Postoperative Recovery for Hallux Rigidus: Pain After Surgery...

Discover important steps in the recovery process after hallux rigidus surgery: postoperative pain, walking, healing, dressing...

Dr. Lopez provides comprehensive care for the condition before, during, and after surgery. Regardless of your condition, he will guide you through the various stages of the treatment journey.

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Hallux rigidus is a common condition that affects the big toe joint, also known as metatarsophalangeal joint arthritis. It is a form of arthritis characterized by stiffness, pain, and reduced joint mobility. Hallux rigidus is also known as "hallux limitus" due to the limited mobility it causes.

Here are the different stages of hallux rigidus surgery and its recovery.

Hallux Rigidus and Pain: Solutions Implemented

In the case of percutaneous hallux rigidus surgery, pain is less pronounced than in traditional surgery.

Dr. Lopez and the anesthetist use a postoperative protocol that effectively combats postoperative pain. They place great importance on pain management after hallux rigidus surgery.

Locoregional Anesthesia

This starts with the use of locoregional anesthesia during the procedure. This type of anesthesia limits the use of general anesthesia, which is riskier for the patient. Dr. Lopez prefers, when possible, locoregional anesthesia of the foot.

This involves injecting an anesthetic agent near the nerve trunks of the ankle that provide sensitivity to the foot. This allows for the numbness of a specific area rather than an entire limb.

The anesthetic effects of locoregional anesthesia can last for several hours after the procedure. Most of the time, the foot remains numb until the evening following the surgery. This improves patient comfort and reduces the intake of pain medications.

Pain Medications

The anesthetist will prescribe a pain management treatment, and you will receive a prescription before leaving the clinic. It is important to follow the recommendations when taking this treatment. If not taken correctly, pain may become established.

At-Home Pain Medication Infusions

In some cases, Dr. Lopez may find it useful to organize at-home infusions. Everything is arranged in advance of the surgery. Pain medications are administered intravenously through a portable pump (which you can leave home with). The duration of treatment is 48 hours, or even 72 hours if needed.

Hallux Rigidus: Recovery and Postoperative Treatments

In the case of percutaneous hallux rigidus surgery, recovery includes several important steps.

The first redressing of the hallux rigidus dressing is done on the 2nd day after the operation. The dressing will be changed every 2 days with the help of a nurse until complete healing.

Several treatments may be prescribed by your surgeon to optimize the healing and scarring process. These treatments are defined on a case-by-case basis depending on several factors, such as the patient's general health, difficulties encountered during the procedure, specific contraindications, etc. These treatments most often consist of dietary supplements and homeopathy.

In some patients, anticoagulant treatment may need to be initiated to thin the blood and reduce the risk of phlebitis.

To effectively combat edema (swelling of the foot that is mandatory after hallux rigidus surgery), you will need to keep the foot elevated periodically. It is also important to ice the operated foot regularly using a cryotherapy splint or a bag of frozen peas. It is recommended to limit your movements during the first 2 to 3 postoperative weeks, until the first postoperative appointment.

The recovery of minimally invasive hallux rigidus must scrupulously follow the surgeon's instructions. Some instructions may vary from one patient to another. In case of doubt, do not hesitate to send an email to the secretariat to ask your questions.

In the case of hallux rigidus, the postoperative course is relatively simple. Rehabilitation sessions carried out with the help of a physiotherapist may be prescribed on a case-by-case basis. You can also perform self-rehabilitation exercises to remobilize your toes.

Consultations and Follow-up After Hallux Rigidus Surgery

Discover the follow-up after hallux rigidus surgery.

Several postoperative consultations will be necessary to monitor the proper healing of the foot:

  • A first consultation on the 21st day after the operation must be carried out. The surgeon removes the dressing and checks the proper healing of the hallux rigidus, as well as the X-rays you will have brought with you.
  • A second consultation will take place 2 months after the operation to check the proper healing. A scan is frequently performed before this second consultation.
  • A third consultation may be useful depending on the evolution in order to carry out a final check.

Every case, every patient, and every surgical technique is different. This is why the recovery after percutaneous hallux rigidus surgery may not necessarily be the same as in the case of traditional surgery, for example. The surgeon will advise you during each appointment on the steps to take to promote healing.

Resumption of Activities and Walking After Hallux Rigidus Surgery

Find out when you can resume your activities and walking after hallux rigidus surgery.

Percutaneous hallux rigidus surgery is performed on an outpatient basis. You can return to your home on the evening following the procedure.

Weight-bearing is allowed upon leaving the clinic. It should be done with a therapeutic shoe to be worn for 3 to 6 weeks depending on the actions performed by the surgeon during the procedure. After this period, the therapeutic shoe will be replaced by a standard wide shoe. At this point, the foot remains swollen, and it is difficult to put on regular shoes.

Resumption of driving can take place after 4 to 6 weeks postoperatively (be sure to check if you are covered by your insurer).

The return to work occurs, in most cases, at the 8th week postoperatively. This timeframe may change depending on the patient's profession.

The return to sports should be gradual from the 3rd month onwards. It is advisable to initially favor "gentle" sports such as swimming or cycling, for example.

The duration of hallux rigidus recovery may vary depending on the case. Dr. Lopez will inform you of the steps to follow during the various postoperative consultations.

Complications After Hallux Rigidus Surgery

Like any surgery, complications may arise after hallux valgus rigidus surgery.

Regarding hallux rigidus, the most common postoperative complications are:

  • Delayed consolidation (between 3 and 6 months after surgery) or non-consolidation (> 6 months after surgery). This complication is more present in smoking patients who did not quit smoking before, during, or after surgery.
  • Algodystrophy.
  • Load transfers and the development of metatarsalgia.
  • Phlebitis.
  • Infection.
  • Persistent pain.
  • Scar issues.
  • Secondary displacement and material breakage.

You now know all the steps in the recovery after hallux rigidus surgery.

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The informations on the page is provided for information only, it evokes general cases: your situation is specific.

Dr Julien Lopez, orthopedic foot surgeon in Nice welcomes you and advises you for your plantar aproneuritis.

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