C is for Cheilectomy

November 1, 2022

A cheilectomy is a surgical procedure for hallux rigidus in which the bone spurs on the top of the joint are removed.

A cheilectomy is a surgical procedure performed on the foot to treat a condition known as hallux rigidus or degenerative arthritis of the big toe joint. Hallux rigidus is characterized by stiffness, pain, and limited range of motion in the big toe joint due to the development of bone spurs or osteophytes.

During a cheilectomy, the surgeon removes a portion of the bone or osteophytes from the top of the big toe joint, specifically the dorsal aspect. This removal creates more space within the joint, allowing for improved movement and reducing pain and stiffness. The procedure aims to alleviate the symptoms associated with hallux rigidus and improve the patient’s ability to walk, run, and engage in activities without discomfort.

The cheilectomy procedure typically involves the following steps:

  1. Anesthesia: The patient is usually placed under either local anesthesia, which numbs the area, or general anesthesia, which induces unconsciousness.
  2. Incision: The surgeon makes a small incision on the top of the foot over the affected big toe joint.
  3. Bone Reshaping: The surgeon carefully removes the bone spurs or excess bone growth that is causing impingement and restricting motion in the joint.
  4. Closure: Once the bone reshaping is complete, the incision is closed with sutures or surgical staples.

After the surgery, the patient may need to wear a protective bandage or a surgical shoe to promote healing and provide support. Physical therapy or rehabilitation exercises may be recommended to regain strength, flexibility, and normal function in the foot.


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