What to Expect After Hallux Rigidus Surgery

What to Expect After Hallux Rigidus Surgery

Table of Contents

Having hallux rigidus, also known as a stiff big toe, can make standing or walking difficult because of the pain. If the pain in your big toe joint is affecting your life, surgery may be able to provide a long-term fix. Learn what to expect after hallux rigidus surgery and decide if this procedure is the right solution for you.

How Is Hallux Rigidus Treated?

There are different ways to treat hallux rigidus or the stiff toe. For this condition, nonsurgical management is often the primary line of treatment. To treat pain and stiffness, a doctor may advise taking painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, using ice or heat, or even getting injections into the affected joint. This can usually numb the pain and discomfort, but these methods usually work best if your condition isn’t very severe. In some more complicated cases, surgery might be the only solution.

Are There Complications With Hallux Rigidus Surgery?

A number of surgical treatments, such as arthroplasty, arthrodesis, and joint preservation approaches, can be used to treat hallux rigidus. The most frequently mentioned side effects of joint preservation procedures are:

  • Transfer metatarsalgia,
  • Ongoing discomfort, 
  • Arthritis that progresses.

What to Expect After Hallux Rigidus Surgery

Following the procedure, you might need to keep your foot in a detachable “walking cast” for around six weeks. This depends on the kind of surgery you underwent. Your foot will start to return to normal between four to six weeks after surgery, and you might be able to wear regular shoes once more.

Cheilectomy and Interpositional Arthroplasty

A surgical operation known as a cheilectomy is done to treat hallux rigidus. It eliminates dorsal and dorsolateral or dorsomedial osteophytes, primarily decreasing the impingement that causes the patient pain at the first metatarsal bone joint.

In cases of hallux rigidus ranging from moderate to severe severity, the joint-sparing alternative known as interposition arthroplasty has proven to be a successful treatment option. After the osteophytes have been removed, a graft is positioned between the two surfaces of the joint.


In order to restructure or realign your bones, a surgical operation known as an osteotomy may be necessary. This procedure involves the cutting of bone (and occasionally the addition of bone tissue). Osteotomies can be performed on any bone in your body, including those in your jaw, spine, hips, legs, knees, and toes. The acronym MIRO refers to a procedure known as the Minimally Invasive Hallux Rigidus Oblique Osteotomy.

Joint Fusion

When dealing with severe hallux rigidus or any other major toe pathology that requires definitive surgical therapy, the big toe fusion is the treatment of choice. When the procedure is carried out properly on the right patients, the fusion of the great toe has been shown to be an effective surgical treatment.

When Can You Start Walking After the Procedure? 

Following surgery on your foot, in order to assist you in walking, you will be provided with a pair of crutches as well as an orthopedic flat shoe. During the first few days after surgery, you will be able to make use of the crutches. Patients typically discover that within two to four weeks after their surgery, they are able to regain the confidence necessary to move without the assistance of crutches. Six to eight weeks are usually needed for a full recovery.

A doctor examining a patient foot

Consult Your Surgeon and Know What to Expect After Hallux Rigidus Surgery

If you’re not sure whether this surgery is the right option for you or you have any concerns or questions, we strongly recommend booking a consultation at the Luxe Foot Surgery clinic in Miami. Contact us and talk to our experts for the best advice. We will tell you what kind of surgery is the best solution for your specific case, and you’ll learn everything about the recovery process and how long it should last. 


How Long Is Recovery From Hallux Rigidus?

This mostly depends on the type of surgery you had and your general health. It is also important that you don’t experience any complications after the surgery because this can also prolong the healing process. In most cases, full recovery takes up from 6 to 8 weeks.

How Successful Is Surgery for Hallux Rigidus?

The discomfort and immobility caused by hallux rigidus may be alleviated permanently with surgical intervention. On the other hand, treatments that do not involve surgery have the potential to alleviate symptoms, but the underlying discomfort may remain or even intensify.


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