Is It Time For Sesamoidectomy?

The sesamoids are a pair of small bones at the base of the big toe. These bones are embedded in the tendon beneath the foot, which connects to the toe and acts as pulleys for the tendon to glide smoothly. Due to a fracture, degeneration, or sesamoiditis, the bone can cause pain, discomfort, and limit movement. If the foot fails to respond to long-term conservative treatment, surgery can help. Sesamoidectomy is an effective surgical procedure to remove the bone and repair the tendons. Using local anesthesia and small incisions, an orthopedic surgeon can finally address the long-standing issue. After surgery, recovery is critical, but patients are often eager to resume walking.


All about recovery

After sesamoidectomy surgery, recovery is the next step. The goal is to reduce pain and inflammation while allowing the foot to heal naturally. During the first 2 weeks, the foot should remain elevated with limited movement. The medical team will encourage pain management with medication and proper wound care. These steps are essential to reduce swelling and limit complications. After 2 weeks, the bandages are removed. The patient may then require physical therapy (PT) to reduce pain and strengthen the surrounding bones and tendons. Typically, PT involves stretching and strengthening exercises to boost mobility and reduce pain when walking. Some patients need crutches or a walking boot to continue with the recovery process.

Guidelines for walking and weight-bearing

Most patients are eager to resume walking for work or recreation purposes. Walking after surgery is usually performed in a phased manner to help the foot adapt to the new changes. Weight-bearing is gradual after the 2nd week, limited to short bursts of movement. Crutches and other walking aids are used to help limit or distribute weight. The patient should report any discomfort, and a physical therapist will observe the patient's gait and help with any adjustments.

Can you walk faster?

As the weeks progress, the patient should feel more comfortable walking further distances unassisted. More weight is gradually added, allowing short distances at 3-4 weeks. Patients should focus on achieving a balanced and even stride and avoid putting excess strain on any part of the foot. Additionally, supportive footwear, consistent stretching, and an anti-inflammatory diet can help contribute to a successful recovery. At the 3-month mark, the patient should be able to resume normal activities like walking and driving without discomfort.

Get moving after sesamoidectomy

Walking immediately after sesamoidectomy is not recommended. The patient will need at least 2 weeks for the surgical incisions to heal and swelling to go down. After this recovery period, weight bearing in small amounts is allowed. This can gradually increase every week until the patient can move unassisted. The proper support, such as walking aids or ergonomic shoes, can speed up the process. Sesamoidectomy is effective for reducing pain and limited movement due to chronic inflammation or fracture. Follow the medical team's post-op instructions for optimal results.

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