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Foot & Ankle Problems Message Board

Foot & Ankle Problems Board Index

I found various message boards and blogs to be a great resource when I was researching my surgery and post-op experiences, so I wanted to share my own story as well for others who are researching.

I was diagnosed with a moderate bunion on my right foot at the age of 34 - I've had the bunion since I was a child, but it only began causing me issues in the year prior to my surgery. My surgeon said I had a congenital bone defect that was causing the bunion in my right foot - I had no issues with my left at all. I only sought treatment after I started experiencing pain that didn't go away after stretching, soaks, massages, etc.

My surgery was scheduled for Tuesday 2/24/15 in a private outpatient facility. I arrived at the scheduled time and went through pre-op. Honestly, the worst part of the day of surgery was pre-op, as they had a very difficult time starting my IV (I have very tiny, roll-y, deep veins and being less hydrated from being NPO doesn't help). It took them 3 sticks, 2 Lidocaine shots, 1 blown vein and 58 minutes to get my IV going. I was sweating and so nervous by the time they were done! The nurse anesthetist is the one who finally got it started and then she immediately got the anesthesiologist to okay to give me some good stuff to help me calm down after all that mess, as they were running a little behind and I was going to have to wait awhile longer. I also got my first dose of anti-nausea meds at this point as well, as I am a puker with anesthesia.

I barely remember being wheeled into the operating room (yay Versed!). I had already spoken with my surgeon and they had already marked the correct foot, so I was happy to go let the meds take effect.

When I woke up in recovery, I was a little more groggy than I was for a previous procedure, but I think it was due to the extra calming meds they gave me pre-surgery. I had extra oxygen to help me wake up, as my body doesn't like general very much and I have trouble regulating my O2 sats. They were great though, and kept me on the mask instead of the canula and I was maintaining my sats by late afternoon and was cleared to go home. I got post-op instructions for wound care (there was none - I was to keep it wrapped in gauze until I saw the doc 1 week later), pain and anti-nausea meds, showed me how to work my surgical walking boot, and we were off.

I was wheeled out to our vehicle in a wheelchair, and then I transferred to the truck just fine on my own, bearing weight on my heel. Of course, at this point, my nerve block was still working, but I felt just fine.

Got home, ate some, took some pain meds and went to sleep at 6pm. Still not feeling pain, able to walk to/from the bathroom just fine on my own. I had my foot propped up on a foam wedge I bought at a med supply store - "toes above nose" was my new mantra.

Woke up at midnight and the nerve block was starting to wear off. Walking was painful, but tolerable. Took more pain meds, ate a snack, watched some Golden Girls and dozed on/off - foot propped up at all times. At this point I set my alarm for every 3 hours for my pain meds.

Day 2 - Weds 2/25/15
I woke up at 3 am and my foot was throbbing. I had a lot of trouble walking to the bathroom. I began icing behind my knee at this point.

6 am, pure misery. Nerve block was completely gone, and my bandage was really intolerable - the swelling was bad and it was so tight. My post-op instructions didn't say anything about being able to unwrap it - so I kept it elevated and waited for the office to open at 8 am. My surgeon called me to check on me before I could call them, and she told me I could absolutely unwrap and rewrap the ace bandage to adjust for my comfort, as long as I didn't mess with the gauze covering the wound itself. This gave me quite a bit of relief, but the pain was still intense.

9 am, I am unable to bear weight at all to go to the bathroom alone. Surgeon is surprised, as I have a really high pain tolerance in general, but she said feet are just sensitive for some people. I was unprepared without crutches or anything, so a friend loaned me a pair.

Took medicine regularly all day and kept foot elevated. Didn't feel like going to the living room recliner, so I stayed in bed all day.

Day 3 - Thurs 2/26/15
Hilariously enough, pre-surgery, I thought I was going to go back to work on Day 3 or Day 4. Hahahahahaha!

More of the same of Day 2. Pain meds around the clock.

I had not prepared well, as I did not think that I would have any issues - I typically don't swell or have pain issues at all, so while our nanny watched the kids during the day and took care of them and my husband was home at night, I hadn't prepared any meals for them, etc. I was VERY WEEPY on this day and cried a lot.

Day 4 - Fri 2/27/15
Friday - I returned to work for a half day, simply because there were a few things I had to get done. I kept my foot propped up on my computer hard drive and ice behind my knee, but this was not above my heart, much less my nose, and the swelling was excruciating when I got home. This was a very bad idea. My husband drove me and picked me up.

Days 5 and 6 were the weekend - pain meds, napping, elevated foot, ice behind knee - pretty much didn't get out of bed or the recliner, except to use the bathroom.

Day 7 - Mon 3/2/15
Payroll day at work, so I went in, processed payroll and two hours later I headed home.

Day 8 - Tues 3/3/15
First post-op appointment. My surgeon removed my gauze to check my wound, clean everything and re-wrap. I was shocked to discover that I had staples. I don't know why, but I just assumed there were stitches and we didn't ask. This grossed me out and made me really light-headed and nauseous. We discussed my pain levels and she wrote me another prescription, as I was almost out of the initial prescription. She said she preferred me to take them and manage my pain levels and we would wean off of them later. She told me since I wasn't walking on the foot, I could wear the post-op shoe (which is incredibly light) instead of the surgical walking boot while I was on crutches. This was awesome, as that boot is HEAVY.

I worked limited hours the rest of the week.

Day 15 - Tues 3/10/15
Second post-op appointment - my surgeon said she wasn't ready to remove my staples yet, I still had a lot of swelling and the incision wasn't as healed as she wanted it to be yet. She said I could start driving at this point, if I felt comfortable doing so. She preferred I drive in the surgical boot though and not the lighter weight post-op shoe, in case I had to slam on my brakes and stop suddenly.

Day 22 - Tues 3/17/15
Third post-op appointment - and I got my staples removed! It was quicker than I thought it would be and a HUGE relief. I didn't realize how much of the pinching/pulling pains were coming from the staples. Don't get me wrong - my foot still HURT. Having bone cut and screwed back together is no walk in the park, but getting those staples out did reduce my discomfort. I was told to start using the pain/scar cream and my splint. Icing behind the knee and keeping it elevated whenever I could. I get to start wearing tennis shoes

Day 26 - Sat 3/21/15
I couldn't take the ugly toenails a minute longer! They removed my polish when I went in for surgery and didn't do a spectacular job of it, so my feet looked so gross. My regular pedicure place cleaned them up (very gently), trimmed my nails, and painted them for me - at no charge! They were so sweet to me. I didn't get a real pedicure for awhile longer (it was after the doc said I could also take a real shower/bath and submerge my foot.

5 Weeks - Tues 3/31/15
I went in for a follow up appointment in a lot of pain still and with an incredible amount of swelling. I did not want to continue taking so many pain meds, and was feeling very down. My doc decided to do electrical and ultrasound therapy to see if it would help the pain, swelling, and scar tissue - this would be 2x/week for the next 4 weeks.

6 weeks - Tuesday 4/7/15
Regular post-op appointment and my xray shows my bone isn't healing as fast as she would like it to. She says I can begin wearing normal shoes if I am comfortable doing so - she suggests starting with just 1-2 hours a day in flats and then back to my tennis shoes.

Sunday 4/19/15
I got my first real pedicure. I had trouble explaining that they couldn't TWIST my big toe, but they were very gentle and it felt amazing.

I had multiple xrays in April and May until the surgeon agrees in June that I am healed up enough. I had another 4 week round of electric/ultrasound therapy in May/June.

Outside of that, I have had some periodic swelling which has lessened greatly over time (I have none now) and I don't have all the feeling back on the side of my toe/foot. I can tell I am touching it, but I can't really feel it. It's very numb feeling still.

I have photos throughout my experience, including one I took just today! But I think I have to have a few more posts before I can add them. I do have a lump of shiny scar tissue in the middle of my scar, but other than that, it healed beautifully - and it doesn't bother me at all. I would rather have that small, shiny lump of scar tissue than the pain I was experiencing before.

My experience wasn't what I expected, as far as the pain being much worse than expected, which led me to being a little down and having to ask for help and slow down (which I am not used to doing). But I would absolutely do this surgery again in a heartbeat. It has greatly improved my quality of life. I can wear heels, flats and sandals - any shoe I want! - without pain now.

If you have any questions, please let me know. I am happy to answer if I am able.

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