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. 

I attended an outside birthday party about five days after I had been walking in the boot. The next day, my foot was extremely sore. I imagine all the standing and walking outside on the uneven ground had made this worse than usual.

Pain and comfort

It was very comfortable having my foot out of the cast, and I did not experience much pain when I was seated with my leg elevated. Since the pain I experienced when walking was not improving, I purchased a cane. I was not walking normally; it was kind of a hobble/walk, and I leaned on the cane to take some of the weight off my foot. The pain worsened as the day progressed; from activity, and also from stiffness every time I got up after I had been sitting 30 minutes, or so.

Type of pain I experienced: 
  • The top of my foot was tender and sore. Tingling pain shot from my big toe up the top of my foot, and this area was quite swollen. The skin was very tight - probably because it was so swollen. I used Aquaphor on the top of my foot and on the incisions.
  • My big toe was sore, along with the skin around it where the incision is.
  • My ankle was extremely swollen and tender. My ankle hurt when I touched it, and I experienced pain in my ankle and up my leg when I walked.
  • The nerves along the entire bottom of my foot tingled every time I tried to walk, and I frequently experienced shooting pain.
  • Near the end of the first week, I started to have pain in the arch of my foot.
Pretty much my entire foot was sore, except for the outside edge. The pain I experienced when I tried to walk was much worse than any pain I had felt immediately after the surgery. This last week, I have been back on the 20 minute icing schedule I had followed right after surgery (to reduce the swelling in my ankle and top of my foot).

Range of motion

I was surprised I was not able to bend my big toe at all without using my fingers. It seemed like I had been able to bend my toes farther on my own before the cast had been removed. I also could not point my big toe very well. I was not able to flex or rotate my ankle as usual. I exercised and stretched all of these areas several times a day, and I did not notice any improvement a week later.

I hope things improve more in the second week than they have this week!