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My Excellent Toe Surgery Adventure - Hallux Rigidus, Plate/Screw Fusion, and Osteotomy - Page 46

post #1351 of 1572
Wow Brooke - 8 weeks already - great! I'm celebrating my 4 week anniversary today. Still confined to the surgical shoe except for very limited walking without it (like, in the shower). Like you, I have little to no pain. Just soreness and some tenderness along with what I can only describe as "shocks" once in awhile. I'm still swollen as to be expected. Icing and elevating often. I'm bound and determined to get out of this shoe at my 6 week checkup! Not sure what shoe I'll be able to wear after that but that's my goal! For you fitness buffs, I've figured out how to do a little cardio, Pilates and yoga workouts without stressing my toe. You Tube and Pinterest are great resources. Still not the level of activity I need but better than nothing! For my anniversary I went shopping by myself for the first time! I lucked out with good parking spaces, but it sure takes me a LONG TIME to walk around a store redface.gif. I've just started going a little stir crazy so am trying to keep busy with a sewing project, reading, and exercise. My friends insist that I learn how to play Mah Jongg so I'm going to cave in and try it. My gift to myself today was an adult coloring book and a nice colored pencil set! Sounds crazy, I know, but another friend and I do watercolor classes once in awhile, she tried the coloring book and loves it. I need to keep busy. Yesterday was the first time I really started to wonder if I'd made the right decision - I was frustrated and got ticked off when my husband wouldn't help me NOW with something! Of course, I know I needed to do this and I need to get the right one done too. The cortisone shot I had improved the flexibility but after just 4 weeks the old, familiar pain is creeping back. Happy to say that the left toe pain as I knew it is gone! Thanks for letting me rant for awhile ... Best wishes to all and please keep us all posted! I'm so curious to hear from some others who are several months post surgery, recommendations on shoes, was it challenging to learn how to walk "normal" or does it just happen, etc. etc.? Oh, and here's my 4 week photo - I think it's looking okay, do you?
post #1352 of 1572

Hi everybody, and Happy New Year.  NevadaSue, I'm sorry to hear that you were in the ER over the holidays, and hope you are feeling better now.  I also was itching like crazy from the Percocet after my surgery, but didn't at first realize why.  Right now, I'm at eleven weeks post-op, and anxiously awaiting - counting the days - till my 12th week check-up next week.  I'm walking in the CAM Walker outside the house, but in the house have been wearing either a surgical stiff-soled shoe or slippers, and have noticed some discomfort in the ball of my foot, like others have mentioned.  I also need to ice and elevate my foot at night, which helps.  To reassure myself, I tried on last summer's sandals, (flats) and they fit, which was reassuring.  The bottom and top shelf of my closet now is pretty empty, as most of my shoes pre-surgery are in a big black plastic bag in the garage, to be given away to Big Brothers, Big Sisters charity.  I'm glad to hear you're doing well Brooke.  I'm anxious too about heel-toe walking.  I know I wasn't supposed to yet, but I couldn't help but try on my right foot the New Balance sneaker I will wear after my Dr. gives me the OK, and simulate heel-toe walking on it without actually trying to bend the tip toe joint.  Hope that the folks who wrote about post-surgery problems are eventually able to resolve them.

post #1353 of 1572

Toecutter, thanks for your link to the review article, it's tough to find anything current in the medical literature.  Does anyone know of someone on Colorado who will do interpositional arthroplasty?


Tinman, I also am interested to hear from anyone who had the hardware removed.  I was told it required another 6 weeks of non-weight bearing, is it really worth it?  Ugh.

post #1354 of 1572



Glad to see you are making great progress. I hope your last appointment went well and that you enjoyed the holidays.


I just signed up for my first triathlon of the year (April 10th). It's been about 3 years since I've raced and I cannot wait to get back out there to run on my golden toes ;).


I hope you continue to heal well!



post #1355 of 1572
Happy new year to everyone! Good to read all of your posts and to hear of your progress. My fused toe (Aug. 14) feels good and I walk well but only wear my Brooks running shoes. Sometimes I think I feel the hardware so hope that doesn't become a problem. I'm in my 5th week of physical therapy for my opposite knee which was damaged from walking lopsided in my big, knee-high boot (4 weeks NWB & then 7 walking lopsided before I could go into a shoe). I'm stronger and knee is much better though not perfect. However, hip opposite to this knee wakes me up at night now! This too shall pass. We are leaving on a Caribbean cruise on Sunday for a week of relaxation in the sun (it's quite cold in MI now); it will be interesting to see how much walking I can do. When we return, I have 10 days to prepare for the fusion of my right big toe. I hope that it goes as well as my first one. Maybe I'll figure out how to post pictures on this site. Happy healing to all!
post #1356 of 1572
Originally Posted by lindag View Post

Toecutter, thanks for your link to the review article, it's tough to find anything current in the medical literature.  Does anyone know of someone on Colorado who will do interpositional arthroplasty?


Tinman, I also am interested to hear from anyone who had the hardware removed.  I was told it required another 6 weeks of non-weight bearing, is it really worth it?  Ugh.


Everyone's case is different, but 6 more weeks of non-weightbearing seems way on the far conservative end of the spectrum. After removing the hardware it's like having osteoporosis -- you'd want some weight bearing load on the bones so they strengthen, but not so much that they break. 6 weeks of light duty and no high impact activity is another method of recovery from hardware removal.

post #1357 of 1572
Lindag - didn't really discuss specific recovery details regarding the hardware removal. He said its fully healed so it wouldn't be a big deal another incision and 10 minutes done. The incision actually has me more concerned 1st time around it took Dam near a month for it to heal in a walking shoe doing it again in work boots all day doesn't sound fun. Going to try custom fitted orthotic 1st so hopefully that provides so relief.
post #1358 of 1572

Msdivinedc, you go!  That's really great that you can race again.


Tinman, my doc told me that if he removed hardware I would be walking in a surgical shoe until the stitches came out.  Probably two weeks, then back to normal.


I just noticed the angle of my big toe the other day.  I had my boot off and my foot flat on the floor and couldn't feel my big toe.  Then I realized it didn't touch the floor at all.  I'm sure it's something you get used to, but it's weird!  The pressure on the top of that toe drives me nuts.  I have to take off the boot after a few hours - it aches a lot.  Does that feeling get better?  I hope so, because if I can't stand it with just the boot pressing against it, how's that going to work with shoes?


Having SO much trouble sleeping at night.  I don't notice it during the day, but I am constantly moving my foot inside the boot to relieve pressure in different areas.  I'm not able to fall asleep until 3 or 4 am.  It was much easier to sleep in the cast!  I hope my inadvertent  movements (including pressing down with the front of my foot) aren't compromising the fusion.  


Enjoy your cruise, Cindy!

post #1359 of 1572
I have a plate and 6 screws, perhaps it takes more time for all the holes to fill in?
post #1360 of 1572
Thanks, Nevada Sue! My cam walker boot (Ankilizer 2) didn't cause any pressure points; sorry to hear that you are having that problem and hope that you soon ar comfortable.
post #1361 of 1572

Lindag, that's what I have - a plate and six screws.


Cindy, as long as I have my foot on the floor it's fine, but as soon as I raise it the boot slides to a funny position.  Today I tried wearing it very tightly - bad idea!  Now my foot is very sore.  The Dr. said they went to this new boot (no idea what the brand is) because it has less straps than the old one, and its profile is lower so that it hopefully causes less problems to the other knee and hip.  It also has a built in air pump.  I'm anxious to see what my x-rays show in a couple of weeks.  I just feel like there is way too much pressure in the wrong spot.  I'm thinking of sleeping without it tonight.  Haven't decided yet.

post #1362 of 1572

How is everyone doing?  I'm at 10 weeks now.  Still have two more weeks in the boot but have been experimenting with some other shoes while at home.  I'm curious... what have some of you been able to tolerate when you were around this time frame?  I'm still not having any pain, a few aches here and there, but I really can't walk normally at all.  Is this to be expected for a while?    I see the Dr two weeks from today so I'm sure she'll answer a lot of these questions but just wondering what some of you guys experienced at this point???  Wishes for continued healing for everyone!  Here are a few pics from the 10 wk mark.



post #1363 of 1572

Hi, NevadaSue, Brooke, and others,

   I had no problems with my walking boot slipping.  It was a bit of a hassle with all the velcro straps on it wanting to attach to everything in sight.  After my toe fusion in mid-November, I was in a splint for 2 weeks, then a cast for 2 weeks, and finally a walking boot for a month.  That came off Monday, and now I'm in real shoes again (stiff-sole only) for the next four weeks.  I still favor the outside of my foot a little when walking.  I was lucky in that my Hoka running shoes are the same height off the ground as the walking boot, so I didn't need any Even-up shoe balancer, and could walk at a good, quick pace without annoying the hip or knee.  I was just given the green light for spinning on the bike, but I'm chomping at the bit to get out in the snow. I've had no pain in my big toe for the duration, but I still have no feeling at the tip of the 2nd toe.  But I'm not complaining. Here's to continued healing for everyone!

post #1364 of 1572
Hi Everyone!
My toe fusion looks very similar to you Brooke in the photo.
I am now 71/2 weeks since surgery, I did put my tennis shoes back on at the 6 week mark.
I am using a stationary bike and walking outside for short walks. My gait is very slow and not normal and I start physical therapy tomorrow to see what exercises I can do to help improve.
I try to stay positive nut have also wondered did I make the right decision as I had no idea how long this recovery takes.
I keep my left tennis shoe laces very loose as it still hurts to rub on my scar with the shor. My big toe tip is numb at times and my foot is still swollen and red but I am getting around and driving and exercising!
Hang in everyone!
post #1365 of 1572

Hi everyone!

I saw my Dr. at my 12th week appointment, and he said my right big toe has fused, and he gave me the green light to wear shoes and drive - finally, for the first time in three months!  I took out my sneaker for my right foot - which I had in my bag - put it on in the office, and even though it was sore, walked out feeling so good. Afterwards, I dumped my CAM walker in the give-away bin at the local JCC.   I'm to begin physical therapy now for gait retraining.  So far, I've been trying t o heel-toe walk in my New Balance sneakers, although I do it slowly, and have to navigate stairs sideways.  Brooke, your foot looks great!  NevadaSue, it sounds like I had a similar boot to yours.  I was told to first let the air out of the pump before putting it on, then after strapping in to give six to eight pumps. The boot also came with additional pads, though I never had to use them. msdivinedc, good luck with your upcoming triathlon, you are an inspiration to us all.  Hope everybody continues to heal well.

post #1366 of 1572
Hi toegal,
Our stories are very similar which is reassuring! Happy for your recover. I too was so happy to get rid of my cam boot!
Let me know how PT goes, I start tomorrow.
post #1367 of 1572

Six weeks today.  As you can see in the picture, my foot still looks a wreck.  The fused joint doesn't hurt at all, but the end joint and the spot where that big scab is hurt almost constantly.  The scabbed area is raised - I'm wondering if that's where the screw is?  Anxious to see the x-rays next week.  Hard to see in the picture, but the front of my foot is bruised where it meets pressure from the boot.  My big toe is also crossing way over my second toe causing blisters.  The big toe is raised at a pretty big angle.  Remembering the posts about how many sheets of paper would fit underneath - mine would probably take 1/2 a ream, lol!


I started music rehearsals this week.  I'm finding it pretty easy to play piano using my left foot on the pedal, but having my right foot hang down for long periods of time isn't fun.  Trying to elevate it when possible.  I'm getting sick of this....


post #1368 of 1572
Hello NevadaSue
Your foot looks ok ... Ghat scab will eventually fall off and heal. I am & weeks now and have a weird bump at dnd of mh scar that is red anc raised and my PT says it is a stitch sorking its way out.
I had my first PT today and have to work on my gait, strengthening my ankle and using my big left toe when I walk.
She said to go from a cam walker 6 weeks cold turkey to a sneaker is hard to do and it is still necessary to elevate. She also wants me to bend my toes and massage my foot and use different surfaces like a rough towel to get my nerves going.
post #1369 of 1572
Sorry lots of typos without editing before reply.
I want to say 8 weeks post fusion and your foot looks great and the scab will get better!
post #1370 of 1572

Well my surgery is set for Wednesday at 2:00pm.  I have my knee walker, shower chair and pain meds waiting for me at home.  I will be sent home with crutches.  To say I am nervous is an understatement.  I'm nervous about the surgery itself but also the recovery.  I have read that a few of you have second guessed if you made the right decision and I worry that I am going to be one of those people too. My doctor reassured me at my pre-op appointment by showing that my big toe joint has very limited movement and the surgery will not make a difference in that.  But the pain will be gone. Trying to remain positive and thankful that I have great support at home. 

post #1371 of 1572
Just think, this time next week it will be over. I am still waiting to confirm my big day but with the group's experiences to reference I am easier with the decision I made to actually commit to takin care of the painful problem.
post #1372 of 1572

pjp & EarlyBird - Best wishes to you both on your upcoming surgeries!  Don't 2nd guess the decision.  Yes - the first few days are not fun but pjp's doctor is right ... the original pain is gone.  In fact, my other big toe hurts more than the one that was repaired!  (I will get that one done next Fall/Winter.)


I had my 6 week check up today and the X-rays show a good fusion and healing.  I was always allowed heel weight bearing in a surgical boot, so my doctor's approach was a bit different than most. After week 4, I was allowed to start transitioning to a more conventional walk.  That resulted in severe shin splints last week because I overdid it.  I'll be in the boot at least 2 more weeks then am allowed to try shoes but was told to keep the boot handy for a few weeks as that might feel better.  In 3 weeks, I can start increasing my activity level with the caveat "not to overdo it" and "listen to your foot".  If it swells up, I've overdone it.  It really doesn't "hurt" anymore, just gets a little tender or sore, which I can easily control with a Tylenol, elevating and ice. I don't even need to go back for a checkup and X-rays for 12 weeks!


I did find out today why my foot is always bit puffy (even if I've been behaving myself) and purplish in color, and still have a strange sensation to the skin - Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy - as a result of the surgery and the reaction of the nerves and sympathetic system.  It's not real common.  My surgeon expects it to resolve on it's own and says that fair skin/blue eyed people are more susceptible.  The good thing is that I don't have the pain component that sometimes occurs.


So, the best advice I can give to both of you - Be Patient - easier said than done, I know.


Hope everyone else is doing well too!


Keep us posted.

post #1373 of 1572

pjp and Earlybird, you will do great!  I have to say this has been the longest 6 1/2 weeks of my life, but as of today - NO MORE CRUTCHES!  Well, I do have to keep the crutches handy... Also, I'm allowed to put a shoe on and DRIVE!!!  Doc said wear the boot to the car, put the shoe on to drive, then put the boot back on to walk.  To say I'm excited is an understatement.  Hubby is pretty happy, too, as he's been driving me to all my gigs and sitting around waiting for me.  My tennis shoe fit perfectly, which was a pleasant surprise.  I have to be careful when I take it off, tho.  I tried to take it off too quickly and got a sharp pain. 


The bump on my toe that's been hurting is from the dis-solvable stitches on the inside.  He said that happens to a lot of people at the end of the incision, because that's where the big knot is. 


Golfing Queen, good to hear about Reflex Sympathy Dystrophy.  Sounds like my problem.  I figured the nerves just had to have plenty of time to heal.  I still have very limited feeling over my incision and on the side of my second toe, and the front half of my foot is purple.  The "zing" from the nerve healing isn't fun. 


Off to drive myself to a rehearsal!

post #1374 of 1572
Hi, everyone. I hope that your recoveries are progressing well. As far as I know, PJP45 had the most recent surgery. I had surgery on my right big toe today (arthrodesis plus "release" of the 2nd toe, whatever that is called), the same surgery that I had on the left last Aug. In an interesting note, my surgery was scheduled for Wed. and I was prepped and waiting my turn when the surgeon appeared and said that we had important stuff to discuss. He had just been informed that the hardware to be implanted might not be sufficiently sterilized, an unusual occurrence. So I was sent home and rescheduled for today. I called those my "bonus" days. I do recall that this same thing happened to someone else on this blog.

Anyway, I was the first one at the surgery center at 6, my surgery was at 7, and I left at 9:15. For some reason I was given a prescription for Norco this time instead of Percocet. I took one pill so far. I expect tomorrow afternoon, evening, and night to be the worst so will probably take two at each dose. My foot is heavily bandaged and wrapped and I'm in the same big, black boot that was used last Aug., the Ankilizer II. Non-weightbearing for four weeks so am using my knee walker again, of course. No showering for four weeks. In the boot 24/7 for eight weeks. If like last time, I will wear the boot until 11 weeks post surgery, though not a night past week 8. Elevating and icing, of course.
post #1375 of 1572
I had my surgery last Wednesday (Jan 20th). Been sitting in my new recliner or laying in bed ever since. My surgeon expected to use the two screw method but when I woke from surgery, I discovered that I had one large screw and a plate with six screws. My husband said the doctor was in surgery longer than anticipated because it was quite a bit worse than the X-ray indicated. (My husband does not like anything medical related so he didn't get much detail.).

While I was being prepped for surgery, the nurses were preparing me for a nerve block but my doctor nixed that idea saying that it was overkill. He assured me I would be numb for 6-8 hours after surgery so I was ok with that. I was under sedation so came to pretty quickly and unfortunately could already feel some pain. I was given two percocets before I left. The first few days were rough but I took the pain meds and phenergan as soon as I felt something (which was about every three hours at the most) and did ok. I had some cramping in my calf and the doctor called in Valium for that. So yes, I've been flying high!!

Now on day eight I'm much better concerning the pain. I have some shooting pains sometimes but the worst is when I get up. The blood rushes to my foot making it throb and feel like it is swelling three times it size. Post op appointment is next Thursday. I can't wait to see my foot and find out exactly what determined the change of hardware. (All my husband remembers was a tremendous amount of arthritis and bone missing!?!). Until then I will continue to rest and be taken care of by my husband and darling kids! Hoping for continued successful recoveries for the rest of you!
post #1376 of 1572
Interesting, PJP45. Are you still taking Percocet and Valium? I took Percocet for the first five days after my Aug. surgery and then switched to extra-strength Tylenol. Today they told me that I would have light sedation until I was settled in the operating room. Then I would have heavier sedation while the doctor did the nerve block, then back to light. I came to briefly when they moved me from the operating table at the end. That's the only thing I remember until awakening in recovery. I assume that I have a plate and five screws like last time but that wasn't discussed post-surgery. I will see the doctor on Wed. for an X-ray, certainly not easy being non-weightbearing. In two weeks I will return to have the stitches out. I sit o. The couch with my 8" leg wedge on top of the footstool. Have not figured out how to gracefully get up!
post #1377 of 1572
I am no longer taking Percocet or Valium on a regular basis. Only when absolutely needed. I was sent home with two X-rays of my toe with screws and plates. I can't get them to upload here but my friends and family have found them interesting. The knee walker is awesome and glad that I spent the morning for it. I use it downstairs, go upstairs backwards n my bottom and then use crutches upstairs. I'm glad I've figured out a system that works for me. And so very thankful for my support system. I hope you continue to heal quickly GrandmaC!
post #1378 of 1572
Glad that you are now off of the heavy meds. When one Norco didn't help at 2 AM I took a second one and found relief. Then one at 9 and will take another at 2. I'm fortunate to live in a condo with a first floor master bedroom and a husband to take care of me. A mild winter certainly makes it easier to get to Doctor appts. Yes, the knee walker is a lifesaver. I can't imagine trying to hope around with crutches! Be sure to share about your doctor's appt next Thurs.
post #1379 of 1572

Great to hear you are doing so well.  I have a Feb 10 surgery date and will make sure the pain meds are handy.  What I am reading about the pain (and I realize that everyone manages and experiences pain differently) is: get through the first few days?  I too have a knee walker lined up. Crutches will be thrown into the mix but are way too awkward for me.      

post #1380 of 1572
EarlyBird, by Valentine's Day you'll be past the worst and it will only get better. Remember to take stool softeners and prunes (or whatever) to help while on the painkillers. I found that getting in and out of the house to be challenging,mrequiring a lot of thought. Does your doctor say that you will be non-weight bearing?
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