Your Podiatrist May Recommend A Cheilectomy For Your Toe Arthritis When Nonsurgical Treatments Fail

If you have osteoarthritis in your big toe, you may find it's painful to walk and wear shoes. A podiatrist can treat this condition and help manage your pain. The solution could be cheilectomy surgery, which is the removal of a bone spur on your affected toe joint. Here's when your foot doctor might recommend a cheilectomy and how the surgery is done.

When A Cheilectomy May Be Necessary

Your podiatrist may start with nonsurgical treatments such as orthotics, changing your footwear, using pain relievers, and taking corticosteroid injections. These treatments may work for a time and allow you to put off surgery. However, if your toe arthritis causes so much pain that you start to stay off your feet and become less mobile, your podiatrist may discuss surgery. Your podiatrist might also recommend surgery if the bone spur on your toe is so large that you can't wear shoes without pain.

How A Cheilectomy Is Done

This surgery for toe arthritis can be done with local or general anesthesia, and it's usually an outpatient procedure. The surgery involves making an incision on your toe to reach the joint. The bone spur can then be removed. Removing this bump makes it possible to wear regular support shoes again, and it makes walking less painful.

After the surgery, you'll need to wear a surgical shoe with a stiff sole that protects your toe. You can walk, but you'll need to bear weight on the back of your foot rather than your toe. Your podiatrist might even want you to use crutches so you can stay off of your toe right after the surgery.

What To Expect As Your Toe Heals

You might need to rest your foot for a few days after surgery by staying in bed and keeping your foot elevated on pillows. You might need to limit walking for several days, but you'll soon be able to walk more frequently while wearing your recovery shoe. Your podiatrist provides you with instructions for bathing and caring for your toe during recovery, and you may need pain medication to help with the pain.

Your podiatrist lets you know how soon you can return to work. This depends on what type of occupation you have. You might need to take off for a few weeks. It could take a few months before you're able to resume all of your regular activities. However, your podiatrist may want you to wear a certain type of shoes or shoe inserts once you return to work and go back to all of your usual fitness activities.

For more information, contact a podiatrist near you.