Long-term Effects of Cheilectomy, Keller's Arthroplasty, and Arthrodesis for Symptomatic Hallux Rigidus on Patient-Reported and Radiologic Outcome

Foot Ankle Int. 2020 Jul;41(7):775-783. doi: 10.1177/1071100720919681. Epub 2020 May 21.


Background: Several operative interventions are available to alleviate pain in hallux rigidus, and the optimal operative technique is still a topic of debate among surgeons. Three of these are arthrodesis, cheilectomy, and Keller's arthroplasty. Currently, it is unclear which intervention yields the best long-term result. The aim of this study was to assess which of these interventions performed best in terms of patient-reported outcome, pain scores, and disease recurrence at long-term follow-up.

Methods: These data are the follow-up to the initial study published in 2006. In the original study, 73 patients (n = 89 toes) with symptomatic hallux rigidus were recruited and underwent first metatarsophalangeal joint arthrodesis (n = 33 toes), cheilectomy (n = 28 toes), or Keller's arthroplasty (n = 28 toes). Outcome measures were AOFAS hallux metatarsophalangeal-interphalangeal (HMI) score, and pain was assessed with a visual analog scale (VAS) at a mean follow-up period of 7 years. Patients of the original study were identified and invited to participate in the current study. Data were collected in the form of AOFAS-HMI score, VAS pain score, Manchester-Oxford Foot Questionnaire (MOXFQ), and Forgotten Joint Score (FJS-12). In addition, a clinical examination was performed and radiographs were obtained. Data were available for 37 patients (45 toes), with a mean follow-up period over 22 years.

Results: AOFAS-HMI and VAS pain score improved during follow-up only in arthrodesis patients. Furthermore, no statistically significant differences in clinical and patient-reported outcome were detected between groups based on AOFAS-HMI, VAS pain, MOXFQ, or FJS-12. However, clinically important differences in patient-reported outcomes and pain scores were detected, favoring arthrodesis. Radiographic disease progression was more evident after cheilectomy compared with Keller's arthroplasty.

Conclusion: Arthrodesis, cheilectomy, and Keller's arthroplasty are 3 sucessful operative interventions to treat symptomatic hallux rigidus. Because clinically important differences were detected and symptoms still diminish many years after surgery, a slight preference was evident for arthrodesis.

Level of evidence: Level III, comparative study.

Keywords: Keller’s arthroplasty; arthrodesis; cheilectomy; hallux rigidus; patient-reported outcome measure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthrodesis / methods*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hallux Rigidus / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hallux Rigidus / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures*
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome