro-cartilage, which is a kind of second-rate cartilage; not as good as the stuff with which you are born, but better than no cartilage at all.

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    1. I had a very difficult first six weeks, beginning with the complete failure of the nerve block during surgery and continuing with a high level of pain that prevented me from sleeping at night for weeks on end. My progress has been well below the benchmark set by Parsifal and most of the other posters. At 12 weeks post op I still have pain when walking, and my dorsiflexion is only 30 degrees after stretching. I can finally get into some regular flats though - until recently it looked like I'd be stuck with gym shoes forever.
      I'm a 58 y/o athletic female, regular cheilectomy with no drilling, performed at regional hospital by an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in foot/ankle.
      - Melissa

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    2. Did you ever go back to normal?

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  12. Thank you for such inspirational blog. Will track my own recovery. I am 49, live in Scotland, and suffered for a year before being referred. I haven't run during that time, but have been able to cycle long distances and challenging hills. My yoga teacher has compensated me for the lack of toe be nds but I have struggled even to walk the 10 mins to work and have been using my bicycle as a wheelchair.

    Yesterday I had my cheilectomy and cannot fault the staff of our wonderful NHS. My father-in-law is a retired podiatrist surgeon, but came off the register too late to operate on me.

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  13. Thanks so much for this blog! I have had pain in my toe for many years and started getting cortisone shots about 2 years ago. The doctor said the only way to truly relieve it was surgery, but I have been putting it off, living with the pain, etc. I am sure I have exacerbated the problem by continuing to run, but I love it so - I can't quit.

    I now have pain all the time when walking/running and cannot wear any shoes with a heel. What feels the best is running shoes with a carbon fiber plate in them to limit the bending, but I can't run with the plate thing in the shoe.

    I have been thinking of having the surgery this year and after reading this blog I feel so much better about it. I am going to schedule it in late October or November and I will post my progress as well.

    Lanier

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  14. Thank you for your blog. It has been very helpful both before and after my surgery, which was 9days ago, my recivery has been very similar to yours thus far, although I also had an Austin Youngswick osteotomy to address the elevated 1st metatarsal bone which caused the joint problems in my big toes. I look forward to my follow up appt tomorrow, and to having the second foot done in a few months. Hopefully things will continue to progress well, and it will all be worth it in the end! Very happy so far. Not nearly as bad as some other posts made things seem.

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  15. Thank you for this blog. It has been really helpful to me. All the responses and different recovery times have been very helpful also. I am on day 10 but I had a newer procedure done. It involves putting a metal cap over the joint and screwed in to the base of the joint. I had no cartilage left. I have had more swelling than you but I think it was due to more trauma to my joint. I can bend my toe 90 degrees albeit with pain. I feel it will definitely get better. The md says that he has done this new procedure on patients that have had previous cheilectomy with great success. He only does fusion as a last resort. I am looking forward to waking normally again.

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  16. Thank you for your blog. i had my chilectomy/moberg 2 weeks ago. had stitches out today. down to one crutch and post op shoe. hope to be in crocs tomorrow. i am 44 and very active (or was before this). no exercise for 2 weeks spent horizontal and my back is wrecked. can't wait to return to gym, hopefully today for upper body anyway. your blog has been very helpful at knowing what to expect. i had surgery at HSS in nyc with dr david levine, everything according to hoyle so far

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  17. Thank you so much for your blog and all of the information. I am scheduled to have a cheilectomy in a few weeks. I am an avid runner and am very nervous about the amount of time it will take me to get back to trail running. I have found a decent amount of information about the recovery time for running, but I have not found any information on the recovery time for trail running. I know that it will be a longer process with the uneven terrain, rocks, etc. But I was hoping someone reading the blog might be able to post their recovery time for getting back out on the trails. Thanks!

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  18. It's been a while since I've posted on this blog. I'm almost 9 months post surgery, and I can tell you I'm very glad I did it. But I will say, running 5 weeks post op was a very stupid thing for this gal to do. I didn't realize how much I'd been depending on the left leg to compensate for the right foot that was operated on. I returned to running too much, too soon, and ended up with runner's knees.....yes, that was plural! Then, my illiotibial band became irritated, along with the periformis muscle....all on the side that was not operated on. I ended up having to take an additional month off from running. I thought I could just start running, especially since cardiovascular-wise, I was fine! I could run 5 miles without a problem. The foot that was operated on felt only a bit sore after each run of 3-5 miles. But I must have been using the other side too much throughout my recovery and while I was returning to running. Also, my orthotics needed to be adjusted to compensate for the change in my gait on the operated foot, as well as on the other foot. What a mess!
    But I'm happy to say that rest and new orthotics did the trick. I'm experiencing only that same kind of sensitivity that Parsifal describes. Not really pain. It still feels like a nice healing kind of sensitivity. Now, if I could only get rid of the extra weight I'm carrying around, it might take care of the other aches and pains I feel. But darn, I love my bread!!!

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    1. Marilyn,
      I'm a 43 year old runner about to have a cheilectomy on my right foot...which has been killing me for about five years. I run 5 miles 4 to 5 days per week. Can you tell me if you're back to your running distance and ability now? Thank you for the information. I'm terrified that I'll never to be able to run again like I do now. (And can you wear heels? :)
      Nicole

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  19. I've posted here before about my trials and tribulations with hallux rigidus and my cheilectomy procedure. I am 30 years old, very active, a runner (25-30 miles a week), a hiker, skier and all of the above. I am currently 8 weeks post op, and i'm finally returning to semi-normal.

    Let me first say that as far as amount of bone removed and stiffness of the toe pre and post op I was on the worse side of things. My orthopedic surgeon performed a cheilectomy combined with a bunionectomy and a sesamoid release. He removed a lot of bone which is why my recovery has gone somewhat slowly.

    I highly recommend that anyone who has this procedure done gets a good physical therapist and goes to see them as soon as they are allowed to by the doctor. This has been the single biggest part in my recovery so far. Without a physical therapist I would be weeks behind where I am today (I jogged on and off for 4 minutes the other day).

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  20. My name is Jim. I am 39, semi active, and 6 weeks post cheilectomy. I will not lie to you, the first several weeks were painful. Every day the swelling gets a little less and I get just as much more movement. Right now I would say that the swelling is down 95% except for the wound itself (its bumpy). I was in gym shoes by week 3 as the boot is just stupid annoying. I have pain everyday while walking, esp on the bottom of my big toe joint. Sometimes on the side of the big toe. This makes no sense to me as the operation was on the top of the joint. Its to the point where you won't put your full weight on the toe while walking and at the end of the day, I relish putting my feet up. I push it as I want to recover as fast as possible. I crank on it doing my own physical therapy, stretching it hard. I am looking forward to the day the pain is gone...so I can do this whole crazy process over again on the left foot. Yippee.

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  21. Thanks for the great blog! Very informative and helpful.

    I'm 4 weeks after my surgery and it's going well. I can walk fairly normally and without pain, although I'm still walking slowly to assure a full, correct range of motion. I just started going up and down stairs normally today and I'm starting to be more assertive with movement. I will definitely work up to my previous long walks, though. I tend to be careful.

    I went from the boot to a comfortable, supportive sandal after 3 weeks. I've had very little swelling due, I think, to resting and elevating the foot regularly and keeping it wrapped. I have 60 degrees dorsiflexion and both my doctor and I are very happy with that. I was at 20 with pain before the surgery. Not so good yet toe down, but I'm starting to manipulate it more that way, so I think it'll loosen up. I'm looking forward to walking on the sand at the beach to help with that. Next week I think.

    I haven't had physical therapy, but I've been doing my own stretching and massage around the wound, along with bending the toe and going up onto my toes as instructed by my doctor. I don't have much pain with any of it anymore. The stretching and massage has felt important to keep the blood and chi moving throughout the leg and the whole body. As they say, it's all connected. Lots of deep breathing and I also send loving energy to my foot everyday and thank it for all that it's doing for me. It's no small thing!

    I'm very glad I had the surgery and I want to be very patient with the process to assure the best results. My doctor said initially that it was a 6-8 week healing process and I think that's really just for the very basic healing from the surgery. When I asked him when I could get back to my walking routine, he looked at me and sternly said, "after 8 weeks". Okay then. I know, too, that the process will continue after that as I regain normal function.

    Best wishes to everyone having the surgery!

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  22. Thank you for all of your posts. This blog has been so helpful to measure my own progress. I had cheilectomy for HR, rt. Big toe in '00, left big toe in '02 and now am 4 weeks post op for cheilectomy on rt. Big toe the 2nd time. Its been so long, 13yrs. That I forgot what to expect. I just came out of surgical shoe and am wearing loose slippers with stiff bottom. Top of foot still too sore for regular sneaker. Pain on walking but only when I bend the toe. If I walk slow and carefully, no pain when weight bearing on flat unbended toe. Doing exercises and massage. Slight pain bending down. No pain bending up have about a 45 degree upward angle. Sore by end of the day. Increasing walking everyday. Am enjoying the motorized scooters at WalMart and home depot. I definitely think I'm healing slower due to added age and weight. Can't wait to walk my dog again. Maybe next week around the block. Thanks.

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  23. Thanks for this fantastic blog. It's like a specialist community �� I'm 3 weeks post cheilectomy and orthotomy on my right big toe. Struggling to find normal shoes to fit me. Physiotherapist said I shouldn't wear my post op shoe anymore. Started driving yesterday. I'm still in an average amount of pain. It has been helpful to read the blog and comments to realise things are go I g fairly normally for me. Thank you SOOOOO much

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  24. I had a cheilectomy on my right toe nearly 7 months ago and I am really disappointed that I am still suffering from pain when I walk and wearing heels is now more painful than before I had the op. After having an MRI scan a couple of months ago my surgeon advised me that I have quite marked odema throughout the whole of the 1st metatarsal and some into the hallux. He says this is likely to be a stress response post surgery but he does not have any other patients that have suffered with this. He thinks it will get better with time but I am becoming more doubtful as time goes on.

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  25. Similar to Deb's comment, I am a "repeat offender." I had a cheilectomy on my right big toe about 12 years ago. At that time I was told the osteoarthritis was actually worse in the left toe than the right, but I only had pain on the right side. I managed pretty well for 10-11 years after that - training and racing in 5Ks. Then both big toes starting hurting about one year ago. So I stopped running for a week. Still pain. Took off two weeks. Still pain. Finally went back to the doc and sure enough the spurs were back in the right joint and the left had continued to worsen. So I had bilateral cheilectomies 10 days ago. I was surprised that my doc wanted me out of the surgical shoes after the first week to start getting some joint movement - so I've been wearing TEVA's the last few days. Staples should come out in a few days. I turned 50 this year so I am hoping this buys me another 10 years (and yes, I plan to run again - it's what keeps me sane). My doc had wanted to insert stem cells after the spur removal, but the request was denied by my insurance. She said she has gotten good results. Something you might ask your doc about if you are considering this procedure.

    Another thing to consider is how you will "manage" your toe joint(s) going forward. As a runner I tried alot of things over the years which may be why I got 10-11 years out of my procedure (my doc said 5 is more typical). Oddly enough, the customer orthotics route never worked for me. Neither did the super-cushioned running shoe. What worked was a more minimalist shoe that had a very small heel-toe drop (~3mm) with Green Superfeet inserts. As I've done more research, I think that I will be trying the Hoka running shoes as they have a built-in rocker bottom that should help protect the joint. As a "belts and suspenders" approach, I also found carbon-fibre shoe inserts that are very stiff, but incredibly lightweight. By combining those with the Hokas, my hope is to minimize the amount of toe flexion while I run. With luck, I may be able to avoid fusions in the future. I hope everyone else does too. Good luck!

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  26. Is there anyone else in this group who was still suffering significant pain in the surgical area 11 months after surgery? I had the bone spur remove, bone fragments cleaned out of the joint and some cleaning up of the cartilage. I had cortisone shots about a month and two months after surgery to help with the swelling and pain, but they didn't do much good. I still can't put full weight on the inside of my foot and I have to wear running shoes with signifiant support to avoid being in severe pain when walking. (With the running shoes I can walk about 4 miles before my knee and hip start hurting from walking on the outside of my foot.)

    I've been told by others who've had bunion surgery that it can take over a year to heal completely (and that if it does, it's often two years before you are totally comfortable). Has anyone else had that experience with a cheilectomy?

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    1. Lisa, Did you ever hear back from others? How are you doing now?

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  27. I had my cheilectomy on 9/11/15. At times I wonder why I bothered, then I realize it takes so much time to get back to normal after this surgery. The Dr. kept my foot wrapped up longer than usual, it was swollen and not healing well. Started P.T. 12/14/15. The Dr. wanted the flexing up,he did not want any curling motions. Then after 1 month, not much improvement with pain and movement, so aggressive p.t. was prescribed. Very painful,but I see it improving. Started barefoot walking up sand dunes and hikes in dec. I am going to try acupuncture this week. It is still a little swollen, but I do 'practice fittings' with all of my shoes, and I can feel the difference-they fit better with not as much pain. Stay positive. At least my foot is not deformed with that HUGE bump on the top of my toe!

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  28. I am now hopeful that my foot is healing ok. As I posted on 3/7/16, I started acupuncture. My toe is so much better. Saw my podiatrist and had xeays. It was very clean between the once calcified and fused joint. I did notice some gray area? at the inner area between my big toe 2nd toe junction. My acupuncturist has been working in this area says it is probably scar tissue. I have even been practicing at home wearing a pair of block heels 1.75" Not bad at all! Very happy now. I am now going to the gym, walking as usual. Now the next challenge is fixing the osteoporosis that I discovered I had when he operated. I do not want to develop more calcifications, so I am working on taking the right supplements.

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  29. I also had a cheilectomy and bone fragments removed from the joint just over 3 months ago. I am 35 years old and my dr. initially said it would be a 4-6 week heeling period. About 2 weeks ago the swelling seemed to be subsiding and the wound looked as though it was completely closed. Unfortunately, my toe is now more swollen than it was before the surgery! It is slightly discolored, very raw & sensitive, and draining. Even brushing up against the skin is painful. Is there anyone else who had/is having a similar experience? I thought I was nearly recovered, and is now worse than ever. Is this typical?

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    1. I guess you must have seen your doctor to ask - what did he or she say?

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    2. curious to know when you improved

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  30. Thank you very much for your blog - I had the same surgery two days ago with an implant installed over lover phalange. I am 50, extremely fit (swimming hard every week day for 45-50 minutes). I destroyed my big toe joint with running. Something suspicious is going on with me because: I could wiggle my toe immediately after the surgery, I have had no pain (just slight discomfort) and I can go around without the special shoe. I keep ice on my instep at all times except when sleeping. I am taking ibuprofen as a precautionary measure (I have prescribed narcotics just in case) and I am perplexed with my overall experience. I was expecting an enormous pain... So I guess I am very lucky and anybody that reads it can possibly have my experience as well!

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  31. Had a cheilectomy 2 weeks ago, quite a lot of bone removed from the top of the joint and a bit of bone spurring. Was managing fine in the post op shoe not much
    pain but now after having the sutures removed its so painful! Have been told to weight bear but most of my swelling is on the side and under my toes, so I can't actually get my foot and toes flat on the floor. Incision is very Numb, I think the nerve is bruised as I suddenly get a horrible stabbing pain in the joint and it feels like there is an elastic band tightening around my toe. I was feeling so positive and now feel like I have taken a step back, no longer using a crutch just a stick, no chance of getting my own shoes on yet, so will have to persevere with the post op shoe.

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  32. I'm on Day 3. (42 yo very active female, moderate hallux rigidus, 2/3 cartilage preserved after surgery) Not anywhere near moving the joint. Can hardly put any weight on the rest of the foot. Any time I stand the blood rushes down to my foot and it throbs; so not much standing, let alone walking. Just went off Percocet this morning, but will probably use it to sleep.

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  33. Hi there. :)

    First off, thank you for this blog. As someone for whom more information = feeling more secure, it was incredibly helpful to read the blow-by-blow of your experience. Much appreciated!

    I'm currently in the incredibly weird position of wondering if I might be addressing my hallux rigidus /earlier/ than I need to. And unfortunately, I'm realizing this /four days/ before my scheduled surgery.

    For context: I found out about my mild hallux rigidus entirely by accident. I'd sustained a relatively minor fall last autumn at an athletic event, and my big toe had been mildly aching off and on during pushoff of that foot while walking, especially if I pushed off with a good bit of force. I mentioned this to my podiatrist while I was in to replace my orthotics. She did an x-ray just in case and noticed two things: mild hallux rigidus on that toe, and (possibly more relevantly) a slightly (plantarly) displaced bone fragment at the end of the toe bone adjacent to the joint, probably sustained in the fall. The combination of the 'peak' of that displaced bone being more plantar and the bone spur were likely compressing the joint, she said, and she pointed to a couple of tiiiiny spots of probably cartilage damage. Even then, she said it was elective and up to me, but that the condition could progress, naturally.

    I'd noticed recently that my toe joint hadn't been bothering me as much as it had in the past, so I gave it a short pain and mobility test to use as a baseline pre-surgery. To my /shock/, there was 0 pain on a fast walk, slow jog, or even a (short) run. I even tried wearing a pair of 2.5" heels today, and I didn't feel anything other than the usual heel wearing fatigue.

    I mention this because I also have a mild bunion on that foot, one which we're not addressing quit yet, and I wonder if I should just wait until one or the other has progressed to the point of being prepared to address both at once. I've just heard of a number of people experiencing a good bit of pain and slow recovery post-op; patient satisfaction sounds like it has at least some correlation with how uncomfortable the patient was pre-surgery. And, to be honest, I'm not especially uncomfortable. This seems like it would be preventative at best.

    I'm 40, somewhat out of shape but active enough to have sustained an injury at an athletic event. I'm clearly going to make my final decision with my surgeon, but: thoughts?

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  34. Day 2 after my procedure performed by a orthopedic surgeon who specializes in foot and ankle. Minimal pain, but I feel like I have a hangover. The nurse called this morning and said it may be side effect of general anesthesia, or the medication that I was prescribed (oxycodone and gabapentin), she told me take regular Tylenol for the headache, but continue to take meds for pain. I could actually wiggle my toe this am! Something I haven't done for months! Icing and elevating as much as possible. I'm very positive about the outcome! I was already in constant pain and really needed to do something besides the orthotics and rocker bottom shoes!

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  35. Having second thoughts about a bilateral....doing right toe first and left toe following month.
    Anyone who did a bilateral?
    Told surgery on a Wednesday---can work on Monday. Tuesday stitches out.
    Comments please.
    Surgery is 4 days --and thinking maybe just one and also wait till the fall.

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  36. I am a 48 year old female, highly athletic (or was) and had to have cheilectomy in March 2016. I am a runner, gymnast, and professional bodybuilder. I first noticed I was having difficulty tucking my toe under in a push up position, walking lunges became extremely difficult as I could not bend my toe to lunge on it. Therefore walking became uncomfortable or going up on my toe. As this stiffness increased, so did the visits to the doctors.
    After several doctor visits because I refused to believe what I was hearing (that I may not be able to run again, wear heels again, etc), I had no choice but to have a cheilectomy performed on my right big toe.
    It is now 6 months later and I can't say I have had extreme success as others have. This has messed with my mind as I am still not able to exercise using any full weight wearing where toe is in bent angle (lunges, pushing off from it, etc).
    It is till extremely stiff to move. I went to PT for 4-5 months after it, had steroid injection because surgeon felt like I was not getting enough movement out of it. They feel now that I possibly have had a build up of scar tissue settled in the actual joint. They have suggested a newer procedure (or at least to me) where they will go in again and this time do an open toe cheilectomy (as my fist one was athroscopic) and remove the scar tissue and wrap my joint in "thin sheets of frozen amniotic fluid". This has proven successful with knee operations and ankle operations to avoid scar tissue build up like they think I have.
    Has anyone had this type of surgery done as I am extremely down and frustrated and can't imagine going back in to go through surgery again. I did not get the best results as others and am so extremely down on this whole thing.
    My problem before the I tially surgery was that my toe could not bend and was completely stuff, yet I would still be fully weight bearing and go ahead with life activities. Now, after my March surgery, I am able to get more movement with my toe but only if I am no -weight bearing. The moment I start to go up on my toe it hurts so bad. Hookas are the only shoe I can wear (with a carbon graphite insert).
    Please let me know if anyone has had this procedure done either as a follow surgery or initial. My surgery was also done here in NC, and the second opinion surgeon is out of OrthoCarolinas that would be doing the next surgery, if I go forward with it.
    Any helpful comments would be so well received as this is a mentally crippling recovery to an extremely active athletic person.

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    1. From what I am reading it has been only 5 months since you had cheilectomy. From my experience, and based on what I know (I am not an orthopaedic surgeon), it is a very short time for the joint to heal enough. I actually avoided excessive exercise, and I was just patient - did not want to risk repetitive damage to the tissues that had to heal after the surgery. 4 years after the surgery, I still feel some pain if I try to put all my (excessive!) weight on my right toe, but it is bearable and actually much more comfortable than before the surgery. Perhaps you should take a second opinion before going for another surgery, and also agree what is your goal: the range of movements vs. athe ability to quickly put all your weight on the toe. I am in NC and I can give you the name of the doc who operated me - although I do not want to give them free advertising. You can send me an email to temporary address (I do not want to publish my real one): inwi00-cheilectomy@yahoo.co.uk and I will reply with details.

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    2. I am a 53 year old female and had a cheilectomy almost a year ago. I was also very active with yoga, weights and walking 4-5 miles a day. After walking on the side of my foot and altering my gait, I decided to go ahead with the cheilectomy as I was told it was fairly minor surgery with good results. Almost a year later, I feel burning pain on the bottom of my foot, pain when I push off, and although I can wake up in the morning with less pain, after a day of walking I am limping by the end of the day. I do not have pain with not weight and I can get very good flexing of my toe. I have followed this blog since before my surgery(Sept '15) and had such high hopes for this surgery. I had a cortisone shot in April, then an MRI in May, in which my Ortho said my big toe area lit up like a pinball machine, but he didn't think my arthritis or my sesamoids looked that bad. Suggested giving it time, but it is really affecting my life. Im not trying to run, just walk right now! I also got an orthotic made and have a carbon plate, but that is so hard and makes my hip hurt! I am in SC but will be getting a second opinion in NC probably orthocarolina where a friend had a double bunionectomy and was playing tennis in 3 months. Parsifal, are you in Charlotte area? I definitely do not want additional surgery and if someone just told me that eventually it would get better, I would be patient. But I feel it is actually worse now than it was 3 months post op:( Frustrated NC did you have an MRI? Any suggestions much appreciated!

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    3. I am in Wilmington. You can reach me on inwi00-parsifal@yahoo.co.uk. I am using disposable address to avoid spam.

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  37. I have hallux limitus and have seen one orthopedic surgeon and three podiatrists. They all recommended something different in terms of surgery and one podiatrist here in NYC does not subscribe to surgery noting that most of these procedures don't turn out well and surgery has the real possibility of making matters worse. Hard to know exactly what to do ? My first question is should I allow a podiatrist operate on me or are these types of procedures better suited for an orthopedic surgeon specializing in foot issues ?

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    1. I am in the same quandary. One visit to a very experienced podiatrist, after xrays, who recommended removal of lump and clean up the toe joint, two month recovery. Almost went with it until I read this Blog. Then I visited a surgeon, specializes in feet, he simply held my bare foot, looked at it and said, easy fix, remove lump install a metal strip via screws with some degree of angle for toe bend. I left, totally perplexed. That was two years ago, work has become difficult, utility lineman, difficulty walking any distance.

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  38. I am supposed to be meeting with the surgeon next week to schedule a cheilectomy for advanced hallux rigidus. I am a 53 year old woman with a sedentary job but I walked 30-45 minutes daily and had been starting to prepare for second 5k when pain kicked in. I really want to be able to jog/run again and wear heels on special occasions. Am I being too optimistic? Also, how long should I plan on being out of work? Thank you.

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