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A cheilectomy is surgery to remove a bone spur in the joint of your big toe where it meets your foot. A cheilectomy may help decrease stiffness and pain in the big toe and improve movement. You will usually start to see improvement after 6 weeks. You may have swelling for up to 3 months after surgery. Your symptoms may continue to improve for up to 12 months.


Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
  • You cough up blood.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • Your stitches come apart.
  • You have severe pain.
  • You have severe numbness or tingling.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • Your wound is red, swollen, or draining pus.
  • You have nausea or vomiting.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.


You may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.


your foot above the level of your heart as often as you can for the first 3 days. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your foot on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.

Apply ice

on your toe for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.

Wear your post-operative shoe as directed:

A healthcare provider will fit you with a post-operative shoe to wear. This shoe has a stiff sole and is usually worn for the first 2 weeks or as directed. Once your swelling has decreased, you may be able to wear regular shoes.

Keep your bandage clean and dry:

Ask your healthcare provider about changing your bandage. You may need to keep your bandage on until your follow-up visit. Try to keep your foot out of the water as much as possible. Cover your foot with a plastic bag when you bathe.

Exercise your toe gently as directed:

Hold your big toe and gently move it up and down. This helps decrease stiffness and improves movement. You may also sit in a chair with your foot flat on the floor. Then raise the heel up and down to exercise your toe joint. Ask your healthcare provider how often to exercise your toe joint.

Ask when you can return to daily activities:

You may be able to start walking on a limited basis after your surgery, as directed. You may be able to return to work in 2 weeks or less. This depends on the type of work you do. Do not drive for at least 2 weeks or as directed. Ask your healthcare provider when you can start to exercise or return to sports.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You will need to return to have your stitches removed and your wound checked. An x-ray of your joint may also be done. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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