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My Excellent Toe Surgery Adventure - Hallux Rigidus, Plate/Screw Fusion, and Osteotomy - Page 4

post #91 of 1572
Originally Posted by debbyeure View Post

Thank you Kitty!!!  When you can't wear Danskos, it's time for surgery!!!!  The pain and swelling has been horrible!


Take care,



Boy, isn't that the truth....

post #92 of 1572



Wonderful!  I think you will really appreciate it.  I know it helped me get around a lot.

And the basket is a must!  You can carry your ice pack, newspaper, coffee mug (with cover), phone, etc,

to the living room with you to elevate and ice.

When you are finished with it, grandkids do love to play with them!



post #93 of 1572

Don't have any grandkids, but my husband will probably enjoy it!!!!


Take care and thanks to all that have given relief from worrying quite so much.



post #94 of 1572

Hi, Barbie,


I had my surgery 11 weeks ago.  I walked barefoot reasonably soon, bits and pieces at first and more later on,  While I was still heel only per my Dr., I walked barefoot on my heel.  When I could finally walk using my toes, then I went barefoot on my whole foot.  Just around the house, of course, so never long distances.  It felt better for my foot to be barefoot some.  Of course, you should check with your Dr.  I didn't have any repercussions as I had my 11 week xrays recently and the dr said "you are healing like gangbusters".  I am free to do everything now...well perhaps not run a marathon, but work my way up to full power as quick as I can.


Someone asked about gait and my PT person is taking care of that.  I had no gait issues before surgery, but limping around has definitely affected me.  I'm not one for Chiropractors.  My PT has me doing weight training, etc.  The best thing so far though is walking on the treadmill and trying to keep an even pace, even weight both sides, no hands, follow through on foot, etc.  I do this forward, backward and sideways.  Seems to be working after only a couple of days on the treadmill for just a little bit, so I'll be keeping that up.

Edited by sgloon - 1/11/13 at 12:57am
post #95 of 1572



I got the Spry Knee Cruzer Elite and was exceptionally happy with it and highly recommend it.  As I will need to do my other foot down the road, purchasing was cheaper than renting.  You have to watch which internet company you buy it from however, as one out there is very bad.  They sent me a device not as pictured, still waiting for return credit on my card 1-1/2 months later.  On the other hand, the final company I used was great.  The one thing to watch out for is that the knee pad you get is the big one with the slot in it for your leg.


I loved the Spry as it turned on a dime..this was great inside the house.  It also goes pretty fast in stores and outside so it is fun to be on.  I would have gone stir crazy if I hadn't had it,  esp as I was not able to drive for 8 weeks.

post #96 of 1572



Thank you so much for posting and following up with this.  I had the big toe fusion and pinky bunionectomy 11 weeks ago.  It is going pretty well thanks in part to your comments.  Dr. recently said I am healing like gangbusters and released me to do a lot more.  Guess I can't hurt it from here on out.


A few comments for others' questions:

1.  I found walking up the stairs on my surgery side knee and good foot (skip the crutches), was a lot easier than going up on my butt or on crutches.


2.  The PT/OT people who came after surgery to make sure the house was set up to make things easier were very nice to have.  What would have been better, however, was to get that advice/info BEFORE going into surgery.  Things like toilet rails, shower bars, etc. could have been installed prior.   However, I found "Volunteers of America" did come out to install the stuff since I was already laid up before I knew I would need them.  VOA were great!


3.  My "rolling device" was the Spry Knee Cruzer Elite.  Loved it!  Turns on a dime.  For ~$300 cheaper than renting.  Basket on the front is very handy, but initially all I had was a cloth tie-on bag that I put around the handlebars. It worked fine for the little stuff...and stayed there after I got one with a basket.


4. Attn: Deb  -- My Dr. only wanted his patients to start work slowly after 2 weeks at home.  Ie, start going in 2 hours a day for a while, then 4 hours,...  you get the idea.  As others have mentioned, Ice & elevation is critical.  It is hard to raise your foot above your heart at work, which is what my dr meant when he said elevate, not just putting your foot on a chair.  He said you will heal quicker that way.  Good luck with your surgery!


5.  I found it was very easy to get a temporary handicap placard.  It made life, when I was able to get out, so much easier.


6.  My town and my insurance had low cost and no cost travel while I was laid up.  The insurance paid in full for travel to Dr visits only.  Town had a dial-a-ride option that you had to sign up for a least a month before using.  But then you could call the day before to arrange rides.   Your town/insurance may vary on what is offered.


7.  There are cheap or free places to get medical equipment you may need.  Ex.  I got an additional ice/pump cooler similar to what the dr had given to me at the hospital for my internal ice pack.  Then I could have one upstairs and one downstairs.  This meant I didn't have to try to carry the cooler up & down stairs every day.   The hospital gave a list of these places when I checked out.  It would have been easier to have known what to get and where to go to get it ahead of time.


Thanks for your comments Bob.  I'll have to remember to come back here for my next surgery so I remember what it was "really" like. ;-)

Edited by sgloon - 1/11/13 at 1:25am
post #97 of 1572

Lots of great comments and suggestions, sgloon! Especially the handicap placard! I received one last year when I had back problems and my foot dropped, and I was glad that I still had it after my bunion surgery and was able to use it again.


Here are the shoes I was really glad that I owned after surgery. I had bought them last summer when I had the foot drop and had to wear an AFO for a few months, and they came in really handy, as lots of width and support.



http://www.zappos.com/saucony-progrid-integrity-st-2-white-silver  (They also come in black with gray details, and I have a pair in both colors - STILL my favorite go-to shoes. Sauconys always have wide toe boxes, and I have worn them for thirty years since I first started running, and even now when I no longer run (sigh). I bought these in size EE extra wide. I am sure that the men's styles are also wide, because men's hoes typically are anyway. . . )




http://www.zappos.com/drew-rose-blue-marble (This isn't the color I got - they have various colors. I call these my "Fiona Shrek" shoes, because they are certainly, um, not quite dainty. But they sure were supportive and accommodating (meaning, big) when I had to put on something other than tennis shoes (slightly dressier) after the post-op shoe came off!)




http://www.zappos.com/drew-delite-black-calf-black-mesh (same comfort/fit as above, but slightly less bulky)




http://www.zappos.com/giesswein-vent-natural (never in my life would I ever have thought of buying slippers this expensive - but I didn't really have a choice last summer when I had to wear the AFO, as these have a removable insole. Boy were they comfy after the bunionectomy! I even accidentally wore them to run to Trader Joe's shopping one day! I did buy about two (European) sizes bigger than my usual Dansko size, because they tend to run small.)




Speaking of Danskos, debbyeure, mine are still in a bag down in the basement, where I sadly packed them away last summer after my foot dropped. That foot is so much better now and since I no longer had to wear the AFO brace, I have a lot more shoe choices, but I am still nervous about wearing them since I don't have the "toe lift" which I used to have and I worry about stumbling in shoes which don't have a tight fit. Will hope to get a strap-version of Danskos at some point, though.


Bob, did you ever tell us what type of hiking boots you bought? I thought maybe that you had told us (I remembered that originally you had not gotten new boots before getting back to hiking). But I looked back through the old posts and couldn't find it. I really need something wide because my other foot has a tiny bunion starting and I just hate the feel of tight shoes after all these years of agony. But I am so happy that I got this bunion fixed!



post #98 of 1572

Thank you CC!!!  I do feel better after reading your tips!  Tomorrow is the day...can't sleep tonight and it is 2:15 am....what a bummer...I was scared to take benadryl tonight before surgery.  Now wishing that I had!!!1


Willl keep you posted!



post #99 of 1572

Deb I am saying special prayers for you today that all goes well. I know that  feeling well, you just want to get it over with and proceed with a speedy recovery which I'm confident will happen!


Take your meds, elevate that foot (toes above your nose as my surgeron, Dr. Baumhauer always tells her patients) and rest. Hopefully you can stay ahead of the pain and get through the first few days with no problems. Let me know how you're doing!


I'm pulling for you.



post #100 of 1572



Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for posting the information on the shoes. I'm in a walking cast until early February and am nervous about what I'll be able to wear when I have to wean myself of it. I remember the last time it was a rather painful experience and I actually had to leave the store and put the cast back on for the day. Eventually I wore Brooks sneakers which have a big toe box, but it took a while to find shoes appropriate for work and going out on the town.


Because I needed something to "even me out" as I walk in the walking boot, I went to Moving Comfort and bought a wedge shoe which has worked out perfectly. While they aren't real stylish (and they were expensive $170) they are really doing the trick. The company is a london based on and their website is www.flylondon.com. The shoe name is Yan Wideban Velcro High Boy.



post #101 of 1572
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by kittygal View Post


Bob, did you ever tell us what type of hiking boots you bought? I thought maybe that you had told us (I remembered that originally you had not gotten new boots before getting back to hiking). But I looked back through the old posts and couldn't find it. I really need something wide because my other foot has a tiny bunion starting and I just hate the feel of tight shoes after all these years of agony. But I am so happy that I got this bunion fixed!




Hi, Kitty.


I don't think I did post it.  I ended up with the Vasque Breeze GTX XCR (can I buy a vowel, please?).  I don't know what the women's equivalent boot would be, but I imagine there is one - supposedly this is a very popular boot.



I find Vasque boots in general to have a wide enough toebox for my relatively wide foot.  These have a very stiff sole and they seem to give very good support.  They are higher and heavier than what I would have preferred, but I tried on many, many boots from many manufacturers and these were the best combination (for me) of stiff sole, comfortable fit, and light(ish) weight.  I'm very happy with them.


Originally Posted by debbyeure View Post

Thank you CC!!!  I do feel better after reading your tips!  Tomorrow is the day...can't sleep tonight and it is 2:15 am....what a bummer...I was scared to take benadryl tonight before surgery.  Now wishing that I had!!!1


Willl keep you posted!




Even though it's probably over already, good luck with the surgery, Deb.  I hope everything goes flawlessly and you're up and about as quickly as possible.


Keep us posted, okay?

post #102 of 1572

Thanks so much, Bob! Your shoe tryouts benefit us all!


Look, I found the women's equivalent (or close to it) Breeze GTX on Zappo's (they actually have several pairs/versions of hiking boots). OOOH! They come in WIDE!!!!

Vasque - Breeze GTX

(And does everyone know that Zappo's has free delivery AND free returns, all the time! What a great way to try on shoes!!! Fantastic customer service!)

The boots look as if they have good ankle support, too - did you think so?  Which would actually be good for supporting my bad (and as of yet, unoperated-on) ankles.


Today I just "postponed" Friday's ankle surgery - need to get more opinions. I am wondering if I can just keep relegating painful issues to the status of Bob's unoperated-on toe pain which is just an "inconvenience" (I think that was how you described it, Bob?). Plus, by delaying it, maybe I can get a bit of skiing in since one of the docs told me to go ahead and use the bum leg.


I am sure that your surgery went well today, Deb! Will send well-wishes and prayers your way for a good night's sleep!



post #103 of 1572

Well, Bob, looks like I'll be joining you. At least the fusion part. Had more xrays today, and the doctor winced. My bones are growing over the titanium hemicap, which has resulted in a bad feeling. Last time I was in, he had all these ideas like replacing the hemicap and other things ... today he just said, Yeah, you need this fused. I know you're young, but it's just a crap joint.


So, I will wait until mid-June, after ski season and my son's high school graduation, but here I come....

post #104 of 1572



I purchased a basket for my knee walker at Walmart this past Sunday, just before my surgery.  The ones online were very expensive so we went this route and my husband installed it.  I have carried all kinds of stuff in it...drinks, food, clothes, purse, etc.  I am now 4 days post-surgery and went yesterday to the doc in Richmond to have the dressing changed.  Everything looked good!  I go back next Thursday the 25th for my first x-ray and to have the stitches removed.  I didn't talk to the doc about driving but when I asked the nurse, she said it would probably be six weeks.  I have one of those small post-op shoes which are nice.  They still don't want me going up and down the stairs this week so I am still camping out in the living room with my twin air bed on top of our regular twin mattress.  Surprisingly comfortable!  Managing the pain just fine and haven't taken anything since around 3 am this morning and it is now 10:57 am.  They switched me from oxycodone to hydrocodone (percocet to vicodin) which is fine with me!  I had no nausea after surgery (which I am prone to) and when I mentioned that, they said they would put some meds in my iv and they also put a patch behind my ear which was good for 3 days.


All in all, a very pleasant experience except for the boredom!  Thank God for the internet!  I am planning to return to work on 1/28 and my husband will have to drive me to and from (he is NOT looking forward to that!)


Have a great day!



post #105 of 1572

I was wondering how impaired you are now - 7 months post op. I've been putting off this surgery for 2 years partially trying to find the time and partially because I was concerned about not being able to walk normally with the fusion. I had a different surgery on my right foot and it took years to really recover.


Thanks for the info!!

post #106 of 1572



Even though I am only a few days postop, I am not really concerned about walking normally because I know I won't be walking normally...there is no way I would be able to since I won't be able to bend that toe at all.  However, it didn't bend before surgery anyway!  I have been suffering with this pain in my great toe for more than 10 years, so the pain and/or recovery from surgery didn't concern me as much as the constant pain I was in and not being able to wear shoes in the colder months.  Also, the doc would NOT give me steroid shots in that toe every 3 months, which is when I needed them.


I am concerned about going back to work and going about my business, since I am a property manager and do quite a bit of walking including up and down stairs.  I should be completely healed/fused by the first week in April, so I will be ready for kayaking, walking on the beach, boating, etc. 


Besides the pain Iwas in, my doc was concerned that since there was no cartiledge remaining in the joint, that the bones were starting to wear away, which would make the fusion more difficult and the toe look more deformed...


I have found this blog to be very helpful to me and I hope you find it to be so, as well.


Whatever you decide, I wish you the best!



post #107 of 1572



I am so glad to see that you are having such a great recovery!! I've been thinking about you this week and have been hoping you would update us on how you were doing. It sounds like its going quite well. I didn't realize you waited 10 years to have the surgery. Before I had my first toe fusion I had waited 6 years and that seemed like an eternity. It's been 12 years between my two surgeries because I only had first stage osteoarthritis in my left foot when I had my first toe fusion.


I am a little over 5 weeks post-op now and so far so good. I find in the afternoon when I'm at work my foot does tend to swell so I elevate it and take Advil. You might want to pay attention to that because you will be on your feet and will need to take a break to elevate your foot every now and then at work, especially late in the day.


And, my foot is definitley trying to adjust to all of the hardware I have (7 screws and a plate) which is much more than my other toe when I had just 2 screws. Regarding gait, as soon as the boot comes off I plan on going to my chiropractor for regular back readjustments and I'm also going to start getting massages. The back readjustments are really a must for those who have had toe fusions because our gait is off. I've been doing this for the past 7 years and I know its saving my back, hips and knees from replacement. And as a triathlete I have to make sure I get (what I refer too) my regular "tune-ups."


Tomorrow I'm off to the gym to do some recumbent biking and upper-body work I can't wait!!! My boot will come off around early February but I'm nervous about trying to fit into a shoe of some sort. I am so thankful to Kitty for posting her experience with shoes that have worked for her. I plan on looking at the links she shared with us before I go shopping. I don't see my surgeon again in Rochester, until mid-February.


Have a great weekend.



post #108 of 1572



While everyone is different, I've had two toe fusions (second one was just this past December). After my first toe fusion I went on to become a triathlete. I don't notice any difference in my gait but as I just mentioned to Deb, I do get regular back readjustments because I had an orthopedic surgeon tell me my gait would be off. Having the readjustments has helped me a lot.


My first toe fusion was 12 years ago and when I went back to my surgeon a year ago January because my left foot was wearing out she asked me if I was glad I had had the toe fusion and I told her absolutely because it gave me my mobility back. At the time she did my first toe fusion I was her youngest patient at 39 and it elminated all of the pain I was in.


Keep us posted on your decision. This is a great board and everyone on it provides great tips and resources when it comes to going through toe fusion surgery.



post #109 of 1572

Hi CC,


I know you're right about elevating the foot.  I haven't done it as much today and I can tell the difference, although the doc said it wasn't necessary as much as I was elevating it.


Regarding shoes....I have been wearing Dansko clogs for years because they are so comfortable to me...it turns out they have among the largest toe box which is what we need.  I wear the closed-back ones.  They help with back issues, foot issues, etc.  Another is MBT...Masai baretoot technology.  Both of these, especially MBT, have bottoms that don't give... MBT have rocker bottoms.



Depending upon the type of Dansko you get, they are around $140 per pair, but they last forever!  MBT is another story altogether...I bought a pair last spring so I could wear something kind of dressy but comfortable for work and they were about $300 (ouch is right)


Anywhoo....it is definitely a personal choice and fortunately there are lots of them out there.  Glad to know you are doing so well;....how long did you wait to go back to work????  I am definitely taking my scooter with me to work!!!!


You have a great weekend as well,CC



post #110 of 1572
Debby, glad you are loving the scooter! The boredom is like the movie Groundhog Day! I went back to work after 4 weeks and then hlf days for a week. I couldn't drive for 6 weeks so my husband drove me back and forth everyday and even a few days after I could drive due to snow and icy parking lots. I used the scooter at work as our building is huge and I have to be in all parts of it. Now at 12 weeks I am still wearing athletic shoes and the foot tires easily. I find myself babying the foot and limping as the day goes on. No treadmill or brisk walking yet, just recumbent bike at the gym. Hope your recovery continues to go well!

post #111 of 1572

Good evening,


One week ago today I had my toe fusion and I haven't taken any pain medication today (7pm) and only 1 vicodin yesterday and 1 the day before!  I haven't used my little scooter all day and am heel walking with my boot very well!  I went out yesterday with my sister and we went over to see my 24-year old horse Image and I fed him an apple from outside the fence of course.  Then we went to lunch in Williamsburg and rode around in the car for awhile.  I can't believe how good I feel!  The recovery from surgery has been a lot less painful than the toe was before!!!  When I had my CMC Thumb Joint Arthroplasty, that was really paintful!  I will get the stitches taken out this Thursday and my first x-ray so hopefully I will get a good report.  It has been difficult not being able to go upstairs since the cats don't come downstairs (scared of the 3 beagles) but my husband Tommy has been bringing the 15-year old kitty down to see me every day!  The other kitty could care less, as long as she gets fed!


Thanks again for everyone's support and I will keep you all posted!



post #112 of 1572


I am jealous!  I couldn't walk with the boot until after my x-ray week 6, so I used that scooter for 6 weeks!  Seems the post-op care is different with different physicians.  Glad you are up and doing things.  Enjoy your time away from work :-)



post #113 of 1572

Wow Debby I'm impressed that you are in a boot, up and walking around. I spent the first week pretty much in bed or sitting in a chair with my foot elevated and I was in a cast which they took off the following week. Then I was put into a plaster cast for a week which they took off @ 2 weeks post op, took out the stitches and put me in a walking boot until the end of Jan/early February depedning on how I feel. I will probably stay in the boot until mid-February when I go to the Doctor because I am the type of patient who perfers to take things somewhat slowly.


I'm impressed with your energy level because even now when I get home from work I am generally rather tired. I am glad things are going so well for you!!! Keep us posted on your progress.



post #114 of 1572

Well, I haven't gone back to work yet (that will be Monday the 28th) so I am sure I will be sore and tired from working full days!  I started to go back today, believe it or not, but decided two weeks would be better.  I can't wait to be able to go up and down the stairs so I can spend time with my ktties and sleep in our bed!!  The air mattress has been great but it isn't the same!


Thanks for your encouragement and I hope your recovery continues to go well.  I went to two different doctors about this toe of mine...first one said don't do the toe fusion, the second one said it was really my only option, since I had already lost so much bone.  It is funny how different doctors have different opinions about surgery and different recovery schedules.


I am looking forward to Thursday when the stitches come out and they do the first x-ray!  I will keep y'all posted!



post #115 of 1572



It's true that orthodpedic surgeons are all different. When I went through this process the first time I had pretty much worn out all of my options so the fusion was the only one left. And all of the surgeons I consulted with here in D.C. agreed I needed the surgery but they all had a different procedure they used to perform it! In the end it all worked out luckily.


Good luck tomorrow with your appointment and keep us updated on how the first week on the job goes (just a suggestion, take some Advil to work with you just in case).



post #116 of 1572

Hi CC,


I am so looking forward to tomorrow!  Regarding the Advil, I take a high-powered anti-inflammatory capsule every day because I have arthritis all over the place!  it is called indomethacin.  Lots of folks can't take it because it is hard on the stomach, but I am careful.  It is fabuous and when I couldnt' take it the week before surgery, I thought I would croak!!!


I will keep you all posted about tomorrow!





post #117 of 1572

Just wanted to say thank you for this post. I was told two years ago that I had Hallux Rigidus by a foot Dr. 

He wanted me to have the calcium removal surgery and I wanted to hike the Wonderland Trail around Mt Rainier. (which we did!)

I didn't get the surgery at that time and the pain went mostly away until recently. Thinking about doing a section of the Pacific Crest Trail here in WA this summer but my toe is in pain and swollen. Going to see the Doc in the morning. 

I stumbled upon your blog today, It was good to read about someone who has this challenge yet has an active life. Thank you for the Blog, It helped me with a lot of concerns.

post #118 of 1572

Good morning everyone,


Wanted to give you an update regarding my doctor's visit yesterday afternoon.  They removed the stitches yesterday and I got my first xray...Doc said everything looked good and put a big bandaid on my incision site.  I asked him about driving and get this y'all....he said I could drive as long as I used my left foot on the brake!  This goes against what ALL of you have reported and honestly, I don't think I will do it.  Made an appointment for February 28th for another x-ray and he said that one would tell the tale.  Doc mentioned that in 5% of patients the fusion doesn't work, but that he felt sure I would be fine.  I went upstairs yesterday for the first time and had no problem negotiating the steps (albeit slowly) and I also went grocery shopping yesterday on the way home from Richmond.  Anxious to see what you guys think about what my doc said!!!


Have a great day,



post #119 of 1572



I am so glad that you're visit went well yesterday that's great! Are you in a walking boot now? Concerning driving and just the recovery process in general, my rule of thumb is to take it slow and see how you feel. My doc said I could start wearing shoes the 1st of February but I've decided (given my experience with my other fusion) I'll try that during the weekend at home but probably won't eliminate the boot at work for another week or so until I am actually comfortable walking in some type of shoe.


I know you're happy to be back up stairs and off the air mattress! Have a good weekend and good luck next Monday when you return to the office.



post #120 of 1572



I actually came home with no post op shoe and my doc was furious that I didnt have one directly after the surgery.  He gave it to me on my first visit on the 17th.  I wear it all the time and even though he said I didn't have to wear it when I sleep, I wore it last night since I slept in the bed with my husband.  I was nervous he might accidentally kick me!  I was happy to be with him and the kitties since they don't come downstairs (scared of dogs)  I have decided not to try to drive, even braking with my left foot..for the 6-week period.  Of all the posts on this blog, I NEVER saw where anyone was able to drive sooner than that, who had a right foot toe fusion.  I don't want to take the chance of ruining my surgery or causing an accident.  In the case of a split=second decision, I am afraid I would use my right foot to brake, and that could be disastrous!


We will see how work goes on Monday...It is snowing here in New Kent County, Virginia, so you know my limping butt is not going out where I could slip!


Hope you have a great weekend!



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