Friday, February 23, 2018

Bunion Surgery and Hardware Removal ~ Second Foot, First Week, First Checkup

February 2018


Surgery

On the day of surgery everything went pretty much the same as it had last time. We arrived at 6:30 AM, and we were on our way home before noon. Both surgeons were present for the operation, and I ended up with two screws in my right foot. The only difference this day, is that my left foot was also wrapped because the screws had been removed from that foot. I was given a walking boot for my left foot.

My feet the day of surgery

Pain and swelling

The pain in my right foot has been much more severe than it was after my first surgery. The Norco prescription I had filled did not seem to relieve the pain, and I did not sleep well. Last time, I slept a lot the first two weeks, and I had stopped taking the Norco medication by the third day because I did not need it. This time, I stopped taking it about the same time, because it did not feel like the medication was relieving any pain. For two days (after the medication from the hospital wore off, and while I was taking Norco), I had severe pain in my right foot, which was not from swelling. If I had any kind of movement or tensing of muscles in this foot, I experienced shooting pain through my entire foot and bones. The entire top of my foot was also painful when my foot was relaxed.

The pain felt like it was subsiding the day I went to the doctor, so I did not specifically bring up the pain, although it was discussed briefly. The evening after my doctor visit (third day after surgery), the pain became unbearable in my foot again. Oddly, it actually felt like my foot was on fire. It throbbed and burned all evening and overnight. This was not from swelling because the wrapping did not feel tight, and I could wiggle my toes and foot slightly.

My stomach muscles became quite tender from all the leg exercises I did. I exercised and did yoga before surgery; however, I think I overdid it a few days with leg lifts and such in an effort to try and relieve the pain in my foot. I am sure all the exercises kept the swelling down!

Getting around at home

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Preparing for Bunion Surgery ~ Second Foot

February 2018


Well, it is time to have my second foot done, which I am having done at the same time of year as last time. I initially wanted to have it done last fall; however, my first foot still felt a bit odd 6 to 8 months after the surgery. One year later, it feels mostly normal. Rushing water against the scars on my skin does not feel as tender as it did a few months ago (it is still tender; just not like it was a few months ago), and I can pretty much walk in any type of shoe now.

Pre-Op visits

Nothing was different in regards to my pre-op doctor visits. The procedure I had last time was listed as Lapidus Bunionectomy Hallux on the billing. Most information I had read about this procedure advocated partial weight-bearing as soon as possible, so I asked my doctor about my need to wear a cast. He said that my situation would be the same as last time. He explained how my bones would be re-aligned in a way that could not risk any pressure or weight on them until they were fused together. He said they prefer to do it the other way [weight-bearing right away]; however, in my situation, putting weight on my foot would not be pushing the bones together.

Photo of diagram in doctor's office

The images I have marked in the attached photo for Hallux Valgus and Kalish Modification of Austin are similar to my situation. I have two screws in my left foot, similar to the ones in the diagram, which I am going to have removed when the bunion is corrected on my right foot. My screws are criss-crossed from front-to-back, and back-to-front, rather than both in the same direction. My doctor told me the screw removal procedure is pretty easy, and that I will be able to stand on that foot right away.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

#14 ~ 6 Month Update

August 2017

It has been a bit over 6 months since I had bunion surgery, and I am sharing a quick update about my progress, and my decision to have my other foot done.

Current [6-month post-op] condition

My foot and toe have healed for the most part, although there are a few lingering things that have not totally healed yet.  

Ankle still a bit swollen 6 months post-op

Swelling and pain

The top of my foot and ankle are still a bit swollen. I can tell this is the case every time I remove a shoe that has covered the top of my foot, and my ankle gets quite sore when I walk. I have been doing a lot of walking, hiking, bicycling, and yoga, so I have resumed all my usual activities. I tried to get a photo with both my ankles together so you could see the size difference; however, those pictures did not turn out well. From the research I did online, it does not sound like my experience is unusual. 

Shoes that give me toe pain
I am not able to wear shoes with much of a heel for very long. I have a pair of soft Skecher sandals with a 2" heel (or less), which I have been wearing around the house and yard for short periods to try and get my toe used to flexing in different directions. I frequently feel pain in my big toe when I step down in these shoes. It is tolerable pain, although it does make me gasp sometimes. This also happens with flat shoes occasionally. It seems like I have needed to wear excellent support shoes since having the surgery. I have one pair of flat sandals that I can no longer wear because my toe hurts when I walk in them. I guess they have low quality support. And, they are kind of old, as well.

Monday, June 26, 2017

#13 ~ 14 to 16 weeks (3½ to 4 Months) Post-Op

Before I had this surgery, I had planned to have both my feet done. Now, I am starting to have second thoughts because my foot does not seem quite right. This could just be because I have had time to scrutinize my feet and progress, or because I have not had very good communication from my doctor. Whatever the reason, I have decided I am not pursuing my second foot until I am sure my current foot is back to normal.

Pain and swelling

My ankle and foot are both still swollen, although the swelling around my foot has gone down a little bit. I still wear my tennis shoes most of the time, and I have worn a few pair of sandals and slip-on shoes for short periods. I wore a pair of sandals that covered the top of my foot one time, and I felt like I had to peal the sandal off a few hours later. It was not difficult getting that sandal on, nor was it painful walking in it; just difficult removing it. I measured my feet and ankles a few weeks ago, and when I measured them again this week, my foot was about ¼" smaller than it had been then.

The pain I was experiencing at 14 weeks was minimal, and I think a lot of it was caused by the swelling. Sometimes when I walked, I had ankle pain and pain in the arch of my foot. The pain was not severe; however, it was painful enough that I often felt like I was tensed up and not relaxed as I walked. This was worse at the end of the day. My toe is usually only painful when I am exercising it (or, driving my husband's 6-speed stick shift truck!).

At 16 weeks, my foot and ankle are still mildly swollen. I am not experiencing any pain, although my big toe does not touch the ground like it should, and I can still feel discomfort in my toe, and arch of my foot.

Photo taken at 13 weeks; click on it to enlarge

Scarring

I have two unsightly scars (I have four total) that I am not happy with. One is the spot at the end of the top incision that had not been healed when the cast was removed, and the second is the long scar extending up from my toe, which had rubbed against the cast when I exercised. I think both of these scars would be less, if my doctor had cared for them differently. For example, when I look at the photo I took for post #8, I can clearly see that both of these areas were thicker red with blood than the long scar on the top of my foot, which is only minimally visible. Again, I wondered why no one ever washed and changed the dressing when they checked my foot. This does not seem normal to me, and I would love to know what other patients have to say about their experience. Seems like if the blood had been cleaned out and new strips placed on the incisions, then these unsightly scars would look like the one on the top of my foot. It also seems like the toe exercises I did while wearing the cast aggravated the scars. Again, I wondered why my doctor had put a cast on my foot when I read about other patients who did not wear a cast. I thought I did a lot of research before this surgery, and now I have even more questions before I consider my other foot.

Range of motion

The range of motion on the surgical side of my body is not what it used to be. I have included a few photos that show the difference between my two sides. I have been doing my own therapy and exercises because my doctor did not provide any specific exercises or instructions. Details of the exercises I have been doing can be found under that heading.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Milestones

This summary post will be ongoing and updated until my foot and toe are fully healed. Please let me know if you are interested in something specific that I have not listed here.

  • Stopped taking Norco pain medication: less than 36 hours after I returned home after surgery.
  • First checkup: 3 days after surgery (I had taken my last Norco pill overnight before this visit).
  • Light housework: within the first week.
  • Increased housework: week 3, and more during week 6. Pretty much all resumed during week 8.
  • Sleeping usual amount: week 3 (I slept a lot the first week, and a bit more than usual the second week).
  • Schooching up and down [carpeted] basement stairs: once within the first week when my husband was home with me, and again the second week. During week 3, I did this more frequently. During week 6, I did this as often as I wanted and when home alone (I just had to slide the crutches up and down with me).
  • Made homemade bread: week 2.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

#12 ~ Another Checkup, 10+ Weeks Post-Op

May 2017


Checkup and removal of surgical shoe

After my visit to the doctor a week ago, he said I could start wearing my shoes. My ankle and the top of my foot are both still swollen, so I have mostly been wearing tennis shoes with the laces loosened all of the way. I asked him if it mattered what type of shoes I wore, and whether I went barefoot, and he said no. He basically just told me to do whatever I could tolerate with the pain. I had planned to specifically ask him if he had information about specific exercises, and I forgot.

I was surprised to learn that both screws that are in my foot are in the same area where I have been experiencing the pain, redness, and swelling on the top of my foot. I had thought one of them was in my toe. Sometimes, the irritation on the top of my foot is so bothersome I need to gently massage the top and sides of my foot to make it feel better. The redness and swelling is not constant, and the area was not irritated at the time of my checkup. After learning that is where both screws are located, I realized I am probably having a mild reaction to the metal in my foot. I asked my doctor about removing the screws (remember, he had said this is not a big deal), and he told me this is not necessary. I have another appointment in a few weeks, so I am planning to get a couple of photos of my foot when this area is irritated, and talk with him more about having the screws removed during that visit. Photos in this blog can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Scars and swelling 11 weeks post-op;
mild irritation in circle where screws are located



Pain and swelling

Before I went in for my checkup, the pain and tingling in my foot and toes was gone for the most part. After exercise, I sometimes felt tingling along the top of my foot from my toes to my ankle; however, I no longer experienced this from temperature changes. Sometimes my muscles felt like I had a charley horse (muscle spasm). I felt pain in my toes after a lot of bending, and the incisions were still tender.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

#11 ~ After Two Weeks with Walking Shoe / Eight+ Weeks After Surgery

April 2017


Yay! My pain and condition has improved considerably two weeks after walking with the surgical shoe. I still have a long ways to go; however, the healing process feels like it is improving tremendously. I was even able to grasp my foot this week to trim my toenails and scruff off some of the dead skin. I had used a dry brush to get rid of the skin on the outside edges of my foot after the cast was removed; however, I had not used a dry brush or exfoliator near the inside edge of my foot until this week. You can see in the photo below that my foot still needs some TLC. Since touching my foot is becoming less painful, I should be able to get it back into shape before summer sandal weather! 😊

Pain and swelling

I am not feeling hardly any pain along the underside of my foot like I did when I first started walking. I still feel some pain; however, it is not excruciating, and I am no longer using the cane. Most of the pain happens when I first stand up, or if I put too much pressure on the bottom of my foot.

The incisions are still tender, and the top of my foot closest to the ankle is extremely sore and tender. I have begun to wonder where the second screw in my foot is located, and whether this area being so sore has anything to do with that. The sore spot is where I placed the circle in the photograph below. The top of my foot is swollen, although not as much as it had been a week ago. I am continuing to use Aquaphor on the incisions. There are four incisions on my foot: two straight line ones on top, one around the inside of my big toe, and a small curved one along the side next to where the bunion had been located. The incision that had not been closed all of the way when my cast was removed (top of my foot closest to the big toe) looks nasty and jagged rough compared to the scar farther up on top of my foot. This is the area that was aggravated by the cast when I exercised my toes, and I hope I did not damage the scar tissue so that it heals less smooth. My husband seems to think it looks worse because it is not as far along in the healing process as the other longer incision.

8 weeks post-op

The swelling in my ankle has gone down in the last week, although you can tell by the photo that it is still swollen. I am continuing to elevate it, and I put ice on it several times a day. The ankle pain I am experiencing feels like the kind of pain one would have after twisting or spraining the ankle. I am no longer experiencing pain rising up my leg from my ankle.