A cheilectomy is an operation that can be used in the treatment of early to moderate degenerative arthritis of the big toe joint (MTP).

  • The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic
  • An incision is placed on the top of your foot directly over the joint at the base of the big toe
  • The upper part of the joint surface is removed completely
  • This allows better movement of the toe upwards and reduces pain
  • The wound is closed with a dissolvong stitch the ends of which are removed in clinic at two weeks
  • The foot is rested for about 2 weeks while the wound settles
  • Once the wound has healed you will be encouraged to move the big toe as much as you can and encouraged to walk on the foot
  • It will take about 4-6 weeks before the foot is comfortable and pain killers may be needed during this time
  • The end point of recovery from this operation is about 6-9 months afterwards
  • There is a good chance that the procedure will significantly improve your foot pain and function
  • The operation is performed for arthritis and the hope is that the rate of progression will be slowed.  However despite the operation sometimes the joint continues to degenerate and you amy develop further pain and stiffness.  If this occurs you may need further definitive treatment (see MTP fusion and MTP replacement)
  • As with all operations there is a small risk of complications occurring.  These are infection, nerve injury, bleeding into the joint, stiffness and thrombosis.

Post-operative Program