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Foot & Ankle Problems Message Board


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Monday (10/26/09) marks 6 weeks since my bunion surgery. Im in my late 30's.They cut off the bunion, and broke the big toe to straighten it, putting in a permanent screw below the joint in the big toe. Did not have anything done to smaller toes. (I wasnt able to tolerate any real meds with narcotics in them in this whole experience, including week 1. I've had to survive on OTC NSAIDs.)

I was told to not do any weight bearing for week one and to use crutches while starting to put down weight through week 2 . However, it probably took me almost an extra week before I was able to put any degree of weight on it b/c once the doc rewrapped it at the one week mark I was in a great deal of pain. So I still had crutches at the 2 week check up.

At that appt... My doc said by the 4 week check up I better not bring my crutches with me. :-) And I didn't bring them. But i had to tell him I occasionally need them at night if I go out or first thing in the morn if I'm way overdue for pain meds. He said that's unusual by week four but that he believes I have a high sensitivity to pain. (But I also found if I overdid it, it would cause knee pain or hip pain from walking so oddly to avoid hitting certain painful parts of my foot. So I tried to wait to shed crutches til I could walk straight.)

Oddly, it did not hurt to get stitches out like I expected but every time they rewrap my foot and put gauze between my toes, it kills. He said that's odd. :-) But did anyone else experience that?

I just want to know from your great msg board--even tho we're all different-- to make sure I'm not experiencing anything abnormal and will describe some pains below. Now that I'm about to hit week six, I mostly don't use crutches but my foot definitely still hurts a lot!

It's very swollen, esp at night. I still have wrappings on it til Monday. I had no idea I'd be in the volume of pain I am by this point and thought it was 6 weeks recovery then done. NOT that I'd spend up to a year recovering (like many of the msgs make it sound like is norm).

Here's some examples of pain I'm feeling at random times, not all at the same time:
-Sudden 'stabbing pains" like someone's sticking needles into my foot in various places.
-Sudden 'ripples' like as if a nerve gets hit and it ripples pain throughout
- Stabbing pains in sync with pulse
-Stinging or burning where incision is (but it's definitely not infected)
-Massive itching (least of my concerns... that's probably good even if annoying)
-And sometimes the sensation as if a hand is tightly grasping my entire foot.
Sometimes it comes out of nowhere.
-Other times, I feel duller pain on an ongoing basis.
-I was in agony the week of the surgery having muscle cramps on the bottom of my foot as intense as charlie horses and I couldnt do anything to get them to go away (since the norm solution is to walk it off or pull back your big toe). (Any one else have those??) Thankfully, those are now much more rare.

I walk way better in the morn or early afternoon. I'm especially in pain today from 'standing' to clean my place for a couple hours today, including vacuuming. But is that really too much to do at 6 weeks?

I know I can't drive til I'm in a sneaker. I'm supposed to start being able to after Monday but that is very difficult for me to believe given the pain level.
Has anyone found they go somewhere and swell too much to drive back home after being out?

The other 4 things I need advice about are:
-What to do to make me most comfortable when flying (b/c I have to, in a few weeks?)
-My surgeon says PT is not a part of this for me. A lot of ppl seem to find that crazy. Can anyone direct me on where to read about good stretches once I can move my foot around without the wrapping?
-How long can I expect to need OTC pain meds to live with this?
-Once you were cleared to be back in a normal shoe, did you have to rotate with your surgical shoe if you swelled up? And if so for how many weeks did you rotate?

Thanks for your help! I've greatly enjoyed reading many other posts about other people's surgeries. I'm must sorry I didnt find the site sooner... or I could probably not have to post such a long note. ;)))
are you having a lot of swelling? IME the swelling is what makes it hurt most when you are past the intial few weeks. The throbbing with pulse, the itching, the pain with the dressing sound like they could be related to your foot swelling and the dressing getting tight etc. Do you elevate it as much as possible? Even when I had my other foot done (lapidus procedure) by week six I was able to get around ok, no crutches, no pain meds. Though I did have pain at the fusion becaue it took a few months to form a union. My doctor said to get a good arch support.

as far as foot cramps, I've had these in the past. They improve when I start taking a vitamin with extra minerals, or straight up magnesium supplements.

are you a smoker by chance? smoking tends to really delay healing, especially feet where there is not the most blood flow.
[QUOTE=rightie102;4107890]

Here's some examples of pain I'm feeling at random times, not all at the same time:
-Sudden 'stabbing pains" like someone's sticking needles into my foot in various places.
-Sudden 'ripples' like as if a nerve gets hit and it ripples pain throughout
- Stabbing pains in sync with pulse
-Stinging or burning where incision is (but it's definitely not infected)
-Massive itching (least of my concerns... that's probably good even if annoying)
-And sometimes the sensation as if a hand is tightly grasping my entire foot.
Sometimes it comes out of nowhere.
-Other times, I feel duller pain on an ongoing basis.
-I was in agony the week of the surgery having muscle cramps on the bottom of my foot as intense as charlie horses and I couldnt do anything to get them to go away (since the norm solution is to walk it off or pull back your big toe). (Any one else have those??) Thankfully, those are now much more rare. [/QUOTE]


Are you still in pain? I had surgery 11-5 and recently i've had some odd sensations like tingling, burning and numbness. I know the numbness may get better over time and the burning feels like its on the incision area but the tingling feels very funny, i don't like it. Not sure what i can do to help with the tingling. Has anything helped with you?
Hi Rightie,

I had a very similar surgery like you. I'm 20 yrs old and I also had my bunion cut at the side with my big toes broken and realigned with a temporary screw. My surgery was done Oct. 2 and today marks my 6th week post.

I was told by my surgeon that I could walk around with my surgical shoes the night of the surgery. It was excruciating for the first couple of days so I only got up to walk when I had to and I was only taking oral meds (tylenol 3's) for 3 days. I didn't take anymore oral meds after that. By week 2, I also attended my surgeon's appointment with crutches, but I was not in much pain...the crutches were more for my balance :( I had my feet rewrapped at this point and dressings were wrapped in between my big toe and second toe...that part didn't hurt...it was just alittle sore.

4 and a 1/2 weeks later I had my temporary screws removed and my dressings were taken off as well. When the screws were removed, I didnt' feel pain...it was more of a tingling discomforting feeling. Since then, everything has only been going uphill. My big toes were a little swelled and were pretty bruised but I could wiggle them a little. (I don't know if it helped, but I was wiggling my toes pretty much a couple days post surgery)

I did have random needle pricking moments for both my feet around week 3-4...and it wasn't as if I had just walked around...it would come even while I was sitting with my feet elevated. I thought it was just my skin being irritated to the end of the screw that was sticking out so I didn't bother to find out why.

I also had alot of itching all over and around my wound area during this time. It was quite annoying since I couldn't scratch at it with the extremely thick layers of dressings. For me, this itching felt the same as if I had a scab forming over any other wound on my body....so I figured it was a good thing.

As to the stabbing pains that were in sync with your pulse, I also experienced that during my first couple of days after surgery. It was so bad that all I wanted to do was sleep because that was the only time I could forget about my pain...(even with the meds :( ) However, after the first couple of days, it never came back for me.

I was also not given any PT advice by my surgeon right after the surgery...so I just did as much as my tolerance level allowed me. I often wiggled my big toes and tried to walk. My surgeon did tell me to do calf pumps after my surgery, by moving my foot back and forth 5 times every hour to provide circulation in both feet. I found that quite useful in helping to adjust from an elevated feet position to a standing position and vice versa. This would make my feet feel very numb and discomforting, but the calf pumps lightened the numb feeling.

I will be flying out of the country next week and I am a little nervous about it. I have already got myself a pair of slip on shoes that I am planning on wearing just in case my feet decide to swell...i just hope that will be warm enough (we've had snow already! :( )

I hope this post has given you some insight on my experience. Everyone is different in their own healing process and maybe since my screws were temporary and yours were permanent...that could also differ the recovering process. All in all I hope you're feeling better! :)

[QUOTE=rightie102;4107890]Monday (10/26/09) marks 6 weeks since my bunion surgery. Im in my late 30's.They cut off the bunion, and broke the big toe to straighten it, putting in a permanent screw below the joint in the big toe. Did not have anything done to smaller toes. (I wasnt able to tolerate any real meds with narcotics in them in this whole experience, including week 1. I've had to survive on OTC NSAIDs.)

I was told to not do any weight bearing for week one and to use crutches while starting to put down weight through week 2 . However, it probably took me almost an extra week before I was able to put any degree of weight on it b/c once the doc rewrapped it at the one week mark I was in a great deal of pain. So I still had crutches at the 2 week check up.

At that appt... My doc said by the 4 week check up I better not bring my crutches with me. :-) And I didn't bring them. But i had to tell him I occasionally need them at night if I go out or first thing in the morn if I'm way overdue for pain meds. He said that's unusual by week four but that he believes I have a high sensitivity to pain. (But I also found if I overdid it, it would cause knee pain or hip pain from walking so oddly to avoid hitting certain painful parts of my foot. So I tried to wait to shed crutches til I could walk straight.)

Oddly, it did not hurt to get stitches out like I expected but every time they rewrap my foot and put gauze between my toes, it kills. He said that's odd. :-) But did anyone else experience that?

I just want to know from your great msg board--even tho we're all different-- to make sure I'm not experiencing anything abnormal and will describe some pains below. Now that I'm about to hit week six, I mostly don't use crutches but my foot definitely still hurts a lot!

It's very swollen, esp at night. I still have wrappings on it til Monday. I had no idea I'd be in the volume of pain I am by this point and thought it was 6 weeks recovery then done. NOT that I'd spend up to a year recovering (like many of the msgs make it sound like is norm).

Here's some examples of pain I'm feeling at random times, not all at the same time:
-Sudden 'stabbing pains" like someone's sticking needles into my foot in various places.
-Sudden 'ripples' like as if a nerve gets hit and it ripples pain throughout
- Stabbing pains in sync with pulse
-Stinging or burning where incision is (but it's definitely not infected)
-Massive itching (least of my concerns... that's probably good even if annoying)
-And sometimes the sensation as if a hand is tightly grasping my entire foot.
Sometimes it comes out of nowhere.
-Other times, I feel duller pain on an ongoing basis.
-I was in agony the week of the surgery having muscle cramps on the bottom of my foot as intense as charlie horses and I couldnt do anything to get them to go away (since the norm solution is to walk it off or pull back your big toe). (Any one else have those??) Thankfully, those are now much more rare.

I walk way better in the morn or early afternoon. I'm especially in pain today from 'standing' to clean my place for a couple hours today, including vacuuming. But is that really too much to do at 6 weeks?

I know I can't drive til I'm in a sneaker. I'm supposed to start being able to after Monday but that is very difficult for me to believe given the pain level.
Has anyone found they go somewhere and swell too much to drive back home after being out?

The other 4 things I need advice about are:
-What to do to make me most comfortable when flying (b/c I have to, in a few weeks?)
-My surgeon says PT is not a part of this for me. A lot of ppl seem to find that crazy. Can anyone direct me on where to read about good stretches once I can move my foot around without the wrapping?
-How long can I expect to need OTC pain meds to live with this?
-Once you were cleared to be back in a normal shoe, did you have to rotate with your surgical shoe if you swelled up? And if so for how many weeks did you rotate?

Thanks for your help! I've greatly enjoyed reading many other posts about other people's surgeries. I'm must sorry I didnt find the site sooner... or I could probably not have to post such a long note. ;)))[/QUOTE]





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