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Recovery of big toe fusion

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hey Bob! I had big toe fusion surgery along with osteotomy on the three toes adjacent to it in July of this year. Reading your blog, as well as that of a woman who ran marathons, and was also my age, and seeing you both had had very successful surgeries convinced me this was the best surgery for me as well. Your blog was very helpful in knowing what to expect pre and post surgery. My doctor is not releasing me to do any full blown physical activity until the end of six months-which seems like forever. You had mentioned your adjacent toe had healed quite well. I am still having difficulty achieving any movement in those three toes. I have had 12 physical therapy sessions which have helped with reducing swelling and achieving some muscle mass in my ankle and calf. I was wondering if you had experienced any reduction in movement in your adjacent toe and if with time that has recovered. I want to be able to run again and am feeling discouraged right now. I need to have fusion surgery on my big toe of my other foot and am having a difficult time convincing myself to do this again. I so hoped I would bounce back as quickly as you did, but I wasn't as physically active as you and knew also that everyone responds and recovers differently. Your success still inspires me and gives me hope!

post #2 of 4

Hi, Nanaruns5K.


I wish things were going better for you, but I honestly don't think I'm qualified to be of much help in your situation.  


I only had ONE osteotomy (on my second toe) and it has seems to have turned out fine.  I've played with that toe and the next one outboard and I can't tell that there's any difference in "movement" between the two.  


When you say you're not achieving movement, do you mean that the joints don't have any range of motion?  I would have no explanation for that as:


a) my own osteotomy was performed on the bone just "behind" (toward the body not the end of the toe) the joint and as near as I can tell that joint and the others (non-fused) still have normal range of motion,


b) I never had any physical therapy or anything because there was no damage to or work on the joint, which seems to me like the only way that movement could be impaired.


It looks like you're a new member to EpicSki, so I would encourage you to to send a private message (PM) to toecutter.  If you follow that link, you'll come to the member info page for toecutter  and one of the options there is to send a private message.


He (or she) has recently posted a number of very helpful and well-informed messages about how toe fusions work.  My assumption is that he/she is a professional in this field and could perhaps give you much better advice than I can.


Good luck with everything and I hope you start to recover very soon.

post #3 of 4


Don't get too discouraged. Recovery time varies greatly for each person.  I have had 3 rounds of big toe surgery and it took for each foot over a year  and lots of work on  my own  for many  muscles,tendons and ligaments  in the feet and lower legs to come back to life .  Partly due to activity restriction during healing,partly because things were not moving the way they were supposed to be before the procedures were done and partly because it took going to one more dr. and getting  xrays to show me exactly why my hemi-implanted toe did not move from most likely day one.  The procedures did not include fusion which someday I too might end up having done .  It sounds encouraging  that your muscle mass is coming back and that the therapist worked with you for 12 sessions and addressed not just the toes but also the lower leg.  I only got 4 sessions of PT only after the 2nd procedure that only addressed the frozen toe which PT could not move($$$  hemi-implant) and was told by the foot dr, that nothing more could be done except to fuse the joint which he no longer wanted to touch.  I was very disappointed that no lower leg PT was done even though my calf muscles were weak and looked wasted and I walked with a limp. Apparently  providers don't realize many of us who have been  very active  have higher goals than to just walk a short distance.   My thoughts are the following.


1. When was your latest xrays done? Could you see space for the joints to move?  Was the purpose of the osteotomies for pain relief and movement vs pain relief and straightening the toe? Sounds like  simple questions  but my osteotomy joint closed up even though the purpose was to get the toe to move. My sister-in-law's (hammertoe fix)was done mainly to straighten out the joint and pain control with no movement intended with the dr. telling her that was the intended result she never was told the word fusion but I guess that's what was done.  Sometimes dr.s  can be very vague in communication. 


2. If on the xrays you can clearly see space that the joints should move and you get yours dr.s okay for increased activity ask about another round of PT  thru the dr.1st and if says no discuss with the therapy office.  I found out if you don't ask you don't get. Sometimes the therapy office can get things moving(no pun intended) by nicely contacting the dr. and/or  insurance company for coverage. 


3. When you get the okay for "full blown excercise" but don't want or get denied therapy start your own therapy.  I found some ideas on my own that  worked well while other things were a waste of time.  Found lots of stuff online that was little or no cost. It got to be like a hobby that this year extended to skiing.  




Keep us posted on your recovery.

post #4 of 4

Good morning


If you have had a fusion....

I had 1st MPJ  toe joint fusion 5 weeks ago  (Dec 18)


Podiatric surgeon 3rd appointment coming up this Monday


I am 5 weeks post op now and with a cam walker boot i walk around slowly


barefoot sleeping i use crutches to bear no weight to get to the bathroom.


X ray this coming monday  5  1/2 weeks post op will be the 3rd series of xrays post op.  Doc says at 6 week mark I can drive in a croc shoe   - - just not walk in it yet - -  then goto work with cam walker boot .  Hobble/walk in that for a few weeks with no crutches.  I do not know when i can bear weight bear footed.....will ask him. 


Does this time line look right?


Any feedback or comments here?  Much Thanks



South Fla

former marathon runner

age 46 now

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