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Foot & Ankle Problems Message Board

Foot & Ankle Problems Board Index

I am almost at the 7-week mark of having my left big toe fused. These message boards have helped me understand some of the things I experienced, so I thought I'd share my experiences too.

I broke my toe many years ago and arthritis had developed to a point where I had almost no range of motion left and constant pain. I had also begun walking on the outside of my foot to favor the toe and developed a Morton's neuroma. I underwent the toe fusion to eliminate the toe pain and also in the hope of restoring the mechanics of the foot and thus taking the pressure off the neuroma. My surgeon says it's a 50/50 chance that the toe surgery will help the neuroma.

My surgeon installed a plate and 7 screws on 1/4/10. I was sedated and remember nothing of the surgery and felt good in the recovery room and on the way home. I went home in a cast and had a good bit of pain for the first 2-3 days. I got up only to go to the bathroom those first days. I had a prescription for oxycodon but it just made me dizzy so I stopped taking it after 2.5 days. I got better relief with tylenol.

After 1 week I went back to the surgeon and the cast was removed and I got a walking boot, with an ace bandage underneath. I was NWB for 2.5 weeks, at which time I went back to the surgeon and got the stiches out. Xrays taken at that time showed that all was healing well. The surgeon said I could start walking on my heel and gradually start putting the foot down. Since it is my left foot, he also told me I could start driving.

Progress since then has been very slow but steady. Each week I can do a tiny bit more but you cannot rush this. My foot swells, and when it swells it hurts. Mornings are better than evenings. I still ice and elevate as much as possible. I went back to work (office job) at 5 weeks part-time, and full-time at 6 weeks. I keep my foot on a stack of boxes or on my desk.

At 7 weeks now, I can have my foot down for 10-15 minutes before it starts getting uncomfortable. I can stand on it for about the same amount of time. I am having an annoying sensation at the tip of my toe when I stand up that feels like someone is pricking my toe with a needle. I hope that goes away. Also, when my foot swells I can feel all those screws in my foot and it feels terrible. I also hope that goes away with the swelling and that I won't have to have the hardware removed.

I go back to the surgeon in 2 weeks. He told me to bring a shoe, and if everything looks good I guess I will start wearing shoes, although right now I can't imagine that.

One helpful tip I will share came from a nurse friend who works for a dermatologist. I had heavy scabs on the incision that were pulling and pinching and very uncomfortable. My friend advised putting vaseline on the incision and covering it with gauze and a clean white sock. In a matter of days, the scab sloughed off painlessly and I was left with a clean pink scar that doesn't look bad at all.

I hope that in a few more months my foot is better and I am able to walk and stand for longer periods of time and get back to a normal active life. I also hope the surgery helps with the morton's neuroma but that remains to be seen. The surgery for that sounds kind of iffy so I don't want to go that route. There are alternative treatments to try for that, such as acupuncture.

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