I had a similar condition a few years ago. (Hallux Limitus - the joint was not totally rigid. It still had a limited degree of flexibility.) It really didn't bother me too much in my everyday life, but it made running and playing tennis a living hell. I did some research about the condition and learned that it wouldn't get better on it's own. In fact, if left untreated it will slowly (and painfully) increase the injury to the joint. I went to a podiatrist who x-rayed the joint, and even to my untrained eye, it was obvious that cortisone shots, ice treatments, heat treatments, etc., were not going to do the job. So, a few weeks later, I had the surgery. I was home by lunch, walking in tennis shoes in one week, wearing dress shoes in three weeks (although this was VERY uncomfortable) and playing tennis in three months. There was a bit of swelling for about a year and the occasional twinge of discomfort for the same period of time. Now, three years later, everything is OK. The range of motion in the joint is not quite the same as my normal foot, which has caused me to lose about half a step in quickness on the court. Once in a blue moon I might have a twinge of pain if I land on it hard or push off on it hard, but nothing I can't very easily live with. Anyway...my result was positive. That said, I've heard some foot surgery horror stories. Make sure your doc knows what he's doing. Although I didn't do this (didn't think about it until after my surgery), if you live near a major university or a pro sports team, call them and ask who they use for this type of injury. If I recall correctly, I think Shaq had this some injury, had the surgery, and was playing again in a matter of weeks.
Spadea ain't afraid of ya.