If you have a “stiff big toe” condition, you may notice that it’s progressively worsening over time, along with the pain. If your surgeon has advised you to undergo a surgical procedure, you might be wondering how long to elevate your foot after hallux rigidus surgery. We will discuss your options and recovery time for this type of procedure, so you can know what to expect.
What Is a Hallux Rigidus?
If you notice frequent pain in your big toe, chances are that you’re suffering from hallux rigidus, which is a condition where the first joint (metatarsophalangeal or MTP) is suffering from degenerative arthritis. This is a type of pain that isn’t easily ignored, and it might make it difficult to walk and even to stand. It is also a progressive condition, so you can expect it to worsen over time. Although some people don’t experience any worsening, others are not so lucky, and their symptoms become unbearable over time.
If you are simply trying to alleviate some of the stiffness and pain, your doctor may suggest the following approaches:
- Orthotics, which are specialized shoes or inserts,
- To limit excessive toe movement with specialized pads,
- Prescribe various pain relievers that can reduce swelling and relieve pain,
- Suggest foot soaks to reduce inflammation,
- Prescribe corticosteroid injections to help with the pain.
How Is Hallux Rigidus Corrected Surgically
While some initial treatment of the stiff toe condition might be treated with orthotics (specialized shoes,) foot soaks, and injections, it might not be helpful for your condition. In such cases, your podiatric may suggest a surgical procedure to correct the condition and make your life easier. It’s only recommended when hallux rigidus has worsened to the point where it interferes with your everyday activities. Depending on your personal case, the doctor may recommend cheilectomy, Cartiva, or 1st MTP joint fusion
Trimming the bone spur might help reduce pain and maintain joint motion. The removal of the excess bone that surrounds the borders of an arthritic joint is known as a cheilectomy. The toe has more room to bend thanks to this procedure. A cheilectomy in the big toe has an 85% rate of success. Accordingly, 15% of patients continue to experience symptoms and are likely to undergo fusion.
The Cartiva artificial cartilage implant is a tiny cylindrical plug that is inserted between the two halves of the arthritic joint. This is done to create a strong, low-friction surface that allows the big toe to move more painlessly.
1st MTP Joint Fusion
This procedure “fuses” the joint, irreversibly stiffening it by removing all of its arthritic surfaces. It’s a procedure that has had great success in patients.
How Long to Elevate Foot After Hallux Rigidus Surgery
If your doctor has suggested that you undergo a hallux rigidus surgery, they will recommend the recovery process, too. Keep in mind that the elevation for the initial two weeks is crucial. Swelling reduction aids in pain management and ensures that wounds heal. The doctor will advise elevating it 50% of the time during the second week, while you should elevate it 80% of the time during the first.
How to Ensure a Complete Recovery?
You’ll be taught how to walk while you’re still in the hospital, using medical sandals and crutches. With this type of aid, you can walk without placing any weight on the region that had surgery. Most patients are able to leave the hospital on the day of their procedure. However, some people need to stay an extra night.
Your foot can be somewhat bruised, and when you put it down, it will hurt and swell. Rest as much as you can with your leg lifted above your heart to prevent this. However, you should make an effort to move your toes in the first two weeks because this activity will speed up recovery without doing any harm.
Ask Your Surgeon How Long to Elevate Foot After Hallux Rigidus Surgery
If you have trouble with a stiff big toe and you feel like the condition is worsening, it’s the right time to reach out to our team at Luxe Foot Surgery. We can discuss the course of your treatment and recommend the best approach to alleviate the pain and stiffness. Contact us today and book your appointment. We are open to questions and inquiries, simply leave your information, and we will reach out to you.