How to Speed Up Your Cheilectomy Surgery Recovery

If you have arthritis in your big toe (scientifically known as hallux rigidus), one of the best ways to reduce your pain and improve your range of movement is to have a cheilectomy procedure. During a cheilectomy, your foot surgeon will remove the joint outgrowths and debris from your toe to alleviate your arthritic symptoms. What's great about this procedure is that it's a very quick surgery with little risk beyond the possibility of some stiffness. However, as with any foot surgery, it takes time to fully recover from a cheilectomy. If you want to speed up this recovery process and get back on your feet as soon as possible, here are some tips to follow when you leave the hospital. 

First Few Days: Rest Completely

If you're the kind of person who likes to keep moving and often uses exercise as a way to relieve health problems, you may be tempted to try staying active when you leave your surgery. However, for the best results, it's very important that you rest completely for the first two to four days. Ideally, you should restrict your movement to bathroom trips only, and you should always use your crutches when you have to move. Resting and keeping your feet up will ensure you don't ruin the result of your surgery by putting pressure on your foot or restricting blood flow to it.

First Few Weeks: Attend Your Appointments

Another crucial thing you need to do when recovering from a cheilectomy is attend all your scheduled appointments during the first few weeks. Often, you will have two appointments: one after the first week to check and redress your bandages, and another after the second week to remove your stitches if they're not dissolvable. Even if you feel little pain and you're confident that your foot is healing well, it's still important to see your surgeon when instructed. They may be able to spot healing problems you couldn't, such as early signs of infection. If such problems aren't treated as soon as possible, you'll find yourself with a much longer recovery period ahead of you (and maybe even another corrective surgery).

First Few Months: Wear Comfortable Shoes

For the first month or two after surgery, your foot doctor will advise you to wear comfortable shoes—often high-quality, cushioned running shoes. If you want to speed up your recovery, it's important that you follow this advice and avoid shoes like high-heels or hard loafers. Runners will help adequately support your healing foot as you move around, reducing the amount of pressure you put on the surgical area. Of course, while you may be wearing sports shoes, remember that you'll need to avoid almost all sports for at least three months following your surgery — though, if your surgeon permits it, swimming may be possible after a few weeks.