Hallux rigidus means “a stiff big toe,” and that’s precisely what this condition is. Otherwise called turf toe, this deformity is a form of degenerative arthritis, and it often requires surgical treatment. So, what is the recovery time for hallux rigidus surgery?
Recovery time for hallux rigidus surgery can vary depending on the type of procedure performed and the individual’s overall health. Generally, patients can expect to be in a cast or splint for 4-6 weeks following surgery, with a gradual return to weight bearing over time.
Physical therapy is typically started after the cast or splint is removed and is continued for several weeks to help regain strength and range of motion. Full recovery can take several months and may involve additional therapy, such as occupational therapy or custom orthotics. It is important to follow the post-operative instructions provided by the surgeon to ensure proper healing and recovery.
How Is Hallux Rigidus Treated?
Hallux rigidus can sometimes be treated with conservative methods, such as proper shoewear, anti-inflammatory medications, or corticosteroid injections. Shoe pads and contrast baths (switching between hot and cold water) can also help relieve the pain. If these methods don’t work, the doctor can suggest surgery.
Will You Need Surgery for Hallux Rigidus?
It’s difficult to predict which cases will require surgery and which won’t. As a general rule, doctors start with non-surgical treatment and give it a bit of time to see if it helps manage the symptoms. If it doesn’t, having surgery to fix a stiff toe is the only course of action left.
What Is the Recovery Time for Hallux Rigidus Surgery?
The recovery period after your surgery can last from a few weeks to a few months – this all depends on the severity of your case and the type of surgery you had. After less invasive approaches, patients need to wear a surgical shoe for two weeks, and after more extensive surgeries, a cast is required for three to six weeks. There will also be some pain and swelling. You can expect your recovery to last about six weeks to three months.
What Should You Expect During Recovery From Hallux Rigidus Surgery?
Of course, the recovery period should be spent resting. Depending on what kind of surgery you had, you will have to avoid weight-bearing for a certain amount of time. During this period, it’s important that you sleep well, eat healthily, hydrate, and avoid smoking and alcohol. Here’s what else you can expect for the post-op period after each type of hallux rigidus surgery.
Cheilectomy and Interpositional Arthroplasty
In these procedures, the surgeon removes a part of the bone in order to relieve the symptoms of arthritis and improve mobility in the big toe joint. After surgery, you will have to wear a surgical shoe for two weeks, and then you can return to normal footwear. Swelling can last for a couple of weeks or months.
During osteotomy, your surgeon will cut into a bone and reposition it so that your big toe can move easier and your symptoms will decrease. The joint will be swollen for six to eight weeks, and the full recovery process will last about three months.
Joint fusion is a procedure during which the surgeon removes damaged parts of the joint and fuses the two bones together. After this, you will have to wear a cast for three to six weeks. Once the cast is off, you will still require crutches for an additional few weeks. Swelling and stiffness will go away completely in a couple of months after surgery.
How to Speed up the Recovery Process?
The most important thing you can do for your recovery is to follow your doctor’s instructions – if you have an experienced doctor, they know what they are talking about, as they’ve likely had numerous cases of hallux rigidus in their careers. In addition to this, it’s always wise to give yourself time to feel better and not push your limits, as this will also help the swelling and pain go away more quickly.
Consult Your Surgeon Before the Hallux Rigidus Operation
Having a skilled surgeon by your side is one of the essentials when it comes to fixing stiff toes. Before you come in for surgery, be sure to discuss the procedure with your doctor – you need to know what to expect during and after surgery. Our excellent doctors at Luxe Foot Surgery can give you all the information regarding this procedure – contact us to book your free first consultation, and we’d be happy to help you.
How Long Do You Wear a Boot After a Cheilectomy?
After a cheilectomy, which is essentially shaving off a part of the bone, you will need to wear a surgical shoe or a boot for about two weeks. In some cases, this can be up to six weeks, depending on the severity of the condition.
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. (n.d.). Stiff Big Toe (Hallux Rigidus). Retrieved from https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/stiff-big-toe-hallux-rigidus
- American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. (n.d.). Big Toe Arthritis (Hallux Rigidus). Retrieved from https://www.footcaremd.org/conditions-treatments/toes/big-toe-arthritis-hallux-rigidus