Foot and Ankle
What is a Cheilectomy?
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.
In the MTP joint, as in any joint, the ends of the bones are covered by a smooth articular cartilage. If wear and tear or injury damage the articular cartilage, the raw bone ends can rub together. A bone spur, orovergrowth, may develop on the top of the bone. This overgrowth can prevent the toe from bending as much as it needs to when you walk. The result is a stiff big toe, or hallux rigidus.
When there is mild or moderate damage as a result of hallux rigidus, cheilectomy surgery is recommended to create more room for the toe to bend. Most patients experience long-term relief with this surgery.
Cheilectomy treatment involves removing the bone spurs as well as a portion of the foot bone, so the toe has more room to bend. To perform the surgery, the surgeon makes an incision on the top of the foot.
The recovery time for cheilectomy is relatively short. The toe and the operative site may remain swollen for several months after the operation, and you will have to wear a wooden-soled sandal for at least two weeks after the surgery.