Thursday, May 10, 2018

Ten to Eleven Weeks Post-Op [second foot] and Fifth Checkup

May 2018


I am writing this post one week after my checkup, just over 11 weeks post-op.


Ten weeks post-op checkup

I had hoped to get rid of my surgical shoe after this visit; however, the doctor is having me wear it three more weeks. Before my visit, I had been having some pain that was different than I experienced during my recovery last year; pain on the top of my foot and inside my foot to the right of the incisions. He said my foot was also more swollen in this area than he expected. He felt my foot while asking me questions, and he had X-rays taken. My doctor said the X-rays look like the bone is fused; however, he wants to have me back in three weeks for a visit with the other doctor in the office to get his opinion. 

Although I was disappointed, I had read stories about patient X-rays showing that the bone had fused when it had not. So, I guess I am glad he is being cautious.

Pain and swelling

My ankle is still a bit swollen at 11 weeks, although my foot swelling has gone down some. The picture I took at 11 weeks looks the same as the one I had taken at 10 weeks. The stitch that did not dissolve in my left foot is still there.

11 weeks post-op

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

After 2 Weeks Weight-Bearing, 8 Weeks Post-Op

April 2018


Activity

I started walking without crutches or a cane just under two weeks after I started weight-bearing. I sometimes still used the cane first thing in the morning, and later in the day. I had pretty much resumed all of my usual inside activities: housework, walking up and down the stairs, showers (standing on one leg with my other knee supporting my surgical side), carrying things, etc. I had been scrubbing my floors before this; however, week eight was the first time I actually moved the chairs and such to the other room to clean the floor, and then back again.

Outside, I have been mostly walking on only flat surfaces to go shopping, and such. I walked to our pole barn one day, which is down a cement hill about 100+' from the house. In a few days, I am planning to walk outside farther than I have, so far. I will let you know how far I make it!

7 weeks post-op

7 weeks post-op

Pain and swelling

The photos above show the ankle swelling I experienced the first week I started walking. My ankle was extremely sore and tender. The swelling after walking for two weeks stayed about the same, although the ankle pain and tenderness had lessened. 

Monday, April 9, 2018

Five to Seven Weeks Post-Op [second foot] and 4th Checkup

March and April 2018

It has been almost a week already since my 6-week post-op checkup. I have not been enthusiastic about finishing this post since I started walking, because I had been feeling discouraged, and a bit depressed, which is not normal for me! After some in-depth praying and placing more trust in God, I feel like things are getting back to normal for me.

5 weeks post-op

Pain and swelling

The top of my right foot was quite painful during week five. I was exercising my foot more, and I was moving around on the crutches more, which probably aggravated things. The swelling remained minimal until after my 6-week checkup when my doctor said I could start to put weight on my foot. After I started walking, my foot swelled quite a bit on top and around the ankle. There is more information about the pain and swelling after I started walking under that heading near the end of this post.

X-ray at 6 week post-op checkup

Six week post-op checkup

I had more x-rays taken of my right foot, and the doctor said everything looked good. I asked if I could have a copy of my x-rays, and they gave me a disc with all of them. The red area on top of that foot in the photo below is where the two screws are located. When I asked about the incision bump on my left foot (inside circle), he said that is a suture that had not dissolved yet. He told me it would eventually go away.

6 weeks post-op

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Four Weeks Post-Op [second foot] and Third Checkup

March 2018


Pain and swelling

My swelling remained minimal. My foot mainly just swelled up from the weight of the boot, when I used the crutches instead of the knee scooter. I kept my foot elevated when seated, and I applied ice several times during the day. During week 2, the cold ice had made my veins feel painful, and then during week 3, the ice made my foot pain lessen. I looked forward to applying the ice bag, because it made my foot feel so good. You can see in the photo below that I still had quite a bit of bruising on both my feet at 3 weeks post-op. My right big toe is also bruised, although that is not very visible in the photo.

Both feet at 3 weeks
After 3 weeks, the only pain in my left foot occurred when I touched the top of my foot, or when exercising the foot. When I exercised that foot, the skin felt tight and tender across the top. The top of my foot was tender enough that I had to wear loose shoes, or shoes that did not touch the top of my foot.

The pain on top of my right foot remained; it felt like a heavy, rough, hard surface was pressing down on my foot. When exercising, I felt tingling, rough/ripping type pain along the top of my foot and through the inside to the toe. Occasionally, my right foot felt painful or throbbed when I went to bed, although the pain was not enough that it kept me awake. My big toe knuckle was quite sore, and I wondered if more bone had been shaved off this foot than the other one. When I had asked my doctor about any differences, he said the two procedures had been pretty much the same. He said that even if I had had both my feet done at the same time, I would probably still have different feelings between my two feet.

By week 4, the pain in my right foot had lessened to just the big toe and knuckle area, except when I was exercising. The shooting, tingling, scraping pain was worst when I stretched and bent my toes backward toward my body, or when I tried to point my toes.

Exercises

My doctor had told me that it is best to bend my toes even if it is painful (after I asked him, of course, since he never offered any information on his own), so I did this every hour or two throughout the day. After 5 days, I noticed fresh blood around the incision on my right toe. I cleaned the area, and applied Neosporin and a bandaid. I then discontinued toe exercises on that foot for a few days.

Along with flexing my toes and ankles while seated, I did floor exercises every couple of hours; about 5 to 8 times per day. This was extremely painful when I started the following routine 2-weeks post-op. I gently stretched, flexed, etc., and most of the pain lessened as time went on. I think the leg exercises are especially beneficial in getting the oxygen and blood flowing throughout the body. I found that some of these exercises eliminated the tingling, scratchy pain in my foot and toe knuckle. The pain did not stay gone, although it did dissipate during movement.

For informational purposes, I am sharing the exercises I did, and my results below. Please remember: I am not a doctor. Readers should always consult with his or her physician about matters relating to ones own health.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

First Two Weeks after [second foot] Bunion Surgery and Second Checkup

March 2018


Recap, in case you are not reading every post

In February, I had bunion surgery on my right foot, and I had two large screws removed from my left foot (bunion surgery on that foot last year). My right foot is non-weight bearing for 6 weeks, and I left the surgery center with my left foot wrapped and in a walking shoe.

My feet after wrappings removed at doctor's office and 
stitches snipped. Photo can be enlarged by clicking on it.


Second checkup at 2 weeks post-op

An assistant removed the wrapping and bandages from both my feet, and she snipped the stitches. All of this was painful, as the bandages were stuck to my feet (you can see the material indentions in the photo above if you enlarge it). The stitches must have been tight, because it felt like she was going to puncture my skin in the process of trying to snip the ends. When she finished, I noticed a hole in my toe, circled in the photo above. I do not know if this was caused by the instruments she had used; I did not notice it before my visit. When I looked at my feet after she had finished, I said, "Oh, I have a hole in my toe." She did not say anything.

When the doctor came in, he said everything looked good. He put steri-strips over the incisions, and then said he was going to put my foot in a cast. I asked him if he had talked with the other doctor about me getting a boot instead. He gave me the impression he prefers a cast, although he did not say why. He did not explain any advantages or disadvantages of either one; he merely stressed that I still could not put any pressure or weight on my foot. The assistant asked him if she needed to get a tall or short boot, and he said tall. She returned with the boot, which she put on me, and that was pretty much the extent of my visit. I had to specifically ask if I could remove it to shower, or anything else I wanted to know.

Getting around with a cast on my leg verses a boot

I have not decided yet, if I prefer the cast or the boot. I have noticed pros and cons for each (listed below). I think the boot I received is too large for me, which makes moving around difficult, and a bit dangerous. I made an mild remark about the size and weight when I was in the office, and the only response I received, was an agreement that it is heavy. I actually feel like my doctor gave me a heavier, larger boot than I need in an effort to make me realize that the cast is a better option. I got the feeling a cast is his preference, and a boot is the preference of the other doctor in this office. Now, I am trying to decide if I want to tough it out until my next appointment in 2 weeks, or if I want to go back this week and request a smaller boot. 

This is the boot on my leg. My foot is 100% hidden inside. I
rolled the top down after I got home, so I could bend my knee.

The boot weighs 2½ lbs.! That may not sound like much until you look at it this way: 2½ lbs. equals about 39 ounces of liquid. So, take a 46-oz. jug of V-8 juice, pour out a 7-oz. glass, strap the jug on the back or side of your lower leg above the ankle, and then try to walk around on crutches--making sure that your foot never hits the floor or anything else. This is not an easy task. It is especially difficult to get up off the floor (something I have to do every hour or two after I exercise my feet and legs) without letting my foot touch the floor.

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 time, 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.

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.