hallux osteotomy

Hallux Osteotomy in Podiatry

Hallux Osteotomy in Podiatry

Introduction to Hallux Osteotomy

Hallux osteotomy is a surgical procedure commonly performed in podiatry to correct various deformities and conditions related to the big toe, also known as the hallux. This procedure involves the cutting and realignment of bones to restore proper foot function and alleviate pain.

What is Hallux Osteotomy?

Hallux osteotomy is a surgical procedure that involves the repositioning of the bones in the big toe joint. This procedure is performed to correct deformities such as bunions, hammertoes, and other structural issues that affect the alignment and function of the foot.

Why is Hallux Osteotomy performed?

Hallux osteotomy is performed to address various conditions and symptoms, including:

  • Bunions: Hallux osteotomy can correct the misalignment of the big toe and reduce the prominence of the bunion.
  • Hammertoes: This procedure can straighten and realign the toes affected by hammertoe, improving foot function and reducing pain.
  • Arthritis: Hallux osteotomy can help alleviate pain and improve joint function in cases of arthritis affecting the big toe.
  • Other foot deformities: It can also be used to correct other structural issues that affect the alignment and function of the foot.

Types of Hallux Osteotomy Procedures

1. Chevron Osteotomy

Chevron osteotomy is a common procedure used to correct mild to moderate bunions. It involves cutting the bone in a V-shape and realigning it to correct the deformity. This procedure is often combined with soft tissue procedures to achieve optimal results.

2. ScARF Osteotomy

ScARF (Selective Carpometacarpal Arthrodesis for Residual Forefoot) osteotomy is a versatile procedure that can be used to correct various types of deformities, including bunions, hammertoes, and other forefoot issues. It involves cutting the bone in a Z-shape and realigning it to achieve the desired correction.

3. Lapidus Osteotomy

Lapidus osteotomy is performed to correct severe or recurrent bunions. This procedure involves fusing the first metatarsal bone to the midfoot bone to stabilize the joint and correct the deformity. It is often recommended when other procedures have failed to provide long-lasting results.

4. Keller’s Arthroplasty

Keller’s arthroplasty is a procedure used to treat arthritis in the big toe joint. It involves removing a portion of the bone in the base of the toe to relieve pain and improve joint function. This procedure is typically recommended for older patients or those with significant joint damage.

Preparing for Hallux Osteotomy

1. Pre-operative Examination

Prior to the hallux osteotomy procedure, a thorough pre-operative examination will be conducted by the podiatrist. This examination includes evaluating the foot condition, assessing the patient’s overall health, and determining the most suitable surgical approach.

2. Medical History and Evaluation

A detailed medical history and evaluation will be performed to identify any underlying medical conditions or factors that may affect the surgery or recovery process. This includes reviewing the patient’s current medications, allergies, and previous surgeries.

3. Blood Tests and Imaging

Before the surgery, blood tests may be performed to ensure the patient is in good health and to identify any potential risks or complications. Imaging studies, such as X-rays or MRI scans, may be ordered to assess the extent of the deformity and aid in surgical planning.

The Hallux Osteotomy Procedure

1. Anesthesia

The hallux osteotomy procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia with sedation. This ensures that the patient is comfortable and pain-free throughout the surgery. General anesthesia may be used in some cases, depending on the patient’s preference and the surgeon’s recommendation.

2. Incision and Bone Cutting

An incision is made in the appropriate location to access the affected area. The surgeon carefully cuts the bone, following the predetermined surgical plan. The precise location and angle of the bone cut depend on the specific type of osteotomy being performed.

3. Realignment and Fixation

Once the bone is cut, the surgeon carefully realigns it to correct the deformity. In some cases, additional procedures may be performed to address soft tissue issues or stabilize the joint. Fixation devices such as screws, plates, or wires may be used to secure the realigned bone in its corrected position.

4. Wound Closure

After the bone has been realigned and fixed, the incision is closed using sutures or staples. The wound is then dressed, and a bandage is applied to protect the surgical site and promote proper healing.

Post-operative Care and Recovery

1. Pain Management

Pain management is an essential aspect of post-operative care. The podiatrist will prescribe pain medication to help alleviate discomfort during the initial recovery period. It is important to follow the prescribed dosage and instructions provided by the healthcare provider.

2. Dressing and Bandaging

Proper dressing and bandaging of the surgical site are crucial for preventing infections and promoting healing. The dressing should be kept clean and dry, and any changes or concerns should be reported to the healthcare provider.

3. Weight-Bearing and Walking

The ability to bear weight and walk after hallux osteotomy will depend on the specific procedure performed and the surgeon’s instructions. In some cases, weight-bearing may be restricted initially, and the use of crutches or a walking boot may be necessary. As the healing progresses, gradual weight-bearing and walking exercises will be introduced.

4. Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

Physical therapy and rehabilitation play a vital role in the recovery process. The healthcare provider may recommend specific exercises and stretches to improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion in the foot. Following the prescribed physical therapy program is crucial for achieving optimal outcomes.

Potential Risks and Complications

1. Infection

Like any surgical procedure, hallux osteotomy carries a risk of infection. Proper wound care and adherence to post-operative instructions can help minimize this risk. Signs of infection such as increased pain, redness, swelling, or discharge should be reported to the healthcare provider immediately.

2. Delayed Healing

In some cases, the bone may take longer to heal than expected. Factors such as poor blood supply, smoking, or certain medical conditions can contribute to delayed healing. Close monitoring by the healthcare provider and adherence to post-operative care instructions can help promote proper healing.

3. Nerve Damage

During the surgery, there is a risk of nerve damage, which can result in numbness, tingling, or other sensory changes in the foot. While uncommon, it is important to discuss this potential risk with the healthcare provider and report any unusual sensations or symptoms.


Hallux osteotomy is a common surgical procedure used in podiatry to correct various deformities and conditions affecting the big toe. With different types of osteotomy procedures available, it is essential to consult with a podiatrist to determine the most suitable approach based on the specific foot condition. Pre-operative preparation, careful surgical technique, and appropriate post-operative care are crucial for successful outcomes and a smooth recovery. If you are considering hallux osteotomy, it is recommended to consult with a qualified podiatrist to discuss your options and determine the best course of treatment.

For more information on hallux osteotomy and other podiatry procedures, visit PrePodiatry Clinic 101.

hallux osteotomy