Cheilectomy is a type of surgery that involves removing bone spurs that form on the top of the foot due to arthritis of the big toe (hallux rigidus).

Arthritis is a degenerative disease which causes intense pain and loss of motion in the joints. With over 50 million Americans suffering from it, it’s the nation's biggest cause of disability. It leaves millions of people unable to work and engage in regular activities such as walking and climbing stairs without great pain. Debilitating arthritis, in many instances, can affect the big toe, and that’s when a surgery called cheilectomy would be required.

What is Cheilectomy Surgery?
It’s an operation which removes a bone spur that has formed on top of the big toe. The cause of bone spurs, in most cases, is arthritis of the big toe. Those suffering from it, experience big pain with limited range of motion of the toe. The bone spurs are actually produced on purpose by your body to purposefully limit a person’s range of motion to relieve the pain from arthritis.

The two most common reasons why a cheilectomy would be performed are:

The bone spur creates pain when a patient is wearing shoes
It can serve as a treatment option for early arthritis of the big toe

But even in both of the above cases, a cheilectomy is not the first option of treatment. Doctors will first recommend that patients try different shoes and medications to relieve hallux rigidus pain before opting for surgery.

What Can One Expect from a Cheilectomy Operation?
People getting the cheilectomy surgery will be able to leave the hospital the same day. Cheilectomy surgeries are done either under general anaesthetic or local anaesthetic. Most patients prefer the second option since it means less time spent in the hospital and shorter recovery period.

What Is the Recovery Period like After Cheilectomy?
Cheilectomy surgery is a pretty simple operation and most patients will be fully recovered 6 to 8 weeks after the surgery. Usually, a follow-up visit is required around two weeks after the operation. At that stage, your doctor will ask you to start gently stretching and moving your toe to avoid permanent stiffening and will likely tell you to start walking again.

Depending on your work type, at this point, some patients will be able to return to work. Those with desk jobs that don’t require a lot of standing or moving can return to work much earlier than patients with jobs that require standing for a long period of time.

If the cheilectomy surgery was for a bone spur not caused by arthritis, the patient can expect a permanent recovery since bone spurs very rarely grow back. But for those that received the operation to help treat arthritis may still have joint pain toe stiffening to deal with, since there is no way to cure arthritis. For patients with big toe arthritis, the operation is only meant to lessen the pain and relieve symptoms caused by the disease.

Author's Bio: 

I am Amelia Grant, journalist, and blogger. I think that information is a great force that is able to change people’s lives for the better. That is why I feel a strong intention to share useful and important things about health self-care, wellness and other advice that may be helpful for people. Being an enthusiast of a healthy lifestyle that keeps improving my life, I wish the same for everyone.

Our attention to ourselves, to our daily routine and habits, is very important. Things that may seem insignificant, are pieces of a big puzzle called life. I want to encourage people to be more attentive to their well-being, improve every little item of it and become healthier, happier, stronger. All of us deserve that. And I really hope that my work helps to make the world better.