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.