I have suffered with a stiff and sore great toe for around 5 years, although the last 6 months of this my condition became exponentially worse almost forcing me into having to take action. I suspect the original condition came from an incident in 2008 during a 5-a-side football game where i suffered an impact (turf toe) injury to the toe which actually broke the toe, and being a keen runner (10k's, Marathons, Tough Mudder) I never let the toe properly heal. A sore toe is something you tend to put up with in the hope that the pain will go away (most blokes will relate to this). It never does. I self-diagnosed myself via the internet and realised that my condition was actually quite common and there were procedures available to part rectify the problem, although i also realised that as the condition is arthritic related a complete cure was out of the question.
The reason i wanted to post this thread was because during my 'research' I found many cases of people being unhappy with their chosen option of surgery (mainly straight cheilectomies, albeit from a few years ago), and I feel based on my experiences that it could provide mis-representation for those in similar situations to me wondering what to do for the best.
My problem was;
Complete damage to the joint in my right great toe, around 60 % cartalidge remaining, bone shards floating around in the joint, 2 bone spurs prominent, one at the top of the knuckle and one at the side of the knuckle near to the 2nd toe, probably only around 20 % movement in the toe, painful almost all day every day (worse in the cold and after exercise).
Despite the horror stories you find online I decided to have a cheilectomy operation to shave off the bone spurs, the surgeon also recommended cutting a V shape from the bone and pinning the joint together to open the joint out increasing movement capability. Also he wanted to flush the joint out, get rid of the broken bone shard, remove the small sesmasoid (sp.) bones under the ball of the foot and drill the cartalige to allow blood to flow and promote new cartalidge to grow. I had all this done last Saturday morning, the op took 25 mins and I didnt feel a thing. During the op the surgeon showed me the bone shard that was floating around in the joint, it was at least 1/2 inch long. My foot was wrapped in a bandage and i was given a surgical shoe to wear (bit like a velcro sandal type thing).
The recovery so far has been better than expected (again judging on the things I had read pre-op). The first night was hard (slept on and off) once the anaesthetic had worn off, but plenty of Ibroprufen, rest, foot elevation, and frozen sweetcorn has resulted in me being able to bear weight on the foot from yesterday, and today the recovery is even better I am now off the painkillers, walking unaided and without much discomfort. I am due back at the surgery this morning to have the dressing changed to a lighter one and the wound inspected for healing. I am confident that they will be pleased with the recovery so far.
Although I realise I am still early post-op, I hope that posting this will be useful information for all your runners out there with toe complications. I am planning on returning to spinning classes soon to keep the cardio up as this has been recommended and is low impact on the joint. I do not see any reason why running should not be an option in the future because only being 33 I do not want to give up doing what I love.
I will post again in a few days for those that are interested to update my progress.