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My Excellent Toe Surgery Adventure - Hallux Rigidus, Plate/Screw Fusion, and Osteotomy - Page 44

post #1291 of 1572
Originally Posted by NevadaSue View Post

Toecutter, the comment about lawsuits in the US is probably the main reason for the surgeons' caution.  I was told before my surgery that I would be NWB for at least 6 weeks and that I'd have a splint right after surgery.  I have a plate and six screws.  So, the surgeon didn't know anything about my bone strength when he gave those instructions.  He does know that I'm a hiker, so probably assumed I'd try to do too much too soon.  Haha - I'm also loving lying around while the weather outside is frightful!


Wondering if you can explain the reasoning behind the boot.  Is it just to protect the toe?  Honestly, I keep taking it off because it hurts so much, especially when I elevate.  The weight of the boot puts pressure on my foot.  I'm more swollen in the morning (after wearing the boot all night, which I totally get) than I am during the day.


The purpose of the boot is to transfer pressure from the ground past your foot to your shin, allowing you to walk without bending the toe. It's nicer than a cast in that it lets you remove it for showering and comfort. It should not be so painful though, so you should tell your doctor asap that it's causing problems. I bet they can set you up with something that works better -- they need feedback to know how stuff like that is working.

post #1292 of 1572

Thanks for that info!  I was debating on whether to call or just stick it out for two weeks, but now I will call.  Right now all the pressure is on the ball of my foot whether I'm elevating it or have it resting on the ground.  My heel will not stay down.  I tried taking out the front plastic piece and the pain is better, but there seems to be more pressure on the bottom of my foot. 

post #1293 of 1572
Good news today at my one week checkup. Wound and foot look really good - Doctor said it was probably due to the good care I've been taking of it all week. He rewrapped it lightly, said NOT to sleep in the shoe (he said he keeps telling the surgical discharge nurses not to tell patients to do this); it's okay for me to walk short distances on my bare heel. Depending on the results of X-rays next week he "might" let me walk more normally but typically its 4 weeks heel only. I only have one long pin to fixate the joint. He said he's been doing it this way since 1989 with great success. Sounds good to me! At this point I can be up on it as much as tolerated. My foot still feels better when I elevate and ice it. I overdid yesterday and it throbbed during the night, so I certainly don't want to repeat that again soon! Good luck to everyone as we all continue to heal and convalesce.
post #1294 of 1572
Jobra, I found an amazing product on line called "Sealtight Freedom" cast and bandage cover by Brownmed. I've been using it to shower and have not had one drop of water penetrate it. The package claims you can go swimming in it. I highly recommend it. It was really inexpensive - about $13. Since I'm going to get the other foot done next year I figured it was a good investment. And because it's so easy to use I don't hesitate to shower every day. Best wishes!
post #1295 of 1572

Hi Everyone, 


Nice to see how you all are coming along.  I am 5 weeks post op today, spent the first two weeks in a splint and the last three in a cast, all NWB. I had a plate and several screws along with a cross screw put in.  I go back tomorrow and will hopefully say goodbye to the cast and get a boot for the next 6 weeks. I believe they are taking x-rays so I'll try and snap a pic so I can post it here.  It has been interesting to see the differences in aftercare.  I started heel walking (against my doctor's advice) several days ago.  Even with the knee scooter and crutches I've found myself hopping a lot and now my opposite knee is screaming at me to stop, so I did.


GrandmaC, Im curious what you are doing in PT for you knee?  Glad to hear it is doing better! Mine has hurt off and on the whole time but is pretty bad now.  


NevadaSue, I'm sorry to hear about all your trouble with the boot.  I believe I would call my doctor if I was having that much pain and discomfort.  I'm really scared I may be in the same boat as you after tomorrow.  I can't remember if it was you or someone else that commented on being crabby but I totally get it!!!!  I'm tired, sore, frustrated and just ready to walk, drive and get on with my life.  

PATIENCE!!!!  I know, I'm working on it.  As much as I dislike the cast it did come in very handy when I missed the pad on the knee scooter and landed directly on top of the fused big toe.  The cast sticks out about a 1/2 inch past the big toe so I didn't feel a thing but that could have been a disaster without it.


Bootstrap I am so happy to hear you have made it to the walking phase.  My doctor never discussed how I would ease into walking so I'm curious to see what she says.  So far she is on the very conservative end of things so I'll be surprised if I get to start out at 25 %, not that I won't do it anyway. I'm probably doing it about 5% now. And when I posted the pics before I selected the small option.


GQ, If I had to do it over, or if I ever have to do the other foot I will invest in the same cast cover you've talked about.  I didn't get one at all and have been taking baths which is super uncomfortable.  I cannot wait to take a shower and shave that leg!!! HAHAHA I think I may be mortified when they take the cast off.  I can kind of see down into it...it's not pretty!!! 


This is week two being back at work.  Some things are a bit of a challenge like scooting around on carpet, keeping my foot up, and getting rides.  Otherwise it hasn't been bad and feels good to be getting back to my routine.  I've been doing pillates along the way but am really looking forward to increasing my exercise.  I seem to have packed on about 10 lbs in the last 5 weeks. And actually I have no idea what the cast weighs so it's probably more like 15 lbs. Ugh! 


Good luck to everyone and I'll post an update soon!

post #1296 of 1572

GQ - excellent news!  Glad to hear that you don't sleep with your shoe on.  I slept without my boot last night because the pain was just too much.  I worried that I might have done damage, not knowing where I was putting my foot because I was asleep, but I won't worry now. 


Brooke, I hope your boot is better than mine!  I don't know what it is about it - it just seems to transfer all the weight to the ball of my foot no matter what position I'm in.  I talked to the Dr. today and he said the only other option is a cast, which is not the best, but it can't be any worse than this damn boot!  So, I'm going in to the office to get casted in about an hour.  We had a huge snow storm yesterday so there were a lot of cancellations.  Good for me!

post #1297 of 1572
Well I hope you find some relief with a cast NevadaSue.

Thanks for the tip on the shower protection GQ. I have been told that I can have a shower with no protection because I no longer have stitches (18 days in) but as I still have a small amount of leakage into my bandaid when the wound rubs against the shoe, I prefer to keep it dry for now. I may invest in this shower sleeve.
Glad to hear you can sleep shoe-free too redface.gif) What a relief! I've been sleeping shoe-free since day one & have always had a good sleep.

I'm with you on the opposite knee pain Brooke & GrandmaC! I did already have pain in that knee before the op (false knee & rubbing tendons!) but the pain has really woken up today! I decided to leave my wound out in the open air today to try & completely dry it out, which has meant not wearing anything on my foot. So crutches & bare-heel walking all day around the house. My knee really does not like it but my wound has dried up and not leaked anymore. Well, we can't have it all, can we?! ;o)
post #1298 of 1572

Good luck with your cast, NevadaSue.  I think we both had a similar splint immediately following surgery.  I thought the cast was a huge improvement to the splint so hopefully it will be better than your boot.  I actually would be fine to keep this on longer if it weren't for the driving issue.  I was really worried about itching and cramping but never had a problem with either.


Jobra, are you doing anything for your knee pain?  I used to take Aleve but was told to stop prior to surgery.  Think I'm going to ask tomorrow if I can go back on it.

post #1299 of 1572
I take Ketaprofen (same family of anti-inflammatories as Alleve). It helps. Otherwise, I try to only move when I really need to (but that's frustrating as you know!)
post #1300 of 1572
BrookeB and Jobra, re opposite knee pain. The physical therapist has me doing exercises and stretches to strengthen my sleds and knees. I start each session with ten minutes on a recumbent bike followed by... Gastric and soleus stretches using a wedge (I bought a slant board from OTPT online to use at home, love the feel of this stretch) 3 times for 30 seconds each, balance on one foot 3x30 sec, hamstring stretch 3x30 sec, quad sets 2 sets of 20, short arc quads 3 sets of 10, heel lifts 3x10, bridging with feet on ball (my least favorite) 3x10. I googled some of these exercises tonight so know that you can find them online. Also I use loops of exercise bands for stretches and walking. Today all of those 3x10s were upped to 3x15 and leg presses on a Total Gym were added. Some of the stretches are homework also. Tonight I found some of these exercises on the following website so: home-health-care-physical-therapy.com and whyiexercise.com. The therapist also spends a little time manipulating the inflamed area of my knee. Hopefully Doing these exercises will prevent knee problems with my next fusion. Good luck!
post #1301 of 1572


Great information, Cindy!


My doctor tried me in a smaller boot, but I still had the problem of my heel coming out.  So, I got a Christmas cast!  I even painted my toes to match, but couldn't reach the pinkie toe.   It feels so much better.  Not as good as when my foot was totally free, but better than the boot.  We stopped at Walmart on the way home to buy a cast cover, but they don't carry them.  I guess I'll go online.


Thanks everyone for your support!

post #1302 of 1572
Loving the festive cast Sue! And the nails even more! Just add a nice sparkly garland and it'll be perfect redface.gif) Hope you get on better with this.

Thank you so much for all the info for knee pain and I am loving the websites you suggested GrandmaC. I'll get the music on loud today and do some of these exercises (gently of course).
I'm seeing my PT on Thursday (it's our Christmas party, for those of us who are long-term patients!) so I'll check with him that I'm not doing anything I shouldn't be.

Look forward to hearing how your doctors visit went today Brooke. I hope you are finally liberated so that you can finally shave that rug off!! ;o)
post #1303 of 1572

Thanks for all the suggestions on the knee pain! I will check those out. Nevada Sue, I love it!!! Looks fabulous and so glad it feels better! I wasn't able to get to my toes to paint them. I took a few pics last night, think I might miss the festive little thing Haha!
post #1304 of 1572

Hey All. I'm glad to hear that you're in a cast NevadaSue, instead of the boot. It sounded as though you were completely miserable in that boot. That is a nice Christmas cast. To answer your question as to how would I know what 25% weight bearing was, I didn't know. I did, however, figure it out, by the second day. It's just something, that somehow comes to you. Hey Brooke, I hope that you get into that boot and all goes well for you. I have to tell you that during my NWB period, I also missed the scooter three times and slammed my fused toe foot on the floor. Not a pleasant experience. My scooter knee was sore, because the foam disintegrated underneath of the vinyl. My shin was raw, from where it rubs against the scooter seat. My other knee was sore from doing all of the work and other foot, which also needs to be fused, was doing all of the work. There were a few times when I felt like you and saying the heck with all of this, but I caught myself as you did. Now that I'm on crutches, with weight bearing, it's been giving me a nice break from the effects of the scooter. It takes me longer getting around, but that's okay. I've been driving, which gave me my freedom back. You were only a couple of days behind me in surgery. Hang in there.  GolfingQueen, it sounds as though you're really moving along. So you got a pin instead of a plate and screws? A friend of mine had it done like that. It sounds as though your recovery will be quicker, than dealing with stitches. Jobra, you reminded me in your post, of my first night in five weeks, sleeping without that shoe. It was great. Hi GrandmaC. How is your fused toe feeling now? I hope that you get your knee pain feeling better. I hope everyone continues to heal well.

post #1305 of 1572

Re: 25% weightbearing...


I guess you could step on your scale with one foot until the number is 25% of your body weight and remember what that feels like?

post #1306 of 1572

Thanks for all the encouragement, everyone!  Brooke, I thought the end of my cast would cover my toes.  I think my doctor did, too, because he was explaining that with a cast for an injury that he leaves the toes out, but that he wouldn't on a patient with toe surgery.  He looked a little surprised when he turned up the white sleeve for the final layer and my toes appeared!  It's been very cold here and boy, did my toes feel it when I went outside.  Talk about "up your skirt" lol!  None of the socks or sock slippers will fit over this thing.  I'm thinking about buying a knit baby hat.  I had a bit of cast claustrophobia last night but it passed.  On the one hand I wish I had the boot so I could take it off, lol!  I'd certainly sleep much better.  On the other hand, I know if I had the boot I would always take it off. 


The doctor tried me in the old version of the boot they use.  I noticed that the heel portion of that boot was deeper than the one he gave me.  I asked him why they changed boots and he said that the new one was simpler - 4 straps instead of 6, and that the platform was lower than the other boot, so that it is not as hard on the opposite knee.  I pointed out the difference in the heel depth and he said he was glad to have the feedback.  Thanks, Toecutter, for encouraging me to go back!


Cindy, I will definitely be looking at those websites for PT.  I want to keep on top of this before it gets to be a problem.  Jobra, are you in a boot?  Glad you got your wound to dry up.  I was happy yesterday to see that mine had NO leakage.  I get my stitches out on the 28th.   Speaking of getting rid of the rug, I'd shaved my legs a few days ago when I took my strange bath.  When I was at the Drs office yesterday I noticed that I did NOT do a very good job, lol!  There were huge patches that I couldn't get to because of the way I had to sit in my tub.  I don't even want to look when he takes off my cast!

post #1307 of 1572

Makes sense, Toecutter!  I was a math minor in college, so when people give me numerical instructions I tend to want to get it exactly right!

post #1308 of 1572
post #1309 of 1572
Hi All! Finally home after a long day! Got pretty good news, my foot is healing pretty much right on schedule and was able to ditch the cast and go into a boot. The aftermath of 5 weeks NWB is not pretty!!! I will post a pic, sorry for the hair and Bootstrap I had the same shin irritation from the knee walker which is noticeable in the picture. Major muscle atrophy! Ugh! So my instructions from here are basically walk and drive as long as it doesn't hurt, wear the boot during the day but take off every so often to move ankle around and take off at night. Also ok to start taking Alleve again as needed for pain/ inflammation. This is mainly for other joints. And I go back in 6 weeks and the dr expects it to be pretty much healed by then. She also said its fine to ride stationary bike for exercise so I had some friends move mine up from the basement and I'm ready to get going!!! Still a long road to full recovery but I'm pleased and hopeful. Thanks everyone for all the comments, kind words, and advice.
post #1310 of 1572
That cozy toe warmer looks like it would be a good investment. I covered mine with knee highs. Bought a box of 10 pairs, extra large and put 2 on at a time. They make it smooth so the cast material doesn't rip up your clothes or sheets. Then I used leg warmers/boot socks to cover that.
On a side note...they told me today not to shave for a few days as the skin would be pretty dry and I would end up with major razor burn. It's been really itchy, flaky and almost raw feeling. It you are able to put lotion on your toes or on leg however far you can reach into the cast you might want to do that. I could only reach down about 2 inches but it made a big difference. Nothing you can do about the rest. I'm too chicken to sleep with nothing so I put my little surgical shoe on. Looks similar to golfing queen's. Also lathered my leg and foot in Vaseline. Feeling pretty comfortable now. Night all.
post #1311 of 1572

Thanks for your suggestion on weight bearing Toecutter, but I rely on my gut instinct in my life, which works for me. Hey Brooke, I see they placed the strips over your stitch scab, as they did with me. They've already fallen off of my second toe. Nite All.

post #1312 of 1572

Thanks for the link, Toecutter!  I've seen the black one with velcro.  I was hoping to get something out of my drawer for free, but since that isn't happening I'll have to take a good look at this site.  Those cast covers are pretty groovy, too, but I'd hate to cover up my cheery red cast, lol!


Brooke, WOW!  Lots of muscle atrophy!  Maybe I can ask for a cast on my thighs, lol!  Good to know you can ride a stationary bike.  I wonder if an elliptical would be out of the question?  I'm sure you'll get that muscle back pretty quickly.


I had a call from the nurse in charge of the surgical center where my surgery was done.  She'd heard about all that happened to me on the day of my surgery and wanted to hear what I had to say.  I told her that the mix-up with the sterilization of the hardware wasn't her fault and it was really no big deal.  She said that she's the one who placed the order so she takes responsibility.  Then she asked about the anesthesiologist who couldn't get my IV in.  I told her that I thought he was rude to the nurses and that it was unacceptable that he didn't know their names.  She said he's not in the facility every day so he might not know everyone's names.  I told her that he should, especially after he asked the same nurse three different times for something.  She had a nametag - he could have read it.  The second time he called for her she didn't know he was talking to her since he didn't say her name.  I told him her name - I'd only been there an hour and knew it!  (She wasn't my nurse.)  I told the woman who called me that I thought he was rude and overbearing.  She asked if I had any problems with the anesthetic and I said, "well, I woke up so I guess it was good!"


I thought it was great that someone called me to talk about my experience.  (They also gave us a gas card because of the inconvenience of having to go twice.)  I'd love to go back for any surgery I need, but found out they won't be doing general surgeries after this week, because they don't have a permanent anesthesiologist and the ones they use don't want to drive so far.  The surgery center is about 40 minutes away from the hospital, which is already 40 minutes away from Reno - the big city!

post #1313 of 1572
I have been reading everyone's updates. Thank you for the pictures. Brooke, I think your toe/foot look great! It's very encouraging that you are already able to get on the stationary bike.

I got my paperwork for my medical leave from work. I will be off work 4-6 weeks. I can't believe how quickly my surgery date is approaching. My pre-op appointment is January 7th. I don't believe that my doc will use a cast but did mention the boot and having to sleep with something on my foot for awhile. Did anyone receive any type of relaxant medication along with their pain meds after surgery? When I had my first surgery eleven years ago, I was sent home with some Valium and was told to take as needed so that I would not have any cramping. I haven't seen anyone mention that they were told this. I'm just trying to enjoy the holidays and not think about things too much. (Of course, always easier said than done!)
post #1314 of 1572
Also, NevadaSue I think that is great that a nurse called to follow-up with you regarding your experience. I work in healthcare and know that that doesn't always happen!!
post #1315 of 1572

Hey all! Hope everyone is well.  Toecutter, you seem to be very well informed about this surgery and have offered good advice, so I have a question for you. I know from reading all of the posts to expect months of swelling, but what about excessive redness on around the surgical area, weeks after surgery. I looked on every page of this post site and found only two pictures with this redness.  On  page 21 and on page 30. What causes this redness, if it is not an infection and how long does it take to go away? Most of the discoloration to others feet pictured on this site, seemed to have disappeared after a couple of weeks. When I asked the dr., I was told the surgery was aggressive. Isn't everybody's?  I'm almost at six weeks now post-op. Seems as though it should have begun to subside by now. What are your thoughts?

post #1316 of 1572
Redness around a surgical site several weeks after surgery could be from blood vessels in the area. Your body heals by sending blood and you could be just seeing that. Some people have more redness than others for a longer duration, some up to a year.
post #1317 of 1572
Bootstrap, I'm glad you asked about the redness. That would make sense that it's part of the healing process. I got home from work yesterday and mine was really red when I took the boot off. I just figured it was probably from my first day of walking and having some swelling.
post #1318 of 1572
pjp - please don't fret over your upcoming surgery! I don't recall who on this site said it, but just isn't worth your energy wink.gif. No one mentioned Valium - the pain pills for me were a necessity for a few days and relaxed me and calmed the pain.

I will have my right foot done next year and have learned a few things. First, I did have sedation and an ankle block and was happy with that (someone else said they'd never do that again but it worked for me). The only problem I had was that the block wore off very quickly and I didn't have my pain pills yet. Next time I'll get my RX filled before the surgery so I can keep the pain under control from the outset. The other problem I had is trying to heel walk the first couple of days was sooooo painful that I needed my husband to help me walk. I'll borrow a friend's walker next time.

Even though my doctor only used a single pin to fixate the joint, I still have about a 4 inch incision and about 10 stitches. My incision is on the side - not sure what the difference in philosophy is on where they cut.

I forgot to take a picture with the bandages off, but here's one with reduced bandaging (at one week post op). Also, Nevada Sue inspired me to get into the holiday spirit so I decorated my shoe for a party yesterday!

I'll keep checking on everyone. Feeling very fortunate that I'm weight bearing. Actually going to the grocery store today - elevating and icing in preparation so I don't overdo! Will update you after my 2 week visit.

post #1319 of 1572
Originally Posted by GolfingQueen View Post
My incision is on the side - not sure what the difference in philosophy is on where they cut.


Surgeon's preference. Either way works. It's mostly a matter of what you're used to doing.

post #1320 of 1572

Hi everyone.  I've been reading all your posts and glad to hear you're all doing well.  Good luck pjp on your upcoming surgery.  I think what GolfingQueen said about getting pain medication in advance   is a good idea. Thanks Toecutter for all your advice - you do sound very knowledgable.  Nevada Sue, it sounds like you're getting excellent care from the nurse at the surgical center.  Brooke, I'm glad you're out of the cast and back at work.  As for me, I'm eight weeks post-op, and in the CAM Walker for another two weeks  .  Hopefully at my next check-up, everything will be okay, and I can start to try real walking - I'm very nervous about that.  And I can finally drive after three months of being dependent on others.  One piece of advice I have for swelling: my dr. said to bathe my foot every night in a tub of warm water, which I have found to be soothing and relaxing, and my foot feels better afterwards.  Also, I found Aquifer lotion is great for dry skin after my cast came off - its almost like vaseline.  Bootstrap, maybe that would help with the redness on your incision.  

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