or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Fitness, Health, Nutrition, Injury, and Recovery › My Excellent Toe Surgery Adventure - Hallux Rigidus, Plate/Screw Fusion, and Osteotomy
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

My Excellent Toe Surgery Adventure - Hallux Rigidus, Plate/Screw Fusion, and Osteotomy - Page 26

post #751 of 1572

Oh, and if any of you who have had successful surgeries want to PM me pics of your happy feet (do the toes really bend up?? How else could you run and wear high heels??) - feel free to share.....I am so curious if I am just a wimp, or if my toe really IS way too straight/down....




post #752 of 1572
Originally Posted by kittygal View Post

HI all!


I would just like to caution others who are heading into surgery to REALLY query your surgeon beforehand about the expected "bend" of your toe after surgery. Don't be satisfied to hear "It will bend slightly up" - have him/her show you, on either of your feet, exactly where your toe will be expected to end up after surgery. I understand that everyone's feet are different and that it is a very difficult thing to fine-tune the exact placement of the toe while in the OR. But having a good placement of the toe will make such a difference in your functioning.


The short version is that nine-months post-op, I am still waiting for the day when I can say that I had a successful outcome and am happy with the surgery. I have more daily pain than I had prior. I am most comfortable in my bare feet, as even Keens with their slightly upturned toes (heaven forbid a high-heeled shoe!) cause much pressure on the last segment of my toe. Which as you can see by the calluses on both my big toe and the base of my little toe, doesn't feel good. And which isn't to say that I don't have calluses on my other foot too, because I do. But my fused big toe isn't always that happy, at least in shoes.



Thank you to those who answered the "pieces of paper" survey. @LadyDi, @Bob Peters, @segbrown, @karinaph, @msdivindc, and anyone else I missed.


Here are my paper pics:






Greg, running? I am so jealous, and so happy for you! The only running I have done lately was barefoot in the sand dunes of Indiana, where for the first time in forever I was able to forget that I have "bad" feet - the sand was so forgiving. I ran like a child. Which was such a blessing after having had a miserable day on the day prior, walking in Keen sandals on the sidewalks of Chicago. Next weekend I'll be on the trails in my Keen hiking boots (Vasques were too narrow for me in the forefoot) - just going to tough it out.


I have gotten a couple of medical opinions since the surgery - may be heading back for more surgery with a different doctor once I do as much checking and double-checking and thinking as I can. Not happy about the prospect - I feel like such a whiner - but I expected to feel so much better by now....


And that's my Debbie Downer story. Thanks to those of you with good stories which keep me hopeful.


Shoe experiences: I cannot wear my Danskos for more than an hour or so (REALLY puts pressure on my big toe callus since they are so stiff), and nothing with a heel at all for very long - maybe something around a half-inch heel (but not much higher) for church or a short event which doesn't take much walking. I had had dreams at one time that after surgery, I would be able to walk into any store and wear many more shoes than I could prior. Unfortunately, it is the opposite. But I am learning. Thanks for your hints, @Rottnsue. I've been experimenting with zero-drop shoes (which my son has been championing for the past year, anyway - he loves his Vivobarefoot and Merrel zero-drops) and I also accidentally came across some Teva Mush flip-flops I have been wearing around the house all weekend. I had thought that I could never find or wear comfortable flip-flops again, but these have been a delight to my sad feet! I just ordered some zero-drop Earth shoes (in Wide, to make sure) and am hopeful that they might make my daily life more comfortable.


Best of luck to everyone.




Sorry to hear about your frustration. I just thought of something ... what size is your foot, women's US?

post #753 of 1572

I am usually a pretty solid 8..... Wide preferably. Hmmmmm?????



post #754 of 1572
Originally Posted by kittygal View Post

I am usually a pretty solid 8..... Wide preferably. Hmmmmm?????




Well, that's pretty average, not too small. I was just wondering about trigonometry and stuff. I'm a 9.5, so a longer foot, was just wondering if I could go into a slightly higher heel with the same "angle" of toe because my "hypotenuse" is longer, but I don't think so. Maybe my foot is just more flexible behind the ball? Not sure. But I don't really have any noticeable bend upward in my toe, maybe a tiny bit, yet I seem to be running and wearing shoes much more easily than you. Just curious why.

post #755 of 1572

Kitty, the Lems are by far my favorite.  Not the most beautiful shoes, but they are so roomy in the toe box, and zero drop.  http://www.lemsshoes.com/women_c_32.html  I don't walk so well barefoot yet... I do have some flip flops I got in Vegas that work ok...   And of course all those other shoes I mentioned before.

I was having issues with my little toe for a while too... my Doc said I need to concentrate more on walking 'normal', trust the toe and stop walking so much on the outside of my foot..  As for your toe angle, I'm not sure.. mine is up a bit and tilted ever so slightly inward.  I will try your paper 'challenge' and let you know how many I can fit under my toe.  I didn't want to try it when I still had so much swelling. 

post #756 of 1572
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post
But I don't really have any noticeable bend upward in my toe, maybe a tiny bit, yet I seem to be running and wearing shoes much more easily than you. Just curious why.

 As am I.....Has the underside of the first joint of your toe calloused as mine has? My own foot always feels slightly as if I am in an en pointe position - one doctor called it slightly plantarflexed, meaning that the toe is somewhat downward from where it should be. I'm actually seeing someone else tomorrow, to talk some more about it. Perhaps he'll confirm that I am crazy. Or not.


And I like your trig theory, seg - but you are probably right, that it doesn't really make much difference, since it is probably all relative. I do stretches every day, morning and night, such as the type one does for pf - pulling back on the forefoot/toes with a towel, really trying to keep that foot limber.


Sue, I have looked at those Lems online before, though I haven't yet run across them in-person to try them. But they do look comfy. Perhaps I will have to give them a whirl. The Vivobarefoots don't have much in the way of padding under the heel - or so my son says - so I might have to get used to zero-dropping it with my slightly cush-ier Merrels before I go that route. I have (of course I do) a heel spur on that foot which has also been annoyed with me lately. I've probably had it a long time, but I suspect that it was jealous of all of the attention which my forefoot has been getting. My heel wants cushy.



post #757 of 1572

Hey Rottnsue,


Since I have avascular necrosis, zero cartilage, and as a result need a fusion, I don't run. I technically could if I took a lot of percocet ;), but my doctor told me I could risk breaking my bones soo I don't run, hop, jump, dance, etc. (but have seriously considered risking the pain killers to go on an epic run, hah)


However, for my good foot with the bunion surgery I've found I can wear anything I wore before my surgery. It took me a long time to heal, I would say nearly a year. 


In case anyone is curious, I asked my doctor friend about PMP, and she said it might help alleviate the pain but won't produce a healthy joint. I was looking into doing that but I don't think I can wait for the technology to catch up!

post #758 of 1572

Today I saw another foot/ankle doc about my toe. He assured me that I am not crazy (phew!) and that it indeed is pretty straight, without the small bend in the toe which might be expected. That makes three "nays" to one "yay" (the OS). Or something like that. He recommended to keep working on shoe selection until I make up my mind about another surgery - which would not be him, as he has never tried to fix such a problem. He did recommend someone, though, to consult.


The moral of the story, buyer beware, is that not all fusions are created equal. Those of you going into surgery, please do as much research as you can beforehand, and ask questions. Detailed questions...not just "will I be able to wear 'this' shoe again?", but "will I be able to wear 'this' shoe for hours at a time, and without pain?" And "show me how my toe will look afterward". Stuff like that. I don't know if that would have helped in my case. Even though I work within the same medical system as I received treatment and obtain recommendations from everyone, it didn't make any difference in my outcome. Sometimes stuff just happens no matter what we do.


That being said, at least I was able to ski last winter, and I can ride my bike (until my feet tire of the shoes), and gently push off the pool wall. And I still have a foot! A blessing which many others don't have.



post #759 of 1572
Originally Posted by kittygal View Post

 "will I be able to wear 'this' shoe for hours at a time, and without pain?" And "show me how my toe will look afterward".


I'll tell you right now that there's not a surgeon in the world who can honestly provide those answers. 

post #760 of 1572

I think I know that, Toecutter....Despite my words to the contrary, I was kind of thinking more in general terms such as "you will be able to swim without pain, you might be able to walk without pain in shoes, and you will likely have pain if you try to run." Since we have seen a spectrum of outcomes from all of the posters, it is obvious that one size answer doesn't fit all.


I am also aware that I am speaking from my inner anger at not being 20 years old, and that all of the king's horses and all of the king's men couldn't put me together again. I know of more than my share of stories of failed surgeries and of successful surgeries. I just wanted to be one of the successful ones.


And this morning on the elevator, I rode with a gorgeous teenaged girl with a pretty pink and black prosthetic leg. Put me in my place.


Thanks for your thoughts, Toecutter.



post #761 of 1572
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by kittygal View Post

I think I know that, Toecutter....Despite my words to the contrary, I was kind of thinking more in general terms such as "you will be able to swim without pain, you might be able to walk without pain in shoes, and you will likely have pain if you try to run." Since we have seen a spectrum of outcomes from all of the posters, it is obvious that one size answer doesn't fit all.


I am also aware that I am speaking from my inner anger at not being 20 years old, and that all of the king's horses and all of the king's men couldn't put me together again. I know of more than my share of stories of failed surgeries and of successful surgeries. I just wanted to be one of the successful ones.


And this morning on the elevator, I rode with a gorgeous teenaged girl with a pretty pink and black prosthetic leg. Put me in my place.


Thanks for your thoughts, Toecutter.




Good for you, Kitty.


It's human nature to be disappointed, frustrated, annoyed or whatever when things don't go exactly as we had hoped in our own lives.


All it takes, though, is eyes wide open and a little empathy to realize that - for most of us, anyway - things could be much, much worse.  


As an example, your story makes ME realize that my result may have been at the very uppermost positive end of the spectrum for this surgery.  I have essentially forgotten about my fused toe and I can wear any footwear (on that foot) I want without a second thought.  You've reminded me how lucky I am, so I thank you.


Here's hoping your foot will get at least marginally better.

post #762 of 1572

Thank you for your kind reply, Bob. And I do thank you for being an inspiration with charging ahead through life without letting things discourage you, and for your optimism. (And deepest apologies for my not keeping up with your knees' progress, but it sounds as if that is going well! Good for you!)


I'm heading out for some hiking with family this weekend in some of the hilly Appalachian areas in southeastern Ohio. I plan to enjoy my hiking, and not think about my toe until I get back to the lodge, throw off my boots, and stick my tootsies in the hot tub. 



post #763 of 1572

ok, so I finally got around to seeing how many pieces of paper will fit under my toe.  I used printer paper and I can fit 11...

post #764 of 1572
Hi all, I'm new here. I had a fusion on my right big toe 5 days ago, on August 5. I've spent my days since then resting, elevating, icing, and reading this thread! I'm so glad I found it.

My toe had been painful for years, and in the last 6 months suddenly got so bad that I finally went to a podiatrist. I honestly thought I had a bunion, but she diagnosed me with stage 4 hallux rigidus. I went to an orthopedic surgeon for another opinion and he agreed. Both doctors told me I was heading for a fusion. Being impatient, in pain, and convinced, I scheduled my surgery pretty quickly.

So far so good. I have almost no pain now....it's way less painful than before the surgery. I love my knee scooter, and I think my foot looks pretty good! I did have a bad reaction to the painkillers on day 3, and that was the worst part so far. After that, I just stopped taking them, and, like I said, I'm having almost no pain.

I think the best tip I read here was to crawl up stairs rather than butt-scoot. smile.gif thanks so much for all the information, and I will return the favor by posting what I learn during my recovery.
post #765 of 1572
Hi all. I have been getting back into the swing of working and just caught up with everyone's post tonight! Kittygal, Do you use anything on your feet to keep the calluses down? I ask because my husband (who has no other feet issues) gets spots that look similar to yours when he wears his steel toe boots (which is nightly anymore). He, of course, didn't tell me he was having issues until they got so bad he couldn't put his shoes on! I went and bought him a volcanic rock to scrub his feet with. I got it at Natural Grocers and any kind of natural stone rock except pumice will work. Every other day he soaked them in the tub and soaped them up and then gently rubbed them with the stone for a few minutes and after twice of doing it saw a noticeable difference and now he has gotten the calluses down and does it once a week just to 'keep them at bay'! Then to follow up I make homemade, chemical free, lotion and he uses it on his feet daily. He says his feet are no longer 'sore' and they aren't callused and torn up any more either. My homemade lotion is just coconut oil, beeswax, tea tree oil and scented oil. I add beeswax because it is a natural protectant for the skin. You may already have a regiment like this but thought I’d throw it out there just in case!
Both my big toes are angled. I agree ask lots of questions and make sure the Dr shows you the angle of what the toe will be, etc! My Dr did do all that for both surgeries. He also told me he would be matching my natural angle with a bit of a lift. Many times he held my toe in place and moved my tip so I’d know how much movement I’d have, etc. We discussed not only what activities I do and want to do but also what type of shoes I’d have to wear to do them! If your Dr isn’t thorough like that then my advice is to see another Dr! My left was done in March and has a little bit of a lift to it but my right one done in June has lots of lift to it! Lift meaning angled up. I haven’t tried but I bet I can get 20 sheets of paper under my right toe!! My right foot is MUCH MUCH easier to get into shoes!! Don’t get me wrong the left one is angled just enough I don’t have issues but the right one has so far slid right in to all shoes I have tried where the left one I have to sometimes work it in! I am fortunate to say I have had a successful surgery on both mine! I am only 5 months out from the left fusion and 2 months out from the right fusion and I can get into my tennis shoes, Harley riding boots, sandals – flip flop sandals even. I still have swelling with the flip flop sandals after a while but no pain. I did notice the lower the back of the shoe or the more the tongue of it pushes out the easier it is to get on. I have been completely pain free and the swelling is only every once in a while now.
I am 40 years old and I wear a size 9, not wide width but closer to wide than narrow! BUT I have not gone fully shoe shopping yet! The shoes I am getting on are ones I have already had or are slip ons or sandals I bought to get by until the swelling went down!! What I find is my shoes are worn out from walking on the outsides!!! This week I have had zero swelling so I plan on shoe shopping! Once I start shopping my thoughts my change drastically on shoes! I have been taking all your advices about brands, etc and keeping a journal of them so when I start the hunt for shoes I can try those that have been successful for you all.
One huge thing that has been hard for me and I hope changes once I buy all new shoes is trying to not walk on the outside of my foot!! I have done it for so many years it is now habit and I have to make a conscience effort to notice how I walk so I can walk flat! Another thing I have noticed and would love to hear some advice on from others is how in the heck do you take a big stride or run????? It is so awkward since that toe doesn’t really bend – am I just being too easy on it? I haven’t driven my motorcycle yet and hope to by the end of the week so hopefully shifting is easier for me now that I am pain free.
I’m at work currently as I type this so today when I get home I’ll snap some pics and upload them. You’ll notice my big toes are angled different but both are angled.
I wish you all good luck! And all our feet and bodies are made differently so for those that are struggling just keep positive thoughts because you’ll find what works for you!

Kittygal, Keep at it girl! You have come a long ways so don’t settle for what you have! If it isn’t right get it fixed!! You’ll be happy you did in the end so you can enjoy the wonderful life it sounds like you have! Or at least that is my opinion!

Bright Blessings All,
post #766 of 1572

@Rottnsue , 11 sheets? Wow! And Becky, the potential for 20? I am jealous. But also so curious - do either of you, and any of the rest of you who also have upwardly mobile toes, have any problems with either the distal joint (the one closest to the toenail), and/or the actual end of the toe or toenail, hitting either the tops or ends of shoes? Ingrown toenails? Calluses on the top of that joint? My OS said that he would never do another surgery to bend the toe up more because I would not be happy and would consequently want it bent down more, then up more, and never be happy with the position. He said that I should just move on with using my foot and not adapt my shoewear (I had suggested that I could cut a slot out of all of my insoles for my toe to drop down in to). I keep hearing from a number of sources, both medical and laypeople, that "you don't want to have your toe bent up so much that it is hitting the top of your shoe" and I get scared that my wish for a more upturned toe isn't a good thing.


I've also been battling what seemed to be heel spur problems. I do have a nice heel spur, as do many people who don't have any symptoms. I was told that my current heel pain is due not to the heel spur, but to pf and that I need to do more stretches. I thought that I HAD been doing stretches, and I was even already familiar with the University of Rochester pf stretches - but apparently, since my big toe doesn't bend, even when I do do the stretches, I am not stretching the pf enough by bending up the remaining four toes, and hence, my pf isn't getting stretched properly. So I am trying to work on bending up those toes. Always something.


Thanks for the pumice info, Becky. I am currently using something given to me by a podiatrist (available from http://www.teregen.com/personal-pumi-bar.html). I have to confess that I am probably not as dedicated as I should be with that and need to get with the program. Several days a week I am doing my showering at the gym and don't necessarily want to have the hassle of carrying all of my toiletry items into the showers for a full regimen, so I do slack off. Since my feet will have already been in water for 30-50 minutes prior to getting into the shower, that would likely be a prime time to work on them, so I should probably be better about that. As far as lotions/creams, I do have some nice lotions/creams which I alternate between - again, I need to pay more attention to using them. I do like your thoughts on "recipes"! I do worry about "shaving" down too much the protective benefits of the calluses, but I also know how painful they are when they are overgrown (like an overgrown horse hoof).   


I went hiking this weekend with my Keen Targhee boots. SO happy to have those nice toe protectors! Stubbed my feet a number of times on the Appalachian boulders/stones/rocks/juts, but not residual damage there. Yes, the bottom of my big toe wasn't happy with the upward bend of the boot's toe - but I just got the boot off as soon as I could. Two 2-hour sessions on one day was the longest I was out, and it was manageable. Yesterday I spent two hours walking around a hilly (but paved) campus in my lowest Keen sandals with cushy socks, and I just focused on ignoring my feet because that is what I have to do - either that, or stay on the couch. I took off my left sandal for the 3-1/2 hour drive home.


Today I am off and am walking around the house with my latest shoe experiments:

Brooks PureDrift Running Shoes - Minimalist (For Women) in Black/Brite Pink/Nightlife/Anthracite



I bought both the women's and men's versions, in the thought that I might get more width with the men's - but they both seem identical. I normally wear a women's 8, preferably wide. The Pure Drift runs small for both women's and men's - the women's size 8-1/2 is identical to the men's size 7, and both fit me very well. They are minimalist and nicely take the load off of my toe, since the heel is so low. I will keep both pairs, especially since I worry that they are a discontinued model and seem more difficult to find.






Kalso Earth Solar Too Mary Jane Shoes - Leather (For Women) in Mahogany Calf

These run large. The 7-1/2 Wide fits me well, though the Wide is hard to find online (at least at a reduced price - I got mine for about $70). But it is nice to find something which looks dressier than a tennis shoe. (HOW my opinion of "dressy" has changed!)


Also, I wanted to mention about the Teva Mush sandals. I was so happy to find a nice pair and ordered a second pair in another color. The website says "made in El Salvador or China". The ones I love were made in El Salvador. The second pair I just got were made in China. They are cut ever so slightly smaller (shorter and more narrow) and less comfortable, so they will be going back. A shame that there can't be consistency.


Sierra Trading Post has great prices when you can find the size you need. Just remember to sign up for emails so that you can get coupon prices when they have them (usually about weekly or so - I never have to wait too long for a coupon and shipping sale). It will reduce your price by at least 30% off of the website price, give-or-take. Returns are a little trickier than Zappo's - STP only does store credits if you want to have free returns - but I can usually find something else to buy....


Now my feet have already tired of wearing shoes for the day, and I am off work this week, so shall remain shoeless until some task or event demands me again to don footwear and return to the civilized world.



post #767 of 1572

I am faced with the decision to fuse both big toes and the information everyone has provided is really helpful.  My biggest post surgery concern, however, is being able to rock climb. 


There has been some mention of climbing in this thread but I am wondering if anyone has actually gotten a big toe fused and, when appropriately healed, gone out rock climbing.  I'd like to be able to climb at the 9 -10 level post surgery and it logically seems reasonable that a fused big toe would be ok, that it would work to stand up on when necessary.


Has anyone been able to resume rock climbing after surgery?



post #768 of 1572



I am 23 years old and also have hullux rigidus and I am in a lot of pain.I got foot surgery a few years ago which caused the hallux rigidus. Prior to the surgery which was to fix a bunion, I could play basketball, go jogging and be active in sports. Now this is not the case.


Do you think it is possible with a big toe fusion surgeryI will be able to run and jump after recovery. Aside from the big toe on the bad foot the rest of the foot and my other foot are completely healthy. On my foot that needs to be operated, the other parts of the foot are in good working condition. I am hoping to getting back to sports.


I know you are older than me, however if you were in my position, would you feel confident about living with the surgery for the rest of my life because I can ill afford to cause greater pain.I have seen two of three of the top orthopedic doctors on the west coast so I am confident in the doctors ability to deliver. My biggest reasoning behind the question is to understand mainly if the surgery will allow to participate in sports and activities. If you were my age do you think the big toe fusion would hhave allowed you to get back to running. 


Also, I understand the surgery changes the gait of the way one walks. Does the change look prevalent to those looking at you. In other words, I walk normal right now and do not want to appear walking with a limp or walking differently.

post #769 of 1572

Hey baller,


I'm 28 years old and have a nearly identical story. I was 27 when I had the bunion surgery and at first everything looked okay on x-rays, but within 8 months my cartilage disappeared and I developed arthritis, hallux rigidus and avascular necrosis (not sure if that's the order, but it's a nice combination of them all). So now I'm facing the same situation; to have fusion at such a young age and risk all the side effects associated with it (i.e. gait changes/nonunion) or deal with the pain. I used to run marathons and was quite active, and now it's pretty difficult to do things. I am to the point that I ride my bike when I take the dog out because it hurts less than going for a walk and risking stepping incorrectly. I am starting to think that I can deal with the gait changes if the pain goes away, and more importantly I so desperately want to be active again and not worry and think about my foot every time I'm at the gym! Wouldn't that be nice! 


Read through all the threads because many people have great insight, stories, and information. Most recently someone posted about a Mark Cucuzzella who is a marathon runner with fused toes. Watch some videos on his gait and stride and you can see that it's possible. I found it really inspiring!


I'm looking at getting surgery within the next year. My only issue is that I live in Germany and asking German doctors all the questions I have is difficult, not to mention the bedside manner is kind of non-existent ;). I might wait until we're back in the states and have it done in Colorado. Just out of curiosity, which doctors have you seen on the west coast?


Thanks, and keep us posted on what you decide to do.

post #770 of 1572
I understand that there is also the possibility of joint replacement. has anyone looked into this?
post #771 of 1572
Originally Posted by rod9301 View Post

I understand that there is also the possibility of joint replacement. has anyone looked into this?


I had one, and then had to have it removed after 6 years. Do a lot of research. My dad had one, too, and his has worked just fine. Mine degenerated to the point where it was more painful than the previous condition, so a year ago I had it removed and the joint fused.

post #772 of 1572
Originally Posted by rod9301 View Post

I understand that there is also the possibility of joint replacement. has anyone looked into this?


It's possible and joint replacement has been done for decades with different implants but overall for a healthy, active person it's not as reliable as a fusion. Joint replacement would be more appropriate than a fusion for certain patients however.

post #773 of 1572

I'm learning so much reading this thread!  I am 50 years old and have noticed that I have had a bump under my left great toe for about 3 years.  It is extremely painful when I wear ballerina type flats.  I saw an Orthopedic surgeon 2 years ago and was told that the x-rays were normal but he did give me a cortisone shot which reduced some swelling temporarily.  I waited another year or so and went to see a podiatrist who found a ganglion cyst just below the base of the left toe.  After 2 cortisone injections into the cyst we decided to surgically remove it.  I thought maybe that was the source of the pain and bump.  The pain returned and the bump under the great toe never went away and now I am having pain in my right hip after walking consistently about a mile.  I say it like that because I work in 3500 square foot clinic and walk about 2 miles a day but of course sit down between patients so I don't experience the hip pain all day.  I often times have to put my foot up and ice it after work.  I have been wearing Danskos for a year while at work and this has helped, although they are starting to feel tight on the left foot.  I visited yet another orthopedic surgeon who showed me my x-ray and basically I am bone on bone and he thinks that at some point I broke it possibly 3 years ago.  He is having me take 1000 mg of naproxen daily which initially made my foot feel so much better but after 1 month I cannot always tolerate that dose.  I am contemplating the fusion surgery but honestly have some anxiety about it.  My employer will give me less physical work to do so I can return to work quickly.  I am wondering about how long most people stayed off work.  Did anyone have any problems with anesthesia? Will I ever fit in my shoes again,  I just bought 2 pairs in April that are 1/2 size bigger than I normally wear and they are already too tight on my left foot and flopping on my right.  I have no idea how long I should let this go.  The pain is manageable most times, its really just after walking for an extended time that the combination of toe and hip become so painful I can hardly tolerate it. I have mentioned the hip pain to my doctor and he did say that when the toe is fixed the hip will feel better.  I'm just so surprised that I did not receive this diagnosis 2 years ago when I visited the first orthopedic doc and then again by the podiatrist.  I did see the x-ray myself this last time and it is bone on bone for sure.  My left toe only moves up and down, if I really try I can bend it but there is pain afterwards and recently the toe feels like it is "flopping" when I walk.  I see my doctor in 3 weeks for a re-eval.   Any suggestions?

post #774 of 1572
Hi, All, just getting back after being away a while.

In response to the rock climbing question. I had rock climbed occasionally prior to surgery, but by no stretch of the imagination was an expert or even intermediate in my mind, although I was able to get up some steep pitches. I think the real answer re: after surgery is that you will have to wait and see for yourself. I think the answer with my feet would be no way. With the big toe joint not bending anymore, I would think it would be very limiting for that particular activity, at least with my results. Think of it as you only have the end digit on your big toe that now bends and so that little digit is what would have to support most of your weight. Also, that digit has been shortened by ~1/4", so there is not as much flexion in that last digit as there was prior to surgery.

Perhaps there is equipment, perhaps special shoes that would be able to offset the surgery. But my big toe digit still sticks up "naturally", it did not do so prior to surgeries. That I assume would give me even less advantange for when the toes have to grab the rock. Scrambling, etc, no problem. I haven't tried it, but I don't think I could safely rock climb. These are my results however and may not at all be yours as we have seen varying results posted on this site. For example, even my swelling resutls after surgery varied considerably from one foot to the other. The second foot had way less swelling that the first foot surgery. Who knows why? I am able to do a lot again, just not everything I would like to, yet. I have had to modify how I go about things due to the fusions.

I hope it works out for you!

post #775 of 1572
Hi, Colleeflower,

Your bone on bone situation doesn't leave you much choice. My Dr. said the same thing at that point, surgery or deal with the pain and/or cut out activities. It is definitely a personal choice, one that despite losing the function, I am happy that I can walk so much further than before surgery without pain. I did 13 miles on one hike this summer which would have been near impossible prior to surgery. Then, I was in major pain after one mile.

And yes, I have bad reactions to anethesia, until I found the best anethesiologist in the world who actually listened to me when I told him I reacted badly. He said, lets try something else. He gave me Propofol (not sure how to spell it, but it was the Michael Jackson drug of choice.) I have had it for 3 surgeries now with fantastic results! No side effects. I wake up from surgery feeling not even groggy, but fine, (unless they give me tramadol, which I also react to.)

Shoes will fit again, and better than before!

Good luck with your decision!
post #776 of 1572
Kitty, I have a very large callous on the under side of my toe digit that sticks up, right under the joint, that is the right toe. My left toe does not stick up and does not have a callus. I've been told some of the sticking up is caused by scar tissue, still working on getting it down. It is better than it was say 6 months ago.
post #777 of 1572
Hi Baller,

With my experience, you can have a totally normal gait post surgery, so no one would know, especially not you. Some prior hints in this thread about how to deal with gait issues should they arise for you. I had some after the first surgery and have absolutely no issues with gait now.

RE: jumping. I don't think there is any way you or any of us will be able to jump like you did when there were no issues with the big toe joint. For jumping, you push off with that joint and many people who are good jumpers put a lot of force on that joint. Post surgery, you will have the one digit on that toe (and the rest of your toes, hopefully) to push off with. The mechanics are just not there to have it be the same as it was prior. That said, everyone reacts differently. I was never a good jumper as my big toe joint was already affected as a teen. Some can jump amazing heights and some, even with perfect feet, just plain can't do the same thing. Sometimes just slight differences can make a big difference, either way. So, after you have the surgery, if that is what you want to do, work on it. If you work towards that goal, you will be able to jump better than if you did not have that as a goal.

Despite my apparent non-jumping ability, it does not stop me from playing sand volleyball! That was one of the first things I got back to as the sand actually felt good on my feet. :-)

Good luck!!!
post #778 of 1572

Thanks sgloon  for taking the time to reply, it was both helpful and encouraging. 

post #779 of 1572
Kittygal, For some reason I can't seem to post pictures from work and my laptop at home gave up this past week! I have ordered a new one and should be able to get those pics uploaded this week! Sorry for the delay. In the pics you can see a difference between my big toes and how they are angled.

And as for shoe shopping -- it has been an adventure! Brooks tennis shoes seem to be the best fit for me. They are like a cloud of awesomeness wrapped around my foot! LOL! I tried many others but the Brooks fit well and this past week I have worn them to work and even at the end of my night my feet still feel good. I'm still searching for good brands of other types of shoes. My motorcycle riding boots are only comfortable for a short time! I can't seem to shift my motorcycle because now that the toe is shorted the boot mashes down on them! I am on a huge hunt for new motorcycle boots!

For the rest of you that are wondering if you should or should not have fusion (Baller, colleeflower, Brea and anyone I missed)...
Here is my advice --- if your life is currently changing because your pain/swelling is affecting your activities then fusion is something to seriously consider, in my opinion! I started having to buy shoes 1/2 size bigger to compensate for the swelling, then I found I stopped walking daily and at work I didn't venture out to the warehouse as much to check on my employees and when I shifted my motorcycle the toe hurt, etc! So finally I decided this is stupid --- even if I can only get back 1/2 of what I use to do then at least I am getting that back!!!
So far --- March was the left fusion and June was the right fusion --- I am VERY HAPPY I had it done! I have been pain free and every week I see a major decline in the swelling after being on my feet all night! I am back to walking daily and doing things I hadn't done in 3 years!!! I am very hopeful that next spring I'll be back on my motorcycle shifting with no issues - currently I think my boots are just worn out (they are 8 years old) and the toe being shortened mixed with the worn out boot is causing my issue. It's just hard to find 'girl' boots for riding because most girl boots don't have the toe support for shifting!! I might have to go with guy boots!! So far I have fit back into all my shoes but some aren't comfortable and some are shaped funny from walking wrong for years! I am searching for all new shoes.
I was off work for 6 weeks per foot (could have been off 2 weeks if I had a sit down office job the Dr told me, but my work requires me to have a full shoe on before I could come back) and my dr said putting a shoe on at 6 weeks is excellent and ahead of schedule! He said most people that he does surgery on still has too much swelling at 6 weeks for a real shoe. I am a quick healer and he stated that many times! I kept my foot propped up and iced and I stayed on cruthes no weight bearing for a week and then went to a cane to assit with heal only weight bearing. Once I got the stitches out then every day I put a homemade chemical free lotion with a coconut oil base on my feet and lightly rubbed them. I was no heal weight bearing for 6 weeks total. I don't rock climb so couldn't speak to that but I will say you lose bendability of that toe with the exception of the tip -- I could see rock climbing might be difficult. I will say though my little toes have all gotten stronger and are gripping well for sandals and other activities that I do. So who knows, I think you could probably do almost anything once you got use to how to do it!
I do not have anesthesia issues so if that is something you are worried about ask your Dr and the day of the surgery as your anesthesiologist. Mine came in to the room and asked me tons of questions and interacted with my husband also.
Colleflower -- 7 years ago I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis and was told to just deal with it! 5 years later when the issue got worse I went to a different Dr and was diagnosed with arthritis and they told me my toes were also bone on bone. I never had plantar flasciitis!! So yes they do get it wrong!! I refused to do cortizon shots and all the stuff that just prolongs me from getting the fusion -- I decided that I didn't want a temporary fix because in the end I would have to do the fusion anyway!! I wanted to get the surgery overwith while I was till young and could still heal well! I figured if I waited it would be harder to get use to the toe not moving, harder to get on with my life and would take much longer to heal!!! I turned 40 while off on surgery! If 7 years ago the Dr would have offered me this surgery I would have done it then too!
Everyone heals differently and everyone has a little bit different of a situation! Just make sure you are asking your Dr lots of questions and they aren't answering them go to a different Dr!

Good Luck! Looking forward to hearing about everyones' recoveries and stories!

post #780 of 1572

Hi Becky,

Thank you for responding to my questions, sounds like we have had some similar experiences.  I see my doctor in a few weeks and now have many questions for him. Over the weekend I noticed that if I step up on a curb with my left foot first I have pain due to the pressure placed on my big toe, I need to learn to be more aware of this and step with my whole foot.  I also have a tendency to try to reach for things on my tip toes which is totally intolerable now. Sounds like my choices are limited and just a matter of me having a long discussion with my doctor and saving up as much leave and sick time as possible.


I am enjoying all the great information and pictures shared on this thread!



New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Fitness, Health, Nutrition, Injury, and Recovery › My Excellent Toe Surgery Adventure - Hallux Rigidus, Plate/Screw Fusion, and Osteotomy