What Is A Hallux Rigidus?

Foot and Ankle Specialists perform a Cheilectomy procedure to remove Bone Spurs from the joint of the Big toe, curing the condition known as Hallux Rigidis.

Foot and Ankle Specialists define Cheilectomy as an operation of the MTP (metatarsophalangeal) joint, that connects where the big toe bends and attaches back to the foot. This procedure involves making an incision on the skin and removing excess bone with the aid of orthopedic tools that shave away bone spurs.

Generally, bone spurs form at the top of the MTP joint, but surgeons may also remove bone spurs on the sides of the joint during a cheilectomy. 

Orthopedic surgeons and podiatrists perform this outpatient foot surgery under local anesthesia as either open surgery or a minimally invasive procedure with a smaller incision.

What Are The Reasons For A Cheilectomy?

Common factors associated with big toe bone spurs include:

  • Arthritis: A degeneration of cartilage. Over time, the cartilage wears down and exposes the bone. Bone spurs then start to form over the exposed areas.
  • Trauma: Such as stubbing or injuring the toe.
  • Repetitive impacts on the foot, as during sports, may lead to small fractures and inflammation. A condition described as turf toe can also develop. Eventually, these issues may cause the growth of bone spurs around the big toe joint.

As a consequence of arthritis in the big toe, Hallux rigidus can form, often preceded by hallux limitus, a lesser form of arthritis in the big toe where the joint stays somewhat stiff, but not as painful as hallux rigidus.

Often, before considering a cheilectomy, patients can manage the pain and inflammation of hallux limitus and hallux rigidus themselves by applying heat and cold to the area, taking anti-inflammatory medications, and/or wearing orthotic shoes. When these measures fail, you may discuss surgery with your Foot and Ankle Specialist.