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Old 06-02-2012, 12:34 PM   #1
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Soretoe12 HB User
Unhappy Cheilectomy for Hallux Rigidus

Hi All,

I'm new here. I'm a 44 1/2 yr old female - and have been very active almost my whole life. Anyway, I've had a rather ugly large bunion on top base of my left toe - for a loooooonnnnngg time. I (finally) got up the guts to go see a podiatrist about it.

She took some X-rays and kindly explained that I need to have a cheilectomy on my left big toe.

At first - I felt like - I couldn't wait to have this procedure. Until - I went online and read some horror stories about this. I still think I need to get this done - as my joint REALLY hurts in the winter/cold damp weather. And - most shoes - hurt - the top of my foot - unless they have stretchy or high toe box area. And I know that's NOT normal!!!!

Either way - I feel pretty sad and alone about this - and scared. I love LOVE working out and dancing and was wondering if there's anybody here that's had this done (and actually had a good outcome?)

Also - I made an appt with a Podiatrist - outside of my Podiatrist's group - to get a 2nd opinion - but - not 100% sure I need to get a 2nd opinion - has anyone on here got a 2nd opinion before doing this?

Thanks for listening!!!

 
Old 06-02-2012, 01:40 PM   #2
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Re: Cheilectomy for Hallux Rigidus

0I have had this done on both big toes: one 9 years ago and the other one last year. Find a sports med ortho who is foot and ankle board certified. Call your nearest pro football or basketball team or professional dance company to find a good one. Or if you let us know where you live, we may have some suggestions. In the sports world, this is alternately called turf toe, runner's toe or tennis toe. Shaq O'Neal had this same procedure when he played for the Lakers. Mark Ingram of the Saints had it after this past football season. An excellent surgeon will have you on your way in no time. Last year I had mine done on June 15 and was at a dance on August 5 pain free and also had started back jogging. So recovery is easy - IF you get a proper surgeon.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by Titchou; 06-02-2012 at 05:09 PM.

 
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Old 06-02-2012, 04:41 PM   #3
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Re: Cheilectomy for Hallux Rigidus

Hi, Soretoe12.

I would echo what Titchou said about getting an opinion from a sports medicine orthopaedic surgeon. I had a serious case of Hallux Rigidus and had a cheilextomy in 2006. That toe has done very, very well ever since.

That big toe started bothering me in 1991. At that time, I was told by an orthopaedic surgeon in Des Moines (where I was living at the time) that my big toe joint had severe osteoarthritis and I needed a joint replacement. Well, I immediately sought out a second opinion. I sent all the details to an ortho surgeon at Duke University who had done a patellar graft reconstruction of my left ACL the year before. He asked me questions about how much pain that toe was causing and whether it was prohibiting me from doing any of the things I wanted to. I told him the pain was mostly mild to moderate and it didn't hold me back much. He then replied, "Well, if I were you, I'd wait until I either couldn't stand the pain or until I couldn't do the things I loved." That seemed like good advice and I pretty much put up with the pain - and increasing deformity of the joint - for the next 15 years.

I finally broke down and had something done in June of 2006, when I was 55. It had reached the point where I had such large calcium deposits and bone spurs (osteophytes is the tech term) that I could barely get my foot into a ski boot. Matter of fact, in order to ski during the 05/06 season, I had to cut the entire area above that big toe joint out of my ski boot liner to accommodate the size of the joint. By June, I knew I needed to have something done and went to a foot/ankle surgeon here in Jackson Hole who recommended a cheilectomy. A cheilectomy is essentially a removal of all the excess bone spurs and deposits. It's not any sort of cure for hallux rigidus - rather it treats the symptom of pain from pressure, etc. The alternative would have been a fusion of the joint but I didn't want to go there at that point.

The surgery went great, rehab was not very difficult, and fourteen weeks later I joined my wife and some friends in climbing a Via Ferrata route of a Dolomite peak called the Civetta near Cortina in Italy. It was a huge day of climbing about 6,000 vertical feet up and then 6,500 vertical feet down and my foot/toe did just fine. During that trip, we climbed a number of somewhat technical routes in the Dolomites and we did a great deal of alpine hiking there and in Switzerland. All of that was less than four months after my cheilectomy and I was amazed at how well that toe did and how pain-free I was compared to before the surgery. I was a very satisfied customer.

I think a cheilectomy *can* provide a great deal of relief and personally I don't think there's all that much of a downside. What it won't do is treat the root cause of your problem, which is very likely osteoarthritis in the cartilage of the main joint of your big toe. A cheilectomy treats the symptom, not the disease, but it really, really lessened the pain that I was feeling.

Base on my own experience and that of several other friends, I wouldn't worry too much about a cheilectomy if I were you.

Good luck with the decision.

 
Old 06-02-2012, 05:12 PM   #4
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Re: Cheilectomy for Hallux Rigidus

Absolutely true, Bob. And just an FYI, they are now doing resurfacing of the toe joint like they do for knees and hips. I think that's next for me - if I live that long! Am 66 now and doing well. I do have to take a 15 mg meloxicam every day though. I don't have a great deal of cartilege left in either joint. Am seriously looking at the resurfacing instead of fusion when the time comes.

 
Old 06-02-2012, 06:38 PM   #5
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Re: Cheilectomy for Hallux Rigidus

Thank-you both for your very kind replies...

Just another question - what's the difference between seeing a ortho MD or podiatrist? The podiatrist I saw is specializes in bunions, foot surgery, and sports medicine (and is foot/ankle board certified)...

I live in Sunnyvale, CA and would love to hear if you might have any suggestions on surgeons for my wonderful big toe...

Thanks again - it really helps to hear from people who've had good outcomes!

Last edited by Soretoe12; 06-02-2012 at 06:39 PM.

 
Old 06-02-2012, 11:03 PM   #6
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Re: Cheilectomy for Hallux Rigidus

I used to live in Los Angeles and I know you are way closer to San Francisco, but Glen Pfeffer at Cedars-Sinai is a great foot/ankle ortho. I know there is a large foot/ankle center in SF, just can't remember the name of it. I'm sure you could find it online. As TITCHOU says, good idea to call pro sports groups to see who they use. So call the 49ers, Raiders, Giants, etc and see who they use maybe?
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Old 06-03-2012, 05:22 AM   #7
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Re: Cheilectomy for Hallux Rigidus

Orthos have more schooling and training (residencies) than pods. Pods don't typically get foot and ankle board certified (some do but it isn't as big a deal to them as orthos). I really like my podiatrist, He has a good reputation here and does a lot of work. But I would never have used him for this or the neuroma I had removed. He isn't board certified....just didn't bother to get it. When I had the neuroma removed and the first cheilectomy, we had the premier sports med practice in the country here in Bham - Alabama Sports medicine. They've worked on all kinds of athletes, Saudi princes who can afford anyone they want, etc. The doc who operated on me was editor of the Foot and Ankle society journal. Very big honor. He now is in his upper 70's and doesn't do all the procedures any more and has brought someone in to do the ones he doesn't. That's who did my 2nd cheilectomy. So I know these folks are really good...I second H48's suggestions.

And yes, the guy who did Shaquille O'Neal's cheilectomy was a pod - chairman of the department at UCLA (or was it USC?) Anyway, one of them in LA...you can do a search and get his name.

Last edited by Titchou; 06-03-2012 at 05:26 AM.

 
Old 06-08-2012, 12:50 PM   #8
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Re: Cheilectomy for Hallux Rigidus

I'm a 29 year old active female and had a cheilectomy on my left great toe in May 2010. The results were ok. Initially I had less pain and greater range of motion. Recovery was a breeze. I was walking without much pain in a couple of weeks and doing some slow jogging within 3 months. I think if my heart wasn't set on running, it would be a great outcome. However, the pain is beginning to return to pre op levels and my gait has changed as a result, causing pains in other areas of both feet that I never experienced before.

I haven't decided if I want to pursue further surgical options or if I'm ready to give up running. I was told I have very little cartilage remaining in the toe, so fusion/implants would most likely be the next step. FYI- I had my surgery performed by an orthopedic surgeon who worked with the Tennessee Titans (I sought him out per recommendations from these message boards) and performed the same surgery on Steve McNair.

Presently I still run, though not regularly. Pain is intense if I try to run more than 2x weekly for more than a couple weeks. I've learned to crosstrain and have maintained a decent level of fitness, but my heart wants to run!

I think I would still have the cheilectomy if I went back in time. My toe was so stiff pre-op that running was becoming nearly impossible because of the change I had to make in my gait. So it has allowed me to push on. But it hasn't been miraculous and I know this will be an issue for the rest of my life. Don't be afraid to take it easy after surgery! You'll have plenty of time for activities once you've recovered.

Best of luck!

 
Old 06-08-2012, 04:03 PM   #9
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Re: Cheilectomy for Hallux Rigidus

Data: forget the joint replacement and look into resurfacing - a product by arthrosurface. It's like the resurfacing they do on knees and hips. It's rather new - last 6-8 years getting popular so not all that many docs do it. Would imagine since you are near Vandy that someone in Nashville is doing it.....my doc here in Bham is and I will probably go that route next time...

 
Old 07-12-2012, 12:01 AM   #10
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Re: Cheilectomy for Hallux Rigidus

Hi- I'm 35 and I just had a cheilectomy today for my left toe for the exact same reasons! I could only wear flats (for about 10 years now), nothing could cover my joint unless it was loose and elastic, toes both hurt after running/walking for a period of time. I saw the University Sports Medicine doctor because they specialize in treating athletes, specifically. Was scared TO DEATH to have surgery but the constant discomfort and limitations forced me to make the decision to do it. I was completely sedated and at this point have no feeling therefore, no pain in my foot (due to being numbed). I'm in a soft cast and have been laying down elevating my leg most of the day (and have been told to do so for 2-3 days.) In 1 week I get my cast off and get a soft boot to wear for a week after that. I'm praying for a quick recovery and good results so I can get back to walking/exercising pain-free and chasing after my kiddos, too! I was told that my aggressive running (4 years HS and 4 years college + some) brought this on sooner than it would have had I not been a runner. I probably should have had xrays done a long time ago but dismissed it as pain I could live with. I'll update as I recover but I'm positive I will be in better shape post-surgery than pre-surgery! Good luck to you!

 
Old 08-14-2012, 02:07 PM   #11
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Busted toe HB User
Re: Cheilectomy for Hallux Rigidus

Hi
I have the same condition. I have tried taping, rest, icing, orthotics and cortisone injections. Saw a specialist he said live with it.......yes and was pretty gutted. Got a second opinion said fusion or cheilectomy. I am booked for surgery for cheilectomy this Monday and I'm very scared but don't feel like I have much choice.go see one you feel comfortable with




QUOTE=Soretoe12;4991398]Hi All

I'm new here. I'm a 44 1/2 yr old female - and have been very active almost my whole life. Anyway, I've had a rather ugly large bunion on top base of my left toe - for a loooooonnnnngg time. I (finally) got up the guts to go see a podiatrist about it.

She took some X-rays and kindly explained that I need to have a cheilectomy on my left big toe.

At first - I felt like - I couldn't wait to have this procedure. Until - I went online and read some horror stories about this. I still think I need to get this done - as my joint REALLY hurts in the winter/cold damp weather. And - most shoes - hurt - the top of my foot - unless they have stretchy or high toe box area. And I know that's NOT normal!!!!

Either way - I feel pretty sad and alone about this - and scared. I love LOVE working out and dancing and was wondering if there's anybody here that's had this done (and actually had a good outcome?)

Also - I made an appt with a Podiatrist - outside of my Podiatrist's group - to get a 2nd opinion - but - not 100% sure I need to get a 2nd opinion - has anyone on here got a 2nd opinion before doing this?

Thanks for listening!!![/QUOTE]

 
Old 08-14-2012, 02:49 PM   #12
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Re: Cheilectomy for Hallux Rigidus

[quote=busted toe;5039780]hi
i have the same condition. I have tried taping, rest, icing, orthotics and cortisone injections. Saw a specialist he said live with it.......yes and was pretty gutted. Got a second opinion said fusion or cheilectomy. I am booked for surgery for cheilectomy this monday and i'm very scared but don't feel like i have much choice.go see one you feel comfortable with

if you can find a physical therapist, who knows body mechanics, there is no need for you to have surgery and i speak from experience. The reason you have this problem is most likely due to the misalignment of some muscles in your feet and that can be corrected. I know because i have had this done! Please stay clear of any podiatrist who wants to cut or make you any inserts for your feet. Neither of these things have to be done. All you need is someone who can strengthen the muscles in your feet and legs. It is usually the plantar facia, which is the elastic like band under your foot, which connects with the leg tissue, that is too tight and when this is too tight, it can throw everything off and can cause hammer toes and bunions. If a good physical therapist can line up your feet and knees and loosen your plantar facia, you will not need surgery. I had surgery a number of years ago and not long ago, the hammer toe was coming back and the bunion was starting to form. Found this wonderful physical therapist and my feet look so different that you would not believe it. Orthotics are the worst thing in the world for one's feet and are nothing but money makers for the podiatrists. Orthotics may seem to do a good job at first, but, in the long run, they make the muscles not work correctly. If you decide to have surgery, i suggest that you go to a good ortho man because ortho men have much better schooling than the podiatrists. Podiatrists are taught to cut into the foot and also make inserts. I know a gal who had the plantar facia cut by a podiatrist and no good dr. Would do such a thing. I have had orthotics made and they did nothing but damage my feet. A set made by a podiatrist left a nice sized golf ball on the bottom of one foot. When i first went to him, i was almost crippled. When the orthotics needed adjusting, all he did was put a piece of wood under one of them and he is a very well respected podiatrist. The physical therapist has helped me more than any one in the medical field!!!



Quote=soretoe12;4991398]hi all

i'm new here. I'm a 44 1/2 yr old female - and have been very active almost my whole life. Anyway, i've had a rather ugly large bunion on top base of my left toe - for a loooooonnnnngg time. I (finally) got up the guts to go see a podiatrist about it.

She took some x-rays and kindly explained that i need to have a cheilectomy on my left big toe.

At first - i felt like - i couldn't wait to have this procedure. Until - i went online and read some horror stories about this. I still think i need to get this done - as my joint really hurts in the winter/cold damp weather. And - most shoes - hurt - the top of my foot - unless they have stretchy or high toe box area. And i know that's not normal!!!!

Either way - i feel pretty sad and alone about this - and scared. I love love working out and dancing and was wondering if there's anybody here that's had this done (and actually had a good outcome?)

Also - i made an appt with a podiatrist - outside of my podiatrist's group - to get a 2nd opinion - but - not 100% sure i need to get a 2nd opinion - has anyone on here got a 2nd opinion before doing this?

Thanks for listening!!![/quote][/quote]

 
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