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hallux rigidus

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Old 09-10-2010, 05:01 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2008
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tink2002 HB User
Question hallux rigidus

Hello all. new here and looking for some experienced info. I have been having lots of pain in the big toe joint of both feet. Podiatrist says it is hallux rigidus. Says that I am bone on bone (no cartilege) in that joint, with large bone spurs growing on top to protect the joint, and arthritis. He gave me 3 options:
1. chilectomy....scrapes off the bone spurs . He thinks it might buy me 1 or 2 years before I need to have the toes fused or the joint replaced
2. toe fusion and chilectomy - where I am headed eventually.
3. joint replacement but he doesn't recommend it because he thinks I will just develop arthritis in the new joint.

I am recovering from thyroid cancer. my insurance deductible is HUGE, but because I've just had a scan, I've met the deductible for this year... so I feel pressured to have it done NOW! I thought he told me that I would be up and around in just a few days, but wearing a boot...??? any knowledgeable opinions here would be greatly appreciated thanks

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Old 09-10-2010, 08:38 PM   #2
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Re: hallux rigidus

Run from this doctor and find a sports med ortho who does feet. Call the Bears or the Bulls front office and find out who they use. You do NOT want to rush into this. Fusion is a final surgery and there is no secon option after that. And you already have arthritis in the joint so you can't develop it from the implant. Implants rarely have a good outcome. As someone who has had a cheilectomy and is looking at another on the other foot, take my word. Find a better doctor.

Old 09-12-2010, 11:14 AM   #3
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Re: hallux rigidus is my two cents...I had the cheliectomy done in Oct of last year and it only made the pain from the arthritis worse as it allowed the joint to move more and the arthrits flared up even more. So on July 19th I had the joint removed and two titanium screw put in. The recovery time is very long as tomorrow will make 8 weeks that I have been on crutches. I would question any doctor that allows you to walk right away after a fusion has been done as the gold standard seems to be at least 5 weeks without walking (my Dr. is very conservative, although one of the best-he is an Ortho Surgeon) need to be prepared not only physically, but emotionally as well as it is a long road to recovery....given a good scan on Tuesday I will start walking again...

Old 10-28-2010, 06:08 PM   #4
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Re: hallux rigidus

I had the same thing. I had a chilectomy 3 weeks ago I had a chilectomy 3 weeks ago for stage 4 arthritis to remove bone spurs. I was in a boot for 3 days. Day 4 I could shower but no baths. Day 4 had dressing off and shoe on. was walking after my 7 yr old next day after surgery. at 2 weeks stitches came out and I was able to do the elliptical for 40 minutes and yoga 25 minutes a night. I have done PT since the stitches came out and range of motion and decrease of pain both greatly improved. I am impressed after all the bad stories I read I almost didn't have it. I still have a bit to go but will be returning to my 12 hour shifts on my feet in 3 weeks or so. I am really amazed by it. I am 44 and female and have a very active son

Old 10-29-2010, 07:25 AM   #5
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Re: hallux rigidus

Hi tink, I got almost the same information from my surgeon. My toe joint was very damaged, and was pretty much bone on bone. I don't think there was much if any cartilage left. My doc said I oculd have a cheilectomy, and that he did not think it would work. If it did work, it would only likely last a year or so. He recommended fusion. After some more thought and homework, I opted for the fusion. I knew I was headed for one anyway, and did not want more foot surgery than necessary.

I just passed the one year anniversary of my surgery. It is a long healing process, but worth it. It absolutely freaked me out thinking about a joint that would not move. The reality was that it was already almost fused, and very painful. I asked the doctor if it would completely fuse itself and he said not completely, and that it would only become more painful. That helped me make my decision.

My doctor used a plate and screw system. This allowed me to heel weight bear as pain would allow from the beginning. I asked him about this and why others could not weight bear. I guess it depends on the procedure. The plate acts as a splint while the joint is fusing. After that, it is just decor. There are several ways to do the fusion.

Now a year later, I am curling weekly (my fused foot is the one that goes behind me when I throw the rock), I am walking 1-2 miles with the dog every morning and sometimes more on weekends or evenings, and I am doing yoga. I have also started trying out some spin classes. It is so nice to have my life back again.

Fusion is permanent yes. It is also something that might allow you to have an active life again. I agree with Titchou, that the replacement is a bad idea. Also, you probably already have arthritis in that joint because of the damage. I had a choice between a podiatrist and an orthopaedic surgeon for my surgery. I chose the ortho and am glad I did. I would be very wary of a podiatrist for such an important decision.

Good luck

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