I am struck at the variety of experiences. I chose an orthopedist who does only foot/ankle rather than a podiatrist, mainly because I knew of his work. He said doing this surgery is his favorite as the outcome is generally so good and permanent. That was reassuring.
I had both general anesthesia and a nerve block. Personally, I could have done within the nerve block. I'm sure many will disagree. But I have been amazed at how little pain I have had. I have a full bottle of Percocets I never used. I'm not sure why my experience is different. My untreated rigidus hurt as much so maybe I'm used to it. My nerve block lasted over 2 days. Not only did it anesthetize the foot, but of course paralyzed it and I had no proprioception. That is, I didn't know what position my foot was in unless I was looking at it. This made non-weight bearing crutch use nearly impossible for me, as I almost put full weight on my twisted-inward, paralyzed foot! I had a borrowed wheelchair I used for 2 days until the block wore off.
On Amazon, I spent $7 for a box of 2 cast covers. One lasted me until I could get my foot wet. It is a Curad brand and kept my foot totally dry.
I was sent home with just gauze on the wound and a tight Ace wrap. I had a little velcro shoe as well. I saw the PA 3 weeks later. No XRay, just removed the stinking Ace wrap. A happy day, if you can imagine an unbathed foot for 3 weeks. I never had a cast. Never had any swelling and minimal pain. All my sutures were subcutaneous and resorbable so no stitches to remove. I have steri strips which are now falling off.
My wound is on the side of my foot, not the top. I now have a walking boot which is very comfortable but can be heavy and warm.
Of course my big toe cannot flex or extend, but it really couldn't before as the joint was destroyed by the arthritis.
There are a few posts some people have written that concern me. One poster refers people to her blog on another site. She uses the words nsaids and acetaminophen interchangeably. The max dose of acetaminophen is 4000 mg/day, less if you drink or other medical issues. Above this can cause severe liver damage. Tylenol is a brand of acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is also in Percocet, Vicodin, Ultracet and others, so carefully keep track of how much you are ingesting.
Nsaids are totally different. Ibuprofin is generic for motrin and Advil. Naproxen is generic for Aleve and Naprosyn. Nsaids are actual anti-inflammatories and analgesics. Acetaminophen has no anti-inflammatory action, it is only a mild pain reliever. Anyway, be careful mixing Percocet and Tylenol so you don't exceed a safe dose.
Some doctors prefer you not use nsaids as you need inflammation for your hardware to fuse to your bone. I tried to research this and the data is weak, so ask your doctor. I am using ibuprofen sparingly "just in case."
Many of you are looking forward to running and skiing but right now I can't wait to drive. The PA told me to try wearing a regular shoe for an hour or two a day, and once I'm in a shoe and on no pain killers, I can try driving in a parking lot. Seeing as how I have not even had a follow- up Xray yet, I think that is pushing it.