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Foot & Ankle Problems Message Board

Foot & Ankle Problems Board Index

After spending hours reading about bunion surgeries gone haywire, I finally got registered so that I could post. I've been a lurker for several weeks.

I had surgery on Tuesday to begin the process of lengthening my big toe that was shortened during my second bunion surgery. The process is known as callotasis. Has anyone out there had any experience with this?

My saga began with surgery last November. I had a bunionectomy on my right foot along with a bone spur and hammer toe. I also had a hammer toe repair on my left foot. I left the surgery center that day walking on two heavily wrapped feet. My doctor's instructions were to take it easy and only walk with the reshoes on my feet.

With my doctor's approval I returned to work after a week of staying on the sofa with my foot elevated. I'm an assistant principal in an elementary school and spent quite a bit of time in my office with my foot propped up. I'm a type A personality and going back to work was my choice since I really don't like just sitting around doing nothing.

According to my doctor everything was fine. I got to ditch the reshoe on my left foot 3 weeks after the surgery. I continued to have lots of swelling in my right foot. Finally, seven weeks after the original surgery, my doctor called me to come back to his office. He had spent some time studying my last x-rays and confronted me with the news that the screw had not stayed in place. He said I had to have walked without the reshoe and that I had caused the problem. The only thing to do was to redo the surgery.

I was scheduled to have surgery at 9:15. I finally was taken for the surgery at 2:15. Two of the patients had had complications. I even asked the doctor if he wanted to put the surgery off until another day cause I knew the whole team had to be tired.

After the surgery the doctor told my husband that he had had to cut away part of the bone on both sides of the break so that he could put a new screw in place. This time he put me in a splint with crutches. He changed the splint to a hard non-walking cast which I was in for five weeks. When he x-rayed my foot after removing the cast, he found that there had been no growth because the two pieces of bone were not touching each other. He did not get good compression.

He ordered a bone growth stimulator ($4,470) and put me in an air cast. I used the bone growth stimulator for 10 hours per day for over three months. When the bone finally grew back together I had yet another problem. For some unknown reason the screw needed to be removed. I had that surgery in July.

When school resumed in August, I started experiencing a great deal of pain on the ball of my foot under the second toe. Immediately my doctor diagnosed it as a neuroma and wanted to schedule more surgery. I went for a second opinion.

The second doctor was not at all convinced that I had a neuroma. He had me put orthotics in my shoes and gave me a shot of cortisone. The next week he put me back in the aircast to give my foot time to rest. After three cortisone shots and three weeks in the aircast, he sent me to yet another doctor with the news that the shortened big toe was causing my weight to be carried by the second toe. Both this doctor and the one he sent me to suggested that I have surgery to lengthen the bone.

After much thought, I decided to have the surgery. I am 60 and want to remain active. I had gotten to the point that all shoes hurt. It just hurt to walk in anything other than the aircast.

I had the surgery on Tuesday. After about 10 days I will give the pins on the external fixation device a turn two times each day which will cause new cartilage to form and then be turned into bone. I need a centimeter's growth. I am taking the pain medication and keeping my foot elevated. I'm anxious to get back to work.

Has anyone every heard of this process? I would love to hear any information that anyone has. I'm going to keep this thread alive while I go through this process. It may help someone else someday.


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