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cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Posted by Amy S on 4/28/04 at 07:48 (149696)

Hello. I've had pain in my big-toe joint for a long time, and finally got it diagnosed -- turns out to be hallux rigidus. The doctor recommended a cheilectomy. He said that after the surgery, I'd need to be in bed with the foot elevated for a week, because sitting in front of my computer with the foot up would cause a kink at my waist. I've also done some Web research and read that you can't drive for 2-3 weeks afterward. Any thoughts? My doctor said recovery would involve 1 week in bed with foot elevated, 2 weeks with wooden-soled shoes, and 3 months with sandals. I'd be interested to know if there are any doctors who would concur or disagree with this recovery timetable. Thanks so much. Also, if you could recommend good Web sites, I'd appreciate it. I've found a bunch, but you probably know the best ones. -Amy in MN

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Ed Davis, DPM on 5/01/04 at 13:24 (149873)

There are 4 stages of hallux rigidus with cheilectomy only working in stage 1 and early to mid stage 2. Knowing which stage you are in is an important consieration. Early mobilization after such a procedure is critical so I would find the period of immobilization and rest you are listing to be a bit excessive. I generally would have patients in bed or a recliner for one day, walking the next day but elevating to about waist level when not walking. I am not sure shy you woud have a kink in your waste unless you have a hip problem -- you should be able to sit at a computer with your foot propped on a milk crate with a pillow in a couple of days. I would use a flexible sandal after about 10 to 14 days and using., preferably a good running shoe by the 3rd week. i would start vigourous walking and deep tissue massage no later than the end of the second week.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

colleen b on 11/22/04 at 22:13 (164573)


Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

carol f on 11/30/04 at 15:27 (164973)

I had a cheilectomy and osteotomy of the proximal phalanyx a month ago. Be aware that the pain is intense for the first 10 days to 2 weeks, and you need to keep the foot elevated ('toes above nose') 90% of the time for that time. To this day, I still have moderate to severe swelling of the foot, and discoloration whenever the foot is in the dependent position. I am still in a sandal, but see my doctor next week and hope to go into a sneaker at that time. I have not yet been able to return to work, but should be able to after Dec. 15. I recommend waiting until your pain is severe before opting for surgery.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Jeff B on 12/06/04 at 15:51 (165274)

I had a cheilectomy on my left big toe three days ago. Today the dressing was changed and my foot displayed very little swelling. I am walking with a surgical boot around the house. Everyone I presume will respond differently to this surgery. I would highly suggest elevation of the foot above the heart for 48 hours after surgery and ice 30 minutes on/30 minutes off during awake hours for these first 48 hours. Good luck to everyone pursuing the surgery.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

colleen b on 12/15/04 at 21:02 (165698)

Boy, this is scary news. are you sorry you did it?

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

colleen b on 12/15/04 at 21:06 (165699)


Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Dr. Z on 12/17/04 at 11:24 (165803)

There are risk for bunion surgery. It takes time for healing, swelling, and pain to resolve. This isn't a procedure that will get you back dancing within a few weeks. Have a talk with your treating doctor again and review the procedure, risks and typical aftercare for your specific surgical procedure.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

colleen b on 12/17/04 at 12:05 (165806)

doctor, i am not having bunion surgery, but rather a bilateral cheilectomy.
can you re-address my original question. thanks

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Dr. Z on 12/20/04 at 12:57 (165883)

A bunionectomy can involve a cheilectomy. A cheilectomy is a name given to the procedure to remove bone from the first metatarsal head. The post-op healing is the came and so are the risks

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Susan M on 12/29/04 at 13:49 (166274)

I had a cheilectomy of my left great toe on 14/12/04 and have just had the stitches removed today. I have very little movement in the joint (in fact just as much as before the surgery) and am a little concerned about this. Is this normal or should I be able to move the toe at all? I wasn't given much info from my Consultant after surgery and my follow-up appointment isn't until the end of January. Obliged if you could help.


Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

ERV B. on 8/04/05 at 11:48 (179976)

JEFF, did you also have an osteotomy? Does it always go part and parcel with a cheilectomy? I will have to make this decision. Thanks.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Barbara Rothwell on 10/25/05 at 22:02 (185761)

I had Cheilectomy on my right big toe on April 8th, 2005. Since that date I have been having severe to mild pain in this toe. I have been advised that I have, as a result of the surgery, Chronic Pain Syndrome. This condition has been and is being treated. The CPS pain seems to be under control but my toe is very bad when I walk and is severe when I am on uneven ground. It feels as if a nerve is being pinched as the pain travels to the end and along the side of the toe. I have received a knock to this toe and am wondering that some damage may have occurred. Could this be investigated and is it worth following up at this stage. What do you think is my problem and will it improve? Hoping you can help. Barbara

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

David T. on 11/22/05 at 20:09 (188030)

Good evening. I'm a 38 yr old active, male with a moderate tolerance for pain. I thought I would share my recent experience with you...maybe it will help. I had surgery three weeks ago. I had surgery on a Friday. Spent the weekend on my sofa with my foot elevated. I am currently a stay at home dad, with 2 kids, so by Monday I was hopping around making lunches and changing diapers. Hurt a bit, but mostly annoying. By the end of the week, I could gimp around on both feet without medication accept for ibuprofen, but it would be a little sore by bedtime. That Thursday, I drove my son to preschool - not a problem. Today, I am walking with a barely perceptible limp (caused mostly because I am forcing myself to walk normally)and can run a bit. I think I'll be back to normal in a couple more weeks (5-6 total). I plan on playing Spring Softball and performing better than last fall before the surgery.

My experience with Docs is that they will give you a very conservative timetable for many reasons...

Good luck friend - Dave

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Rose r on 12/08/05 at 01:12 (189216)

Who has had Cheilectomy done by a podiatrist or an orthopedic surgeon? How long is the traing for each to do this procedure? Will my insurance company tell me their success rates for a particular surgeon or the amount of cheilectomies he has done and how long?

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Dina H on 12/12/05 at 21:09 (189552)

I had a cheilectomy for stage 2-3 Hallux Rigidus on 12-2-05, performed by a podiatrist. I chose a podiatrist because I thought who better to work on my feet than someone who does nothing but feet? I have been very happy with my results so far! I have had far less pain than the every day pain I used to endure before the surgery! My pain now is really just the post op nagging tenderness. I should get my stitches out in two days. I have quite a bit of swelling, but I'm walking pretty well in my walking shoe. I doubt you'll get much info on success rates...that is a concept that is just starting to catch on with hospitals and insurance companies. I would check your state's occupational and professional licensing page to see if there are any complaints levied against your chosen physician. I would ask as many people as you can find who's been to your doctor and then I would go with my gut.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable

Gail G on 3/12/06 at 10:39 (195349)

I have bookmarked this discussion since I had a cheilectomy plus metarsal osteotomy with titanium screw (for hallux rigidus, stage 3) in late October 2005. My hallux rigidus had gotten to the point where it was crippling: I could not walk down the driveway to get the paper without severe pain. I couldn't even walk the dog without pain & limping.

The operation was done by a well respected sports medicine/podiatrist who is a runner & biker himself. Initially recovery went more quickly than expected. I was up and about within the week and the incision healed quickly. However, the bottom line is that at 5 months out, I am still unable to walk recreationally or jog more than 10 minutes. After a few minutes, the foot cramps up & there is pain referred to the other toes.

After the incision healed, I began intense physical therapy sessions twice a week. Though my range of motion is back in the joint (not as much as 'original equipment,' but similar to the other foot). Still, there is some swelling and discoloration at the end of the day, as well as some scar tissue that feels like rubber bands connecting to the adjacent metatarsal. There's also the occasional sharp stab of pain if I overextend the joint & I still have to keep the Aleve handy. I can only wear running shoes.

The time-line I was given was 4 months-a year for full recovery (whoa--that's a huge range!). I am now 59 and was a regular, habitual jogger for 25 years--30 minutes a day, rain or shine. My inability to run has been somewhat depressing since it's pretty hard to re-create this level of exercise at a gym. Even so, I suppose you'd have to say that I am better off than before the surgery, but still . . . I wouldn't recommend this surgery until you are absolutely disabled by the pain. It's a long hard road to recovery!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable

Julie on 3/12/06 at 11:17 (195351)


Could you be overdoing things? I am not a doctor, but the four and a bit months since your surgery is nothing at all, much too soon to expect to be able to walk long distances, or run. Full healing takes its time, and the older we get, the longer it takes. Remember, that you have had FOOT surgery, and feet have to bear the body's entire weight. Don't ask too much of yours for a while longer. If it were me, I'd set my sights on the other end of the time line and look forward to October. And I'd stick to my running shoes, and I'd swim for aerobic exercise.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable

Dr. Zuckerman on 3/12/06 at 11:19 (195352)

Do they feel that with time you are going to return to normal activity ? Do you know what your range of motion is in degrees.? What is the plan at this state.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable

Gail G on 4/13/06 at 17:18 (197422)

Thanks for the supportive advice. Perhaps I had been overdoing it. I was elated by my early recovery and probably pushed myself too hard to get back to running. I am currently doing 2 20-minute dog walks and using a recumbent bike and eliptical trainer for cardio work. Guess that's pretty good for slightly less than 6 months out from pretty traumatic foot surgery and at my age (pushin' 60).

PS Swimming is a pain since I have sensitive eyes from wearing contact lenses for many years and can't handle chlorine.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Gail G on 4/13/06 at 17:28 (197424)

Barbara, my cheilectomy and osteotomy were about 6 months ago (Nov. 05 and it's now April) and also have residual pain in my foot. It's an ache that sets in after about 15-20 minutes of walking. The foot still discolors at the end of the day and there's slight swelling over the incision. It's still a bit stiff though the dr. was satisfied with the range of motion (I cannot recall the degrees, but it matches my 'good' foot). My Dr. said the pain and stiffness could be the result of scar tissue --- they could numb me up, give me a steroid injection and 'work it out.' Ouch! I'm not inclined to go back for more painful things to be done to my poor foot & I was hoping it will resolve on its own.
Tell us more about your 'chronic pain syndrome'. How did they treat it and are you feeling better now?

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Barbara M on 4/14/06 at 19:44 (197488)

I decided to look up cheilectomy tonight since I am scheduled to have on R great toe on April 27. My toe is basically totally cruded up with arthritic changes/lesions and I also have a piece of broken bone sticking up. I have had no mobility in the joint for several years and pain/swelling that has become bad in the past 6 weeks.

I have been able to stand it this long due to 1) my high pain tolerance and 2) the fact that this side of my foot has been partially numb for 20 years since a back injury

He suggested a joint replacement, but I am opting for the lesser surgery. I don't think my diagnosis we Hallux rigidus but Hallux something else that may begin with an 'L'.

The Podiatrist I saw, told me I would be up and about immediately and feeling better right away. I'm concerned about the lengthy recovery times people are mentioning.

Are these lengthy recovery times the norm?

Thanks in advance

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

john h on 6/20/06 at 19:51 (201638)

about 6 years ago I had a cheilectomy on the left toe. at the same time I had a Baxter procedure (Plantar Fascia very small release) and a Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Release. All on the same foot. In three days I was on crutches and driving to work. In ten days the stitches for all the surgeries were out and I was in Birks or running shoes. Pain was mild the first day and basically gone in three days. Home after surgery. No problems since with my great toe but my other toe is in bad need of a Cheilectomy so guess I will head back to the Doc. Hope I have not waited to long and there is no cartlidge left??? I personally do not think a cheilectomy is a big deal for most people. I was in my 60's when I had my surgery. Was on crutches for 10 days but that was because of tarsal tunnel release which can be a big time surgery with a 7' scar. My friend is a paratropper. He was back jumping out of planes in several months. If you want to regain motion in that toe you better start bendin it the next day or two because the longer you wait the less flexion you will have. My Doctor had her toe done and she said the next day she had her foot against the refrig and was pushing the toe to flex it up. Hurt like hell she said but she has almost complete dorsiflexion.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable

john h on 6/20/06 at 19:55 (201640)

Gail: Any chance you waited to long for the surgery? The longer you wait the less cartlidge you probably had which can result in a more difficult procedure. My first cheilectomy went well and I am basically 100% with that toe. I had a Foot and Ankle Orthopedic Surgeon with a Fellowship do the procedure. Now, I think I shall have to do the other toe. It is really starting to bother me.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable

john h on 6/20/06 at 19:56 (201641)

I think the recovery timetable is very much dependant on the individual.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

john h on 6/20/06 at 19:58 (201642)

My research on artifical joints for the great toe suggest to me to never have one! Failure is a very good possibility. My Ortho will not even do one. I would get a second opinion before I would go that route.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable

Gail G on 6/26/06 at 16:30 (202207)

Hi John,
Yes, it's possible I waited too long. From the initial exam and x-ray, the Dr. wasn't sure if there would be any cartilage at all when they got into the joint. It was at about the most extreme stage according to one system of rating. He did say that he could guarantee I'd be better after the surgery, but couldn't predict by how much.
Pain is such a subjective thing, but after 7 months, it's safe to say that I feel as though I am somewhat better than before the surgery in one important respect. The pain no longer wakes me at night. I am also able to walk and jog a little bit with only minor stiffness while exercising. In the evenings, however, the underside of the ball of my 'bad' foot can ache a bit and it still hurts if I walk on it barefooted in the middle of the night.
I can't take much in the way of NSAID pain killers because of moderately bad tinnitus.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Phil Davis on 8/17/06 at 20:40 (207635)

I had a cheilectomy - early ROM with scar massage mobilization is key.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

janef on 10/09/06 at 12:44 (212727)

I'm now 1mo out from bileteral Cheilectomy and my right foot is no better than it was 3 weeks ago. Have you ever recovered full function without the chronic pain? I wish I had read all this before my surgery. I would probably not have done it. I don't know when I can expect to be better than I was prior to the procedure. I'm so depressed right now I want to cry.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Laura on 10/16/06 at 20:58 (213475)

Colleen - I'm also a ballroom dancer who needs a cheilectomy. How did your surgery go and how long did it take before you were dancing again?

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

roek on 10/30/06 at 09:02 (214546)

Hi - I am 1 week post op cheilectomy - still having quite a bit of pain in right foot - I've been trying to range right great toe to tolerance since I know that early mobilization is the key to success of this surgery - I am still unable to put full weight on the right foot and getting quite anxious over the recovery time - am I pushing myself too hard - any helpful information to get through this would be appreciated - thanks

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 11/07/06 at 20:53 (215141)

Hi all.. great information here. I have had the pain for years and finally had to go to podiarist. Xrays were taken and was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hallux Limitus and Stage 3 Hallux Vagus(sp)Scheduled for same procedure. I was hoping for a quick recovery but from what I see in these posts I can assume I will be out of work 4-8 weeks as my Dr suggested. My question is what kind of Anesthesia is used for this procedure? I am having this done as Ambulatory Surgery in a Out Patient setting in my local hospital. What kind of pain medication is given after surgery is done? I can tolerate pain Ok so was wondering if Motrin will work as Im not thrilled about taking anything stronger.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

JimBob on 11/12/06 at 08:47 (215460)

I had the procedure in April of 06 after years of pain. Just couldn't stand it anymore so I went to a Board Certified Orthopedic surgeon who specialized in foot surgery. I'm very glad I did. If you can find a doc who has years of successful experience, you won't regret it.

I had some pain from Day one but chose to use tylenol only due the horrible side effects of the prescription stuff. The pain was never horrible and I a now back to wearing normal shoes, etc. I have some residual pain in the toe area and still do toe stretches every day. I don't regret the surgery a bit. Just hated the ankle block..numb for about 12 hours.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 11/14/06 at 20:39 (215638)

Thanks Bob,
Im having my procedure first week in December. Pretty crummy timing to have this done over the holidays but I just waited so long and just cant take the pain anymore. I just want to wear a nice pair of shoes someday with no discomfort and swelling. Living in he Notheast maybe we will get a bad snow storm and wont feel so bad being stranded in the house! Im just so scared of Anesthesia thats whay I wanted to know what they gave you. My Doctor said they will give me a good IV sedation so I should be OK. I am allergic to Codine, and Im not fond of the heavy pills either.
I will keep you posted on my recovery.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

BraeC on 11/18/06 at 00:38 (215800)

I am also getting a cheilectomy during the first week of December -- somehow it seemed the perfect time, as I can never get much work done over the holidays anyway.

There are plenty of other pain meds you can get besides codeine. Ask you doctor about percocet, which is also a narcotic, but some people tolerate it better. Also, tramadol (brand name is ultram, a different class of painkiller and somewhat milder.

I'm a little worried about the first 12-24 hours post op. Did anyone get an anaesthetic injected into the joint before they closed up the wound? Can they do that?

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 11/18/06 at 22:16 (215827)

Well Brae I guess you and I will be in the same place the first week of December. My concern is first 24 and I will just veg out and watch a movie or something. Percocet may work for me. Like I said befor I was thinking of just Motrin but will let the Dr decide. Lots of luck with your procedure.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

DavidC on 11/19/06 at 16:25 (215847)

Please allow me to join the community of those having a cheilectomy...although mine is on November 29.

Although I am not looking forward to the pain, my main concern is being able to play tennis next spring.

Hope everyone has a good result.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 11/19/06 at 17:10 (215852)

Good luck Dave and keep us posted

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 11/19/06 at 17:10 (215853)

Good luck Dave keep is posted

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Helene B on 11/28/06 at 10:46 (216300)

I'm the threesome in this group -- my chleilectomy surgery is scheduled for Dec. 18. The other foot is scheduled for Feb. 5. My doctor won't do both simultaneously. After reading all these posts I am pretty upset.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

DavidC on 11/29/06 at 17:06 (216435)

Had my surgery today and everything went very smoothly. We'll see how I feel about it in a few hours when I get the feeling back in my foot. Doc said that I should be playing tennis again in three months. Hope he's right.

Good luck to all.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

ToddC on 11/29/06 at 19:47 (216447)

Hi David & All,

I'm one week ahead of you. I had a cheilectomy 1 week ago (Nov 22). I read this thread prior to surgery & made a commitment to return to add my experience to it. Recovery has gone very well & I'm walking easily in an ace bandage now. Stitches come out next week.

My surgeon is predicting tennis within 8 weeks of the surgery (7 weeks from now). Keep your foot elevated and iced/cooled lots over the next few days & I think it will pay off. He sent me home with a cooling machine that was great for 2 days, then leaked water into my dressing so I had to switch to ice packs.

So far I'm very surprised at how well it's gone & was only on Percocet for 1 day. I switched to occasional Advil/Aleve after that.

Good luck to all of you having the surgery soon...I can say mine wasn't nearly as bad as I was prepared for after reading the few posts I could find on the internet. Hopefully that helps.


Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 11/29/06 at 20:05 (216451)

Thanks David and Todd for letting us know the outcome. Im scheduled for Dec 7th, I feel much better reading you posts. Was getting nervous on the outcome I will keep you all posted

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

DavidC on 11/30/06 at 08:42 (216486)

Day 2...I slept very comfortably last night. Foot is quite sore this morning, but not sore enough to justify continuing with the Percocet. I plan to keep it elevated and iced for the next few days. I go back to the doctor next Tuesday for my first follow-up visit. So far, this has not been too bad. Good luck to all.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

DavidC on 12/01/06 at 17:21 (216563)

Foot was very sore yesterday, but much, MUCH better today. If my foot continues to improve this much every day I'll be playing tennis by this time next week. :) Still icing, elevating, and taking antibiotic and NSAID prescribed by doc. Worst part is that I am starting to get bored just sitting around. Gotta remind myself not to push it.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 12/01/06 at 21:45 (216573)

Dont push it to much! My Dr suggests I have to be out of work for at least 4 weeks with this procedure. I went for my Pre Op Tests today so IM all set to get go pending medical clearence from my Primary Medical Dr.
Did you all have to go through all this stuff too????

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Lori on 12/02/06 at 08:59 (216583)

am a 40 yr old with a diagnosis of : Forefoot Varus and Hallux Rigidus. My score is at the later end of a 3 with no cartilage left per x-ray. I will have my final meeting with the Dr on Monday and to schedule the surgery for early January.

The procedure that he is doing is as follows: 1st Metatarsal Cuneiform Fusion and Joint Resurfacing on Great Left Toe with external fixation.

Has anyone had this surgery and how was your outcome? Or is there a doctor out there that has any advice for me?


Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

DavidC on 12/02/06 at 17:02 (216604)

I think pre-surgical medical evaluation is standard procedure these days. I had to do it too.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 12/07/06 at 17:48 (216895)

I had my surgery today (12/7)
I must say I do not feel that bad. Ive been keeping the foot elevated and the pain block is now just starting to wear off.
I may just take a pain pill just to help me sleep tonight. I checked into hospital at 630 am and was home by 2pm. Will let you all know outcome on day 2.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

DavidC on 12/07/06 at 20:54 (216902)

If your foot is anything like mine, tomorrow (day after surgery) will be your worst day. You might want to consider taking the pain meds through tomorrow. I think I stopped mine one day too soon. Major soreness!

I am now nine days post-op and doing well. Went to the doc for my first check-up on Tuesday. I had prepared myself for the worse, but when my bandage was removed, it really wasn't that bad. Just a bit of swelling and bruising. I now have a smaller bandage and instructions to gently exercise the foot in order to increase the range of motion in the toe. I go for physical therapy next Wednesday and back to the doc next Thursday. Hopefully he'll remove the stitches at that time.

Best of luck with your recovery.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Steve S on 12/08/06 at 19:18 (216950)

My cheilectomy is scheduled of Dec 14th. This board has been great for the information provided by everyone. David C keep up the good updates they give those of us going into this hope. I will try to chime in also on my results when I have mine also.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 12/08/06 at 20:50 (216954)

HI David,
This is 2 day and you are correct major soreness today and had a very hard time sleeping last night. I took 2 pain pills today and really did not help to much, but took took the edge off some. I go back to Dr on 12/11 to have dressing changed. I am however bored out of my mind. Had foot elevated all day and watched crapola on tv. I am very thankful that my family has been a huge help to me.
Hoping for a better day tomorrow.
Will keep you all posted.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

davidc on 12/09/06 at 11:16 (216968)


I can relate to being 'bored out of my mind.' I got REALLY sick of TV. It's amazing how you can have 300 channels and can't find anything to watch. :)

By the time you read this, I'm sure you'll be doing much better. Difference between days 2 and 3 is like night and day. That said, hang in there with the foot elevation and the ice. It will make a huge difference in a few days.

Take care.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

davidc on 12/09/06 at 14:25 (216971)


Good luck with your surgery. It's not exactly fun, but it's not that bad either. Although it's several weeks to a full recovery, you'll be getting around OK by Christmas. Keep us posted. I am enjoying comparing my experience to that of others.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 12/10/06 at 20:30 (217014)

Day 4 and I am feeling much better NO pain meds at all today. Still keeping foot elevated during day but need to get up and around at night to ck email etc. And David you are so correct. All those channels and not a thing to watch. Tomorrow will not be much better as day time TV is no bargain.
Hope you all have a good recovery and will keep you posted.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 12/12/06 at 21:07 (217094)

Day 6 and what a change, Feel so much better, Had dressing changed yesterday. Some swelling and black and blue but not much pain at all.I go back on the 21st to have stiches removed.
I really wish I did this procedure much sooner. I am in a boot, but still bored as heck. NO more pain meds and a advil in the morning is all I need.
To all who are thinking of getting this procedure done..DO IT.. dont put it off if you dont have to. It really isnt as scarey as I thought.
Will keep you all posted

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

DavidC on 12/14/06 at 16:24 (217198)

Day 15...Just got back from my second post-op visit with the doc. He took out the stitches and seemed very happy with my progress. The foot no longer has any bruising and just minimal swelling. The joint is still pretty stiff, but I have started physical therapy and should be getting back a normal range of motion over the next several weeks. In fact, I can already see some improvement. He put on a smaller bandage, so I can now get my foot into an old pair of athletic shoes with at least some degree of comfort. I go for PT again tomorrow, then three times a week for the next two weeks. I go back to the doc next Thursday. Hopefully I will leave his office with no bandage at all at that time. I'm getting REALLY tired of having to keep my foot dry. I'd KILL for a normal shower. :)

Happy healing everyone!!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 12/17/06 at 20:39 (217405)

I know what you mean about a shower...Im trying to get shower with a garbage hefty bag but it is not working to well as I am so afraid of falling and making matters worse.
I am now day 11 and cant wait to get stiches out.
I did manage to go to my Christmas party on Friday nite and made sure I stayed off feet and did no dancing at all!!!!!
I am still bored to tears at home. Reading a book and decided I cant watch daytime TV.
Will keep you all posted as stiches come out Thursday.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Julian B on 12/19/06 at 12:27 (217506)

Hello All. Very interesting information which I found reassuring before surgery. I live in the U.K. I have been an active distance runner up to op, but with increasing difficulty during last 6/9 months.
I had my cheilectomy on 6 Dec and hope to have stitches out tomorrow. Was told to bend toe back from day 1 but not to weight bear. Pain bad for only a day or two and have been frustrated to not be able to put weight on foot and am perhaps a litle frightened to do so now.
Biggest concern is that doctor said after surgery that not much cartilage left at top of toe and every time I pull it back now it cracks before it goes back. ( This is NOT pleasant). Has any one else had this problem and if so does it mean that a further op with toe being pinned is now likely. Are my running days ended? ( They probably were anyway).
If anyone has a similar experince I would really like to hear from you.
Good luck to everyone.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

ukpete on 12/19/06 at 18:14 (217521)


just come across this thread and thought I'd start dipping in. I live in Melbourne, Oz, and had my cheilectomy on the 30th of November. Thought I'd give you details of my experience.
I'm 37 yrs old and had moderate issues with my left big toe and seeing as I play a lot of soccer, I wanted to get it done before the season starts again in April.
They basically fully knocked me out whilst they injected the nerves in my foot with a nerve blocker and I woke up 10-15 mins into the surgery with the surgeon doing his thing to my foot, and yes, I couldn't feel a thing, felt like someone was massaging my foot. The doc told me that he removed a bit of bone and a fair bit of 'Arthritis'.
Total surgery time was about 40 mins and 1hr after that my wife brought me home.
The next 3 days kind of disappeared as I was on Endone (more powerful than morphine apparently as I was told post-op that foot surgery is the most painful surgery you can have..yeah...great) and Panadeine Forte every 6 hrs, so yes, I was taking serious painkillers every 3 hrs. I was also on phenergan to counteract the feelings of nausea induced by the Endone, a laxative because Endone also blocks things up and I also took an antibiotic to ward off any infection. My wife, thankfully, drew up a timetable for me as I was away with the fairies most of the time and couldn't keep up.
I was told to fully weight bare ASAP but probably wasn't able to for about a week and was successfully hobbling around by the time I went back to the docs 2 weeks later to have the bandages/stitches removed.

It wasn't a pretty sight, the 12 (rather large) stitches were done really tight because of where they were and the centre of it was a bit pussy and still is but is getting better. I was told to bathe my foot in a bucket of salty water to eat away the dead skin/clean the wound (500g to a bucket but I thought this a little excessive..) and I have been also rubbing paw paw ointment into the wound to get it to heal quicker. I then sleep without anything on it,only the paw-paw and after showering in the morning, put a band-aid on for the day.

Currently I am in a hard soled velcro shoe and have a custom made spacer between my big and second toe with a rather large band-aid which I change every day over my scar. I have some movement in my toe but not a great deal, maybe an inch ether way and can walk quite normally when wearing the shoe. If I try to walk normally without it I can feel pressure on the underside of my foot where some of the bone was removed. I guess this is to be expected.

It will be 3 weeks tomorrow since the surgery and I have been back to work 3 days now, but miss being on sick leave, I loved the time spent playing my guitar and watching the cricket.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Julian B on 12/20/06 at 09:10 (217548)

Hello ukpete. So you enjoyed watching the cricket. That was also not a pleasant experience for some of us! Do I take it from youe name you are ex U K? If so, where's your loyalty to the old country?

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

ukpete on 12/20/06 at 16:29 (217570)

hey Julian,

need not be concerned about my loyalties, even if I wasn't that bothered about the cricket, I'm sure that my Aussie mates over here would keep on ribbing me anyway because of where I'm from. You have to hand it to them though, especially with two, now retirng, cricketing legends like Warne and McGrath.
Anyhoo, back to the foot. It's 3 weeks today since the op and I took off my band-aid last night and left it off until after showering this morning. The wound is looking better but still a wee bit weepy in the centre. Also, I noticed last night that the toe is quite swollen but you can only really tell when comparing to the right foot.As a precaution however I took some Brufen. I also started another round of antibiotics last night just to ensure that infection is kept at bay.
Walked to the train station this morning quite normally with the hard-soled shoe and for the first time didn't really feel that much pressure on the underside of my foot.

One question though, does anyone have any advice on when I should start giving my toe some stretching excercises, or should I wait until my next appt/x-ray with the doc in 3 weeks??

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

ukpete on 12/20/06 at 16:32 (217571)

Hi DavidC,

very keen to hear how things are going with you considering you only had the op the day before mine.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Julian B on 12/21/06 at 02:30 (217596)

Yes, the old boys did well; what about next time when they've retired?

I was told to start stretching immediately after the op - pulling the toe back as far as I could every two hours.However, I didn't have an infection - which I would think would have made it very difficult to stretch. Start as soon as you can, would be my ,as I think its vital to stretch the .

Had my stiches removed yesterday ( 2 weeks post op)and can now wear trainers - although still diffident about bending the foot. The grinding of the bones together on stretching is something I will have to accept as the surgeon said he did a big hit on the bones because there wasn't a lot of cartlage left.

Good luck and Happy Christmas to everyone limping around!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Greg on 12/21/06 at 07:55 (217605)

It has been 1 week since my surgery. I had a cheilectomy done to take care of my Hallux Rigidus. I waited too long to have it done and they had to put in a plate along with the screws. Pain has been very minimal. The first two days was bad but after that, virtually nothing.

I went in for my 1 week check up yesterday and the Doctor was surprised I didn't have any pain. I have a little infection but other than that, things are progressing. I was a little upset when he informed me I would be on crutches another three weeks. I was told initially that I would only be on them for one week.

I appreciate everyone's comments on this board. It has been a big help.


Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

davidc on 12/21/06 at 14:04 (217643)

Char - Hang in there. Pretty soon you'll be tearing up the dance floor again.

ukpete - Thanks for your interest. Like you, I like to compare notes with other cheilectomy victims. I hope you're doing well.

Anyway... Day 22 - Went to the doc today for my third post-op checkup. He is very pleased with the progress I am making. I still have a bit of swelling, but he said that is to be expected and that it will probably last another seven or eight weeks. I also have a bit of 'popping' in the joint when I flex the toe, but the doc said that is also to be expected since 'the joint has to realign itself after the changes made to it during the surgery.' This should also resolve itself in a few weeks. I no longer have to wear a bandage or keep the foot dry. (FINALLY...I can take a normal shower!!!) I can now wear a normal show.

I also had my fifth physical therapy session this morning. The therapist is starting to get a bit more aggressive with her treatment, and she really gave me a workout. It must be working because my foot is getting noticeably stronger and it's range of motion is dramatically increasing. I feel confident that it will eventually be normal.

At his point I feel that the worst is behind me. Also, the most dramatic improvement is probably behind me too, and from this point on my improvement will be much slower and more gradual. Unless this thread is buried so deep that I cannot find it in the spring, I will make a post after my first tennis match. That will be the REAL test of how successful this surgery has been.

Best of luck to everyone.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

VirginiaS on 12/21/06 at 20:39 (217681)

Hi everyone,
Glad to have all your comments to read. Had my rt. toe done day before yest. [12/19] - it has been MUCH MUCH more painful than I expected (and I've had 2 back surgeries, including a 2 level fusion.)
I am shocked to see the long recovery periods reported here and elsewhere - but then it sounds like your docs told you. My doc told me I _could_ go to work next day but should prob. take a 'long weekend.' (And I supposedly had'a very bad case...) I feel like he completely mislead me!! But dont see why he woulnt be upfront about it...well, thanks for letting me vent - off for more meds!!! Take acre all.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

VirginiaS on 12/21/06 at 20:40 (217682)

Hi everyone,
Glad to have all your comments to read. Had my rt. toe done day before yest. [12/19] - it has been MUCH MUCH more painful than I expected (and I've had 2 back surgeries, including a 2 level fusion.)
I am shocked to see the long recovery periods reported here and elsewhere - but then it sounds like your docs told you. My doc told me I _could_ go to work next day but should prob. take a 'long weekend.' (And I supposedly had'a very bad case...) I feel like he completely mislead me!! But dont see why he woulnt be upfront about it...well, thanks for letting me vent - off for more meds!!! Take care all.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

VirginiaS on 12/21/06 at 20:42 (217686)

sorry to triple post!!! - its not the pain meds - just a wacky computer!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 12/21/06 at 21:59 (217692)

I cant belive your Dr told you that you can return to work so soon!
My dr gave me 6 weeks .. I was hoping to go back sooner but there is no way i can do it...Im up and down at work

I had my stiches removed today and Dr was very pleased with my outcome.
Im still black and blue and I also have that cracking feeling once he moved the foot and toes but all and all its normal. He wants to send me for therapy but I have to wait to get approval from my Union befor they will do it. Took another set of xrays and what a diffrence between these xrays and the previous one. I am very happy with outcome. Im still sore but nothing major. I wish you all luck and will come back in a few weeks to check in on all of you! This board has been very helpful to me and nice to know I was not alone!!!! Happy Holidays to all

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Ralph on 12/21/06 at 22:04 (217693)

Did you read up on Cheilectomy surgery prior to having it done? Did you do any research on the type of surgical procedure that would be performed?

I think had you done some homework ahead of time you might have gotten a better and more realistic picture of your recovery.

It's unfortunate that your doctor didn't paint the correct picture for you. If he had the surgery himself he might have been more honest with you that it wouldn't be a cut and go procedure.

You've got some healing time to go. I hope it's fairly quick.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

VirginiaS on 12/22/06 at 10:25 (217723)

Yes, I did do some reading, but hoenstly see I should have done more. I tend to believe that what you see get onto these pages are the 'worst case' scenarios - those who are doing really well dont sit down to write to online doctors. I did not find this page before the surgery - but the ones I found showed a pretty broad range of recovery. That includes a few people who also were told they culd return to work 'right away' or 'as soon as they felt up to it...' My docotr seems to have taken a VERY flip approach - hate, to say I belived him partially because he is the head of a large and well know University Ortho Dept. Live and learn. Thanks for the input.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Liz on 12/26/06 at 12:27 (217935)

Hi everyone - I am in UK and had a big toe implant replacement Nov 11. I saw a top surgeon in Harley Street - again he was most flippant and told me I'd walk out the same day - just a routine operation. I am 54 and very active. He gave me no PT advice and is on holiday for a month. My problem is it is still really stiff with less motion than before the op. It starts to hurt under the toe after walking for 10 minutes down the street. I am getting very depressed and beating myself up about having it done. I went privately as the NHS do not do this op. Can anyone advise some PT - I am massaging it, wiggling and pulling it around and walking on tiptoes, but it seems to be just the same stiffness for the last 2 weeks. Could I have scar tissues freezing it up ? I can't get to see the surgeon until Jan 15 and have planned a weeks holiday in Austria Jan 7. The surgeon knew about this and said I would be fine....

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

john h on 12/26/06 at 14:18 (217937)

I had a cheilectomy about 8 years ago. My understanding is with a cheilectomy they shave off bone in the joint so as not to have spurs interfere with flexion and your great toe will bend up almost 90 degrees immediately after the surgery. Of course you lose a lot of that mobility in the next few months. If you had a artificial joint placed in then I do not think you call that a cheilectomy. I took a hard look at that option and from all I read these artificial joints have a tendency to wear out rather rapidly and you should forget about running as it will wear out even faster. My cheilectomy has worked out well. How much cartilage you have should determine the options you have. No cartilage then a fusion or an artificial joint. The other option is to fuse the joint which usually cures the pain but limits your high end sporting activity. You can still walk rapidly and they are usually successful. I think I read that people with artificial joints often end up with a fused joint. I was back to work in three days on crutches but if it is your right foot then you want be able to drive for a while. I do not know the protocol for an artificial joint if that is what you had. They do not do many of those in this part of our country.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 12/26/06 at 21:28 (217959)

Hi all Im post 20 days and I have some information that may help some of you.
My dr suggested Dyna Splint. As soon as therapy is approved from my insurance this may be a help. I am walking fine now but do need to stretch the joint. They will apply the splint and from what my Dr tells me it is wonderful and may get you back on feet alot quicker. I have some bruises but that is expected.
Im sure you can find them on a internet search. I will let you know outcome.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

davidc on 12/28/06 at 07:31 (218083)

Hi Char,

Glad to hear you are doing well.

Where do you get the Dyna Splint? I looked up the website but there is no ordering info. Does your doc have to prescribe it before you can get one? Plus, it looks like it might be rather expensive. Any idea how much $$$?

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 12/28/06 at 20:36 (218206)

Hi David..
Its called Dyna Splint Systems. My Dr was the one who told me about it.
Im pretty sure the Dr has to call them to recommed the therapy Im not sure.
They called me the other nite and said they have a good responce from patients, and they do participate with my medical coverage. Im just waiting to get approval from them befor I can go ahead with it. The rep said that they come to the house to fit it and I can return to work sooner (which is fine with me as im going insane). I dont know how much it is at all. As soon as they contact me I will let you know.
How is your recovery going? Im still black and blue but really not much pain. Just bored out of my mind!!!! I need to get out of this house! I cant take to much more of The Peoples court, Judge Joe, Judge Mathis,
etc. But i am getting good at the Price is Right LOL!!!
Hope you all have a speedy recovery!!!!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

VirginiaS on 12/30/06 at 20:08 (218438)

Thanks for the comments. Also, a little relieved to see someone else who's doc said they could, essentially, go back to work right away. I do feel a LOT better, both pain-wise and in the sense that my doctor may NOT be completely crazy, afterall. I went to work yesterday - part day - and have driven all over town (yesterday was day 10 PO.) I first drove on day 8 PO. Almost all swelling is gone and just a tiny but of bruising left.

I hope all of you do well and heal quickly. Take care.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

julianb on 12/31/06 at 05:30 (218478)

I think the downside of the Dyna splint is that the device stretches the toe rather than using your own tendon. I have been told by physio, that, because it was not used, the tendon to my big toe has become small and probably attached to the bone. I therefore now need to do active stretching to build up the tendon again, by manually pulling the toe back but then releasing and trying to hold the toe in position without suppoprt. Its hard and requires concentration; it helps to do both toes at the same time so there is a comparison.

Has anyone else got similar exercises to do?

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

ukpete on 1/01/07 at 17:18 (218648)

Hello all,

first day back at work since the holidays, Happy New Year everyone!

This coming Thursday the 4th of Jan, it will be five weeks since my left toe cheilectomy for Hallux rigidus. I have been wearing a stiff soled velcro shoe since the op and I can now walk around without a limp. I did try on my normal work shoe this morning but my foot is still a little swollen around the toe area. I did however go out on NYE with my trainers/sneakers and boogied all night at a house party with no problems at all and I was seriously impressed with that.
However, I still can't bend it very far backwards or forwards but I suppose only time will tell. Pre-season soccer training starts in about a month so I hope it's all good by then.
The wound is healing well except the third in the middle which is the only bit left with a scab over it. It was 'leaking' a bit of fluid but between Xmas and NY I basically sat on my backside allowing it to dry up and heal properly.

My next appointment and first X-ray post-op is due on the 12th of Jan - the six week point - so I'll post again with more news then.

All the best for 2007!!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

John Caroline on 1/12/07 at 07:06 (219496)

Hello All.

I am asking these questions on behalf of my partenr who has just had the operation yesterday on her right toe. We got home last night and half way through the night she started to get felling back to her foot. She has been in so much pain since, she's been crying for a few hours. I've got some strong pain killers but it doesn't seem to be doing much. Has anyone got any tips for the 1st week as to how to reduce the pain and maximise the recovery.

John & Caroline

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

davidc on 1/12/07 at 09:30 (219508)

Sorry to hear about the pain. My experience was that the day after surgery was by far the worse. It gets much better very quickly. I didn't need any pain meds after the second day. Good luck.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

kmak on 1/12/07 at 12:57 (219525)

I've been following this board for the past few months approaching my surgery. Thanks to all of you for your posts. I'm an active 40 year old male with a history of speedy recovery and high pain tolerance. On 1/4/07 I had a cheilectomy on my left big toe which was diagnosed halux rigidus stage 2/3. Today I'm 8 days post op and still confined to my back with foot elevated. I must say: I'm disappointed that I'm not further along in recovery. And DavidC, your friend has my sympathies - this is some painfull buisness! I stopped taking pain pills (vicodin) on day 5 but had to go back on yesterday (day 7). Today I'm back off the meds and managing pain with ice. I can get around a bit with the boot, but it gets painful quick and feels swollen anytime I put my foot down. Still, I'm optimistic that I'll be back in action by mid next week. No regrets so far.

Hope that's helpful. I'll post again when I can actually walk and/or drive.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 1/14/07 at 01:14 (219694)

John...ice and elevation of the foot ...i took plenty of motrin as Im not a big fan of pain pills..this may sound stupid but it helped to ice foot...Frozen Peas...belive it or not it works wonders. Get a few bags toss in freezer..it works better than a ice pack.
Im due back to work for lite duty on weds 1/17 only because I am bored.
The pain will go away in a few days but elevation is a must!!!
Keep us posted on how she is doing

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

ukpete on 1/14/07 at 17:44 (219753)


went to the docs on Friday the 12th for my first X-ray post-op and there is a ruddy great staple in my toe! I was not told that they would be sticking foreign objects in my foot!!

This completely explains why I cannot extend my toe downwards AT ALL.

I have a reasonable amount of movement extending it upwards, enough to allow me to get things - relatively - back to normal but the staple has really put a downer on things.

To cap it all, the Doc wasn't happy with the progression of the wound. 2/3's of it is fine but the 1/3 in the middle still has scab on it and he was concerned when I told him that it was still weeping up until the fourweek point. My advice to you all regarding your wound is rest as much as possible and do not put weight on it all until the wound has healed completely. You'll be thankful in the long run.

Anyway, althought he said the bone is healing well, I have to stay in this velcro boot for another 6 weeks and it'll be another 6 weeks until I can do any form of running/training.
I can go swimming however.

Hmm, still can't beleive I have metal permanently in my toe.


Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

kmak on 1/14/07 at 19:11 (219766)

Day 10 post-op and things are waayyy better. I agree - it's all about ther ice (and elevation, of course). I believe the rapid and drastic improvement has entirely to do with a strict elevation and icing regimen. (I like frozen lima beans over peas b/c they seem to retain the cold longer - hey, I'm bored to death, gotta obsess over something). The key for me has been 20 minutes cold, 30-40 minutes off and repeat all day long (a doting significant other is pretty much obligatory to pull this off). The ice cycling also really helps with the pain. I'm now able to walk and do some light toe stretching.

That's shocking about the staple left in the toe - what were they using staples for? Anyone know?

I can't believe I have to wait another five days to get my stitches out, but I ain't about to rush things. Good luck out there - Lima beans!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

ukpete on 1/18/07 at 20:33 (220097)

I found out more about the staple. Here is a pdf all about it.



Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

ukpete on 1/18/07 at 20:43 (220098)

Found this...


Even big sports starts need 8 weeks off.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 1/23/07 at 21:18 (220508)

Hi all..back to work after surgery on 12/7
Im still in the boot but I have a desk job so its not so bad.
I can move the toe well. I keep foot elevated at work but I must admit
it feels much better to keep it non elevated. I take 600 mg of Motrin
and Im fine. I have some pain and discomfort if I am on the foot to long
and will see Dr next week as I tend to favor one side of the foot
when I am walking. Scar is healing well. Still not able to put a sneaker on ( just a bit of swelling) I was approved for the Dyna Splint from my insurance but I really dont think I need it. However, I had a death in family and I had to fly at last minute to Florida and geez did my feet
swell on the plane. Was very sore for a few hours. Pain was OK and had to do it again to come home!
I wish you all speedy recovery and will check back soon to see how you all are

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Linda on 3/02/07 at 20:44 (224039)

Hi Caroline. I'm sure you are past the painful part by now, but just so you can feel 'normal' -- I had the survery on Feb 22 (Thursday). I took 2 Tylenol 3's every 4 hours for the first 36 hours and was still in so much pain that I called my doctor's office in tears on Saturday. They recommended taking 3 regular Advil at the same time as the Tylenol 3's. That did the trick and luckily didn't upset my stomach. It is now day 8 and I am walking without crutches (although limping a lot) and actually went out of the house today! I got the stitches out yesterday and things are progressing well. I need to get a velcro bootie. My daughter's size 11 running shoe just isn't good enough. Hang in there.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Julie on 3/02/07 at 23:09 (224046)

Hello, Would like to weigh in here on this wonderful thread of thought here, as I consider my options over the next few weeks.

In a nutshell, I have Level III (as diagnosed by one podiatrist) hallux rigidus. Accompanying bone spur and arthritis. For the moment, I received a cortisone injection, which has reduced the swellling somewhat, though I am still left with virtually no upward (dorsal?) flexation.

I am scheduled to return to the podiatrist in two weeks. I am leaning toward a surgical procedure, as I would like to regain some flexibility in the joint, reduce the bump, and relieve the pain. I am not a big fan of the steroids.

I suppose my first question is this: Have more people used/recommend a podiatric surgeon, or an orthopedic foot surgeon? I have heard varying opinions from friends and co-workers on this. I do like this podiatrist I have met, and he comes well recommended, though I am told by some that an orthopedist is the way to go.

Secondly, I am surprised by the chilectomy recovery time everyone seems to speak of. It seems like most folks weighing in have had to miss several weeks of work, which is a big factor for me. While I am thinking the surgery would improve things for me, I am not sure that missing several weeks of work would be worth it at this point, especially since the cortisone has relieved the symptoms somewhat for the moment. Also, since I do have a desk job, I would love to hear from anyone who might have specific input on handling that while recovering from this surgery.

Thank you, all!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

melissa g on 3/03/07 at 21:31 (224081)


I am an active 51 and leaning toward simple cheilectomy. I have hallux rigidus in both my toes between levels 11 and 111- closer to 111. I am really scared about the pain. At the moment my pain is not terrible, it's just really limiting as I like to walk about 3 miles a day. It seems from this post that recovery is really hard to predict. I live in new orleans and definitely want to be recovered before hurricane season or shall I just call it evacuation season?

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

melissa g on 3/03/07 at 21:31 (224083)


I am an active 51 and leaning toward simple cheilectomy. I have hallux rigidus in both my toes between levels 11 and 111- closer to 111. I am really scared about the pain. At the moment my pain is not terrible, it's just really limiting as I like to walk about 3 miles a day. It seems from this post that recovery is really hard to predict. I live in new orleans and definitely want to be recovered before hurricane season or shall I just call it evacuation season?

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 3/03/07 at 22:35 (224085)

My surgeon was a Podiatric Surgeon. I have had wonderful results.
Sorry to say you may have to take a few weeks off of work. The longer you heal the better the result. I went back to work and I have a desk job also but dont expect to be in shoes. I had surgery 12/7 and still in a sneaker.
The tendons and nerves need to repair. I also had a screw implanted so maybe thats why it is taking longer.
I went back to work in Januray so recovery is at least 6 weeks.
If you can afford the time off ( no one can) do it.
I just was lucky to have the sick time and half disabilty to do it.
Scar is improving well. Good luck and will check back to see your result.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Dr. Ed on 3/04/07 at 17:57 (224125)


If your hallux rigidus is indeed closer to stage 3, be cautious about doing a cheilectomy. Cheilectomy creates more motion in the joint BUT pain can increase in a joint with badly worn cartilage when motion is increased. In other words, it may not be a good idea to chose a lessor procedure with the hope that it will be less traumatic. You may want to consider conservative treatment such as use of a moderate distal rocker sole for now and reconsider surgical treatment when you are prepared to consider a more thorough procedure.

Dr. Ed

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

ukpete on 3/05/07 at 20:43 (224275)


it's been a while since I posted. And I'm quite distressed.

I signed a consent form for a chielectomy and now I've found out that they've done an Osteotomy also which I didn't consent to. The surgeon did say after the Op. that there was,
'quite a bit of arthritis in there so I scraped it out.'.
Does not sound very pleasant when it's put like that does it? Anyway, I didn't fully understand the consequences of his actions until now. The movement in my toe isn't that great still but the pain has subsided somewhat to what it was previous. However, there is more pain across the top of the foot and in the joint itself if I bend it too far up. I suspected it was because bone is rubbing on bone, and the other pain was because of the strain put on my other ligaments which my Physio suggested also.

The bottom line is I had the Chielectomy to lenghten the time that I can play soccer as I have 2 young boys and I stipulated this with my surgeon. Now, 3 and half months after the operation I've been informed that a second procedure was performed without my consent and that I shouldn't even run anymore never mind play soccer.(The Dr's that performed my procedure(s) have left to go elsewhere.)

What the hell do I do now? I'm 38. Now they're suggesting fusing the joint! It was only painful to begin with when pressure was applied to the top of the joint, i.e. someone stood on it or I walked in the wrong shoes for a long time. I'm sure the cartildge that was there could have been left alone for a few more years..

I'm waiting to have a bone scan next week to see if there is anything that didn't show up in the X-ray but generally I'm quite p!ssed off.

Be warned people. Think long and hard about what you're doing before going ahead with it.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 3/06/07 at 20:35 (224401)

uk pete,
So sorry to hear about your recovery. I had a Osteotomy along with my Chielectomy and even had a screw implanted and I am recovering well.
But I did sign a consent for both procedures and to have the implant also.
From your name can I asume that you live in the United Kingdom? I know from your previous posts that you have had therapy.

I did all my exercises at home and streching the toe hurt but has worked great for me, but then you have been misled by not knowing exactly what Dr did.

Is there anyway that you can contact the Drs that did your surgery and can you obtain a copy of your medical record? Here in the States it is your right to have a copy.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

kmak on 3/07/07 at 12:12 (224480)

Hi all, been a while since I posted but I wanted to submit an update on my experience to date. I'm in my 9th week of recovery from cheilectomy on stage three HR( I'm a 40 y/o active male). I found the first two and a half weeks were pretty miserable but I improved rapidly after that. Today I'm still limping and the therapy still sucks but I can see a light in the distance. Some days I can go for several hours (in running shoes) w/out pain or limping. My podiatrist (who did the surgery) said that it can take 4-6 months to feel fully, fully recovered (hang in there Pete!). I was off pain meds after 4 days but I can't imagine doing those four days w/out constant vicodin.

I, too, have been a little disappointed by the long recovery but I can already tell my range of motion and arthritis is going to be way better. I elevate and ice in the afternoon daily and this seems to be a tremendous help.

I'm going snowboarding in a couple of weeks. I hope.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

HenryM on 3/09/07 at 13:54 (224737)

Hi All: I had a chilectomy and osteomoty March 7th for HR on right foot. My doctor is a podiatric surgeon in whom I have full confidence. She prescribed vicodin and ibuprofen. The first night was absolutely awful, as two vicodin just bounced off the pain once the anesthesia wore off. I was awake all night and experienced pain in the 8-9 range on a 10 scale. It felt as if my foot was in a vice with a sharp cutting edge along the outside and across the top of the arch. Turns out that the ace bandage had been pulled too tight and was seriously exacerbating the pain.

Now that that's fixed, I am gimping around the house a bit but mostly keep the foot elevated and iced sevaral times daily. From here, I can see that this is not going to be as simple a recovery as I would hope. I am 72 but in excellent shape and a fitness nut, so it will be hard not to be able to get back to the gym quickly; but I'll be good.

It will be interesting for me to see how fast I recover functionality, given my age and general condition. Will keep you posted.

Thanks for all of your comments and discussion; this really helped me understand what would lie ahead in personal terms. Cheers,

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Julie on 3/09/07 at 20:16 (224778)


Thanks for responding. It's so good to be able to hear what to expect from the patient's point of view, as opposed to just the doctor's.

I go back to the podiatrist this Thursday, so he can see how the cortisone did, and discuss my options further. I have to say I really don't know what I will opt for. My foot feels pretty good at the moment. But it's still pretty much entirely immobile, and I would like to fix it and stop putting it off.

So, I will appreciate checking in to see how you and everyone is doing. Your opinions are very helpful....keep well!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Julie on 3/10/07 at 02:35 (224804)


Once again, may I ask you please to use the first letter of your surname when posting? I have been known as 'Julie' here for the past seven years. Every time you post I get emails from worried friends about my feet, which have been fine for the past six years.

I am also concerned, as I told you yesterday, that people may assume I have knowledge of TTS that I do not have.

So please, Julie - use the initial of your surname.

Thank you.


Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Julie S. on 3/10/07 at 12:55 (224834)

I'm sorry. I forgot. But I have never posted in this thread before so maybe there's a third Julie?

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Julie on 3/11/07 at 00:28 (224888)

Thank you, Julie! Yes, maybe there's another of us - and maybe she saw my request to you.

All the best,

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Liz on 3/12/07 at 23:47 (225048)

Hi again - I posted a comment from Uk further back - I had an implant for my big toe last november. The doc told me it has developed severe fibrous tissue round the joint that has made it stiffer than before the op. He suggests a further op to try and mobilise it, but the consequences are that he could make it worse. So now I'm stuck. My main concern is I am getting pain in my hip if I walk in normal trainers for over an hour. I am finally having physio, but not much improvement.
Has anyone had the mobilsation op ? As I can't go on like this...I am getting a second opinion.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Julie P. on 3/14/07 at 20:37 (225141)


Sorry to cause confusion with my comments from 3/2 and 3/9. I was not aware of the other Julies! From now on, if I post again, I will go by Julie P.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

dickt on 3/15/07 at 04:31 (225164)

Hi folks,

I am having a cheilectomy on 3/21. I had my preop appointment yesterday. Got a script for percocet for anticipated pain. Podiatrist is a well respected and recommended surgeon who specializes in sports injuries. I usually have a high threshold for pain. He said I might be able to begin running in 3 - 6 weeks as I can tolerate. He also said the only PT needed will be walking. I am 61 y/o and a long time long distance runner. Here's hoping things go well.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

sara on 3/19/07 at 03:35 (225421)

I have moderate pain in my hallux rigidus big toe with reduced jt space and a bony spur. I can walk, with some pain, but really want to be able to wear high heels again. At the moment my toe just wont bend up enough so I end up twisted on the outside of my foot. Will this be possible?

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Liz on 3/19/07 at 12:47 (225464)

Hi Sara - I would think very carefully with regard to the high heels.I frivously agreed to an implant in my big
toe joint so I could wear high heels again. The whole op went wrong and my joint is stiffer than before. Now high heel wearing is out the question for life. Oblivously yours is a different problem, but certainly get 2 opinions before consenting.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

john h on 3/19/07 at 19:22 (225504)

Liz: I had a cheilectomy about 5 or more years ago on the left foot. The incision runs from the middle of the great toe (on top) back towards the foot about 2-3 inches. The surgery was out patient and lasted at most 30 minutes. I was on crutches for 10 days and then the stitches were removed. I was back to work in 3 days. After coming off the crutches I really had no problem. One very important thing is to start bending that toe ASAP or you will not regain the flexion you need. When they perform the procedure they generally straighten your toe up to 90 degrees to know they have shaved or removed enough bone and spurs to allow for good toe movement. My Doctor had a cheilectomy herself and she said the day after her surgery she placed her toe against the fridge while sitting and bent that toe almost 90 degrees up. Your Doc will give you his marching orders but do not just let that toe stay straight or you will be almost back where you were. I know a couple of guys who had the procedure. One was a paratrooper and he is back to jumping out of aircraft. This is sort of a no sweat surgery so do not get overly concerned and stay out of high heels. Two inch maximum say the experts. I really need to have it done on my other toe but it is my right toe and would prevent me from driving for a few weeks. I am not yet ready for that. Good luck.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Judy Ann on 3/27/07 at 13:14 (226081)

I'm reading lots of recovery stories and see that athletic shoes are going quite well ... Have any of you ladies that are dancers and just plain fashionistas been able to get back into high heels and cute dressy shoes? I've danced all my life, am a business woman that likes to dress and wear my high heels. I've chosen a doctor and am okay with pain. I just want to get back being a shoe horse within a reasonable time period. Gals that are dancers (that are also shoeaholics) ... talk to me!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Illine on 3/29/07 at 13:24 (226201)

I am walking on a treadmill and doing great. My surgery was in Nov. 2006. I would recommend the procedure.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

caryp on 4/01/07 at 19:17 (226508)

I have just had my second cheilectomy. The first one was 15 years ago on my left foot, and was done by a podiatrist. My right foot was done on 3/31/07 by an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in feet. My left toe is again painful, but bearable with orthotics. The next surgery for it is fusion, so I am putting off the surgery as long as I can.
I am sure wearing heels into New York, and walking around the city all day hastened the need for surgery. I have not minded wearing only flats for the last 15 years, a small price to pay for being able to play tennis, walk etc. I do wear mostly athletic shoes now, although I think if you get shoes that are wide enough, which is getting easier, you can wear dress shoes. My feet have very high arches, and are wide, which is not a good combination. Orthotics (some of the over the counter ones are fine) help me to put off surgery.
The first time I had surgery I was back at work in a few days, but couldn't wear a regular shoe for months. The pain this time seemed worse (or did I just forget!)I took oxycodone the first couple of days, but today is the 3rd day, and I have only taken Ibuprofin today. The pain in on the wane!
My advice on shoes is to make it a challenge to find shoes that are both attractive and won't aggravate your feet. It is not worth it!


Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

sara on 4/08/07 at 11:32 (227098)

thanx for your comments. the thing is I can walk without too much discomfort at the moment in flats and sometimes wear heels up to about 3 inches. However, I suffer the next day and my toe takes about 2 days to settle down again. Now, I would rather continue like this as I have a high pain threashold, as against having the op and being pain free but not able to wear heels. Someone out there must have had the op AND be wearing heels?

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Matt B on 4/12/07 at 23:32 (227649)

I would like to add my own experience to this 3-year-old thread. I had stage II Hallux Limitus with an arthritic 1st MTJ joint, bone spurs, and the like. The vertical ROM of my great toe was down to 10-15 degrees. Both my doctor and another foot surgeon recommended a cheilectomy to fix my toe.

I went under the knife three days ago and experienced -zero- pain. The worst pain for me was the prick of the needle when they put the IV into my arm. Now, three days later, I can bear partial weight on the affected foot and can walk easily with the aid a of surgical shoe. My experience thus far with my cheilectomy has been awesome. I can't wait to see how my foot does in the upcoming weeks and months!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

BarbieG. on 4/17/07 at 09:12 (227949)

The threads in these pages have been of enormous help. Soon, I too will be having the cheilectomy procedure done (big toe, right foot).
Curious to know about anesthesia procedures. Did most of you go for general anesthesia or 'regional' anesthesia (you're numb but awake).

I'm very nervous about this whole thing. We have a 2.5 year old active little boy at home and I want to be able to run after him again very soon, tend to my Fiance as well as have the ability to wear (reasonably) high heels comfortably !!

Mostly - I want the range of motion back - but all my requests combined matter to me nonetheless.

Continued luck and progress to all of you still recovering and thanks again for your responses and input. I read this section often !!!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 4/18/07 at 20:49 (228089)

I had my procedure on 12/6. As you can see I have posted here befor. I had follow up visit with Dr yesterday and I am so pleased with the result. I am now at 90% range of motion in big toe. I am still in a sneaker as nothing is comfy for me right now however, Dr did do a cast of my foot so I will have some kind of comfort in a shoe in a few weeks.
Anesthesia was a concern for me alos. I was given a mild IV sedation in the OR and a ankle block.
You will be sore for a few days but elevation of the foot is a must!
You will need to stay of the foot for a few days so family support is a must, if it is available to you. You will be in vlelcroe boot also.
Hope all goes well and keep me posted!!!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

BarbieG. on 4/20/07 at 10:42 (228162)

Thank you so much Char !!!! I have been reading your input here. I so appreciate your personal response and I'm SO happy to hear that you're moving along and feeling good. I'm SO nervous.

Looking back - are you glad you did it afterall. I was diagnosed 5 years ago with the spur and I knew all along I'd have to have this done. Now it's gotten to the point where I just can't let it get worse. You know what I mean ??

I know there's alot of ahead of me the first month....pain, discomfort, swelling....you name it. I'm worried and excited to get it over with all at once, if that makes sense.

I'm so glad you'll soon be wearing shoes !! Hooray !! Please keep me posted. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for understanding my concerns. I know I'm not alone and talking to someone who's been through exactly what I'll be going through helps so much !!! I know you know where I'm coming from !!!

WOW - 90% range of motion - good for you !!!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 4/20/07 at 21:37 (228200)

Barbie..I understand concerns..I put it off for years and years. Pain got so bad in right toe that I really would wake me up at night..I had the spurs too.
I do NOT regret doing this procedure. I am lucky that I have a employer that has great benefits, and was able to go out on half sick and half disablity.
I have a scar but its nothing major. I could care less about the scar as long as I can walk with no pain. I do get discomfort once in awhile with the damp weather,, and we had a major Noreaster here last week that did not help much. I dont think you will regret it. Who is doing the surgery? A podiatrist or Ortho?
Keep me posted.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

bobd on 4/25/07 at 11:49 (228478)

So how is your recovery? I had mine done two and a half weeks ago and am progressing well.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

BarbieG. on 4/26/07 at 12:46 (228593)

Thank you so much Char !!!!! I will......

My Podiatrist is my Surgeon. I'm confident I'm in good hands. Go figured, I just found out today that my Surgery date got moved up a few days. So I'll be having the procedure on Monday, May 14 !!! Yikes, it's drawing near now !!!

You're in the Northeast ?? I was born & raised in the Northeast. Been in Florida for several years now.

Please continue to let me know how you're doing. I sincerely appreciate your feedback. Believe me, I'll be communicating on here while I'm out on leave too - I'm sure you can relate !!!

Same here - the Benefits and timing are my motivation in doing this NOW and not waiting any longer. THANK YOU for your support and words of encouragement. Stay in touch. I'll be around soon too.

Best to you in your continued progress......Barbie

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

john h on 4/27/07 at 19:26 (228711)

Had a cheilectomy about 2 years ago on left foot. About a 20-30 minute procedure. Scar from middle of big toe straight back about 3'. Off my feet for a day and then on crutches in a stiff medical shoe. Back to work in 3 days as my surgery was on my left foot and I could drive. Stitches out in 10 days and off crutches. Swelling may be with you for a few weeks. Elevate foot for first couple days at night. You may have some minor bleeding through your bandage. No big deal. Make sure you start bending that toe straight back ASAP and keep doing it. If you do not you will lose a lot of motion in it. When they are doing the surgery they typically bend toe straight up 90 degrees while you are under to make sure they took off enough bone. Pain minor. Be SURE and start bending the toe even though it may hurt as you will do no damage and will not end up with a stiff toe. Most Doctors will take off some bone to insure movement and not just scrape out the joint. Ask your Doctor exactly what he intends to do? Good luck.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

sara on 4/28/07 at 18:00 (228758)

Thats great advice but I still havent heard anything from girls who are waering high heels post this op, and Im not the only girl asking. All I can presume is that there aren't any!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

gail g on 5/02/07 at 20:58 (229007)

I'm just glad to be able to walk, albeit in sneakers, earth shoes or danskos. It hurts just to look at high heels & it's been a year and a half since my cheilectomy with metatarsal osteotomy.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

cam W on 5/04/07 at 10:34 (229105)


i read your posts with some concern. We treat patients with chielectomy when they are grade 1 sometimes 2 H.Limitus. It is really quite unusual to go in to a chielectomy and then have to fuse the joint unless the arthritis is extremely bad ( often this is quite obvious from the pre -op x ray) There are things you can do - like some of the more advanced resurfacing replacements but they are a little variable. You should have had your fusion set to 10 degress upward flexion to allow you to 'toe off'. It does however sound as if things have not worked well if you need a second op to fuse again?

BTW -was your surgeon a Podiatric or Orthopaedic surgeon - makes quite a difference.



Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

BarbieG. on 5/07/07 at 13:46 (229266)

I have several replies here:

This is a reply to Sara.....I agree with you ! I'm very curious to know if any of the ladies have been able to get back into a 'reasonable' heel.

This is a reply to John H. THANK YOU for such detailed information. I certainly will take your suggestions to heart regarding movement, etc. I'm with you 100%.

Again, thanks to all for the great support. I'm having my Cheilectomy done (on my right foot) next Monday. Nervous but looking forward to the results more than anything.

A good day to all.....
Barbie G.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 5/08/07 at 20:35 (229358)

High Heel days are over for me....My dr fitted me for a cast outline of my feet a few weeks ago and will be fitted this Thursday. It it molded to the shape of my feet that can be inserted in shoes. However I have coworker who is back in heels against her Drs warnings and she looks so uncomfy walking.
I would not recommend it but its up to each person do decide if it is right for them.
Give me a nice flat anytime.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

melissa g on 5/12/07 at 12:04 (229696)

I had a cheilectomy two days ago. I had heard horror stories and was nervous. I certainly didn't need to be. I've had no pain to speak of. I am still keeping foot elevated and iced. I've walked downstairs a few times with no pain and I'm really glad I did it.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

KarenS on 5/20/07 at 06:45 (230175)

I am curious to DaveC as to what kind of therapy you go through. Had my cheilectomy done on 5/7/07. Started stretching after bandage and stiches were removed on day 8 post op. I would really like to know what kind of exercises your therapist has you do for I feel the only stretching of the big toe I am doing may not be enough. Thank you

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Steve on 5/28/07 at 05:42 (230671)

hi everyone,

firstly big thanks to everyone taking the tmie to tell their experiences!!

i live in Melbourne, Australia. i am planning on having a cheilectomy on my LEFT AND RIGHT TOE's. Has anyone had this done on both at the same time?

The Podiatric and Orthopaedic Surgeon's i saw both said only about 20% cartliage has worn away from the top of my toe.

There have been conflicting posts, some people have a great degree of extension (upwards) in their toe post op, some just as bad as pre op. What is the difference between these people??

I also had a few questions:
- what can i do post opp to give my toe the best chance of achieving as close to 70 degree extension (upwards) as possible?
- how soon after op should i start exercises?
- does anyone have drawings of exercises to perform?
- does it make a difference if you have a Podiatric or Orthopaedic surgeon? Podiatric surgeon was more optimistic of procedure, saying quite possible to have great extention post op?
- Orthopeadic surgeon was very sceptical about procedure saying, it will not give me greater extension upwards, rather it will only cure my current pain i have??
- can anyone recommend a good surgeon from Melbourne???

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

KarenS on 5/31/07 at 13:02 (230863)

Hi Steve,
Good luck to you. My orthopedic surgeon did the cheilectomy surgery. He said it is the one and only foot surgery he would do or reccomend. That is why I belive you are getting mixed reviews from your doctors. Podiatrists would be more apt for a postive outcome.
I am 24 days after surgery. Toes are very stiff in the a.m. I am wearing tennis shoes for the second day. I can notsay that I have tried high heels ( for those gals asking ) My everday pain is gone, however I do experience a shooting pain when I first take off walking. I do not know of anyone who has had both done at the same time. I have found this message board to be very helpful, before and after surgery.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

VickiR on 6/01/07 at 15:45 (230929)

I am having a cheilectomy on Monday and having read this am both reassured and worried! I am having a local anesthetic (awake with just the area numbed)- so I will be aware of what is going on but hopefully will not feel too much. Has anyone had this done? I do not feel to much pain just discomfort playing netball, bending down in bare feet, wearing heels (interested no-one has answered the heel question positively!) I am aware it will take months to feel anywhere normal again - I just hope that by a year I am better than now. Am hoping to walk then run relatively soon but guess playing netball and wearing heels will take longer. Will keep you posted

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 6/02/07 at 21:20 (230984)

I am in NY USA so I dont know any surgeons in Melbourne. You will be sore for a few days but try to move toe back and forth as soon as you can. Quicker the exercises the faster the results. I went to a Surgical Podiatrist only because a Orth surgeon is more for fractures etc and Podiatrist is more focused on foot ( just my opinion) Why are you having both done at same time?
Elevation of the foot is a must!
Keep me posted and good luck

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

melissa g on 6/06/07 at 14:53 (231189)

I had cheilectomy done on both feet and it was fine. So glad I did both at same time. Gets it over with. Ice and elevation important. I had pink champagne and pain pills the first day. I don't think I needed either. Honestly, tylenol would have probably sufficed.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

VickiR on 6/08/07 at 05:13 (231268)

Day 5 - I had my cheilectomy on Monday under local anesthetic - all went well and I have been very suprised how little pain I have felt -when lying/sitting with foot raised I almost am unaware of having operation, however when sitting with foot down or walking feel some discomfort. Have taken pain relief given along with glass of wine at night and felt fine, now only taking a little pain relief as in general feel fine. Am still concerned about how long it will take me to get active again but guess I have to take it easy.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Steve on 6/13/07 at 02:39 (231481)

Char - i didn't want to drag out the recovery time and surgeon said he would pump me full of morphine, post opp, so hopefully wont be too sore.

Thanks for your replies guys. Will keep you posted

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

janicem on 6/18/07 at 11:22 (231762)

I had a cheilectomy on Wednesday, June 13th. I think it went very well. The block they gave me last over 24 hours so I had no pain until day 2...then the vicodin helped for the next day and a half. On day 3 my foot barely hurt so I stopped vicodin. (note: the vicodin constipated me...no fun!) I was surprised that they didn't want me to ice it at all. My entire foot and ankle was bandaged. Only my little fat swollen toes were sticking out. I am wearing a very ugly flat footed boot. Today I go back to the doctor to have the original bandage removed. I guess we'll see what happens next! My husband has planned a 3 week road trip and we want to leave next weekend. I need to get the stitches out before we can leave so I guess it will all depend on how fast I heal. Should be interesting!!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Char on 6/22/07 at 21:01 (231955)

3 week road trip thats wonderful! One tip that I have while you are in the car...that stupid boot is not comfy so remove it and move the toes back and forth for exercise. Heck if you are not driving use the time wisely.
Enjoy your trip! Keep us posted.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

BarbieG. on 6/28/07 at 09:10 (232171)

Had my Cheilectomy procedure done on May 14. All is going great.

YES I can walk on a 2 inch heel - HOORAY !! In fact, my Podiatrist encouraged it - but only for 'exercise' / movement purposes for right now. I'm able to walk pretty fast and jog a mild pace so far and it's only been 7 weeks !!

But OH !! to be able to put my foot inside any shoe these days is a Blessing in and of itself. Still - my Dr and I can see swelling on the Xray taken just last week. But can expect to have that for at least another 2 to 3 months.

Morning stiffness and dull pain right at the sight of the incision is what is most bothersome. Have been using Mederma ointment on it since the day after my stitches were removed.

Overall everything everyone on here has shared was both extremely accurate and VERY helpful. Especially you 'Dr. Char'...hahaha - you were so supportive and really informative and I thank you !!!!

So for all you past and future recipients of this procedure - continued progress to all from a very happy patient !!!

Happy summer to all

Re: Bilateral chielectomy

Steve on 7/01/07 at 05:24 (232322)

hey Guys,

just had a billateral cheilectomy on 26 june. for those interested, here is a progress report thus far, 5 days on.

0 - 24hrs after operation:
- taking 2 capadex capsules every 4 hours after op, needed a shot of amphetamine during night for pain;
- had shower standing unassisted after 20 hrs; (wouldn't recommend this)

24-48hrs after operation:
- taking 2 capadex every 4 hours, topping up with 2 voltaren tablets in between;
- only walking when required, keeping feet up all day;
- started pushing toes agaisnt sofa to exercise, whilst drugs were working (as per doctor more very important, read below)

48 hrs +:
- taking capadex when required only, continue exercise, pain virtually non existent at 48 hours post op

Doctors advice:
- on a normal distrution curve the average patient achieves 30 degrees greater flexibiltiy then pre op flexibility;
- depending on patients physical make up and amount of exercise they perform greater/less flexibility will be achieved;
- the earlier you start your exercises post op, the more likely you are to achieve greater than average flexibility in your toes;

At the moment, its fives days after the op, i have virtually no pain, in both toes, im only taking pain killers to do exercises (more a of placebo effect than anything), im walking around with surgical shoes(like an old man), and went for a 40 minute drive last night with no dramas.

Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences,


Re: Bilateral chielectomy

dulcie a on 7/06/07 at 13:49 (232566)

Hi Steve
It's good to hear positive comments. I had cheilectomy 29th June 07. at King Georges, London. Pain for 48hrs I was on Co-dydramol, after 3 days stopped as I became constipated. Also Dicloflex Retard (Voltorol). Used ice to reduce swelling, leg up on a bean bag.

1 week after operation I feel fine, big bandage, stiches out in 1 or 2 weeks time. I am driving automatic. Only short distances.

Feel great, the dog stood on foot and it bleed through bandage, got it redressed and it looked good.

After reading all the comments I was scared, maybe others had more done, but all seems great.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

ukpete on 7/17/07 at 22:48 (233129)

Hi Cam,

not sure if you keep checking this thread. First time I've looked at it in ages. My foot is basically the same and the doc was an Orthopeadic surgeon. I had a bone scan a couple of months back and basically he said that the arthritis is really bad. Surely they would have known before I went ahead with this 'simple' operation that would have me playing soccer again in 8 weeks. (The op was November 30 last year.)

I tried playing soccer about 3 weeks back and I was in serious pain afterwards. I would really REALLY like to get this fixed. I live in Melbourne, can you recommend anyone? Or do I, a reasonably fit bloke of 38 with the lung capacity of a 25 yr old - yes, I had a lung function test outside our cafe a couple of months back - have to hang my boots permanently up?

Distressed and very annoyed.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Lynn F. on 7/20/07 at 13:57 (233260)

Your posting is encouraging. I'm scheduled for a chielectomy and a possible compression osteotomy if there's enough cartilege on Aug. 8. Some postings make me nervous while others, like yours, are encouraging> I return to school Aug. 27 so I just hope Im well enough to get myself around. Is that a realistic timetable?
Thanks for any suggestions or comments.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

joan on 7/26/07 at 11:37 (233586)

I had a cheilectomy by a orthopedic foot surgeon in July 2007...it has been 3 months now and I am doing really well...I was a stage 3...bone on bone. I have been going to physical therapy for over two months and am doing well...still have a bit of stiffness but am glad I had it done....

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

stonyy on 8/11/07 at 02:57 (234252)

I've had a bi-lateral cheilectomy 4 days ago and I find it hard to relate to most of the comments I've seen here. 4 days out from surgery and on half doses of the perscribed pain killers and I'm now in less pain in both feet than I was before surgery.
I saw the surgeon yesterday and he said I could push off the big toe...I was walking flat-footed to spare it...and it feels great! I walk like a kid again.

I'm really just wowed by the whole thing and am now trying to get my mother to have her feet fixed as well.

55yrs, male, diabetic, for those interested in such things.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

David B. on 8/11/07 at 15:10 (234261)

Just had surgery yesterday, Foot was numb for about 15 hours post surgery, then a little pain (5 on a 10 scale) today, much better not much pain at all. Went out to breakfast this morning on crutches, keeping it elevated while at home. Dr says, the sooner you start moving the toes the better you will heal.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

stonyy on 8/13/07 at 03:49 (234331)

Just an update to my earlier posting...it is now 6 days since my operation on both feet and today is the first day without any painkillers.

I know this will sound a little unbelievable but it's the truth (I use a calibrated pedometer) I walked 6 kilometers or a bit over 5 and 1/2 miles this morning. Results? The incision site on both feet itches and my calf muscles ache. I think my gait is beginning to revert to a more natural rhythm after years of adjusting to unnaturally limited joint movement.

To think if all the anti-inflammatory drugs I swallowed and the pain I suffered needlessly.

I'm beginning to think that anyone who reaches the age of 40 should be assigned a personal surgeon who will, over time, repair all the damage time has visited upon your unsuspecting body.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Lynn F. on 8/14/07 at 15:08 (234393)

Your experience sounds similar to mine. I had a cheilectomy last Wednesday with conscious sedation so I didn't feel or remember a thing. It took about an hour. He had injected my food with local anaesthetic so I felt nothing for about 24 hours. I waited for the pain to begin but it just never did. I didn't take any painkillers at all. I kept it elevated for the first 3 days, icing it every hour for 30 minutes. I'm now walking around on it, gingerly, still in the boot. Sutures will be removed next Monday. All in all, it went amazingly smoothly and was surprisingly painless, due either to the surgeon's skill or perhaps a high pain threshold....I think more likely the former than the latter.After reading all the postings I conclude that it's different for everyone and wrong to assume there will be a lot of pain just because one person experienced pain.

Re: high heels

Mary D. on 8/19/07 at 13:28 (234627)

Just checked this site to find out proper spelling of cheilectomy and read a few recent messages. Had right foot operated on, orthopaedic surgeon 3/15/07, had lost all joint mobility but without pain. Am quite athletic but am 52 so was concerned about recovery - was distance walking within 2 1/2 wks., running within a month, not pretty and took much longer, my advice would be listen to the doctors handling your case and be patient! Resumed tennis after three-month post-op visit and a stint of PT, surgeon told me to wear high heels as much as possible to stretch the joint, tennis is also good for that. Once cleared for all activity I did purchase new shoes, heels and athletic, that I was sure would be comfortable, and I find changing heel heights once or twice during the day helps avoid foot and ankle fatigue. Best wishes to all, use the recovery time to learn a new hobby or travel!

Re: high heels

sara on 8/22/07 at 14:37 (234768)

at last, someone who is wearing high heels! It has given me a little bit more encouragement to go ahead.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Jeffery M. on 8/28/07 at 11:54 (235055)

I had my cheilectomy on Wednesday, August 22, 2007. I was asleep for the operation and don't remember the procedure at all. I had zero or very little pain even today six days after the surgery. I took pain meds the first couple of days but I took them more out of boredom than for pain. I had more pain in my back and ankle joint from immobilization than I have had in the foot itself. However, I went to the Podiatrist this morning to have my bandages changed and I was surprised at how big the incision was. He told me to keep my foot up at work and to stay off of it as much as possible. But after reading these posts I can see the benefits of stretching a bit. I definitely already feel better than I did before the surgery as that big toe pain was too much. I am looking forward to healing and life unlimitus. Good luck to everyone.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Deborah on 8/29/07 at 21:58 (235178)

Hi Lynn,

perchance was your surgery done by a Kaiser Oakland Doc? I was supposed to go in tomorrow, but I have move the surgery to November: I have an exercise vacation planned for mid October, and really wasn's sure if I'b be ready. For some reason, I kinda thought this was easier than a root canal!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Deborah on 8/29/07 at 22:29 (235179)

Sorry about all the typos! I guess what I'm saying is I thought that if I had the surgery on Thursday, rested on Friday, I'd be able to go to work on Saturday, and teach Yoga on Sunday! So who out there has a 'best case scenario' for recovery from this? I'm 57 years old and athletic, so I thought this would be easy...whew! Glad I found this thread. Thanks, everyone, for setting me straight.

Re: cheilectomy experience

Howard P on 9/03/07 at 20:15 (235424)

Just thought I'd add my experience.
I had my left foot done 2 1/2 weeks ago (just the bone shaving, not fusing). I had the typical problems, a big bone spur on top and pain when bending the toe.

The surgery part was a peice of cake! I mean, I got there early, they gave me 1.5 mg of Xanax (I sometimes take .25, so I was scared what that would do). It did make me very relaxed. The doctor came in and gave me 4 shots in the ankle to totally deaden the foot. Painful shots, but he Xanax was already calming me down. I do remember talking to the nurse a whole lot (my foot was behind a little curtain). And I can remember hearing the doc sanding and drilling the bone, but I didn't care at the moment. Surprisingly, I have no memory of him finishing the operation or even getting driven home, so the Xanax have worked great. Very easy overall, very easy.

But I should have started taking the Percocet before the novacaine wore off. After a few hours my foot started to hurt..HURT! It felt like someone had a knife jabbed right into the bone. I did start on the Percocet then, and went to sleep. By the evening, I still took the pills, but the pain was not all consuming. And, the Percocet did help the pain and made me sleepy, but I didn't feel drugged up in any way. Much milder than I thought.

The next day the pain was less, but I found I could put no pressure at all on the foot. None. I had crutches and sat in the chair with my foot up all day. Tried some ice (package of lima beans..fit in perfectly in the little velcro slipper the doc gave me). Still took Percocet, but not continuously. Really, not a lot of pain as long as the foot was kept raised (even without a lot of ice, which had a hard time pentrating the tight bandage). But, the instant I lowered my foot, it felt like some taught water balloon that would only take a small prick to burst! And, yes, this taut feeling ended up lasting at least a whole week. Not sure it was harming my foot, but not very comfortable. And, I did use Percocet off and on, as indeed it would cause pain to diminish.

By the 3rd day, though, I could walk on my heel some instead of all crutches (what a pain). I really didn't use crutches much past the 4th day. THe velcro shoe worked great and I wore that for a week, and more if I went out.

Went back to work on Monday (surgery on Wednesday). Tried to keep my foot up, left early a bit, but I was quite functional after 5 days. Throbbing foot, true and lots of limping.

Doc took bandage off after 1 week and I found this caused the foot to begin to hurt more than it had! More tender (still did Percocet once in a while). But, I found my foot had really not swollen much at all. I could wear a tennis shoe (I bought a big one) even after 1 week..just don't tighten it. Doc took stitches out at 2 weeks and said to walk at home without any shoe in order to bend the toe (I do bend it up some also). Still not swollen at all and after 2 weeks I can walk with only a slight limp, although I use the outside of my foot.

The biggest pain is I'm supposed to wear this rubber toe spreader between my big toe and the one next to it for 6 more weeks! It is annoying (and I have to wear a sock all the time to keep it in place). But the doc said I don't have to go back to him unless I have some problem. He says full recovery can be 8 more months (I may try tennis in another 4). He says I can do almost anything. I mean, I won't hurt it, but if I can deal with the pain I can do it.

I think the way it works is that the initial recovery is very quick. I mean, I was recovering great even after just one week. Better after 2 weeks. But, I am guessing that now the recovery curve really slows down and although I'll be able to walk a lot, I suspect any kind of toe bening will be painful for months to come.

Overall, the first 2 weeks have been much easier than I susupected. The doc thought I may have been a fast healer and he said healing is a personal thing. Still, if you go by my scenario, the whole thing has been easier than I thought it would be.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Lynn F. on 9/06/07 at 19:47 (235611)

Hi Deborah,

No my surgery was by a podiatrist in Albany, New York. I had it on Aug. 8 and am in the velcro boot until Monday. It still hurts a little when I walk and when I'm barefoot, but the nurse told me I'm being a little impatient and that healing takes time. Still a little swollen. Not ready for the new shoe shopping yet!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

PamM on 9/07/07 at 12:35 (235654)

I am going to have my cheilectomy on Dec 7, 2007. I am not too worried about pain but would also like to be able to wear some kind of cute heel. Did you ever get any answers?

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

JanB on 9/23/07 at 19:00 (236571)

Hi, I have enjoyed the discussion regarding recovery from cheilectomy. I found the site few days before surgery on my right toe. I had mine done by a podiatrist on 9/18/07. I have had much less pain than I could have imagined. I used crutches for a day and a half. I am walking in a hard velcro sandle that the doctor put on. The sandle gets uncomfortable, so I take it off while I sit with foot elevated. I used ice (lima beans) several times a day for about 4 days. I used vicodin every 4-6 hours for the first 2 days because my RN daughter wanted me to keep ahead of the pain. She would call from out of state to see if I had taken it. I really didn't need as much as I took. I will see the doctor tomorrow to change the bandage. It is wrapped very tight and that seems to bother me. I will be glad to get it changed. I am walking in the velcro sandle without difficulty as long as I am on a hard flat surface. It hurts to walk on the lawn. Thanks to all for your recovery story. JanB

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Bryan on 9/24/07 at 16:46 (236597)

I am curious if I have a cheilectomy what is the likelihood of me being able to play soccer still? Running 5k races? Thanks.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Mark B on 10/03/07 at 13:39 (237109)

I have been having EXTREME pain from a very painful bunion. So much so that I can hardly put on a shoe. I have been wondering about surgery and it has freaked me out. I can't take 2 weeks off much less 6. Today I went to The Good Feet store and got some arch supports. I went in with pain and walked out with 90% of it gone.
My weight rides on my arch now instead of on the outside of my foot.
To me, this is a miracle.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Ann W on 10/10/07 at 08:57 (237465)

Pam, I'm having mine 12/14 and my whole reason is because the cuter the shoes, the more pain I have in my big toe. I'm really concerned about not being able to wear most of the dozens of shoes that I have after the surgery. What have you been told? The more I read, the more fearful I become!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

stonyy on 10/12/07 at 03:02 (237559)

If you want a real miracle...get the surgery tomorrow.

It took me 35 years of discomfort to get rid of both dorsal bunions at once. It has taken me about 3.5 months to realize what a fool I was for waiting so long.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

sara on 10/25/07 at 11:51 (238435)

Atlast, some more ladies wanting to wear cute heeled shoes after this surgery but alas, still no real confirmation that this usually possible.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Janice K on 10/29/07 at 10:51 (238589)

I am having a cheilictomy on Wed. My podiatrist said I could return to work in 2 weeks. He said the operation would hurt, but didn't begin to talk about the horror stories I've just read here. And...does everyone have to go to PT afterwards? I am 53 and wanted this done because of years of pain. Not able to go on walks, do the treadmill...I want to start travelling alot again and just can't walk for a long time. I am only in pain, tho, after walking alot. Cannot wear heels except Dansko, which is fine. The dr. did not tell me what state the hallus is in, and I didn't know to ask. So. Now I am thinking of cancelling. If I cancel, will the joint just continue to get worse? You all have me very scared. I'm not sure now if it is worth it.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Bill on 11/05/07 at 14:38 (239012)

I am scheduled for surgery (cheilectomy)on Nov. 29, 2007 in Germantown, MD. My dr. said I should be able to have the procedure on Thursday. Stay home Fri, Sat & Sun and return to work on Monday. We'll see how true his statements are. Also, it would be interesting where geographically the posts are coming from in terms of medical practices and procedures ie. US versus UK versus ....
Although I am approaching 60 and enjoy the outdoors, my doctor is the US Soccer Team Podiatrist. Perhaps upon recovery, I'll take up soccer...

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Vermont_Rich on 11/07/07 at 19:50 (239154)

First - Good luck Bill.

Second - I'm scheduled for the Big C (Cheilectomy) on 11/27 in VT with Dr. Rinaldi, I guess he's treated many famous marathon runners as well as Olympians. Should I care? Is this a good sign, or is he just bragging? Anyone heard of him or used him? He says he has done at least a thousand of these procedures and seems very confident that as an active 40 year old with stage 2 or early 3 HR, I will benefit immensly. I'm having a hard time going in for the surgery, as the pain is not debilitating, but it has bothered me for 12 years now, and some times the pain is pretty bad and has gotten worse over the years. But it never keeps me from walking or cycling....
Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences. I think this Doc knows what he is doing, I just get nervous

Re: cheilectomy recovery for soccer players

sfsoccer on 11/09/07 at 15:48 (239273)

Question for Bill. This is my first post. I'm 32 and have been diagnosed with stage 2-3 HL. I'm a pretty serious soccer player, so I would love to talk to your doctor before any operation. What is his name and contact info?

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Theresa on 11/11/07 at 12:07 (239326)

I had the cheilectomy 4 weeks ago Oct. 12. Originally, the podiatrist thought there was some cartiledge and had also planned an osteotomy (take a wedge out of the first metatarsal). When he started the procedure (I was totally out) discovered a ring of cartiledge and none in the middle but he was not prepared to replace cartiledge. So only had the cheilectomy. No pain to speak of. Doc showed me a picture of the 90 degree bend in the toe that was taken during surgery.
At first, the healing seemed to be rapid. I was back to work with my foot propped up in a four days. Ice and patience and keep bending the toe (PT). Glad I came back to this site. I will do more intense toe bending therapy now. Mostly I sit, foot up. Do my yoga and exercises in a horizontal state every morning. Doc has me in the hard shoe until 6 weeks. Still, I am walking barefoot and in birkenstocks with care. I am very impatient. He says 100% in six months or more.

The occurrence of pain started suddenly in March. Prognosis from both a podiatrist and an orthopedic surgeon was the same. I called the podiatrist (a friend) in June and told him that I just had to have the surgery immediately because I was going on vacation in September. Get this. He said I might not be completely ready to go hiking in that short a time and would do it when I returned. I just had no idea. This is the only elective surgery I have ever had.
I am 55, excellent health, and active.
I did it because I was worried about my structural alignment from walking on the outer edge of my foot.

Good luck!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Kim on 11/11/07 at 12:42 (239328)

Hello. I had my cheilectomy on 11/7/07 in Austin TX and I am doing fine. I am 5 days into it and went on 1 mile walk today with my dog. Before surgery I was(and will be) active, work out daily, including pilates and distance running. The hardest part about the surgery is that I hate the shoe I have to wear and I hate that showers are a pain. I also had an ingrown nail on my other foot taken care of so both feet need to stay dry. I have had very little pain. Have taken the vicodin only twice since getting home and that was at night to get some sleep. My Doctor recommends getting Crocs for the shoes you wear after the surgery. That is what I have been wearing, even though I hate them. I had the cheilectomy done in 2000 by another Dr. in Austin and it was horrible. My foot was swollen for months and the pain was unbearable. On this one, I can fit in my running shoe now. I had very little if no swelling. I can't tie it because of the bandage. Movement is imperative immediately following and 5 minutes on every waking hour along with ice and keeping it elevated. THe pain I had was not debilitating (prior to surgery), but not really tolerable. I just became used to it and learned how to cope with the way I walked, ran, etc. Now I am looking forward to pain free workouts (including being able to bend my toe when putting shoes on!) :) If you have anymore questions feel free to ask!

Good luck! You will do fine.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Vermont_Rich on 11/13/07 at 14:29 (239414)

Kim - why was this cheiletomy better than the one in 2000 and what stage HR were you?

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Rob on 12/04/07 at 08:18 (240234)

I have been having pain in my big toe joints for at least 7 years on and off (though getting worse). I have been a pretty active swing and square dancer and I guess that contributed to it. Recently, I took up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a very demanding martial art, and was unable to do some things in the sport because of it. So I decided I should do something about it. Cortisone shots didn't seem to help and the PT seemed unlikely to help because of the structural problems with the joint. While my joints seemed to be in decent shape (no popping, but big bone spurs), I thought I should get it taken care of before my cartilage got worn away and while I was still relatively young (37). I had a cheilectomy on my right foot (the worse one).

It's been a little over 3 months and my foot hurts worse than before the operation. I have almost no downward motion in my joint now and while my upward motion is maybe a tiny bit better, it hurts worse, so I don't like to bend it back. The doc says the space between the joints is closer than before the operation and doesn't seem optimistic that it will get much better. He prescribed me a rocker bottom sole and some physical therapy, but I got the distinct impression from him that I was screwed.

It is all very depressing. I don't know that I will ever be able to dance or do Jiu Jitsu seriously again. I may be an exceptional case, but I'd definitely think seriously about the risks. I'd be interested in hearing of others who had similar experiences.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

gail g on 12/05/07 at 13:52 (240287)

My cheilectomy & osteotomy were 2 years ago last Oct.. Mine was a pretty extreme case--with very little cartilage, almost no movement at all, a major bone spur, lots of crepitus & constant pain. The pain in the foot would wake me up at night & I could barely walk down the drive to get the paper without tears in my eyes. My situation began with a horse stepping on my foot as a child and then was made worse by intense distance running on asphalt through my 30s & 40s.

Recovery after the cheilectomy/osteotomy was very, very slow, but I am quite a bit older than you. (late 50s at time of surgery) At 3 months post-surgery the pain was still pretty bad & I was really getting down. But---somewhere along the line pain leveled off to a dull stiffness. I am unquestionably better off than prior to the surgery. Not perfect, not like 'original equipment---there are creaks & groans & some soreness at the end of the day, but the foot is certainly functioning. It's unlikely that I'll ever jog again and thought of heels pains me to think of it, but I can still take daily hour long walks with the dog and am not handicapped when traveling. I Just have to be obsessively careful when choosing shoes & always use a custom orthotic on the bad foot.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Eliz on 12/11/07 at 21:07 (240648)

Hi All,

I can't believe I waited until the night before my surgery to read this thread. Based on all the reading (which has been very helpful, reassuring, and frightening all at the same time), I have two questions:

1. The doctors told me I can't eat or drink after midnight tonight, but my surgery isn't until noon tomorrow That means 12 hours w/o water! As a hiker, backpacker etc. that seems so crazy! Yeah, maybe I won't throw up any water, but won't the dehyrdration be worse? Plus, the anaesth. is just local at the foot with a sedative...That seems off to me. Did anyone else have to be w/o for so long? p.s. As I write this, I cringe b/c at least I'm lucky enough to live in a country where I can get this operation and I'm complaining about a few hours without liquids..

2. I have a 2 month daughter who is a pretty good sleeper and not colicky. My husband is off for the next 4 days, but after that it she is back in my hands. I won't be breastfeeding due to the pain meds... Hopefully, I'll be able to swing it without us both breaking down. But, I am worried about being able to move around to do what needs to be done. Any thoughts or advice?

I'll probably be reading this AFTER the surgery, but any thoughts will help and if other people didn't have to go so long without water, at least I'll have something to stew over.

Thanks! Elizabeth

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Laurie c. on 12/11/07 at 21:48 (240654)

Dear Eliz,

As a breastfeeding advocate when I was nursing my own two children, I came across Dr. Thomas Hale who is the premier expert on nursing with the use of medications. Here is his message board with relationship to the use of pain meds while nursing:

and here's his contact info:


Maybe you can have your doctor call him.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Eliz on 12/18/07 at 10:05 (240963)

Dear Laurie C.,

Thank you for responding. I was able to 'pump and dump' for I only needed the meds for 2 days. Which was a relief.

Just thought I'd post my experience with my chielectomy. I had Hallix Limitis (not rigidis), stage II. I want to help create balanced feedback; all the not-so-great stories the night before the surgery really freaked me out!

So, Day 1- surgery in the afternoon. Fell asleep in operating table, woke up about 20 minutes later. 'RICED' (Rest, Ice, Elevated) for the rest of the afternoon/evening. Did not feel anything but numbness until mid-day Day 2. The sedative did not make me very drowsy or woosy. Took 1/2 the vicadin they recommended and all the ibubrofen. Slept just fine.

Day 2- anaesth. started to wear off by mid-day. Spent the whole day on the couch, foot elevated, icing behind the knee and on the top of the foot. In the morning I took 2 vicadin w/out food. Don't do this!!! Very woosy and slept most the morning. In the afternoon I recoveredll only took 1/2 pain meds and ibuoprofen, plus 1 aspirin a day to avoid blood clot in leg. Still not much pain. Like a bee sting when I was off it. If I hobbled too much it started to throb. Slept fine.

Day 3- Pain a little worse, probably b/c I started to try and move around more, dumped the pain meds and started the range of motion exercises (5 xs a day). The ROM didn't even hurt that much until after, when I walked it was sore. Went to xmas party on crutches. Stay seated. I forgot to take my ibuprofen before bed and had some trouble sleeping.

Day 4- Drove myself to the coffee shop. No more icing. Hobbled up and down stairs most of the day. Rested some. Went to another xmas party and wasn't as uncomfortable.

Day 5- Drove myself to 1 hour worth of errands in my hard sole surgery shoe. No problems. No meds. Down to about 1 800 mg ibuprofen per day.

That is about it for me! I get my stitches out on Day 7. I've heard that there is some pain associated with that. But, I am looking forward to wearing my own shoe on my right foot. I will start more intensive therapy on Wed. as well. ROM exercises are a must as is the 24-48 hour RICE plan.

The post-op beta was that I've lost about 15% of the cartilidge in the joint. That means the bone spur will probably develop again in time. I'm hoping that this will be a slow process over 20 years. At that time,I will probably have to have it fused rather than the osteotomy. Fusion I've been told will keep me at the range of motion I had before the chielotomy, but w/out pain. That means, after the fusion, no running up hills anymore, but I should be able to run on flats and keep telemarking!!!! Yahoo.

So, in short/long- it wasn't that bad for me. Good luck!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Ann W on 12/18/07 at 17:15 (240999)

Laurie - I had my cheilectomy last Friday and mine was also at noon (and ran 1.5hrs late). The no water thing was pretty difficult as I am a big water drinker.

Reading your post was really interesting. My doc has rep of not having great followup communication. What ROM exercises are you doing? He just told me to manually manipulate my toe upward. I have been walking a bit without the sandal forcing my toe up plus the manual moving of the joint. My case was not severe and I am 56. Most of my exercise involves running after my 17 month old granddaughter.

I'd welcome any suggestions of exercises for regaining motion. This is my right great toe and I've been told not to drive for 4 weeks. I
am sure I'll get behind the wheel before that!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Julie Bunnell on 12/19/07 at 14:53 (241060)

Hi There-
I am wondering how old you were and how you found a great doctor! I am also very active - distance running, hiking, biking and am devastated to find out that I have hallux rigidus and the potential problems I could have following a surgery....

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Jon F on 12/23/07 at 14:11 (241184)

I think the big difference here in stories is partially accounted for by the fact that some of us get cheilectomies and some get cheilectomies with osteotomies.

I had an Austin-Youngswick (cheilectomy and Osteotomy) on 12/19. Its now day 4 and lets say its a lot more painful than I ever expected. I'm presuming that it is because of the bone removal. It feels that way anyhow. Here is what I have experienced so far:

Day 1: numb for whole post-op day - didn't feel much of anything until the following day. Then it hurt. Was told to elevate for first 3-4 days. Was told not to bother with ice - as bandage was too think anyway for cold to penetrate. Am in a surgical boot (big one) and told to sleep with it for at least 2 days.

Day 2: Took pain meds and needed them. Spent whole day in recliner chair with foot up.

Day 3: Felt a slight bit better - but definitely needed pain meds. Spent whole day with foot up in recliner.

Day 4: Felt a bit better still - but still needed pain meds. Foot up in recliner again to avoid swelling. It actually works.

Day 5 - is today. I can tell I am not going to do much because of pain. I may or may not attempt a shower in a chair with cast bag. I don't have post-op Dr visit for another 5 days. I expect to be sitting in a chair for much of this.

Not drinking water pre-surgery was a big problem for me - but I did it. Ended up with lots of phlegm during procedure and anaestesiologist had to aspirate. Given I normally drink 6-8L or water a day, I am not surprised.

I suspect that I may use pain meds a bit longer - although I am really getting sick of them. Recovery will be slower than expected and pain higher - but I've been through worse.

Definitely I can feel the pain from excised bone more than anything else. This is what makes me think that we get such variable info here regarding recovery. Cheilectomy is easier than chielectomy and osteotomy. My suregon was Youngswick and he made a pretty convincing case for doing the osteotomy - to ensure my active self in the future. He is a nice guy and I trust him - something unusual in itself as I rarely trust any surgeon.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Ed on 12/26/07 at 09:45 (241227)

I'm having R cheilectomy on 1/25. Pretty advanced HR (didn't ask #). I initially injured my great toe doing BJJ about 10 years ago - hyperextending the big toe. Just taped it up and kept reinjuring it. Stopped martial arts around age 40 when I shattered my L wrist. At that time, my ortho observed that my toe must be quite painful. Which it is/was, but MA increased my pain tolerance such that I could live with it.

In the past decade I switched to running, including a marathon.

My doc said I should probably have fusion, but he recommended that I try cheilectomy to retain what joint motion I could, thereby reducing stress throughout the rest of my foot. Thinks I'll probably need fusion in about 10 years.

I could not imagine pushing off my toe as required in BJJ. And - IMO - if you aren't keeping your hips low and pushing off your big toe, you aren't doing a good part of BJJ.

My ortho says BJJ and/or running would be exactly the worst things I could do to undermine the results of the surgery. So I'm planning on switching to a (boring) elliptical or some other machine.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Elaine M on 12/28/07 at 12:56 (241324)

I had surgery for hellux rigidus in my left toe on Nov 28th. The surgery went very well, with little to no pain. I really didn't have much pain at all in the following days. Went to the Dr a few days later - everything OK, then went in 2 weeks - again everything OK. Then went yesterday (4 weeks out) and he said I wasn't exercising my toe hard enough. I think I was worried I'd do something bad to the inside of my toe. Apparently, you can't baby it but instead 'push through the pain'...ugh. I didn't really understand that from him. Anyway, he said if I don't I will lose my 'window of time' and end up with a stiff toe or have to have another operation so I am exercising it! Very hard to keep doing but I am! I wish he would of told me how important these exercises are - apparently the key - I hope it's not too late for me.

Anyone else have this experience?

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Nita on 12/28/07 at 19:17 (241338)

Hi, I'm having my lt. toe cheilectomy on jan 16th after reading all these messages I'm really getting nervous.
I have had this pain for over 10 years so I;m hoping all will go well.
I think I will do the ice weather the Dr. says so or not it seems like everyone agrees on that and elevating.
I will now have the right questions to ask when I go for my pre op visit on the 8th,
I will continue to post and read!!!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Fredrik on 1/04/08 at 17:04 (241548)


I am a professional soccer-player from Norway who has had a stiff big toe for some two years. It took a year to find out what it was, and I couldn't play soccer all that time. Now I am four weeks after the surgery. The surgery went very well, and I walked pretty much from day 2 and out. At this point I am running pretty well. The only problem is that I am feeling the same pain that I originally had. And my foot was a lot better before the surgery, so I am worried I have to go through the same pain again. I have pretty good flexibility, but the pain I get when kicking a ball is undescribeable...

Is there any hope for my soccer carreer?

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Dr. Z on 1/04/08 at 18:13 (241550)

Four weeks post surgery is really too soon to kick a ball or anything without extreme pain. Did the procedure work ? Too early to tell. It can take up to six months for the foot to heal and more time for you to play and kick. An examination would have to be done to determine if your foot surgery has been sucessful and if you will eventally play again. I have had many pateints return to sports after this type of foot surgery. Go back to your surgeon and tell him exactly what you have done and what is is plan for rehab

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Tony B on 1/18/08 at 12:20 (242152)

Thought I'd share my experience thus far. Had cheilectomy on right foot on 1/16/08. Done by Podiatrist in doctor's office under local anesthesia. He gave me prescription prior to the surgery. Advised me to take one percocet and one valium at same time one hour prior to surgey so that kept me relaxed and didn't feel a thing. Took about 30 minutes. Sent me home with a velcro shoe and told to keep elevated and iced for several days only getting up to go to bathroom. Was told I could bear weight on it on my trips to bathroom. Well for me the pain was too great to bear an ounce of my weight on it so I shimmied on my butt to the bathroom. Returned from bathroom using a sponge mop upside down as a crutch. Next trip my wife and son gave me a push while I sat on a skateboard. Then I started to use a wooden baby gate as walker, then I graduated to using a bar stool as a walker. Pain was about a 15 for me, just a constant throbbing. Had I not insisted on antibiotics I would have feared it was infected due to the throbbing. Had surgery on leg once and because they didn't prescribe antibiotics it got badly infected and spent a week in the hospital. I would never have surgey since without insisting on getting antibiotics. Should be par for the course for any surgery IMHO.
Called Dr's the day after surgery to ask for crutches since I could not bear any weight on it at all and they said they don't like to give people crutches for this surgery for fear people would bump it(go figure, a podiatrist that don't like people to have crutches). Fortunatly for me, my neighbor happended to have crutches and let me borrow them, don't know how I'd make it to the bathroom otherwise.
Anyway, day 3 now and still a great deal of pain so still taking pain meds as well as eating alot of crackers cause 3 days of pain meds now making me awfully sick with nasuea.
I notice alot of people saying to bend the toes, however, I have so much bandaging on that I couldn't bend it if I wanted to ( not that they informed me to do so anyway).
I was also concerned about icing it cause I have about 2 inches of bandage on so I couldn't see how the cold could even make it's way to the foot. Doc told me to just put ice on ankle below the bandage and it would work it's way up. Sound right to you?
At any rate, this surgery for me has been nothing less than very painful thus far. Hope it gets better soon.
Go back to docs on Monday, don't know what for other than a visible check. Can't see stitches coming out after only 5 days.
That's my story. Good luck to all since apparantly it does vary very differently per individual.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

bored on 1/20/08 at 13:19 (242208)

I am 2.5 weeks post cheilectomy of my rt big toe. I am bored out of my mind and get a kick out of reading everyones experience. I agree with everyone the first day is fine due to the block and the next two days you have unbarable pain. Things get better after that and I have not even taken advil for over a week. My doctor is leaving my stitches in for 3 weeks and that seems like a long time! Hopefully I will be able to wear sneakers after. I am Just super sick of hobbling around and not being able to exercise. I think most of us are quite active and that is why we needed the surgey which makes it hard to just sit around postop and that is why we are all documenting our experience. I enjoyed tonys rendition of getting up I wish I would of thought of the skateboard trick!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Laurie D on 1/20/08 at 16:18 (242214)

I had moderate foot pain for about four years which cramped my athletic ability and shoe choices. I had a cheilotomy on December 1st, 2007. I was on crutches for a weekend, hobbled for another 12 days and took my daughter to a Hannah Montanna concert by December 15th! Yes I was sore but I put on a stiff soled runner and dealt with some pain. I started physiotherapy the following week and continue with this presently. The Doc does ultrasound and alot of stretching/manipulation. My range of motion is now 'normal'. I think manipulation and exercise is key. Yes I am still sore at times but I believe no pain no gain. I am a kindergarten teacher on my feet all day. I can now walk long distances and even jog a wee distance. I believe follow up care (physio) is essential!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Tony B on 1/21/08 at 08:52 (242240)

Update from skateboard guy (glad you enjoyed that, I thought I could add a little humor in here) . Now 6 days post op. Pain started to ease up on Day 4 and I was able to bear weight and actually walk on it now. No more pain meds needed and after 2 gallons on ginger ale, 2 tins of peppermint altoids and a box of saltines, the nausea is finally starting to ease up as well. Fortunatly, I am a remote employee as a computer programmer so back to work for me tomorrow, that'll ease up the boredom. This is the main reason I opted for surgery now is because I work remote and only needed a few days off.
Good luck guys!!!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

MarshaB on 1/22/08 at 11:14 (242273)

Hey folks..I am a Newbie but wanted to share my experience. I had a A right big toe cheilectomy last Thursday. I had iv sedation in an outpatient setting. They also loaded up my iv with a medicine for pain before they took my iv out along with the local. I went home in an open toed boot. I slept most of the first day with my foot elevated and icing at the ankle because of the large bandage. Nurse said the icing at the anckle did chill the blood and help with swelling. I honestly had no pain. The sugery was at 7:30 am and the doctor called me at 6pm. The block was wearing off but I still had very little pain. I took the vicoden just in case and it made me sick so I switched over to ibuprophen. The very next day I was in the doctor's office for xrays and it was amazing to see the before and after pictures!! I also met with a therapist who got me started on a CPM machine that I had to hook up to my toe. It slowly stretches and moves the toe at the joint and I adjust it myself. I do this for 3-4 hours per day.....it is amazing!! My insurance which is Blue Cross Blue Shield would not pay for it and said it wasn't needed but I sure am glad to have it and I beleive it is going to give me great results. The doctor said the meds they put in my iv would wear off in 3 days. I did have some aching at that point but nothing alittle ibuprophen couldn't cure!! I am heading back to work tomorrow with my machine and see the doctor at one week on Thursday to have the bandages changes and check on my toe's range of motion. I see alot of bruising around my toes but the pain has been less than before the surgery for the most part. I am very grateful for my doctor and his wisdom!!!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

PeggyO on 1/22/08 at 14:48 (242278)

Thank you all who have posted so far. Your experiences have been very helpful in my recovery.

I am 44 and very active in running, soccer and Tae Kwon Do. I had a cheilectomy on my rt. toe on 1/1/08 in outpatient surgery. Had IV sedation and an ankle block. Just kept my foot up the 1st day and iced it. (Even though my foot was all wrapped up the nurse said the ice does cool down the temperature in the dressing). I did have the pain killer Mepridine/Promethazine which really helped. Used crutches when I went out of the house and was given a sandal to wear. The 2nd day I went to a photo shoot I didn't want to miss. I walked around in the sandal and limped a little. I put my foot up whenever I could which made it feel much better. Really wasn't too bad.

I did have to go in to get a dressing change on the 14th because my toe bled after surgery causing my dressing to become hard like a cast and constrict my big toe. Once the the ankle block wore off it was very uncomfortable when standing. What a difference a dressing change made. It looks really gross when they take the dressing off. My skin was sort of folded over and stitched and there was bruising too. The doc assured me that it looked great:)

I had my stitches out on 1/17 and everything looks good(the folding over of my skin is gone). Still having some issues with the ankle block. The nurse said some people are good within a day or two and for some it takes weeks. It feels like I have a sprained ankle and I can touch the site of the block and I get a strange feeling running down my foot. Not bad, just weird. I had an ACL recontruction on rt. leg on 12/7/07 and they give a femoral nerve block. It took a while to go away too.

During the 1st week I rode a stationary bike and that seemed to help with the stiffness. I was also going twice a week for PT for my ACL. We only had to alter the treadmill and balancing exercises until my stitches came out. I start PT this week for my toe which will involve them stretching my toe and something called scar manipulation? Sounds interesting.

I started driving after the 1st week. It was easy pressing the gas but putting on the brakes was a little rough if I got stuck in traffic. Not unbearable just a little sore, of course I still had the bloody cast on then too...my advice, get a dressing change if it feels all hard around your foot and don't do it yourself...my dressing was stuck to my stitches, I had to go to an Ortho Urgent Care (regular Urgent Care will not do it because it was surgery related) my doc couldn't get me in right away. It was well worth it.

After I recover from my rt. foot and ACL surgery I will probably do my left foot. I am already pain free in the joint. It used to ache all the time. Also the ugly bump I had on my joint is gone. So I would recommend the surgery if you are very active and want to continue in your activities.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

midwest doc on 1/24/08 at 20:18 (242361)

I really enjoyed reading folks' variety of post-op experiences and thought I'd share my own.
I am a 40 year marathoner/triathlete who developed hallux rigidus over a period of about 12-18 months. xrays showed osteoarthritis with spurring (prob. Grade II for what it's worth.)
I had a cheilectomy on 1/7/2008 performed with a spinal block plus IV sedation. No real post op pain just severe pressure sensation for a few days. I was supposed to spend 2-4 weeks in bed, no PT, no range of motion exercises post-op but I did my 'own thing' after the first week. (After doing a fair bit of reading on-line it seemed clear to me that early postop range of motions were crucial if you want to have any chance of getting any motion back.)
Stiches out 16 days out and surgeon was amazed at how much motion I already had an how well I was walking. I immediately went home and worked out which was a huge mistake and now I'm really hurting. Oops.
The bottom line is to make sure that you have a great foot surgeon. I consulted with two different orthopedic surgeons and didn't mention asking for a 2nd opinion just to keep them honest.
Final result is still pending however I am already free of the chronic arthritic pain that I had pre-operatively. I am cautiously optimistic that I will be able to run a little but need to switch gears and focus on other sports.

Re: Post cheilectomy running?

midwest doc on 1/24/08 at 20:23 (242362)

I'd love to hear from anyone who's had a cheilectomy and has returned to serious or recreational running.
I can't final any good info on-line. My doc said any and all running is bad and would expedite the arthritic process in my post op toe but I know that he's ultraconservative.
I'm 40yo and won't be able to get back to my PRs of my youth but I'm willing to try!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

PoppyW on 1/24/08 at 20:46 (242364)

Hi there - I too am recovering from a bilateral cheilectomy and osteotomy on the 14th Jan. I read this thread the night before the op, luckily there's plenty of positive to outweigh the negative and it has been interesting to read the range of recovery experiences and dr instructions. My experience has been very positive - no pain killers needed after 2 days, able to walk the day after the op, although I had very strict instructions from the surgeon to walk only 15 mins each day for the first 10 days.
So my recommendation: bilateral is worthwhile. Even though my experience has been good, I'd prefer not to do it again.
And questions: I am a 44yo distance runner and rock climber. I'm interested to know if there are other climbers who have this problem, and if that contributed to the issue.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

TexasAggie on 1/25/08 at 16:15 (242387)

Great forum and thread -- I'm 38, pretty active (golf, softball, etc.)and was really concerned more about recovery than the actual surgery going into this. Had a cheilectomy and osteo-whatever (Hydrocodone makes the brain fuzzy I guess) this morning, January 25 for Stage 2 hallux rigidus on my right big toe. Pain ranges from a 2 to 5 on a 10-scale. I went ahead and took a pain pill when I got home. My doc told me you don't get a gold star for not taking the pain pills, so use them. Which I am doing. Anybody have any thoughts on if it is better to ice it at the ankle or just put it on the dressing, which is really thick? I am using frozen peas.
In the interest of keeping this thread current, I will try and update as I go. My hope is to be able to get on an airplane for my business travel by 2/11 or 2/18 at the latest. I am keeping my fingers crossed...

Re: Post cheilectomy running?

try mbt shoes on 1/27/08 at 15:19 (242437)

HI I had my surgery 1-3-08 and I too love to exercise. I have found the mbt tennis shoes and sandals to relieve alot of pressure on your toes when you exercise. They cost around 250 dollars but are well worth the price. They even say the shoes help your posture and help get rid of cellulite!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

ice on 1/27/08 at 15:38 (242438)

my friend is a podiatrist and he told me just icing the ankle was fine since the goal is to keep your foot cool and prevent swelling! Plus it hurts putting a heavy ice bag on your incision. I am 3.5 weeks postop and I think you will be able to sit on the plane fine but I'm not sure about walking a long distance in an airport!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

TexasAggie on 1/27/08 at 19:46 (242446)

Thanks Ice. Had my surgery this past Friday morning and Saturday night was the worst pain-wise. Today Sunday is much better, although I am being pretty steady with the hydrocodone. How long was it until you could put weight on your foot? So far I am able to wiggle my other four toes and rotate my ankle without much pain. It is still really uncomfortable every time I 'de-elevate' my foot.

Re: Post cheilectomy running?

Dr. Ed on 1/28/08 at 01:52 (242451)

One must consider the faulty biomechanics that led to the formation of hallux limitus in the first place to determine the effects of running.
If the joint surfaces only show modest cartilage thinning and the potential biomechanical issues addressed then running is a positive in my opinion. Longer stride = more active ROM of the first MTP joint.

Dr. Ed

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

ice on 1/28/08 at 11:50 (242466)

It took about five days before I could walk around without crutches. Your heel will get sore if you over do it because all the weight goes on the back heel. I actually was able to put my teva sandals inside of that hard blue shoe and it cushioned my heel. It was a good three weeks before I felt I didn't have to elevate my foot every ten minutes! Good Luck!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

JeanP on 1/28/08 at 17:14 (242489)

I had my cheilectomy surgery last Monday, January 21st, on my right toe by an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in foot and ankle. I've had problems with it the last 10 years and finally broke down to do something about it because in the past year, I was having more pain even when I wasn't walking. I did not have constant pain in my toe but I was concerned about walking on the outside of my foot and that it would cause ankle, knee, hip and back problems later. I read the posts on this website before my surgery so wanted to add my experience to it.

My surgery was on an out-patient basis. Basically, it was scheduled for early in the morning and I had to go in 2 hours ahead of my scheduled time but once I went in for surgery, I was heading back home after 1 1/2 hours. My dr prescribed Percocet for the pain which I started taking soon about noon the day of my surgery. I had read that you should stay ahead of the pain. However, I really didn't need it because I never really hurt. I stopped taking it the next day due to some side effects and just took ibuprofen. They sent me home with my foot wrapped in bandages and a velcro sandal. I was not on crutches. I was told I could put full weight on the foot as tolerated which I've been able to do with no problem or pain. I kept my foot elevated and iced the first 4 days but have been walking around more the last few days. I haven't been able to bend my toes due to the bandages but I have noticed some tendernous in my arch. I'm not sure but I'm wondering if that's not due to the dr bending my toe during surgery which the inside of my foot is not used to. I've enjoyed the break from my hectic schedule (read 2 books while I was off) but am starting to get bored now. I am now 7 days post-op and go in tomorrow to get my dressing changed. I'm anxious to see how it looks. I'll also find out what my limitations are. I'm expecting to go back to work Feb 4 (14 days post-op) which he'll also confirm at the appt. However, I don't get the stitches taken out until next week. All-in-all, I am not disappointed I had the surgery at this point, especially since I had not pain. The one thing I'm trying to train myself to do now is walk more normal instead of on the outside of my foot which I've done for years.

Hope others have the same great experience I've had.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

EdS on 1/28/08 at 18:04 (242491)

Had my cheilectomy Friday 1/25, and my post-surg visit today.
Used an ortho surgeon and was put under. The anesthesiologist said I would have to stay longer to recover from a spinal, and decided I really didn't need to be awake for this. Had uneventfully tolerated a general before. Surgery at 8 a.m, home by noon, wearing a velcro post-surg shoe. Doc didn't prescribe cane or crutches, but I had both at home. For the 1st 2 days, I found 1 crutch the most useful. On day 3 I used a cane. Today, I'm okay on my own around the house.
Took maybe 4 vicodins each of the 1st 2 days, 1 or 2 yesterday, none today. Kept the foot elevated a lot, which the doc said was obvious because there was little swelling.
I'm going back to work tomorrow. Will be in the shoe for another week, until I have my stitches out.
From past procedures, I had thought I was a fast healer with high pain tolerance. This procedure wasn't too tough for me. Instead of pain, it was more the thought of, 'How much WILL it hurt?' So when it started to throb a bit I took a pill, and it never got to hurting badly.
Had a littl nausea the first day - perhaps from the anesthesia and/or taking vicodin w/o food. After soup and ice cream that evening, I've had no problems eating.
Another thing, the hospital attributed to the anesthesia, was difficulty urinating. I would feel like I needed to pee, go to the john, and then nothing would come out. A bit of a hassle since it was a bit of a hassle to get around. Hospital said it was a not uncommon reaction to anesthesia by males.
Today I asked the doc how bad it had been, and he didn't give me a stage but described it as 'As bad as it could have been to do not fuse it.' Said he got a lot more motion, but not as much as he had hoped, and while much pain would be gone, no guarantee it would all be gone. He reiterated his belief that I should not run from now on, tho I could do just about any other activity.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

nurse anesthetist on 1/29/08 at 08:04 (242512)

Dear Eds I am a nurse anesthetist and I am not quite sure why they would have given you a spinal anesthetic. To all of you reading these posts there are far more complications with a spinal. A simple bone spur removal takes 20-30 minutes and a foot block is typically sufficient to cover this and has far less complications than a spinal or even an ankle block. Usually an iv is put in your arm and you will be given some sedation like versed and a narcotic and at this point they will give you your block. I had little pain and because of the sedation hardly remember it. They then take you to surgery and a medication called propofol is given to you which puts you in a light sleep and you have no pain because of the block. I remember going into the operating room feeling like I had a glass of wine and the next thing I knew I was in recovery room! I have some residual tingling in my foot 4 weeks later but at least I know they weren't messing with nerves in my ankle or back! I am sure some foot surgeries that take longer would warrant a spinal but make sure you understand all of your options before surgery!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

nitac on 1/29/08 at 11:08 (242519)

I am now day 13 post op and going to get my staples out today. post lt toe surgery.
This will be my 4 post op visit. ist the day after surgery for xrays dr. said the surgery was worst than expected. he also changed the dressing
next visit day7 for dressiing change.
. next day I was back due to sweling of my foot even though I elevated and iced. he said I was overdoing it. I think it was due to tight dressing.
Yeah, I walked to the kitchen a few times.
Ok, now I stayed with my foot elevated I had tickets for day 10 post op to go see MAMA MIA,
I did not want to miss it, of course our seats were up two flight of stairs!!
But, it was worth the pain the play was great!!! It was very uplifting and broke up my boredom.
I have been taking rx for antiimflamatory.
My foot and toes still have discomfort I can't say bad pain at this point. I only took pain meds for the first 2 days.
the swelling Is much better now, but I still need to elevate most of the day.
I will follow up next week when I see the doc again.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Ed on 1/29/08 at 11:25 (242520)

Sorry I was unclear. I chose, and was given, a general. The anesthesiologist discussed the options, which included a foot block, a spinal, or a general. I chose the general.

Re: Post cheilectomy running?

Chris B on 1/29/08 at 14:45 (242522)

Consider me a hopeful candidate that will be returning to serious running after cheilectomy! I'm a 39 y.o. male, and have been running competitively for 10+ years. I was diagnosed with hallux limitus, stage 2-3, and had a chielectomy to fix a bone spur on my left big toe on 1.2.08. I am in the recovery mode as we speak.

Last year I logged an average of 50 mpw running and maxed out around 70, raced two 1/2 marathons, 1 20k, several 5k's and a full marathon in October. I was aware of some pain in the big toe during the year, but it wasn't until during and after the full marathon did I finally give serious notice to it. Good thing I did, because the bone spur had broken and the doc found the broken piece in my joint during the surgery.

To shorten this story, I'm four weeks out from the surgery and ran my first 10 minutes just this morning. After week 2, I got the stitches removed and began walking every day (20-30 minutes) in running shoes and doing elliptical trainer (20-30 minutes) for some conditioning. The toe is still a little stiff, but getting better every day. Doc says I can proceed to engage back into running & he knows I will. He even mentioned marathoning this year if I'm in shape for it. I plan to gradually increase the time running up to at least 30 minutes over the next two weeks, mixing a few minutes running with walking breaks.

Misery loves company with these injuries, so let me know if you have any q's.

Re: Post cheilectomy running?

wimp on 1/30/08 at 17:39 (242588)

All I can say is you stud! I had my surgery 1-3-08 and I was proud to do 2 minutes on the elliptical this week. My doctor told me no exercise and I was proud to slip that in! I wonder if cleaning the house and chasing kids around counts...

Re: Post cheilectomy running?

TexasAggie on 1/30/08 at 18:55 (242591)

Chris B - did you go through any physical therapy? I am +5 days post op and this is my first day with no painkillers and I can finally make it from the couch to the bathroom to the kitchen and back with no crutches. I still spend more time with my foot elevated than with it down. Were your walks pain-free after week 2?
I would love to be on 30 minute walks in 1-2 weeks but I sure can't see it from here. My first post-op visit with the orthopedist is one week from tomorrow and hopefully the stitches will come out then. At any rate, I want off of this couch ASAP.

Re: Chielectomy Recovery Timetable

DavidM on 1/31/08 at 03:30 (242608)

I am a 58 year old male, healthy, living in Perth,Oz with Hallux Rigidus of the right big toe. First had twinges 8-10 years ago but thought it was gout. It suddenly got extremely painful 2 years ago, stopping me running, and now I can't stand it any more. I think that the constant trauma of place kicking a rugby ball when I was younger probably contributed to my condition. Am using a Podiatric Surgeon after reading all the posts and went in for my pre op yesterday. Operation will be on Feb 6. Am having under general anaesthetic:
- Metaphyseal Osteotomy
- Ligament Capsular repair
- Metatarsal Ostectomy
- Tenoplasty (digital insertion)
and will be going home the same day assuming no complications. My doctor says my toe won't heal fully for 12 months. Seems like a long time. Here's hoping that it wont take that long to play tennis again.
Will post again after the op.
Regards David

Re: Post cheilectomy running?

Chris B on 1/31/08 at 11:13 (242620)

For the first 14 days after surgery my therapy consisted of walking in the hospital's flat shoe and gently stretching the toe back and forth and wiggling the toes. It was difficult and didn't feel like it was doing much good, but I did it anyway since the doc recommended it. On day 12 the stitches were removed and my podiatrist recommended walking on the foot as much as I could tolerate. The next day I started walking on the treadmill. I walked one mile that day in 25 minutes; it was painful but not enough to stop completely. Over days 13-17 I built up to walking two miles and the pain level went down gradually and I was able to speed up. I continued to stretch and wiggle the toe several times a day. I followed that routine for days 19-26, and returned to the doc on day 27. The incision had healed well enough that the doc said it was now ok to resume all activities as I was comfortable with; things had healed enough that I would not cause damage by running or putting pressure on the foot (obviously a very runner-friendly guy!). So over the last 3 days I began run/walking increasing from 10, 15, and 20 minutes of running today.

After reading several of the posts on this site I consider myself fortunate, but probably not alone with this successful of a recovery. Each person's condition is different. I think I was lucky in that the toe joint was very well in tact before and after the surgery. Last year was the first time I had noticable issues with the toe and I think it helped to make the decision sooner rather than later to get the surgery done. My podiatrist was ready to inject me with cortisone and send me on my way in November, but I had done some research and decided that was too much of a short-term solution. Had I continued to run on it, the joint probably would have suffered much more damage and chances for recovery would have been less.

I'm definitely not pain free yet, but the doc indicates that periods of pain should gradually become fewer and fewer over the next 30 days...let's hope so!

Re: Post cheilectomy running?

Linda D on 1/31/08 at 19:24 (242637)

I had relatively few problems and pretty quick healing like you. I had a cheilectomy 6 years ago and experienced pretty intense 'deep' pain at days 2-5 after surgery. I took prescription painkillers, and I generally do NOT like taking medications at all. After around 6 weeks, I was back out walking about 1 1/2 miles per day but not at the quick pace like before. It took a couple of months for that to happen. A little pain and discomfort never hurt anyone and should be expected with a surgical procedure, so I sucked it up.

I am now scheduled for another cheilectomy next week at the same location (right foot, big toe joint). The spur will continue to grow back, per my podiatrist. however, my understanding is that if you wear your doctor prescribed orthotics almost every day, the spur will grow back MUCH SLOWER. I got tired of wearing it in my right shoe, especially in the summer when I wore sandals. I am not looking forward to another one of these procedures, but I hike and walk alot and my big toe movement is presently very limited and uncomfortable. I can look forward to mowing the yard, hiking and walking in the spring as though I have a brand new toe, and I'm looking forward to it!

Re: Post cheilectomy running?

still sore on 2/01/08 at 12:02 (242661)

I can't help but read everyones experience after my chielectomy and I am shocked at all the different advice people get. For example, I was told not to exercise for 6 weeks but I could do activities of daily living! The only PT I was told to do was bend my toe backwards until I was seen back in 6 weeks. I also had my stitches in for 3 weeks and most of you seem to be getting them out at 2 weeks. I am now 4 weeks post op and my incision site is still super red and sore just to have a shoe rub it. Does anyone else still have incision soreness after 4 weeks- it really doesn't look infected! I can bend my toe backwards but not at all forward yet... It seems like most patients who do well are recieving physical therapy and started exercising early!

Re: Post cheilectomy running?

Chris B on 2/01/08 at 14:31 (242667)

Sounds like we had our surgeries near the same time; I'm 4 weeks & 2 days out right now. My incision isn't very red, but the big toe is still swollen, and I was told it would be about another month from now until it returns to normal size. All of the scabs are gone, and the skin is cleared up. A lot of skin seemed to peel around the big toe area, so I used lotion each day to soften things up a bit.

I guess maybe you should ask your dr. what the concern is about why you shouldn't be exercising the toe/foot more frequently. Much of what I read on medical websites recommends early activity to improve mobility after surgery. My podiatrist recommended wiggiling the toes the very next day after surgery and aggressive activity as soon as pain would permit. The only concern he had was with re-opening the incision. Since there is probably a range of different circumstances, it would be best to consult with your dr. again before getting after it too much.

Did you just have the cheilectomy or did you also have an osteomety (sp.?)? The osteotomy would be reason for longer recovery & no activity.

Re: Post cheilectomy running?

EdS on 2/02/08 at 11:08 (242700)

Hey, 8 days post surgery and I'm actually wearing a regular sock! Yippee! Of course that probably means I've used up the sympathy I'm going to get from my family! :(

The incision is looking really good, so I dispensed with the ace bandage. Things are much easier being able to slip a clog over the foot. Still using a cane, just in case, and because of the ice and snow. Swinging it as a golf club I think I'm already good to chip and putt from 40 yards in, but it will be a while before I can really pivot onto my right toe and complete a fuller swing. ;)

Getting my stitches out Tuesday, which will be 11 days post op. Doc said after that I can switch to footwear and increase activity as tolerated. Also said it would be 'a good idea' if I wiggled my toes, and tried bending them back, which I have been doing.
Now that my big toe doesn't hurt as much, I can feel several other aches and pains in my feet and legs. The doc thinks fusion is definitely in my future - the only question is when. With that prognosis, I have to figure giving up running is the smart choice.

Oh well - I played hoops for a decade or so. Then I did martial arts for a decade or so before busting up my foot and wrist. Then I ran for 5-7 years before this surgery. No problem acknowledging that I'm not as young as I used to be and checking out other activities for the next few years.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Sue M on 2/02/08 at 11:59 (242702)

Hi, I am female, 37 years old and had pain in my right toe for over a year. went to the podiatrist an discovered the cause in December. I had my cheilectomy surgery yesterday with IV twilight sedation. I was in the OR at 12:30 and out within an hour in recovery. When getting the IV I felf a burst of burn when it hit my vein and then I felt like I drank a Martini. Next thing I knew I woke up like someone snapped their fingers. Very cool. My doctor was great. My bandages are wrapped so nicely and percocets are my friend today. I have my leg elevated on the couch and ice on/ice off every 20/30 minutes. I woke up this morning without realizing it I stretched and 'tried' to curl my toes. Big mistake, I screamed in pain and startled my spouse awake. He though he accidentally kicked me. Poor thing! But other than that. I feel nothing. I am scheduled to see my doc for post op on Monday am and my stitches are disolvable. I had surgery on Friday and I can go back to work with the boot on Tuesday. I have a desk job so, I will be sitting with my foot elevated if necessary. I am curious to see how long before I get back to the gym. I am just so exicted it's over and I am on my way to wearing normal shoes as the Springtime rolls around.

Good luck to anyone scheduled to have the surgery. And if you're thinking about it - do it. It's so worth it and an excuse to lay around the house and do nothing for 4 days. I just can't believe I scheduled the surgery 3 days before Superbowl. I would have enjoyed going out to watch the game in a bar with friends. Oh well, routing for the G-men from the couch. Thank god I inherited a large screen HDTV when I moved in with my boyfriend!!!!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Tony B on 2/02/08 at 17:46 (242715)

I notice that not only every individual has different experiences but every Dr. has different ways of doing things pre, during and post-op.
I say this because I had Cheilectomy on big right toe 2 weeks ago. Got my stitches out this past weds. (at 2 weeks) but as far as any kind of PT I guess I'm on my own since I wasn't told anything other than 'see you in 3 weeks'. Also don't know when I could try wearing my sneaker again, I was thinking to try now but without the laces. Nor do I have any idea when I can drive again since it's my right foot.
Thankfully this message board does exist so I guess I can at the least start to wiggle it up and down but not sure how often or if there are any other good instructions on when, how and what exactly to do.
You would like to think there would be some kind of printed instruction sheet given out to everyone that has this procedure so we aren't left guessing on what to do to recover from this.
I did try to ask some questions but just got quick 'yeahs' and then he's gone.
Oh well, thank god for this board and the internet so I can do my own research as to what to do but still a shame to have to guess what to do IMO.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

sore on 2/03/08 at 08:13 (242724)


Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Tony B on 2/03/08 at 12:14 (242730)

LOL - Thanks sore. Feels good to at least know I'm not alone. We'll figure it out just fine ourselves.

Re: Post cheilectomy running?

Midwest Doc on 2/04/08 at 15:15 (242775)

Chris B,
Thanks for all the info. My profile is quite comparable to yours, as is my post-op recovery. I am now 4 weeks out from surgery and have been alternating indoor rowing (on an ergometer) with vigorous walking (using an extended stride to maximize dorsiflexion of my toe.) I will be ready to run within a week or two but honestly, but will be running 'judiciously' from here on out, so as to preserve whatever cartilage is still left in my MTP joint and to extend the time until a fusion may be needed.
It's important to remember that cheilectomy helps primarily with pain relief as to a much lesser extent offers some additional motion, but the primary underlying process (osteoarthritis) is still there. That's just my two cents of course.

Re: Post cheilectomy running?

JeanP on 2/06/08 at 11:21 (242846)

More to my previous note. I am now basically 2 weeks post-op. Went to see the dr last week for him to check the incision and change the bandages. I returned to work a couple of days ago. Yesterday, I returned to the dr's office for second visit to have stitches removed. Up to now, I have experienced no pain and was able to walk around the house in my post-op shoe with no problems. I was moving my toes as much as I could even though my range was limited due to the wrapping. However, now the fun begins because I need to move the toe more to regain my range of motion. My question is - is it better to do that by flexing the foot/toe, manipulate it manually or push it against the floor?

Re: Post cheilectomy running?

Chris B on 2/06/08 at 14:16 (242857)

I didn't happen to get any advice on that from my doc, but from my own experience I would say to use caution before pushing the foot against the floor with much pressure too quickly after the stitches are removed. Too much pressure could cause the incision to re-open. Otherwise, the combination of what you listed is what I'm doing now. I'd wait a week until after the stitches are out before pushing against the floor with a great deal of pressure. I found that wiggling the toes by itself didn't help increase the range of motion. Curling the toe forward seems to help loosen it up, also pushing on the floor works the opposite motion well.

Re: Post cheilectomy running?

still sore on 2/06/08 at 16:15 (242864)

I did find a post-op handout that explains the basic recovery process. Go to Mike Uglow.com and you can pull up his recovery from a chielectomy handout and he explains how to move your toe post-op (granted he is a pediatric orthopod) but it is the same advice my surgeon gave me! Good Luck toe moving!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Maria S. on 2/06/08 at 19:33 (242869)

I am scheduled for a cheilectomy on my right toe next week and seriously considering canceling it because I am quite nervous. I've had hallux limitus for a number of years with pain on and off but nothing I can't handle and cortisone injections and Celebrex have controlled most of that when it flares. My biggest problem is the 'bump' that hinders my wearing shoes, other than sneakers, comfortably.I am relegated mostly to flats but most of them tend to cut into the 'bump'causing discomfort and inflammation. At this point I can walk without pain in the proper footwear and I am afraid that after the surgery I may run the risk of being worse off than I am now. I am not sure what grade my condition is. An xray in June indicated 'moderate degenerative changes, narrowed joint space and moderate osteophyte formation'.

My podiatrist is great and I trust him to do what's best.Initially he recommended a hemi-implant or total implant, which I decided against. He now feels that a cheilectomy may be the way to go and it but it will just 'buy me some time'. He says he has performed some cheilectomies and hasn't had to go back in to do anything further, although it is more likely that the arthritis will continue to progress and the bump will reform.

I have always felt that foot surgery should be avoided at all costs. I would love to be able to wear shoes, and not necessarily high heels, without discomfort. But, again, since I am not really in that much pain, I wonder if I should hold off for as long as possible for surgery. I am a 55 year old female and I am fairly active- enjoy walking fast for exercise and shopping til I drop :-) I have flat feet which probably predisposes me to having foot problems and I think that the toe causes my right foot to be somewhat off balance when I walk which causes me to have occasional forefoot pain and knee pain. I have a partial tear of the peroneous brevis tendon now that I have had to wear an ankle boot for the past 4 weeks and it is still not completely healed.

Should I continue to wait or have the surgery?? I am driving myself nuts reading everything I can on the net and wake up at night worrying that I may end up worse off after surgery and regret having it done. HELP!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Jack R. on 2/06/08 at 21:22 (242877)

Hello Maria S. Last summer I was diagnosed with Hallux Limitus and x-rays revealed I have quite severe degeneration of the cartilage in the large joint between the long bone of the foot and the long bone of the large toe in each foot. I am now using an orthotic with morten's extension for both feet. There is much pain when I flex the toes so have restricted hiking and table tennis. However, I can bike with stiff bike shoes and ski with stiff ski boots. There is no flexing of the toes with those. My doctor has not recommended either cortisone or celebrex but after reading your posting I may inquire about them.
Like you, I don't want to have surgery unless absolutely necessary. I am nervous about the results of a cheilectomy, implant of artificial joint or a fusion.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Maria S. on 2/07/08 at 05:18 (242889)

Thanks for your reply Jack. I wear orthotics also but not with the Morten's extension you mention. It's tough enough finding shoes that I can wear with the orthotics inside, as they make every shoe a bit tighter. As a woman it is even more of a problem trying to stay 'stylish' and I am someone who likes to dress nicely. I can put up with wearing flats but even they can be difficult to find in a style that will accommodate both my orthotic and the 'bump'.

I am just agonizing over this decision and driving everyone around me crazy, including my podiatrist! I realize that individual results vary so there is no way to predict what my outcome will be.

I do know that my dr. operated on his wife's bunion in November and had to fracture bone and insert pins and she has been walking on the treadmill since soon after Christmas and is wearing regular shoes now. He is a really good surgeon,but I am still worried. I feel as though my condition, although restrictive, may not be quite so bad to require surgery right now and perhaps I should just continue to deal with it. But, on the other hand, the thought of a possible good outcome, no more bump and some more range of motion sounds good too. I am just not sure I am up for the pain, swelling for weeks, and inability to wear a dress shoe for possibly a long time as well as the rehab that will be necessary. I would have to be out of work for 4 weeks too.

I am anxious to start working out again and have been unable to do so because of my ankle injury. I think I may have injured the tendon by cycling and also the toe problem may have contributed to it.

Every day I waffle back and forth. One day I feel I can go through with it and the next I am ready to cancel it. I am running out of time since I am scheduled for next Wed. 2/13, so I have to make up my mind soon. I am afraid I just may wimp out....did anyone else have this much trouble deciding to have the surgery??? Is it worth it?

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

janetp on 2/07/08 at 06:58 (242891)

hi peggyo,just read your story about your cheilectomy,i live in the uk and had mine done 30/1/08 on both feet so im 8 days post op and out of all the stories i read yours was the one i picked up on most because the same thing has happened to me as to you,my scars have bled causing the dressing to harden,i ve had very little pain since my op which surprised me considering the horror stories i heard prior,but this is causing a bit of pain as its pulling on the scars,its also quite annoying as its restricting me trying to move my toes,would be interested to know how they removed yours,did they just pull it off? also i dont know if its the same in us but i was given a pair of big black shoes to wear (very attractive,not!)with wedges on the back so,s to walk on my heels to aviod putting any weight on the front of my feet,jst wondered if you had these and how long did you have to wear them for?going for my post op check on 14/2 and hoping they can come off,going out my mind with boredom x

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

JeanP on 2/07/08 at 10:55 (242901)

Maria, not to persuade you but I too put off surgery. My primary decision to go thru with it was because I was afraid walking on the outside of my foot would cause skeletol problems later in life. I was starting to have some minor discomfort in my ankle and knee. Figured the hip and back would be next. Plus I started having pain even when I wasn't on my feet. I could just be driving or sitting in a meeting and my foot would start throbbing. The other deciding factor was that I wanted to do it while I was 'young' (I'm 45), hoping the recovery would be easier.

It's only been 18 days since my surgery so I obviously don't have any long-term knowledge regarding if I did the right thing or not but so far I don't regret it.

Good luck with the decision and keep us posted on what you decide to do.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Maria S. on 2/07/08 at 11:17 (242902)

Thanks Jean for your input. I hope you are having an uneventful recovery. I totally understand your reasoning and that has gone into my rationale for scheduling the surgery as well. However, I have a problem with my ankle that was diagnosed in January as a partial tear in a tendon and tendonitis for which I have been wearing an ankle boot for the past 4 1/2 weeks and just today, by email, my podiatrist has recommended physical therapy for it before I can even think about starting back with exercising and in order to heal the tendonitis. So, I now I am thinking that I will do the PT for the ankle, get back to working out & put up with the toe for a while longer. Then, depending on how I'm feeling, go for the surgery next winter.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Gloria K. on 2/10/08 at 19:55 (243046)

I've learned so much reading all of the above pre- and post-op entries. I've learned to be patient, surgeries/patients heal differently and at different rates of speed, and that this is a much slower process than I had first imagined. I'm six days post-op, dressing off on day three--that caused most of my pain. Dressing had caked with blood and was as hard as a cast, compressing the area. Apparently compression was by design to keep down swelling. Also gleaned many questions to bombard the MD's nurse with tomorrow a.m. (e.g. Wasn't given any toe manipulation instructions.) Feels good to walk about the apartment for short periods many times a day. Standing doesn't work at all!

Didn't think I'd sign on unless I had something positive to offer. And here it is: UGGS!! I have a pair one size larger and if you, as I, live in the northern climes, we have a good bit of winter ahead of us and these feel wonderful and warm. Good with pants or skirts--it's all I'll need until the weather warms up. (And wasn't it the style to wear them in LA a few years ago?)


Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Michael C on 2/12/08 at 05:51 (243106)

Hi Sue, I had my surgerie(s) on 2/7/08, so I'm about 5 days behind you. I'm 54, male, and envy you your desk job right about now. I'm a lifeguard, with a South Florida beach patrol, and as you can imagine, the ability to 'run', is a mandatory requirement. I cannot return to work without a full release from my surgeon, stating that I'm capable of performing all requirements of the position. Yikes!

But, it gets even better. I was diagnosed with hallux rigidus (right big toe). My dilemma, however, begins with a visit to a 'knee' specialist, to look, primarily, at my medial right knee for the source of debilitating pain exclusive to running. The knee pain had the potential to be a career ender, as we have to 're-qualify' every six months to retain our positions. Re-quals include a 1/2 mile run in under 4 minutes (no big deal if you are pain free). MRI turned out positive, for a torn meniscus, and required 'trimming' if I ever wanted to run pain free again. Yahoo.

So, in the hopes of minimizing down time, and because it was the same leg, I decided to have both procedures at once. It's too early to tell if that was a mistake. I'm at about day five and have never felt the first pain from the arthroscopy on the knee the pain from the foot was evidently demanding all my attention. Oxycodone became my best friend for two days. Luckily, by the morning of the third day, the pain subsided to a tolerable level as long as I kept it elevated.

Believe it or not, through all of this, I have felt worse my wife, than I have for myself. We have no children (by choice), but we have two very rambunctious Golden Retrievers that rule the home front. They've been raised 'indoor' dogs and are a 'major' handful, even for two people. So now, Trish has to handle their needs 100%, plus wait on me, hand and foot. Ever tried to carry a cup of hot coffee from one side of a room, to the other, using crutches? She's being a real trooper, and I owe her one major, long term, medical assisting favor. We seem to be taking turns.

My Doc is the official knee and shoulder surgeon for the Cincinnati Reds baseball team, so I think I'm in good hands. I can only 'afford' to be out of work for about two months before I would have to 'cave', opt out, and return to a 'desk' career. I'm a very good lifeguard, but I'm actually a better graphic designer, so I'm not too worried about having an alternate solution if this doesn't pan out. It's just that, dad gummit, I love the beach rescue work, so the pressure is on.

I'll try to do some occasional progress reports with any tips that I've learned along the way. Example: Never, ever, ever... attempt to crutch 'over' a dog, that you 'think' is sound asleep. Big mistake, they sleep 'light'.

Sue, I was born in N.Y., so I'm in 17-14 bliss. Eli rocks!

Good luck everyone with your recoveries!

Re: Chielectomy Recovery Timetable

DavidM on 2/12/08 at 10:18 (243117)

Had my operation on Feb 6 which was on my right big toe and included the Osteotomy. It was done under a general anaesthetic and lasted approx 2 hours. I was allowed to go home after 4 hours observation and was told that I had been given antibiotics and a pain block injection(s) that could well last for 24 hours and that I probably wouldn't feel any pain even when the injection wore off. I was given Naproxen (for inflammation) and Panadeine Forte (for mild pain) but after reading these threads I insisted on something stronger and they relented and gave me Endone as well. My foot was bandaged and in the stiff soled shoe and I was told to keep it elevated and use the ice pack on my shin. I was told I could move the toe gently back and forth with my fingers around ten degrees three times a day. I had the frozen bags of peas in two plastic bags and on top of a towel because the most important thing was to make sure the bandage didn't get wet which can cause infection. Prior to the surgery I had hired a set of crutches for a week from the local pharmacy which proved very useful in going to the bathroom. Sure enough the injection wore off but I had NO pain whatsoever and still don't a week later. My podiatric surgeon was right. I couldn't believe it. After two or three days I found I didn't need the crutches any longer and I also found that I could gingerly hobble to the bathroom without the stiff soled shoe. I got into trouble for this (see below).
Had my first rebandaging yesterday and I have to say it looked perfect. No bleeding, neat incision with some mild bruising discolouration of half the top of my foot. The X rays also looked good. Apparently my joint deterioration was between a 2 and a 3 with floating bits of cartiledge which she cleaned up. My doctor got angry with me when I said I had been moving about without the stiff soled shoe pointing out that I had a broken bone in my foot. Suitably admonished I will now stick to the rules. I must continue to wear the shoe for two more weeks, do the flexion exercises and keep my foot elevated.
So far, other than the boredom, it has been a positive experience.
Regards David

Re: Chielectomy Recovery Timetable

Gloria K. on 2/14/08 at 09:16 (243192)

Hi, I'm not really replying to a particular posting, just here to make a suggestion to anyone hesitating to have this surgury. My chielectomy, left big toe, was 2/5 and I couldn't figure out why, after a week, the pain wasn't subsiding at least a little as I tried to walk. Turns out I have a pre-existing stress fracture which had only exhibited itself as a little tenderness as i touched the top of my foot. Nothing that seemed of any importance! Wrong! My recovery is now extended with more rest, ice and elevation--no pressure to be put on the foot!

So, two things. Don't delay your surgery too long, as my stress fracture was most likely caused by walking on the outside of my foot to avoid the toe pain. Also, have your surgeon check EVERYTHING about the involved foot prior to scheduling surgery. And Google 'foot stress fracture' so you know the symptoms.

Good luck, everyone.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Ed on 2/14/08 at 16:09 (243203)

How long did it take everyone to get into what kind of shoes?
My foot is feeling better and better every day. Tomorrow will be 3 weeks post-surg, and I was even thinking about taking a little walk over lunch. Thinking further ahead about when I could start really exercising again, I just tried to slip on a pair of cross-trainers. NO WAY!
Less than 1 week after surg., I started wearing my big winter boots, removing the liner from the R one. Clogs also felt okay.
2 weeks post surg, I was able to wear the boot with the liner. And I've brought Birkies to work to wear during the day.
But I'm wondering when you folks were able to put on a normal shoe?

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

still sore on 2/15/08 at 09:08 (243233)

Ed I am six weeks post op and my tennis shoe is still tight over the operated joint. Everyone is so different that you have to go with what is comfortable. I have MBT tennis shoes (they are expensive) but put your weight on your heel rather than your toes and I am able to exercise in those with minimal discomfort. I used a measuring tape and my foot is still 1/2 inch wider on the operated side so I need to let the swelling go down before the heels come out... If anyone has access to a hot tub I found that really sped up my recovery because i was able to get the rolling motion on the joint. I can understand how you could get a stress fracture if you aren't careful! I used to work in the operating room and I assume that could even happen while they chisel out the spur?! A post op xray is a good idea...

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Gloria K. on 2/18/08 at 14:09 (243310)

Two weeks post-cheilectomy, had stitches out this a.m. Finally told to start exercising the toe--hurts to do so, but will certainly keep it up. Stress fracture(s) (see previous post) unconfirmed. Will see MD in 4 wks. If I have one, it will show up then on x-ray. Pain on top of foot, below toes, could be from edema. Doc claims that during surgery, the foot is secured with a tourniquet at the ankle, nothing 'clamping' the foot.

Meanwhile, I can go back to normal walking and a few of my 'normal' shoes fit again. Granted, not the slinky little flats or kitten heels. I don't have a hot tub, but a good soak sounds appealing--no more plastic bag on my foot for showering. Also like the MBT idea--I used them before surgery to ease the pain. Thanks for the reminder.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Whitney H on 2/19/08 at 21:05 (243374)

Hi Everyone

I'm not replying to any particular post, but just looking for some counsel and advice. I am 21 years old, and I have been dancing since I was 3. I am about to graduate with a bachelor of fine arts in Dance, ready to pursue a career in professional dance, choreography, teaching dance, movement research, etc. I have been dealing with off-and-on right first MTP joint pain for most of my college career (including some sesamoiditis). This entire year, my pain has severely increased and my mobility has greatly decreased. I have pain every day. Custom orthotics (I've gone through two doctors and four pairs to get ones that really 'work' for me) alleviate much of my pain while walking, and I gave up high heels last spring. Who needs em? The pain is, of course, much greater when I dance. I am mostly a 'modern/contemporary' dancer now, though I still train in ballet as well (I gave it up this semester in hopes that I could see more foot improvement).

A little over a year ago, I had a couple corticosteroid injections in the joint for what was then mostly a sesamoiditis issue. They gave me very little relief for a very short period of time. I did physical therapy all last semester for the toe-joint. Nothing helped all that much. I've been getting acupuncture once a week for 5 weeks now. I've had massages. I've iced and heated. I've used every 'icy-hot' type thing you can imagine. I have modified some of my dance technique to accommodate the foot.

Ready to graduate, I am now considering having surgery so that I can lengthen my potential career and simply be able to do what I love again without pain. My podiatrist is talking about doing a 'clean-up' of the joint, which I have come to realize is probably the cheilectomy procedure.

I guess I just want a straight-up answer about whether or not I will have proper, FULL foot function again. I do not need to walk in high heels, but if I am going to do this surgery, it is imperative that I am able to dance fully afterwards. My doc has said about 8-10 weeks to recover, including a lot of physical therapy. I am fine with taking the entire summer to rehabilitate myself, but I want to know that after I pay my 3 months of inactivity, I will be back on my (relatively pain-free, more mobile?) feet and able to dance at a professional level.

Also, I am concerned about my age. It seems as though many people on here are in their late 30s or older. I don't want to do surgery at 21 and then need to fuse my joints when I'm 35! I still want to be dancing, teaching, and making movement when I am that age. I have spent a lot of my life dealing with moderate amounts of pain. If this surgery isn't going to help in the long run, then I guess I will continue to bear daily pain and do as much injury maintenance as possible.

I know everyone is different and 'my doctor knows best', but I am just looking for some opinions.

Thank you so much. I appreciate your help.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Whitney H on 2/19/08 at 21:11 (243376)

SORRY! one more thing I thought I should add.

I had an MRI and several x-rays this summer, which were fairly inconclusive, from what I could glean from two podiatrists I've seen. Just had new x-rays done two months ago which showed some ridging on the dorsal aspect of the proximal phalange and the metatarsal head. My podiatrist described this as basically the beginnings of arthritis.

Re: Chielectomy Recovery Timetable

ShannonS on 2/19/08 at 22:55 (243385)

I have found everyones comments very helpful. I am a 37 year old active female. I have been a consistent marathon runner for 6 years, but in the past year have been unable to even run 3 miles. The pain is terrible.Even walking for exercise is painful now. I get shooting pain in my toe after about 10 mintues of fast paced walking. I have seen a podiatrist who gave me orthodics and suggested I try them before jumping to surgery. The orthodics help, but dont elimiate the pain.
I can only manage about 5 minutes in a pair of heels before I am in ridiculous pain, so I live in my flip-flops! I have been experimenting with shoe hights and have discovered that a 1inch heel is ideal. Too high hurts, and too flat hurts as well!
I really think I need the surgery because the thought of not running anymore is worse that the fear of what seems like a long and difficult recovery.
Can anyone tell me if they have had a chielectomy and returned to long distance running, if so how long has it taken and what have been the major concerns with the recovery process.

Re: Chielectomy Recovery Timetable

Chris B on 2/21/08 at 11:17 (243451)

As a fellow runner, I can sympathize with your situation. I've been an avid runner for 10+ years now (am 39 y.o.), and normally run many races each year, up to marathon distance. After a fall marathon last year, I discovered severe swelling in the big toe area, and was diagnosed with a bone spur. I didn't run for 30 days, and finally decided surgery was the best option if I wanted to continue doing what I enjoyed. Surgery was 7 weeks ago, and recovery has gone well. I am up to completing 20 miles this week of pain free running, including some hills and light speedwork. Last weekend I was able to manage two full days of snow skiing (with a little bit of pain). The only difficulties are trying to regain full motion of the toe and reduce swelling, but hopefully time will help that.

I believe the best thing I did was to take care of the problem sooner rather than take the cortisone injections and try to prolong things. The joint was well in-tact, and hopefully will stay that way without the grinding that would have continued with the bone spur. On the other hand, each person really needs to assess their own situation and condition before making decision on surgery. Do lots of research and ask lots of questions with your dr.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

gloria on 2/23/08 at 00:41 (243566)

I had this surgery in oct. and still dealing with its after affects. I also have flat feet, and had intermittent pain before. My best advice is to get at least 2 opinions, maybe three. Acupuncture also helped reduce the amount of pain. good luck!!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Matthew on 2/23/08 at 05:57 (243567)

Hi - I had cheilectomy for early stage 2 on left foot on 10/18/2006. Very painful for 2-3 days afterwards - but also had an abscess on the joint which I was told afterwards would lengthen recovery timetable. Anyway initially was walking with one crutch and ditched the crutch after 3 days - was back to work in normal shoe by 10 days and had stitches removed after 2 weeks. I had some pain for about 5 weeks underneath the foot (plantar fascia) but this lessened and I tried ice on it which helped. Within about 12 weeks was back on the golf course with a little cramping but nothing severe. Within 6 months was back to normal and painfree.

2 days ago I had operation on right foot (2/18/2008). Right foot was not as bad as left foot but with good result on left foot wanted to address it. Anyway today I am hobbling around with no crutch and mobilising it (obviously some pain) to get as much movement as possible (which I was advised to do). I expect to be recovered a bit quicker this time.

Incidentally one other point - after I had my left foot done I noticed within a few weeks that both my hip and my knee were rotating more freely - this was even though I wasn't necessarily aware that they were 'stiff'.

I don't think it's possible to get your toe back 100% but I think for me it it is at 98% (left foot) which was worth doing.

Finally in terms of recovery - I found swimming very good for it so would recommend this.

Good luck everyone.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

still sore on 2/23/08 at 23:03 (243626)

Dear Whitney, You go girl! You have a great career ahead of you! You have medical terminology down better than myself and I have zillion degrees behind my name! It sounds like you have researced your problem and you are young which I think will help your recovery. At 45 I wanted to have my surgery young and even though I'm alot older than you I am glad I did it now... You don't want the arthritis to set in and at your age your recovery is so much more promising. Get a good surgeon and talk to your parents because you will need some help after surgery! Good Luck P.S. I am over six weeks post op and was able to do 2 hours of Dance Stars with my teenagers on the wii today!!!!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

PeggyO on 2/24/08 at 14:20 (243643)

Hello JanetP, Wow you had both feet done at the same time? You are a trooper. I'm sorry you had to go through the bleeding as I did. As far as my dressing, they had to cut it off because it was stuck to my incision. It took the nurse a while to get off the part that they wrapped around my toe because it was as hard as an actual cast. What a relief when she got that off...my toe felt a hundred times better. My doctor was not concerned about the bleeding. He said they leave the incision open for drainage. They did change my dressing from a big ace bandage to just a piece of gauze with some stretchy tape.
With the exception of the dressing situation, I didn't have a alot of pain either. I did wiggle my toes alot and did ankle rolls. Also at the time I was doing physical therapy for my rt. knee, so I rode the stationary bike, and did all my knee exercises which was also on my bad foot side. Didn't seem to bother me too much. The doctor said the eliptical, bike, walking and water aerobics(after the stitches come out) are fine. I went to the beach for a few days right after my stitches came out (10 days postop) and the salt water really accelerated my healing.
I stopped wearing that ugly black sandal/boot at about 4 weeks, then I switched to Crocs. The Crocs still aren't pretty but anything was better than the boot! He recommended the Crocs and they have been very comfortable. At 4.5 weeks I am able to wear my running shoes with the laces loosened. I have been able to walk 2 miles at the track and some on my treadmill.
Yes, it was hard to not be bored when you can't be as active as you were. I got a portable DVD player with wireless headphones and attached it to the handle bars of my stationary bike. It sure did make it more motivating to get on the bike. I can also carry it over to the treadmill.
I hope your post op appt went well. I'd be curious to hear what your doctor had to say.
I am having my left foot done on 2/28.

Re: Post cheilectomy running?

PeggyO on 2/24/08 at 14:46 (243646)

I used cocoa butter to help with the peeling. It sticks around a little longer. It was also helpful to use when I was cleared (at 5 wks) to start massaging my scar to keep the scar tissue from building up.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Considering on 3/11/08 at 01:09 (244375)

Hi everyone,
I just found out today I also need a cheilectomy. Can people please tell me how big and where your scars are... I only care because I have tattoos on my feet and obviously don't want these to be affected!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

dplane on 3/11/08 at 13:24 (244388)

So if you had a tattoo on your chest and needed open heart surgery.....??? Sorry, trying to be nice, but wondering what your real priority is? The scar ends up along the big toe (if that is where you are having surgery done. My scar is about 4-inches long, give or take.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

PeggyO on 3/15/08 at 12:02 (244594)

Hi There. I just a Cheilectomy/Moberg-Akin Osteotomy on my left foot on 2/28/08. The scar on my left foot is 2 inches long. It starts at the side of my big toe, right where my toe meets my foot. It continues up and runs along the side of the 1st joint in my foot.

My right foot was done on 12/6/07. The scar on my right foot is also 2 inches long. It is a little higher than the one on my left foot and starts on the side of my foot at the joint where my big toe bends. Then it comes up to the top of my foot just over the 1st joint in my foot. When I look down at it I only see about one inch of the scar. It is now just a red line, and continues to get thinner in width and lighter in color. I hope this helps. Good luck to you.

Re: cheilectomy experience - To Howard P.

Jennifer S. on 3/17/08 at 16:53 (244690)

Hi Howard,
Now that it's been a few months, I'm curious how you've progressed? I am contemplating having a similar procedure done (the bone shaving, no fusing or pins or anything like that). My doc says he can go in and clean up any pre-arthritis going on in the joint. I'm 33 and walk a lot but have a job where I can elevate my foot, fortunately. But with summer coming up I'm wondering if I should wait til fall or if I should just do it now.

Re: Cheilectomy procedure

mtom on 3/18/08 at 13:08 (244723)

Hi everyone,
I'm a 34 year old mom of 3 and had visited this site previously for others' stories and feelings about the cheilectomy procedure and wanted to share my story. After my osteotomy 10 years ago, I never wanted to have foot surgery again due to the lengthy healing time and pain level (8 weeks on crutches with a 1 year old running around wasn't easy!) So when my doctor referred me to an orthopedic surgeon to talk about another surgery, I wasn't too happy! He recommended the cheilectomy and pin removal from the first surgery and I reluctantly agreed because he told me the pain and healing times were much lower than with the osteotomy (more like 1-2 weeks on crutches).
Boy, was he right! I took my pain meds every 4 hours the day after my surgery to stay on top of the pain and didn't even need them after day 3. I was walking without crutches after 2 days and only used crutches if my foot swelled or got achy. There was very little bruising and I can already tell that my scars will be smaller than the one from my first surgery.
I was nervous about driving but learned to brake with my left foot and accelerate with my right (practiced for about 2 months before the surgery). I had the surgery on a Wednesday afternoon and was back at my desk job the following Monday.
It's only been 3 weeks and I'm already having less pain walking than I had before the surgery.
I hope my story is helpful to those considering a cheilectomy. If you have any questions, feel free to comment and I'll check the board from time to time.

Re: Chielectomy Recovery Timetable

Jackie J. on 3/21/08 at 13:27 (244837)

I'm glad to read that I'm not the only 'unusual patient' in that I had NO PAIN following the surgery! The doc and his PA were incredulous. Never took a single one of the pain pills they sent home with me. Of course, there was the soreness and some bleeding...but nothing unmanageable.

I started driving again after a week (surgery was on right toe) and had no problems with that, either. The only difficulty I have now is trying to find a SHOE that is comfortable - Crocs are the most comfortable on the top of my foot, but they don't have enough support to keep me from experiencing heel plan (due to plantar fasciitis) and arch pain. Any suggestions for brands? (I think the MBT is the best one BUT I've recently found out taht the designer/developer sold the company - and the brand name - and, since that time, workmanship has become shoddy and folks are having lots of problems with the shoes).

Re: Chielectomy Recovery Timetable

billN on 3/29/08 at 14:52 (245276)

I had a chielectomy on Tuesday 3/18. Took Percosets and iced on 3/19. Took Vicodin and iced on 3/20. Just RICE on 3/21 ,3/22,3/23. Was back to work on Monday 3/24. Needed crutches with weight on heel as bearable until about 2 weeks later, but worked with foot elevated. Having the nasty ace bandage and staples out on Monday. Hoping to be back in the gym same day on the recumbant bike, and eventually back to jogging again soon to messup my toe in a couple more years. I anticipate needing my other toe done soon. The podiatrist said that it was the shape of my toe bone that gave me propensity towards spurring. Lets see.

Re: Chielectomy Recovery Timetable

Paul L on 3/31/08 at 09:36 (245336)

I sure am glad this board is here - so much good information. I am scheduled for chielectomy and osteotomy on Weds, 4/2. My doc (DPM) says I'll probably need to stay home through next weekend, and then can return to my job (a desk job, thankfully.) He uses a screw to hold things together down there while the bones stitch.

From my research, it looks like there are four different things you can get done for hallux rigidus: chielectomy alone (just scraping off the bone spurs so the toe can move up high enough to allow a proper gait); chielectomy with osteotomy (scraping the bone spurs, and removing a piece of bone so the joint can stay open); complete fusion of the joint; and artificial joint.

I think the huge difference we see in healing times here (aside from the fact that some folks just heal more quickly than others) is the difference between the pure chielectomy and the chielectomy/osteotomy combination (which is much more invasive - basically they break a major bone in your foot). From what I've read, even though the healing time and pain are a lot greater, the combination is usually better for the long term, because with just a chielectomy the underlying cause - arthritis - will just go back and redo the damage.

I'm looking forward to having it over with, in any event, though not looking forward to hobbling around for a couple months. If it wasn't throwing off everything about how I walk, leading to screwed up knees and occasional complete debilitation, I'd even consider just letting it go. No longer an option, unfortunately.

Re: Chielectomy Recovery Timetable

Katie B on 3/31/08 at 20:10 (245358)

I just had a doctor's appointment (ortho) today for a dorsal bunion. I have little pain mostly toward the end of the day. However, most posts are from people who went to podiatrists.

1. Has anyone gone to a Orthopedist?

2. I am contemplating surgery since I am most likely going to get engaged soon and the irritated skin is unsightly to me anyway. My schedule is crazy right now. And will not stop until July. I do have a week that is good but it is about 2 weeks before I go to convention which is already paid for and involves alot of walking. Any help or suggestions is appreciated.

Re: Chielectomy Recovery Timetable

mtom on 4/01/08 at 10:55 (245371)

Hi Katie,
I have had both an osteotomy and a cheilectomy done for bunion problems and I will tell you this: a podiatrist did the ostotomy and I had a VERY painful and lengthy healing time (8 weeks). I was NOT impressed with the results, nor the fact that I had to have a cheilectomy and pin removal (for pain and loss of range of motion) 10 years later. (I'm only 34)

An orthopedic surgeon did the cheilectomy/pin removal and I'm happy to report that less than a month later I'm back into my work shoes (flats) and have no pain at all when I walk. I was walking with no crutches within a couple of days and was able to get into my running shoes 2 days after my stitches came out. My scar is healing nicely and looks like it will be smaller than the original scar from the osteotomy.

From what I have read and from my own experience, going to an orthopedic surgeon is more expensive than a podiatrist but it is definitely worth it! The ortho's experience and knowledge is much greater which I believe will help with results and healing time.

This is based on my own experience, but I really wouldn't go back to a podiatrist again after my great experience with an ortho.
Good luck with your procedure!

Re: Chielectomy Recovery Timetable

Paul L on 4/04/08 at 10:16 (245483)

Had the surgery (cheilectomy + dorsal wedge osteotomy, fastened with a single screw) midday Wednesday. It's Friday morning now. I'm getting around fine with a walking cast; walking without it is possible for short distances if I walk on the outer edge of my foot, but quite painful. There has been surprisingly little pain overall; no pain at all - zero - when the foot is elevated. Staying off my feet, mostly, icing at the ankle when the cast is off, icing at the knee when the cast is on. The demerol is overkill for the pain at this point, and I will be stopping it today. I am seeing my podiatrist today for a dressing change. He says I can return to work (desk job) on Monday.

I am pretty sure my dogs are suffering more than I am (since they can't go for their walk in the morning.)

Re: Chielectomy Recovery Timetable

grace c on 4/06/08 at 07:27 (245532)

This forum initially frightened me with the wildly varying experiences but I guess there is no knowing what the outcome will be. I am a 41 year old female of average weight and had a Cheilectomy on wed 04/02/08 for right first mtp pain which had reduced me to wearing MBTs only over the past 3 years. The second day was the worst in terms of pain and stiffness but I did not bother taking NSAIDS as I think that they interfere with healing. I kept it elevated for much of the first 2 days and am hobbling around with crutches and a bootee now but still elevating as much as possible. The pain block given after surgery has worn off and ankle movement is back. The area immediatley around the joint is very tender and I cannot put it on the ground but it is very bearable. I am putting weight on the outside of the right foot instead. Stitches come out on Tuesday and the very thick bandage will come off. I am disheartened regarding the comment elsewhere in the furum that the arthritis which caused the overgrowth of bone in the joint will reoccur over time and that a cheilectomy/osteotomy was a better long term choice. It makes sense. My Ortho. Surgeon offered cheilectomy or the possibility of a joint fusion depending upon what he found on opening it up. He says that may be required in the future should the problem reoccur. Has anybody had a total joint fusion of the first toe and how does it affect your gait and your ability to wear different heel heights and shoe types. Ican't imagine not being able to move the big toe on walking.

Re: Chielectomy Recovery Timetable

Paul L on 4/06/08 at 17:15 (245542)

You're right about the wildly varying recoveries on here, grace. It's surprising to hear yours has been so painful based on a pure cheilectomy. On the other hand, I took the NSAIDs, which I think helped a great deal with the immediate pain - don't know about interference with healing. I'm off the narcotics for a couple days now.

My doc (DPM) says that yes, the joint can get filled back up due to arthritis (that's why he's a believer in the cheilectomy + osteotomy; makes it less likely). I talked to him about what we do if that happens, and mentioned that I had read that joint fusion is one way to go. He said he would never have that done on himself (and he's seen plenty of them), for exactly the reason you express - there's no way to get back to a normal gait. He said he would go with a joint replacement. But don't know how this affects shoe-wearing, heel heights etc.

Re: Does anyone actually read the library entries here?

Dr. Ed on 4/06/08 at 21:16 (245545)

Please click on the library entry for cheilectomy, read it.

Re: high heels

Helen D on 4/17/08 at 09:23 (245964)

Hi Sara.

Cheilectomy has been suggested to me by my surgeon. One of my concerns is the high heel issue. I know its vanity! how are you getting along ? Are you able to wear those lovely high heels we all love? ?

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

DEBBE P on 4/21/08 at 10:25 (246133)


Re: Post cheilectomy running?

sscott on 4/21/08 at 22:46 (246177)

I am 37 and was diagnosed with hallux rigidus, late Stage 1/early Stage 2 recently. My podiatrist thought I was a good candidate for a cheilectomy. I have been a soccer player for the last 11 years, and I also do moderate running (5/10k), cycling and swimming. I am giving up the soccer, but it is very important for me to continue to be able to run the same distance and to cycle and swim as I get older.

Chris B - I read about your activity level and I am curious how you are doing today, are you able to run without too much pain?

What about others who had the surgery more than 4-6 months ago? Do you feel like you have returned to your 'normal' activity level?

Thanks for your feedback.

Re: Post cheilectomy running?

cbowers on 4/25/08 at 10:12 (246317)

Shannon - I've been able to continue increasing weekly mileage since the chielectomy. The pain comes and goes, and is moderate sometimes, but not severe. Some days the toe is stiff, but most days it seems to be gaining flexibility. In March, which is about 60 days post surgery, I was able to begin increasing mileage following the 10% weekly increase limit, and now here at the end of April I am hoping to complete my first 40 mile week. I've been able to return to normal pace, and have been doing 2 harder workouts per week, including some tempo - hard pace running - without problem. Running hill repeats tended to aggravate the toe so I am cautious with the frequency of those workouts. My long run is going to be 13 miles this week - my longest yet. Before the surgery I had been running for so many years that I forgot what it is like to be out of shape and now I have a new-found appreciation for being able to run again. One of these days I hope to get the confidence to enter a race and do some competing, but probably not until I feel back in 'shape'! I feel that I am experiencing exactly what my podiatrist told me to expect post-surgery. He said that I could increase my running as much as I could tolerate, and that the area could flare up on occasion, but that the frequency of the flare-ups would become less and less over time. One thing I would mention is that I can't imagine trying to play soccer after this surgery - the side of my foot is still pretty tender if I even tap a soccer ball! Maybe that would change over time?!
- CB

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Garlaj43 on 6/23/08 at 08:22 (247892)


I too have recently had a bi-lateral cheilectomy (12 days ago)on both big toes, and I too have very little movement. Any advice on this would be immensely helpful! Currently sitting here thinking 'oh my gosh..surgery hasn't worked'!

Re: Chielectomy Recovery Timetable

Kristin S on 7/05/08 at 22:11 (248239)

I have spent the last 3 months trying to find the source of pain in my left great toe. At 37 yrs of age I was unwilling to accept arthritis as a DX and orthotics and NSAIDS as a solution. I have finally found a great orth who has given me at least temporary relief with a cortisone shot, percocet and a medrol dose pack. The indomethacin is not going so well though - so surgery is the next step. He talked about fusion of the joint as well and I wanted to tell you that not having movement in that joint feels a little strange, but really affects nothing. I injure my foot in a plane crash a few years ago - and the doctor missed a large chip fracture in my toe. The result has been a painful degenerative joint with no movement and bone spurs. The lack of movement was never a problem until the pain started. I would not be worried if they told you that fusion was the answer.

Re: Post cheilectomy running?

MatH on 7/29/08 at 16:57 (248760)

I have my operation booked for sept 1st 08... and am running the london marathon in April 09. How realistic is this?

Also, can anyone recommend any particular running shoes that might help given the affected region?

Re: United States Treasury Department.

DEPARTMENT OF INT'L AFFAIRS on 10/14/08 at 15:04 (251171)

(Office of the Under Secretary)
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,
Washington, D.C. 20220.

Attn: Beneficiary,

I am Mr. David H. McCormick, Under Secretary for International Affairs of the United States Treasury Department. I was sworn in by Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. as Under Secretary for International Affairs In August 2007, see : http://www.treas.gov/organization/bios/mccormick-e.html

Following series of complains from Citizens of the United States as well as Citizens of Other Countries In Europe over the Discrepancies and fraudulent ways in which fund transfers are handled by Africans which has made it impossible for a lot of People to claim their Contract or Inheritance funds from most African Countries due to frauds and illegal activities, A decision was reached recently by the United States Treasury Department under the authority of the White House to compel African Financial bodies (Banks) to urgently release all funds of American and European citizens that are trapped in most Banks in Africa. It was discovered that some bureaucratic bottlenecks was put by these Banks to make it impossible for beneficiaries to claim their funds so that they will fraudulently divert those funds to their private accounts.

Consequent upon the aforementioned, I was personally mandated by the Secretary of the Treasury, Henry M. Paulson Jr. to handle this matter to ensure that all funds of our Citizens and others which are fraudulently being trapped in African Banks are urgently retrieved and paid to the actual Beneficiary under a legal manner. Our team of experts were delegated to Nigeria for this task and we discoverred your File NO: NG227/9005666/00 with your unclaimed fund of with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
It was discovered that officials of the Bank has only put up illegal requirements in order to make it diffucult for you to claim your fund.

The United States Department of Treasury has retrieved all Files of illegal transactions and we will be working under a legitimate arrangement to ensure that you follow the normal process to receive your fund.
You are requested to Re-confirm the following information to us by e-mail:


Be informed that the above information will only enable us to make due confirmation. We shall ensure that normal process is followed to ensure that your fund gets to you without delay.


Mr. David H. McCormick.
(Under Secretary)
E-mail: fundim at live.com
E-mail: usfund2008 at fastermail.com

Re: Post cheilectomy running?

RoseB on 11/30/08 at 01:14 (252658)

I am 45 and had a cheilectomy on Wednesday. It is Saturday night. WHEN IS THIS SUPPOSED TO HURT??? I haven't seen my foot yet. I do feel some pressure, there is some minor swelling, but I followed the doctor's advice and kept it elevated for he first 24 hours, and am 'babying' my foot, using crutches.
I am in NO pain. NONE. I know he cleaned out the joint and cut thae bone and put in 2 screws. Shouldn't I be feeling something? I am not complaining! I am simply amazed!!!! I am taking 1/2 a vicodin maybe once every 5 hours or more. That's it.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

David D. on 12/11/08 at 14:54 (252994)

I am a 38 year old moderately active male with a moderate tolerance for pain. I've never had surgery before this procedure. I had cheilectomy for treatment of hallux rigidus performed by an orthopedic surgeon on Friday. Elevated, rested, and took pain meds Saturday. On Sunday, I woke with stiffness due to letting meds wear off, but attended an NFL football Sunday afternoon. Monday I experienced increased swelling due to overuse, rested, elevated and took my meds. Tuesday, swelling reduced significantly by long period of elevation on Monday, off meds, switched to Ibuprofen. Wednesday I drove around town doing errands; then rested, elevated, and took ibuprofen. Thursday I experienced remarkable swelling reduction, no pain, and was excited to experience a noticable increase in joint flexibility. Pain has never been over a level 1-2, just don't let the meds wear off too soon. Also, the pain is better described as a mild throbbing sensation, not really pain. When sitting still with foot elevated, there is absolutely no sensation or pain. It throbs a little when the foot is lowered and it begins to swell and leak a little. Exciting progress made with each day toward recovery. Don't let fear deprive you of the benefits of this surgery. Common sense, elevation, and moderate activity seem to be the keys to recovery.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

steve on 1/08/09 at 14:22 (253806)

It is day 4 for me and I can walk with no problem.This board has scared me prior and now I realize that the majority of those who have something wrong post.
I had a cheilectomy and and eseotomy(sp??) They cut my big toe back as well.I stopped taking pain meds now as they are not needed at all.
I could hobble from day one,the first 24-48 was the worst but now its much better.I am a 46 year old male.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Steve on 1/11/09 at 13:18 (253874)

Day 6
I have been off pain meds for 2 1/2 days now and am sleeping in my own bed instead of the couch.I can walk great,only discomfort is the bandage wrap under my foot.Zero issues on anything.The toe does not even hurt to the touch.In a couple days I will get he wrappings off and it should be even better then.I can bend mt toes down great but I have not tried to bend up yet as the bandage prevents that anyway.
The toe was red and dark after day 2 but that is going away as well.There is a little swelling in all the toes but I only see it but do not feel it.

Re: Chielectomy Recovery Timetable

Mary S on 2/19/09 at 14:42 (255270)

I had a Chielectomy on Dec. 19,2008. I had considerable pain the day of surgery trying to get to the bathroom and was very concerned about how bad the pain was really going to be and for how long. I was taking Hydrocodone. The morning of the 20th I woke up and it felt amazingly better. I was able to put on my sugical shoe and walk to the kitchen without help. I kept it propped and iced the 20th and 21st and by Monday the 22nd, I was off the hydrocodone and walking around in my surgical shoe just fine. I was amazed at how really pud this surgery was for me.

Well its going on 9 weeks now and I'm a little disappointed that I still don't have much flexibility in my big toe. When I stand or walk for long periods the whole ball of my foot goes numb (but the Doctor said there is no neuroma and there is still pain trying to wear anything but athletic shoes. The doctor said that some people just don't get a lot of relief with the surgery and end up having to have the joint fused. In my case, however..there was a piece of bone broken off and was sitting on top of the joint. Removing that helped a lot of the pain I had on the top of the joint and having shoes press on the top of the joint does not hurt anymore. It just still hurts when I bend or flex the toe.

I've ordered some MBT's ($219) and hope that they will give me some relief.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Liz on 6/30/09 at 17:35 (258506)

Bunion surgery is not the same as a cheilectomy. Gosh I hope you're not a surgeon!

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Mia on 9/28/09 at 15:38 (260899)

WOW, you sound like me. I had my ACL reconstructed 11 weeks ago and now have to get my toe fixed. Sounds encouraging-I just want to get back to doing normal activities ASAP=that would mean running. I figure if I get my foot fixed now then my ACL will also heal and have time to rest since I have been going at it since the doc said I could run 3 weeks ago.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Niquita on 10/01/09 at 09:25 (260981)

Hi I am also a ballroom dancer. I am scheduled to have a cheilectomy on my right toe on Oct 13, 2009. How did yours go and how long did it take to recover, and what was it like the first couple weeks??

Thanks for your advice,

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

DEANK on 10/19/09 at 22:31 (261398)

Had cheilectomy to both great toes as well had a debridement of the right ankle three days ago. Stopped taking pain killers the day after surgery feel pretty good. I can alredy feel that i have more motion in my toes, ankle a bit stiff. Can't wait to get the bandages off and stitches out. I was fortunate to have a surgeon who specializes in the foot as he has also done several ankle replacements. As far as time he figures i will be able to resume light duty in a couple of weeks, time will tell.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

anon on 10/21/09 at 15:54 (261436)

man I can't figure this out. I've read just horror story after story about people in pain, and how they can't walk, this, that and the other. I almost didn't have my procedure because of all the bad stuff I have read.

Either people really can't handle pain, or pain does not affect me (which is not the case).

I had hallux for about 4yrs now and it was getting to the point i couldn't walk. my big left toe would not even move 10 degrees up or down. It affected everything I did, yoga, cycling, snowboarding, etc.

So I go in for the chielectomy all nervous about being down for months and months. Whatever to that. Again my hallux was major like you could jump a car off the ridge it made. I had my surgery last tues, and was walking in that gay boot/foot thing by that afternoon with the help of crutches. No pain because anesthesia was still kicking and whatever he did to numb it lasted all the way into the night. I finally start feeling pain the next day, and took the pain pills (only half a pill though). That day it hurt only if i moved it. wake up 2nd day and feel better. By this day i can hobble without crutches or a cane, but still with that gay boot on. So it's now been exactly a week. I can fit a skate type shoe over my left foot. The stitches have been removed as of yesterday. I can walk with a limp, but not much of one. I have the feeling i will be walking normal within another 1 to 2 weeks. is this normal? My doctor just said 'let pain be the guide, and don't be rough with it because i still have stiches inside'. I asked if i could get back to riding my bikes or doing my leg presses at the gym and he said to wait one more week; however, he did say that I could walk around on it.

So what is the deal? I am so glad I went through with this. Why is everyone in such pain? for real? reading the internet about the procedure is scary. am i the only one that really doesn't think it hurts that bad?

I broke my leg last fall, talk about pain. Now that sucks. This is a cakewalk compared to that.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable

Jack T on 10/27/09 at 11:22 (261564)

I realize it's been over 3 years since this was posted, but I was just wondering how it ever worked out for you. I am aslo a habitual runner and had same operation about 4 1/2 months ago. I actually started running after about 3 weeks after the operation, but the pain is still there. I am 59 now.

Re: cheilectomy recovery timetable?

Melissa on 11/01/09 at 09:08 (261668)

I had right great toe cheilectomy surgery on 10/27/09. The post-op pain was much worse than I expected. I had a nerve block in my right foot wich last over 24 hours. The pain got real bad the night of the 28th. I did not sleep well for three nights (I usually have a really high pain threshold). It wasn't until the night of the 31st when I finally slept well. My husband and I put together a pain med schedule because I think I was pretty hesitant to take too much. After calling my doctor 48 hours post-op because of excrutiating pain, here's what we came up with:

Vicodin alternating with Percocet every 4 hours.I started with only one of each every 4 hours, but it barely held me, so I went with 2 vicodin alternating with percocet or took one of each every 4 hours (there is tylenol in vicodin and percocet so I adjusted meds to make sure I didn't take more than 4grams of tylenol,the recommended limit). I tried Toradol in between(an anti-inlammatory) but it didn't do much. Otherwise, I have been on the couch with my foot elevated above the heart for the past 5-6 days and lots of ice, especially for first 48 hours. I have not put any weight on my right foot yet because it still hurts(I have stitches to the bottom of my foot because I had a plantar wart removed too). But, day six and I'm finally doing better. I have a walking boot which I think I will try today. I see my MD for first post-op visit on 11/3/09. Hope this helps.

Happy healing