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.

Monday, April 10, 2017

#10 ~ First Week with Walking Boot

April 2017


I had heard that bunion surgery is painful, and before this week I felt like comments I had read were overstated. I had quit taking my meds within four days of surgery, and I did not experience a lot of pain immediately following surgery. Yes, I had swelling and discomfort; however, I did not have extreme pain. I did not realize the more intense pain would be during the recovery when I started walking again; not the surgery itself. 

Activity and exercise

My doctor had not given me very detailed instructions about what activities I should be resuming, and he had not really discussed any exercises to assist with the healing. He basically told me to wear the walking boot when I was putting weight on my foot, to walk/do what I could tolerate, and continue bending my toes. I mentioned in my last post how severe the pain was when I tried to stand up, and this did not lessen any in the first week.

Although walking was painful, it was easier to do things around the house. I went up and down the stairs (walking, rather than schooching), vacuumed, washed the floors, prepared meals, etc; pretty much all of the typical household chores. I did yoga, toe bends, and ankle stretches daily. I always felt better after gently stretching my body. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

#9 ~ Week Six Checkup and Walking Boot!

April 2017



Cast comfort

I am providing a brief recap of the cast comfort first, as I think some of the pain I experienced this week was a result of the way the cast fit. The cast was tight around my ankle and front of my leg (just like the first one had been), and around my entire foot just above the toes. By the time I returned for my checkup, I had cut off a couple of layers of cast wrapping, and I had made a couple of cuts in the material above my toes. The wrapping ended at the top, so removing a bit of material relieved that area; however, it did not do anything for the area above my toes where the wrapping started.

The shorter cast had a few good points: less weight, and because it ended just above my ankle, I did not need to worry about where it hit the pad on the walker. It hung off the end of the walker, whereas the taller cast had rested partially on the pad. If the cast had not been so tight, it probably would have been quite tolerable.

Pain, tingling, blue toes

The tingling in my first two toes started to decrease after five weeks post-op. I could gently squeeze, massage, and bend the ends of these toes with my fingers. Before this, I had not been able to even clasp my toes between my fingers because the tingling pain had been so severe. I had frequent tingling from my big toe and up the top of my foot that was quite bothersome. I think my cast being tight aggravated this, since my toe knuckle rubbed tightly against the cast when I bent my toes forward. I also experienced mild pressure on other areas of my foot from the cast when I exercised or moved. This felt similar to the way your body feels when it starts to "fall asleep" from pressure on a nerve. Areas that was especially bothersome were the ball of my foot below my big toe, and the top of my foot.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Six Weeks Post-Op: Recap of Things I have Learned [so far] and Suggestions for Next Time

April 2017



Before surgery

  • I stocked the freezer with over 10 meals, and I wish I had prepared more.
  • Remember to stock the pantry, too. I had our cupboards well-stocked; however, there were a few things I did not think about. We eat mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, and we do not consume many potatoes or convenience foods. Since my husband is not going to take the time to cook like I do after working all day, I should have picked up a few convenience-type pantry products that I do not always keep on hand: canned vegetables, instant whole-grain rice and quinoa sides, and more soups for his lunches.
  • Spring clean, if you can! I cleaned the entire house beforehand, yet there were still a few things I did not think about since they are not daily or even weekly tasks. If you are particular about keeping a clean house, these little things will drive you nuts six weeks later, when you are not able to reach them.
  • Exercise to strengthen your toes, ankles, legs, and balance. You will be surprised how much you will need to accomplish on one leg. You will need a good amount of strength and balance in your useable leg to perform even simple tasks, like getting up from the toilet. Most handicap restrooms in public places do not have a place to rest your knee while you get your clothing back in place after standing. So, you will either be doing this with one hand, or while balancing on your good leg.

Things to clarify with your doctor


About five weeks post-op, I had questions about things I had not thought of before surgery.

Monday, March 27, 2017

#8 ~ Week Five and Extra Checkup

March 2017



Recap of my injuries [from post #7] after surgery

The first time I fell was at home about 3½ weeks after surgery: my toes hit the floor with force. The second time I fell was on concrete porch steps a few days later: the bottom of my cast thudded down on the cement. I had become quite active on one leg before my falls: vacuuming, cleaning the floors with a Swiffer mop, going up and down the stairs, showering at least twice a week with a bag over my cast, yoga, and more. Both times that I fell were a result of being careless, rather than from doing too much. Neither fall happened when I was performing any type of feat; I was standing in the living room next to the knee walker the first time, and I was going up two porch steps the second time. I had done both of these things numerous times before.

Pain

The pain and tingling in my foot was much worse after my second fall. The fall itself did not hurt as much the second time; however, the pain got worse as time went on, rather than better. In fact, a few days after this, I took a couple of Norco pills I'd had leftover after surgery, since I had not taken them all then. My foot throbbed when I first got up in the morning, and it throbbed within five minutes anytime I got up to move around. I could no longer bend my big toe without using my fingers, and I had been able to do so before my falls. 

Initially, I thought the pain and tingling was just a setback in my recovery because of the trauma to my foot. After the third day, I thought the pain felt worse than it had after surgery. It was actually difficult to judge the pain for sure, since I had been taking Norco for three days following the surgery, which dulled the pain. I called the doctor's office five days after my second fall, and they scheduled an appointment for two days later.