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Hallux rigidus is stiffness and pain in the big toe joint while walking. It is usually caused by arthritis and can affect patients of all ages. Often patients lose the ability to lift their big toe upwards. Or the toe becomes so stiff that it cannot lie flat in your shoe.

A bony bump may form on the top of the toe joint causing further movement restriction and pain. Your consultant may try conservative treatment including such as prescribing pain relief or anti-inflammatory medication or steroid injections. If conservative treatment is not successful your consultant may recommend a cheilectomy.

What happens during a cheilectomy?

A cheilectomy can be performed under general or local anaesthetic. Your anaesthetist will discuss the method to be use with you prior to your surgery.

Your consultant will make an incision (cut) on the side of your big toe. They will remove the bony bump and flush out your big toe joint. Your surgical wound will be closed with stitches and dressings will be applied.

You may be given additional local anaesthetic for pain relief. You will also be given tablets for pain relief.

A cheilectomy is usually performed as a day case meaning you will be able to go home the day of your surgery.

Going home after cheilectomy

You will not be able to drive until approved to do so by your surgeon. Please arrange for someone to drive you home when you are discharged.

You will have a bulky dressing on your foot. You may also be given a special shoe to help you walk. You can put as much weight on your foot as is comfortable. For the first 7-10 days you should rest and elevate your foot as much as possible. Using an icepack wrapped in a tea towel may also help control pain and swelling. Take any pain relief medication as prescribed.

Between 10-14 days after your surgery you should see your GP to have your stitches removed. A lighter dressing will be applied.

Following removal of your stitches you can begin to increase your activity. Continue elevating your foot as necessary.

Be sure and discuss any return to work with your consultant. Most patients resume driving once lighter dressings are used and they are no longer taking prescribed pain medication.

As with any surgical procedure there can be complications including:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots (deep vein thrombosis- DVT)
Specific complications of cheilectomy may include:
  • Numbness on or near the surgical site
  • Continued swelling
  • Continued pain following surgery.
Find your nearest hospital that provides this treatment

67 Lansdowne Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1RW

01202 291866
Overall rating View rating

Shenfield Road, Brentwood, CM15 8EH

01277 695695
Overall rating Good

Warren Road, Brighton, BN2 6DX

01273 624 488
Overall rating Good

3 Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1BN

0117 906 4870
Overall rating Good

Hatherley Lane, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL51 6SY

01242 246 552
Overall rating Good

Wrexham Road, Chester, CH4 7QP

01244 680 444
Overall rating Good

78 Broyle Road, Chichester, PO19 6WB

01243 530600
Overall rating Good

Rykneld Road, Derby, DE23 4SN

01332 540100
Overall rating Good

Wonford Road, Exeter, EX2 4UG

01392 276 591
Overall rating Good

25 Beaconsfield Road, Glasgow, G12 0PJ

0141 334 9441

Stirling Road, Guildford, GU2 7RF

01483 555 800
Overall rating Good
Haywards Heath  

Burrell Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 1UD

01444 456999
Overall rating Good

Venns Lane, Hereford, HR1 1DF

01432 355 131
Overall rating Good

Foxhall Road, Ipswich, IP4 5SW

01473 279100
Overall rating Good

2 Leighton Street, Leeds, LS1 3EB

0113 388 2111
Overall rating Outstanding

Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, LE5 1HY

0116 276 9401
Overall rating Good
Newcastle upon Tyne  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 1JP

01912 816 131
Overall rating Good
North Staffordshire  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 4DB

01782 382551
Overall rating Good

Beech Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7RP

01865 307777
Overall rating Good

Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8BG

01752 775 861
Overall rating View rating

Longden Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 9DP

01743 282 500
Overall rating Good

Staplegrove Elm, Taunton, TA2 6AN

01823 286 991
Overall rating Good

Junction Road, Norton, Stockton on Tees, TS20 1PX

01642 360 100
Overall rating Outstanding
Tunbridge Wells  

Kingswood Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4UL

01892 531 111
Overall rating Good

The Chase, Old Milverton Lane, Leamington Spa, CV32 6RW

01926 427971
Overall rating Good

Winchester Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 2DW

02380 266 377
Overall rating Good

Wood Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, WV6 8LE

01902 793 269
Overall rating Good

Haxby Road, York, YO31 8TA

01904 715 000
Overall rating Good

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