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.

When I started wearing shoes after my checkup, new pain started. The pain is minimal, and I assume it is something I will have until my muscles get back in shape. My toes were not bending when I walked with the surgical shoe, so I have mild pain in my big toe after I have walked for a while. Again, I walk slowly and deliberately so I can tolerate my entire foot touching the ground, rather than hobbling to move faster. I still have the ankle pain that feels like a sprain, and the top of my foot is still tender.

Activity and exercise

I swam laps for about 20 minutes during week 10 post-op, and did not have any difficulty with that (other than walking on the hard concrete before and after getting in the pool). I rode my bicycle six miles on a paved trail without too much difficulty. The tar surface had a lot of ruts, and I noticed I could not ride standing up with my feet on the pedals when I went over a bump.

I started walking to our mailbox after week 9 with the surgical shoe, and now I am doing this daily wearing my own shoes. Our driveway is about 500' long, gravel, and a bit hilly, so I had not been doing this before week 9. When walking on a flat surface, it takes me about 23 minutes to walk a mile, and I usually did this in 16 minutes before the surgery. I am able to do more yoga poses, although the range of motion is still absent on my surgical side.

Extra thoughts

  • My ankle and toe gets very sore after walking on hard surfaces. If you do not wear shoes in the house, I suggest wearing thick socks and/or slippers with a sole.
  • I think I would be farther ahead, if I had done more foot and toe exercises standing on the floor without wearing the surgical shoe during the last couple of weeks that I was wearing that shoe. My big toe gets inflamed and red as I am exercising it now.

Let me know if you have any questions!