Mr John McKinley, Orthopaedic Surgeon

MBChB BMSc(Hons) FRCS(Orth)


Generally you will be seen in clinic within a few days, the bulky dressing is removed and an X-ray taken. Although at this stage the wounds are not fully healed, it is important to start moving the toe, even if it is still painful. You will be shown simple exercises which you should try to do two to three times per day.

Although the wound heals in 10-14 days, it takes several weeks for the implant to become fixed and the pain to settle. Swelling generally takes up to three months to go down, but it can be longer in some cases. 

You may return to work when comfortable. Patients who mainly sit at work can often be back within a week or two, whereas those who are mainly on their feet may take four to six weeks. Return to sport generally takes between six weeks and three months.

Possible Risks

Infection is a risk with any operation. If it occurs, it is generally a minor wound redness, which can be treated with antibiotics for a few days. However if infection gets into the joint the bacteria can colonise the implant which will then require revision surgery.

The aim of surgery is to relieve pain and improve movement. Some patients will regain a full range of movement, but others will still have stiffness. Early stretching helps to prevent the stiffness. Most will have a functional range, allowing normal walking. Some patients report mild discomfort, but much better than prior to the surgery.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in the deep veins of the leg. It is a rare occurrence after this procedure, because most patients walk immediately after the operation. However if you have had a DVT previously or are thought to be at high risk, then you may need to take medication during your recovery.

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