The Other Foot

It has been 2 1/2 years since I had the bunion surgery on my right foot and the question still gets asked if I will do the other foot? Not likely any time soon if I would be able to. Each foot is shaped completely different, but it does not bother me physically. The appearance bothers me less. Since I have had a blood clot and still have a blood disorder, I have been told it might be difficult to find a surgeon to do the surgery anyway. I have a 19 month old that would make the recovery very unpleasant for all in the house. Honestly, I don’t experience much if any pain the left foot with the bunion. The most awkward part of my life when it comes to my feet is when the pedicurist sees them for the first 5 seconds…

A Different Foot

Lifestyle changes your feet. I have been working from home for the past 8 months, about 83% of the time according to the Clean Air Campaign, Monday – Friday, some Saturdays a month. I do not wear shoes of course working at home. Most of life lately is spent bare-foot. Needless to say, I like wearing shoes a little more than brushing my teeth. I have slowly started going back to the gym and refuse to wear anything but my Vibrams. They are more comfortable, especially for Zumba class. My calves are tight for days, but I am content. After having 2 sprained ankles in the past few years after wearing the traditional soled shoe, I have changed my mind. Athletes would say I am too novice to wear the Vibrams as I do. Doctors would tip their noses up. As I drive to my overpriced gym wearing my toe shoes….

Foot Pain Self-Assessment Tool

The Institute for Preventative Foot Health has a tool that helps determine foot problems. Click here or go to http://www.ipfh.org/index.php/foot-conditions/foot-pain-self-assessment-tool.

Vibram Five Fingers Being Sued

I did not want to post it, but I had to keep you informed. The company that creates my shoe of choice, Vibram Five Fingers, is being sued for over $5 million basically challenging the proclaimed benefits. The woman leading the suit, Ms. Bezdek, states she was damaged in some way. For me personally, I wear them as an anti-bunion shoe mainly, all my opinion, but I just don’t think they encourage bunions like almost all other shoes. Although, I have defended the other health benefits to many. We’ll stay tuned to see the outcome…

 

Read the full complaint here.

Click the following for more info: Article 1, Article 2.

Those Are Some Killer Heels Girl!

What girl does not love heels! I still do. But wearing them is another topic. I hardly ever wear them anymore. If you did not know already, heels are not the best for you from a foot health standpoint, and are among one of the most blamed to cause bunions. A recent study said heels, “changed their alignment, their muscles and tendons, even the way they walk.” An Atlanta foot surgeon claims 2 out of 5 of his patients need medical help stemming from shoe problems!

References: Article 1

Vibrams, Too Ugly to be Smart?

I’m in a Vibram mood. I love my Vibram Five Fingers. If you are considering these shoes, here are some pros and cons I have encountered:

PROS:

  • ***Vibrams don’t encourage bunions!!!***
  • Knee Health – the creators of these shoes claim these minimalist shoes are better for your knees, especially for you runners.
  • Ankle Health – there are supposed ankle perks as well, compared to traditional running shoes.
  • Increased Lower Body Strength – because these shoes are minimalistic, you are forced to use your lower body strength more.
  • Balance Improvement – from my personal experience, namely while doing my beloved Zumba, I definitely noticed decreased balance issues. It is as if I have to use my feet and calves more to balance when exercising.
  • Light Weight – these are a hair heavier than $2 sandals.
  • Easy to Clean – throw them stinky suckers in the wash and you will feel like new.
  • Injury Reduction – Harvard recently published a study on minimalist shoes reducing running injuries.
  • Energy Savers – Harvard also stated running in these can save you 5% in energy, so you can run longer!
  • Forget It – With my lifelong feet problems, I have always “felt” my shoes. Once you put these on, you forget they are there. Just don’t strap them on too tight.
  • Foot Muscle Improvement – these are proven to strengthen foot muscles that cannot be with traditional running shoes
  • Reduce Overall Tension

CONS:

  • Ooglay! Be sure you have sufficient self-confidence – some will call your shoes ugly! And you will get looks…
  • Lack of Support – there is next to no support other than an added “skin” to the bottom of your feet. Foot doctors and surgeons loathe this fact.
  • Hot Road – you might want to think twice about taking a slow-paced stroll in the summer months for an extended period of time – the heat of the road permeates through the soles after some time.
  • Initial Learning Curve – it will take you a few times to get accustomed to putting them on.
  • Not for the El-Cheapos – I am a self proclaimed el-cheapo (for practical purposes) but believe the benefits outweigh the costs. The cheapest pair in the store is $79, although Amazon has some starting at $39….
  • Check the Weather – be ready to take a shower when you get home if you get caught in the rain, because your piggies will be stinky! It takes a light shower to get your feet wet in these.
  • Beware of Hype Skeptics – some say these shoes simply create a new sales market for those just interested in the moolah.

Bunion Surgery Legendary Lawsuit

An odd lawsuit has arisen from bunion surgeries in recent months. Apparently, some greedy Californian doctors were trying to make extra bucks off some folks’ unsuspecting feet! Aetna has filed a lawsuit against several hospitals and doctors for overcharging their patients for the lovely bunion surgery… as much as $66,000 for the surgery! Just a note, my bunion surgery, which included cutting into my big toe, reattaching it, straightening out my 2nd toe, shaving the slight bunion on the other side of my foot, and patching it up with a shiny plate and two screws cost about $21,000, $700 or $800 of which I paid out of my pocket including co-pays and medicine. And my doc said it was an “extensive surgery.” We’ll see what happens at the end of this trial…

References: Article 1, Article 2, Article 3

Favorite Shoes for Bunions

Prince Harry has caught on. He was caught buying a pair of my favorite, Vibram Five Fingers, according to USA Today. Apparently, the US Army has banned the shoes but the Marine Corps says it is not that serious. These weird shoes feel the best on my special feet. Since my bunion surgery last year, I have worn flats, wedges, tennis shoes, heels, flip flops, and boots. Flats scrape my left bunion. Wedges still squeeze my toes together promoting the return of my bunion and just hurt. Tennis shoes do the same and still make my left foot tingle and become numb after a while. Heels do all of the above. Flip flops feel ok but are bad for the ankles. And boots never fit the right way because my feet are each shaped differently now…

18 Month Update

No regrets! The foot is awesome! We had a fire drill at work today and had to walk down 11 flights of stairs before walking 3 or 4 blocks and then back. The corrected right foot showed or felt no signs of the lovely travel. It was my left foot that bothered me, the one that I did not have corrected yet. I was wearing flats. When I consider the day and what shoes to wear, it is the left foot that semi-dictates the outcome. I am not sure if I will be able to have my left foot done any time soon or at all, given my 4 month old and my new found blood disorder. I was also able to sport 5 inch wedges and 6 inch stilettos (for a few hours at least) during a recent wedding weekend I attended! And I have a bolt and a couple screws in my right foot! The pediatrician advised me to ask my hematologist when I need to test my son for the blood disorder…

Bunion News: Huffington Post

The Huffington Post wrote a quite informing article on bunions and posted a rare diagram that shows moderate to severe bunions. They also posted some facts about bunions, when to seek treatment, and how to limit the progression of your bunion. Click here to read the article…

Blood Clot Update

I decided to have a blood test done in order to determine if the [life-changing] blood clot I got following the bunion surgery was truly from the surgery and not due to a blood disorder since it was odd I got the blood clot in the first place. The past few years I have eaten healthier and been quite active, so I did not think it came from a lifestyle issue. Neither of my parents are aware of any family members having a blood disorder or even a blood clot. I had to wait to even take the blood test until 6 weeks after the delivery of my first child so the hematologist would be able to pull a true number. Turns out, I have a protein s deficiency. I am not too familiar with this disorder, but the doc said I am more likely to clot than not. So any time I have a surgery, pregnancy, extended down time, and so on, I have a higher risk of getting another blood clot than regular folk. Hopefully my son will not have the disorder. So if you have any family members that have had a blood clot or have a blood disorder, you may want to check your protein s levels to be sure you do not have my problem before you have the bunion surgery. This issue is mainly hereditary, but rarely it does come from a vitamin k deficiency. So eat your leafy greens. Kale and spinach hear I come…

Foot Progression

From left to right shows the progression of the healing of my right bunion over a period of one year and two months.

1 Year 2 Month Update

The right corrected foot still looks great over a year later. This is post baby and post swelling. Some say a woman’s foot can change permanently after pregnancy, getting larger during and/or after delivery. My feet look the same as pre-baby to me. I have been feeling like my right 2nd toe has been a bit jammed lately; maybe I kicked something? I just pull the piggy out a bit and all is well. My right foot still fits better into shoes compared to the left foot. Will I ever get the left foot done? Not sure. The side effects of the recovery for the right foot has changed my medical conditions indefinitely. Not even sure if a doctor would do the left given the blood clot I got from the right. If you are seriously considering surgery, this is something to think about when you decide if you want to do one or both at the same time. Your recovery from the first surgery will help determine the second, whether you like it or not…

Bunion Surgery + Birth Control = Blood Clot + Pregnancy = Shots

Here is what happened, I have just not had a chance to share:

  1. I was on the daily pill for birth control.
  2. I asked my nurse practitioner and foot surgeon if it would have any effect on the bunion surgery.
  3. They both said NO.
  4. Wrong.
  5. Birth control has a side effect of blood clotting.
  6. Coupled with the bunion surgery which carries its own risk of a blood clot.
  7. = Blood clot.
  8. = Not likely to ever get a doctor to prescribe me birth control meds ever again.
  9. = Daily blood thinner shots whenever I am pregnant.
  10. = High risk pregnancies going forward.
  11. = Double doctor’s appointments.
  12. = Forced labor inductions and high risk for C-sections.
  13. = Blood thinner meds (Coumadin) before, during and after any future surgeries.

Lesson:

Always get a second opinion. Always check all your meds before doing the bunion surgery. Check with the doc and yourself. I have had to give myself a shot a day in the stomach (Lovenox) the first 35 weeks of pregnancy and 2 shots a day in the leg (Heparin) for the last 5 weeks. Not fun.

Amen. God let it happen for a reason, but just thought others need to know. This likely all started with the bunion surgery…

1 Year Update

So here is the picture of my foot a year later. Mind you, I am 9 months pregnant, it is the end of the day, when my feet are the most susceptible to swelling. And this is not bad swelling from what it has been. Being pregnant, my feet swell all the time and my left foot (which still has a bunion) gives me more problems than the right. Mostly just not fitting into shoes…

9 Month Update

It has been a while, but the foot is well! The foot is swollen again, daily, but not because of complications or side effects, but because it is full of water because I am prego! Yay! There is no more pain other than what would understandably cause it. There is actually less pain since I still hit my other protruding foot bone from time to time since that one still sticks out. My pregnancy is considered high risk due to the recent blood clot that came from the foot surgery. Pictures and more details to come…

Bunion Physical Therapy

Progress! Bita, my part time dancer slash physical therapist, said I have surprisingly gained 20 degrees of movement in my poor big piggy! I have had 5 uncomfortable sessions out of the expected 8. My regular toe gets 48 degrees of movement, which is impressive in her book.

Anyway, here are some particulars on my therapy:

  • Twice a week & hour long sessions with physical therapist
  • Exercise toes on my own 2 to 3 times a day

Here my home exercises (I need to vacuum):

  • Move toes back & forth 30 times at the middle toe joint (1st & 2nd picture)

  • Move toe back & forth 30 times at the joint between the foot & toe (3rd & 4th picture)

  • Bend toe under for 3o seconds (5th picture)

  • Push up on toes  bringing heel as high as possible for 30 seconds, 3 times (6th picture)

  • Push high on tippy toes 10 times, 3 repetitions, increasing an additional 5 times every week (7th picture)

5 Months

Physical Therapy:

After 3 sessions of hour long toe therapy, I already see and feel much improvement in the 1st and 2nd toes. The pain during therapy is about a 7 out of 10 and during the day maybe a 2 out of 10 on the 1st 2 toes. My 2nd toe pulsates with the most pain for some reason. The therapist [part time dancer] has me do stretches for about 5 minutes each and 2 to 3 times a day. She said my beloved Zumba is ok to do, just no jumping or hopping. So I happily make my adjustments during Zumba :) If and when I do the next piggies, I know now to bend those joints much sooner and harder than I did this time around.

Blood Clot:

I am taking a baby, 81 mg Aspirin daily to wipe out the last of the enemy blood clot. The vascular doctor said I should probably do this until the end of my days! I’ll have to research that. He said he wants me to be as active as possible. He also wants me to see a hematologist 3 or 4 weeks after being off coumadin to be sure I have no underlying blood issues. He does not fully feel good about me having a blood clot at my age and my health. Either way, I have faith, no matter what, I’ll be just fine.

In General:

I wore some semi-heels a couple days ago! It hurt a bit, but a good stretch for my toes. I am not sure when I will do the next foot. The husband and I have gone through a lot with this one and due to medication issues and other ‘things’, we’ll just have to see.

4 Months & 3 Weeks

It has been a while and a lot has happened. The pain is finally about the same level of a “regular” foot and has been for weeks now. It only really hurts if I have walked a lot during the day or worked out. Yes, I have worked out. I finally did my Zumba for the the first time last week for 2 hours!!! My calves, feet, thighs, and knees were sore the following 4 days. I attribute that to the lack of activity for the past 4 months. Surprisingly, I was able to do the quick steps, to a certain degree, as well. I probably could have done Zumba earlier. And I did them in my new vibrams!!!

I have also been prescribed physical therapy for the next 4 to 6 weeks. After an appointment with the foot surgeon, he said my toes were too stiff. I feel I have been to conservative with my recovery. This is a hot topic for me, but I will not get on my soap box at this time. My biggest trumpet at this time will be this:

Before you have any surgery, complete thorough research on any current medications you may be on prior to surgery!!!

I feel I have paid the price by not doing this and I will enlighten you soon as to why. Just needed to post a quick update…

Day 84

Week 12

Foot pain has been non-existent except for it being uncomfortable. The bottom of my foot under the second, corrected toe is very stiff. I still cannot bend that toe. I have been walking in flip flops, not sure if that is the best move, so I will try to wear tennis shoes. I have had the desire to return to my long awaited Zumba, but I know in my heart it is too soon. I still have a limp I try my best to avoid but cannot. I think the reason is the lack of toe flexibility and the atrophied right leg. But things are getting better! But I am still called by my handicap nickname by some.

As for the blood clot, I can still feel it is there. The Coumadin is working though. My INR is 3.9 which is high, meaning thin blood. The vascular office said no Coumadin today and 2.5 mg Wednesdays, Fridays, & Mondays, 5 mg the rest of the days. I read at 4 or 5 INR there is a risk of uncontrolled bleeding. I have faith. God knows my number, my body, my condition, better than me or any doctor. I will do my part, listen to them, pray, & have faith. Still having the headaches, but less often, maybe every couple days & not as glaring.

Week 10 & 11

The foot pain continues to decrease. At the end of the day, there is really no pain, but the foot is tired, if there is such a thing. I can walk across the street in Midtown to get lunch, which is about a 10 minute walk one way. I still walk slow with a limp. I attribute this to the slightly less thigh and calf muscle in my right leg. My right thigh is about 3/4 inch smaller than the left. The orthopedic surgeon said this is normal atrophy and walking as usual will bring it back to normal. I am able to wear flip flops on the weekends and tennis shoes to work. I am going to buy regular shoes as I have noticed a few comments and a few looks at work. When the foot swells during the day, that must be considered, and tennis shoes can be easily loosened and adjusted. The 2nd, corrected hammertoe bends a bit more but not much. So walking down stairs normally will take more time; I walk down sideways.

Coumadin is ok, not great. I have been fatigued and had headaches almost every day since I have been on it, usually waking up with one. I must admit I was somewhat frustrated with the vascular surgeon and staff about the explanation. They have said headaches are not a regularly reported side effect, so it must be coincidence. I must disagree, since I normally do not get headaches unless I do not drink enough water, which I have been making it a point to do so. A second opinion from my primary care physician confirmed this and said he is not sure exactly the cause. He suggested it may be because I grind my teeth at night and I may be more tense since being on Coumadin. He checked a few places on my body and said he does not think it is a major concern. After a few phone calls more to my vascular doctor, I will rely on prayers about it at this point…

Day 65

The Frankenstein foot is no longer the main issue, just the blood clot now. Although, it is still reddish purple. I’ll call the foot doc tomorrow. I am picking up speed. The pain is minimal, just discomfort. I still half to keep the calf sideways when sleeping since I can really feel the blood clot area. I just sleep with a pillow between my knees. I am off the blood thinner shots! The doc said my blood is good and thin at 3, but if it goes lower they’ll adjust the dosage. They said 2 to 3 is good, so I am on 5mg a day of Coumadin.

Day 64

The foot is looking pretty good! These are pictures at the end of the day when the foot is swollen the most. I wore tennis shoes to work for the first time today! I have not been able to fit my foot into any of my shoes until today. It felt a bit cramped, but they have been free flowing for 2 months now.

I think I am feeling the side effects of the Warafin. I have had:

  • a few minor headaches
  • fatigue
  • skin sensitivity
  • The pain feels less and less every week or so. I feel my foot trying to get back to the normal way of things without so much special attention. I do think I have babied it a bit much.

Day 63

The new foot is really narrowing out, especially when it is not so swollen. The left wound is nearly closed, but I think the blood clot meds slowed down the closure. It  seems it is redder underneath the 3 incision scars, maybe due to the Coumadin / Warafin. I pretty normally cooked a meal in bare feet. The foot discomfort is mostly tight, stiff, and tingly. The pain is maybe a 1 out of 10, mostly ignorable. I noticed my right calf and thigh are smaller than my left. I still walk 1 stair at a time going down, but normal going up. I tried going down the regular way when I saw a wasp, but I soon heard an odd pop in my hip and figured I would take the sting instead of the alternative if necessary. I am sure I will see the sunny side of all this once I am more healed.

Week 8 & 9

I eagerly drove to school and work 4 days this week. Pain has been just a slight discomfort about a 0 to 1 out of 10. The Frankenstein foot still swells every day, although not half as much as it used to. No pain meds this week either. I tried to bend my toes, with success from all but the hammertoe that was corrected. I received a shooting pain when I really tried to bend it. I’ll leave it straight. I’ve bumped my big & 2nd toe a couple times this week, lightly. There was added pain the rest of the day when I did. Titus, my 65 pound mixed Shepard, stepped on the right side of my foot where the bunionette was removed with his dragon feet, so I had additional pain there the rest of the day.

The blood has not gotten worse, has not gotten better, & has not moved. The Vascular doc is finishing me off on the shots and put me on Coumadin for 2.5 months. This means no left bunion surgery at least for 3 months. I have to get blood work once a week as well. They prescribed 5 mg a day of Coumadin and will check Monday if that is too much or too little. They were not direct when I asked if the clot should be gone in 3 months. I noticed similar pain to the night I felt the blood clot initially when I slept for about 11 hours – I was completely exhausted that day. I cannot do that anymore. I must force myself to stay up. I got up about 3:45 am and took a walk around the living room. I just wish I knew why to some things…

Day 55

I am able to take a quick shower standing up now. The foot is still a darker shade of red than the other foot. The pain continues to be mainly discomfort after working a few hours, getting an oil change, doing a little shopping at Target, and driving! I iced and elevated it about 1.5 hours. I am even able to walk bare footed a couple steps. The shots are becoming harder to insert and definitely more painful going in. Of course the foot is still swollen, but much less than at first.

I Want Some Vibrams!

My husband bought some of these some months ago and I want some so bad! I must wait until my other surgery is done and my feet are no longer swollen though. The doc said these will be fine. I have to be careful going forward and which shoes I wear since bunions can come back. I think these will help the toes stay separate. These are designed better for the knees as well.

Day 51, 52, 53, 54

The foot is finally starting not to look like a monster foot! The hurried doc said the yellow stuff was OK, an absolutely normal part of healing. He said to wash the slightly opened wound with soap and water and that will help it heal faster. The man nurse stuck a glob of Neosporin and band-aid on it. He instructed to keep it clean and top it off with Neosporin. The pain has been about a 0 to 1 out of 10 in the foot. Sweet sleep is back to normal other than adjusting the calf with the blood clot. I notice, I was sleeping with one knee on the clotted calf in the middle of the night. I quickly changed positions. I wonder if I have been doing that and if it encouraged the clot? I am starting to feel the blood thinner shots more. Meaning, the pain. I started to bleed as I take the needle out the last couple of times. I think the blood is really thinning out. I found a bruise on my left knee and I am not sure where it came from. The vascular nurse said my body would be more tender.

Day 48, 49, 50

Drove from the mail box, over three speed bumps, & home this weekend! Also, drove right outside my complex to the oil change place! It was 5,000 miles over due, someone had to do it. I drove the stick shift & the automatic. It was pretty ok. I have to make slow gasses & brakes as I wave to the drivers zoom around me. I drove to family group too! Maybe 2 miles. My foot feels like I should not be driving much. My husband prefers to drive me to school & work, understandably. We have to take the highway & I do not want to risk having to slam on the brakes. Pain has been a 0 to 1 out of 10.  Sleep as been almost normal, with a few seconds of waking up a couple times each night to shift or remove the ice pack.

I saw a tiny bit of pus coming out of the left incision though. Called the doc on call & he said to call my doc in the morning since I only have warmth & not really any additional pain. I have changed the band-aids daily. The day the doc said I could wash my foot I started too, but quickly stopped when I saw one wound was still a bit open. That might have done it? I am going to stay positive. The doc on call said no ice packs, keep it elevated, & keep it dry until the morning.

Here is my shot bucket for my bio-hazardous needles. It is getting full. I need to drop it off at Walgreens…

Day 43, 44, 45, 46, 47

Started summer school back this week, so been busy. Day 45 was my 6 week foot appointment. Here’s the news:

  • Can finally wash my nasty foot!
  • Can start driving!
  • Can wear a regular shoe!
  • X-rays look good!

Pain has been 0 to 2 out of 10. The pics are of the foot right after the doctor appointment before washing for the first time in 6 weeks! Gross! The dead skin had to be a millimeter thick. I spent about 40 minutes trying to get most of it off and it could still use a good washing. Note: avoid picking dead skin off, it can expose open wounds. I will stick to strictly washing with a sponge. The left wound was a tad bit open still, so I am sticking a tight band aid until it closes. The doc said it was ok though. I do not have to a wear a wrap around the foot anymore either. And I only need to call the doctor as needed.

The vascular surgeon said the blood clot has not gotten worse or moved, but not better. But this is good news. He will see me in 2 weeks and I will continue my daily blood thinner shots. This will take months to completely heal. There is a chance I may have to put the left foot off for three months depending on how the blood clot turns out. I only elevated and iced the foot maybe 2 hours today and I have little foot pain. The calf is more tender than the foot sometimes.

I plan to start driving this weekend short distances and see how it goes. The 2nd toe cannot bend too well and I feel some toe nerves going a bit berserk, especially the big toe…

Day 42

Sleep has been better. I still wake up frequently but only momentarily to change foot positions, maybe every other hour. Tonight is my first time staying away from home overnight. A lot of stuff to bring (pillows for elevation, ice packs, stool for bath, shots, etc). The pain was between 1 & 2 today out of 10. Still some swelling of course. I had a really good nap, barely wanted to get up. This has not been the norm. I normally sleep light & wish to sleep harder. I believe the injections are the main contributor of the pain reduction. I took the nap right after the shot. Still ice the foot, elevate, but walk hourly, other than the middle of the night. The blood clot creates a double edge sword. Walking makes the calf feel better but the foot worse. Elevation makes the foot feel better & the calf worse. I am glad I have been doing well with my eating habits the past few weeks. I noticed I have been less hungry since I am less active. My more active days I am more hungry. I have been able to lose a few pounds since the surgery, not overweight anymore. So you don’t have to gain weight while you are down apparently…

Day 41

Pain is definitely better. It started at about 1 & ended at about 3 out of 10 by the end of the day. The blood thinner shots work quickly & provide pain relief. Keeping the foot elevated sideways with the foot not pointing straight up, but to the left or right is most comfortable. I can feel the blood clot; it is like a lump of soreness. At least I can track where it is at, hopefully. The doc does not want it moving up my leg. It is in my vein, not my artery,& veins move the blood toward the lungs. The shots are  not as bad as they sound, less pain than a bee-sting…

Day 40

Last night my calf was throbbing & I could barely lay still. It was about a level 6 out of 10 in pain & I had to pray myself to sleep. Putting the foot 3 pillows high, laying on my left side proved to be the least painful position. This morning it felt better, but my calf was still sore on the under side. Laying it on anything makes it more sore. I could not get a hold of the doctor or his staff… Thank goodness for loved ones, I was about to go to work & my husband suggested I still go to the doctor. They soon called me back & said I need to got the hospital now for a DVT test…After a gooey, leg long ultrasound, I have a blood clot.

I was then sent to another hospital for an available doctor. After an expected chat, she said it is a small clot, & she said we may can get away with a lesser treatment… A self-induced shot every day! For 2 to 3 weeks!… After I picked my heart out of my stomach, she said she would check on me in a week. She stated it was most likely due to my bunion surgery & the fact that I was sedentary so long. She also also instructed me to get off birth control today, because that probably did not help. Regardless that I have been on it for 12 years. I can feel where the blood clot is…

Day 39

Got a lot of rest and felt a hair under refreshed in the morning. The pain started advancing late morning though, maybe a 2. By the end of the day, it was definitely a good 4, and by bedtime maybe a 5 out of 10. Took one Tylenol in the afternoon that seemed to halt the progression of pain. Tomorrow I must find a better way to elevate the foot and keep it iced much more. I also have major dead skin pile up on the foot. I suspect because it cannot be washed yet, therefore the skin cannot be scrubbed off on an ongoing basis. The foot is throbbing and the leg is a bit numb. All I could do for the past two days is lay down and ice the foot…Almost thinking I went back to work a bit too early…One more work day and the three day weekend is right on time.

Day 38

Slept not even 6 hours, woke up in the middle of the night for over an hour with allergies. By the end of the work day, the foot was burnt out. I was not tired, but my body was. I planned to take a nap at 8pm and woke up at 11pm, just to go back to bed at 1130pm until 730am the next day. The work week is catching up with my body. The pain started less than 1 but ended about a 3 out of 10…

Cards always make me happy…

Day 37

Got a normal 8 hours rest, waking up a couple times though trying to get comfortable. Worked a good regular day with the foot elevated & iced most of it, made a world of difference by the end of the day. Velroing the ice packs to the foot works wonders. By the end of the day, pain is barely a 2, maybe even 1. The foot is tingly & just a tad tight, but a difference from past days. Still keeping ice when I first go to bed, but I don’t need an ice pack to sleep when it goes warm. Still keeping it elevated while I sleep too. The foot is peeling a lot though, probably since I have not been able to wash it, per the doc. He says it decreases infection risk by not exposing it to air or water. Have to be conscious of not walking with a limp, there has been pain in the lower back, maybe due to keeping it elevated at work or my pillows? Not sure…

Day 36

Got about 7.5 hours of sleep with 2 Tylenol but still waking up in the middle of the night a couple times. But the sleep is definitely getting better. Not able to put the foot up at work for too long today, moved to a new floor & had to unpack. Maybe had the foot elevated 2 hours total at work with an ice pack. I hemmed some clothes on my new sewing machine after work for about 2 hours and had to use my foot for that. I noticed some yellow under the gauze, have to call the doc about that in the morning. Foot is a discomforted 2 out of 10 at the end of the day…

Cards are always uplifting…

Day 35

Did a lot today, had to sit with the foot not elevated or iced about 5 hours, walked to a few places as well. I walked in Wal-mart for the first time since the surgery (wanted to pick out a sewing machine). I quickly fell into a 4 hour nap as soon as I had the chance. Daily routines are maybe 75% back to normal. I still cannot drive myself anywhere though. At the end of the day, the foot is throbbing at about a 3. Taking 2 Tylenol for a good sleep for the 1st 40 week back to work…

Day 34

I slept about 8 or 9 hours. I washed all the laundry & put most of it up. I sat down maybe a total of 6 hours today, kept the foot elevated about waist high & iced most of that time. I went out to eat about 9pm, but still don’t like doing that since the foot throbs more when I go out later in the day. Really no need for the crutch today. Pain is mostly at discomfort now, maybe a 1 or 2 at most…

Day 32 & 33

The 1st & 2nd full days back to work were rough. I kept my foot elevated just under waist level for most of the 2 days & ice packs along with it at my desk. Thank goodness I just sit most of the day. Pain was mostly discomfort but ended at about a 4 by the end of both days. The hammertoe was throbbing specifically. I definitely think the pain has made me more emotional in general though. I barely slept the night of the full 1st day back to work. It was hard to fall asleep & then stay asleep. Icing & elevating the foot as much as possible before bedtime is makes for better sleep I have learned. Everyone at work has been great of course. TGIF…

Day 31

Finally getting a sense of normalcy. I was able to wash some dishes, go to work for 4 hours, and worship at church for 1.5 hours today. The foot is swollen now of course, between a 2 or 3 out of 10. I walked up the stairs one foot a stair for the first time, although this takes more balancing. Still using one crutch near the end of the day when the foot is tired & needs extra balancing. The foot certainly feels “looser” after the pins came out…

If You Have Pets…

I have a 9 pound, 7 year old cat, Kitty, and a 65 pound, 8 year old dog, Titus. The doc’s assistant said there really was no need to do anything special, just the obvious. They both are obedient when I tell them to skidaddle. I was able to take Titus out maybe once in the first month though. I have 3 flights of stairs and I do not go down them unless I am going somewhere I need to. They were really a joy to have while down. The first couple a weeks I only had interactions with my husband, not that that was bad, but I had  come to appreciate people more, not to mention the sky. Titus and Kitty happily kept me company in my small room every day, all day without a question. They make me so happy, especially when I am less than 100%.

Day 30

Got some good sleep last night for the first time in a while. My body felt like it actually rested. I continue to wake up once or twice in the middle of the night, but I can force myself to go back to sleep after about 20 min. I think my worrisome body has become used to waking up at a certain hour of the night & I have to maybe train it to relax! I think I have unconsciously (and at first consciously due to the throbbing pain) slept lightly because I have had to make sure my foot did not hit the wall, adjust the ice pack, or my Kitty didn’t get too nosy. Other big news: I went to work today! For only 4 hours, but it went ok. I have been blessed with wonderful co-workers. They kept asking if I needed anything and did not want me to get up at all. My foot was throbbing a bit afterward, maybe a 3 out of 10, but not bad. The pain is only about a 1 otherwise. I have to think about walking because I tend to keep my foot tensed as I take steps and I have to force myself to walk with a regular stride. It is much easier to attempt to roll my foot as I walk since I do not have pins sticking out of it anymore.

Day 29

2nd Post Op Appt.

I am wonderfully able to sleep about 6 to 7 hours straight (aside from allergies in the middle of the night) with the foot elevated 2 pillows high & just one ice pack during the night…So the nurse removes the dressing & bandages. The foot has a red tone, some bruises, & an attractive blister on the top.

De-pinning time! The doc says as he walks in. I finish my prayers. My husband knows the drill. He comes over to hold my hand as I start to take deep breaths. Dr. Scott says this should not hurt & begins to tell us a story. He asks my husband if he is squeamish & my husband laughs. I cannot look at the 2 or 3 inch pin coming out of my toe because I am. Not so bad though. I begin to feel the usual hot flash, flipped stomach, & dizziness for the 2nd pin coming out of the side of my foot. The doc says this one may be a bit more tender. The best way to describe it – kind of like a buger being pulled out of your nose, not bad at all. The idea hurts more than the actual performance. The doc says everything looks good though. He wraps my foot back up & says to come back in two weeks. The nurse said it will be throbbing some later on today…

Day 28

I am able to walk down stairs slowly without the crutch now, just have to focus on balancing a bit more. I held Sasha today at church & was just fine. I as also able to stand up & sing praises to the Lord today. Note: having an equally high shoe for the left foot helps. Pain was about a 1 out of 10 today.

Day 27

Tis’ my birthday today. I enjoyed some pancakes at IHOP & picked up Sherlock Holmes & 9 at Blockbuster. After that, I was in throbbing pain, not too bad, about 1 or 2, along with tightness. I was ready for a nap afterward. Naps still make the foot feel better. I kept the foot iced & elevated only a handful of hours today. But after a dinner with some friends, the foot was throbbing at bedtime at about a 3 out of 10…

Day 26

I walked without the crutch mostly today, very slowly. Still keeping and ice pack & elevated when I can, just because it helps the pain & swelling, especially after walking (even to the kitchen). I’ve been editing a website, blogging, & reading mostly, with the exception of Ellen, she is so funny! My husband took me food shopping at Harry’s today (note to self: go early in the day before the foot is aching). I still used the crutch going up & down my 3 flights of stairs outside. Walking is much more than walking. It is balancing, catching yourself if you slip, etc. I reluctantly used the riding shopping cart for the first time. At first I felt silly, but I soon appreciated it. Many people looked at me wondering why I was on it, I assume. I never realized how those with disabilities felt, even now, I am not extremely disabled, but it is different. I appreciate ramps, close parking spots, hand rails, etc. much more. Pain was about 1 or 2 most of the day, but was a 3 or 4 by the end of the night. The doc was right; the smaller bunionette incision hurts more than the other larger ones…

Doctor Questions & Thoughts

Thoughts

  • Decide if you want a podiatrist or orthopedist surgeon. I had an orthopedist & advised from others to go that route
  • I strongly advise you get recommendations from actual people for the doctor you choose. I had 2
  • Can the doctor do the surgery during the beginning of the week, preferably in the morning? Doctors are human, by Friday afternoon they may be exhausted – you don’t want surgery then.

Questions for the Doc & Staff

  • What fees need to be paid up front? What is the normal range? the surgery center fee was my up front fee
  • How long should someone stay with me as I recover? I comfortably “used” my husband quite a bit for at least 3 weeks
  • How soon will I be able to drive?
  • How early should I bear weight on the foot? they had me bearing weight on my heel on the way home from surgery
  • When do I wash the foot myself?
  • What is the estimated recovery time frame? 6 weeks best case for me
  • What is the estimated time frame I will need to be off work? 6 weeks for me
  • What is my insurance reporting as my coverage? [After you have scheduled the surgery] call your insurance company as well
  • Ideally, how many hours a day do I need to keep the foot elevated & iced? For how long? I needed it 23 hours / day the first week, most hours / day the second & third, & still doing it 1/2 the day around 4 week mark…
  • Can I have a doctor’s note for school? they gave me one
  • Will anyone ever be alone with me while I am under anesthesia? [This answer should be no] no, they said this was against the law as well
  • When do I start taking the prescription pain medication? it was 4 hours after the surgery for me
  • What is your infection rate? should be low
  • Do you recommend I correct both feet at one time? my doctor did not – it is alot of work for whomever cares for you afterward, & I personally could not imagine double pain!
  • How soon can I have the other foot corrected? mine said 8 weeks
  • How can I prevent future bunion issues after surgery? see my section on Interesting Bunion Info
  • What are the anticipated benefits of my surgery? How likely are they? mine were decreased pain, mobility & function restoration & he anticipated good likelihood
  • What procedures do you recommend for my situation? mine were right bunionectomy, hallux osteotomy, 2nd PIP resection, & 2nd metatarsophalangeal release
  • How often do you do the procedures I plan to have? I think he said every couple months
  • What medications do you prescribe after the surgery? mine was just percocet
  • Where will the surgery take place? I had the option, but it ended in a connected surgery facility (note: this may make a huge difference with fees)

Crutches…

  • Place your weight in your arms, not the armpits
  • Always keep them near you
  • Be sure you know where they are (never know when someone moves them)
  • Bring them with you outside the home when you first start walking without them (never know when there are stairs or realize how slow your are walking when there are people around)
  • Always check for wet floors (kitchen, bathroom, etc.), crutches are not slip-proof
  • Always stay a few feet away from people (they have good intentions, but sometimes are not watching out for you)
  • Your palms may start hurting after a week or two from using them
  • Make sure the path is clear, wherever you are crutching to (you are most likely not going to be able to clear it when you get there)
  • Remember - you cannot hold anything while on 2 crutches! Get a book bag or bag of some sort you don’t have to hold in your hands (it will save you much [fill in the blank])
  • Click here for more crutch info