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Old 07-08-2004, 04:19 PM   #1
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Learning to walk again...

2 weeks ago tomorrow, my OS put me in a walking cast after being NWB for 6 weeks. I was not ready to walk out of the office, and he said fine, but try and be off crutches in 3 weeks. So, when I see him on the 16th of July, he wants me to be off crutches--but I just don't know if that's feasible! Nobody gave me any guidelines. My aunt, who's a PT, told me to "just start walking on it". It will be bad for a week, but I need to start building those calf muscles up again. I didn't like that idea, and called *my* PT, who helped me last summer and will probably do my rehab again this summer. He was much more into gradual weightbearing--5%, 10%, 15%, of my weight etc, so I did that.

As of now, I'm still using 2 crutches to support me as I get around. I was gradually weight bearing, but am afraid to give up crutches, so today, I told myself to get over it and walk with no aids. I have been walking around my house without my crutches. I am finding it very difficult to walk like this. My leg feels weak; my gait is off, and my foot is hurting. I'm walking heel-toe with my knee bent, like the cast tech said. Does anyone have any tips to share with me on how to get walking again? Does my pain/weakness seem typical? I was so worried about the surgery itself that I didn't think much about the recovery-- this is hard! Also, when do docs take you out of casts? I was NWB for longer than expected, and my OS keeps telling me I'll be out of casts "when I'm ready". I'm not pushing him, but I'm just wondering if the cast is keeping me from walking normally.

Thanks much for the help/support.


--Karyn

 
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Old 07-08-2004, 06:12 PM   #2
eko eko is offline
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Re: Learning to walk again...

Karyn,

I can't remember what you had done, but I can relate to learning to walk again and I am still working on it. Slow and steady is the way to go. The weakness and pain you are feeling is pretty typical. I take that you are in a non-removable walking cast. It probably would be easier if you were in a CAM Walker, maybe your OS will move you to that next. I was NWB for 3 weeks, then partially WB for 5 weeks. Keep on working on it, it will get better over time. -Ellen
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Old 07-08-2004, 07:08 PM   #3
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Re: Learning to walk again...

It sounds like you are at least making progress if you were able to try walking without crutches today. It's hard to see the progress day-by-day, but don't give up!

Instead of going straight from two crutches to no crutches, you might try using one crutch for a few days. You should use it on the side opposite your bad foot. When I first learned about people using one crutch, I didn't really see how it would make much of a difference or what the point was, but when I was getting off crutches I found that it really helped. It lets you take some of the weight off and helps with your balance.

Good luck and hang in there. If you keep with it, it will get better!

 
Old 07-09-2004, 07:12 AM   #4
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Re: Learning to walk again...

I had a re-correction bunion osteotomy and hammertoe surgery 8 weeks ago. For 6 weeks I was NWB. Now I am suppose to be putting weight on my foot. I have been using a walker instead of crutches as I do not feel safe on the crutches. I just do not feel that I can step on the foot and walk without the walker. My leg muscles are atropied. I know what you are going through. I never expected such a long recovery. I have not seen my doctor in 4 weeks. I have an appt on the 12th. Actually I have only seen him twice since the surgery. I am so frustrated I even have dreams that I am walking again. How did you take your first step? I know if sounds like a stupid question but I'm really apprehensive about the pain and falling.....

 
Old 07-09-2004, 08:24 AM   #5
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Re: Learning to walk again...

I had my surgery 3 1/2 weeks ago hammertoe, 2 bunions removed. I developed a bad infection was in the hospital for 6 days. I went to the Dr this past Tues. he said loose the surgical shoe and crutches today! Let me tell you.....it was VERY painfull and extremely hard at first. I used one crutch for the first day and today I'm walking without anything.By the end of the day my foot is very sore and painfull. By the end of the day if I have to leave the house I use the one crutch method.You should really try using one crutch.Just keep trying, don't give up! As they say NO PAIN NO GAIN....LOL
Good luck, Sue

 
Old 07-09-2004, 01:39 PM   #6
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Re: Learning to walk again...

I was NWB for 6 weeks then went to a walking cast. It took me about 1 1/2 weeks to be totally free of the crutches. I used then both while putting slight weight on my foot. I gradually increased to walking with one. First I started taking a few steps at a time without them. Even when I was walking without them, I had the crutches handy. Good luck and each day will be a little better than the one before it.

JDM

 
Old 07-09-2004, 09:18 PM   #7
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Re: Learning to walk again...

Thanks for all the help! I'm shocked that the doctors don't give many suggestions for weaning off crutches! I've been making myself walk around the house without crutches, but I hate it. I know I have 6 more days, but I don't know if I'll be able to walk, no crutches, into my OS visit. It's a long walk from the entrance to the elevator, and an even LONGER walk from the elevator to his suite... I might make it there on one crutch, but not zero.

I'm really trying to deal with the pain at home walking alone, but when I go out, I support myself with two crutches. I'm faster, and feel more confident. I feel "jerky" without my crutches... I don't feel like I can roll through steps on my right foot; that I'm limping. I'm a little concerned because my aunt, a PT, told me that if I feel off balance, I should get some PT right away-- if you start developing gait problems while healing, it really throws the rest of your body out of alignment, and could lead to future knee/back injuries, etc.

jdm, how long were you in the walking cast for? I love my OS, but he's not very helpful in letting me know what's up next... Do I go to another walking cast, or what? He tells me, "I'll be ready when I'm ready" What is a CAM walker?

cuvanni, I just put weight on my foot while being close to something that would catch me if I fell. Try a counter, table; etc. I would try PWB first though, but I feel I'm still in the same boat you are. I want to push myself, but I'm just finding it really hard to judge how much. I know that walking is the only way to get strength back in the muscles (at this point), but I'm afraid to push too much, and that's no good either. I don't think I should be in pain, and if that's the case, I'm not going to push it, but no one gave me any goals, or told me what I should/should not be feeling. I know everyone's been saying "it will get better everyday" but so far, it's getting worse as I up the time I weightbear on my right foot. I just wish my OS could tell me what's perfectly normal--and what to watch out for.

Hang in there everyone!

--Karyn

 
Old 07-10-2004, 05:04 AM   #8
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Re: Learning to walk again...

[QUOTE= I'm a little concerned because my aunt, a PT, told me that if I feel off balance, I should get some PT right away-- if you start developing gait problems while healing, it really throws the rest of your body out of alignment, and could lead to future knee/back injuries, etc.

[/QUOTE]

Hi Karyn,

I have some concern about limping and gait as I recover from a bunionectomy (three weeks post at this point). I'm able to put on my regular shoes (so happy!) and walk almost normally in them, but when I am barefoot I still hobble and I cannot seem to put my weight on the toe. I keep walking on the outside of the foot, and my foot actually seems bent a little this way--that is, the inside of the foot seems turned "up" off the floor a tad. My doctor said it just feels this way because of some residual swelling around the toe (and of course it's still numb there) and any knee problems I have while walking funny will resolve as soon as I start walking normally again. But your comment about the need for PT worries me. Is there really a window of opportunity in which PT can help, and if I miss it will I be stuck with permanent damage? The only PT I was prescribed was to do toe flexibility exercises every day, and apparently my toe is unusually flexible for this stage of the recovery. Any thoughts on other exercises I can do at home to make my barefoot gait more normal?

 
Old 07-10-2004, 05:30 AM   #9
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Re: Learning to walk again...

Karynlr...

I know exactly what you are going through. My OS did not give me any instructions on walking nor did I even get any instructions on how to use the crutches after surgery. For the 6 weeks I was NWB I used a wheelchair because I felt so unsteady on the crutches. I now am using a walker as I feel safer. Believe me, I feel your frustration. I have an appointment tomorrow with the OS and hopefully I'll be able to get some helpful information on how to take that first step. At this point I'm not sure how much weight to put on my foot or if I should try to bend it when I walk. I think 4 weeks between appointments is too long. I feel like all they were interested in was doing the surgery and the rest of it was for me to figure out. My doctor is with a large orthopedic group in Tampa. He was highly recommended. I'll let you know what 'advice' he gives me. Take care....

 
Old 07-10-2004, 07:14 AM   #10
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Re: Learning to walk again...

My mind is also not working....I have an appt on Monday, not tomorrow.....

 
Old 07-10-2004, 10:33 AM   #11
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Re: Learning to walk again...

squirrelmom,

I think what my aunt was saying is that once you start babying your foot, or walking incorrectly, you put stress and strain on other parts of the body--the wrong parts-- and that can lead to problems in the future. Do you still see the PT? If you don't, I'd call them back. They *should* look at your posture, gait, etc. I think some guidance from the PT would help prevent any future problems.... it's worth a call. She lives a couple of time zones away, so maybe I'll call her tonight and see what she says, because it's becoming a problem with me too! I think your PT is the one to call on this, though, because no one seems to stress as much proper form and function as they do-- it's just not an area of expertise with these doctors. Your recovery sounds fast though; is your recovery typical of bunionectiomies?

cuvanni,

I've heard about that gigantic practice before--is it really organized? I thought the 8 doctor practice I see is big, yours really is! The 8 doctor internist practice I go to is so unorganized; but my OS is amazing. Every call, inquiry, or concern is handled by the end of the day, and you either have seen the doctor, have an appointment for the next day he's at that office, or have a prescription waiting at the pharmacy. 4 weeks does seem long though... I've had only a couple of weeks inbetween mine. I forget, are you in a cast? You might want to ask your OS for some PT before he'd normally prescribe it. It sounds like you are having a tough time just trusting that leg, and PT might give you the confidence/support you need. They can also help you strengthen the leg muscles too, so you don't feel as wobbly, if that's the case!

Who knew recovery would be this extensive? It's hard to learn first hand that they truly mean "use it or lose it"!

--Karyn

 
Old 07-13-2004, 07:10 AM   #12
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Re: Learning to walk again...

I had my doctor appt yesterday and he has prescribed PT 2X week for 6 weeks. He said I have so much scar tissue as this was the second surgery on my foot. The first bunion surgery was done incorrectly 12 years ago. This surgery was much more extensive. The PT will help strenghten my leg and help me walk. After reading some posts on this site I have felt like what's wrong with me as some people are up walking and back to work after a short time. I have been out of work almost 9 weeks and the doc wants me to be out another 6 weeks. Guess I didn't realize how extensive the surgery was. Thank goodness for disability income from work.....

 
Old 07-13-2004, 07:16 AM   #13
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Re: Learning to walk again...

cuvanni,
What type of bunion surgery did you have and what kind of work do you do?
Thanx, Sue

 
Old 07-13-2004, 09:08 AM   #14
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Re: Learning to walk again...

cuvanni,

What did he say about you not walking yet? I was doing well, and then a few days ago, I started getting horrible pain in my foot while walking. It's in a different place than my incision (the medial part of my foot in front of my heel), and the shooting pains have gotten worse. I know my OS will be disappointed, but I don't think I'm going to make it from the entrance to his office without some support from crutches. Do you have a cast still? I'm wondering what he's going to do on Friday... When do you start PT?

--Karyn

 
Old 07-13-2004, 09:53 AM   #15
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Re: Learning to walk again...

Susieblueeyes....I had a re-correction osteotomy. I'm not sure of the name...They cut the bone further up and away from my toe so that is why it was so unstable for walking. They removed the screw from my surgery 12 years ago. It was down closer to my big toe. I have 2 incisions for the re-do. One on the side of my foot and one on top of my foot. I also have a long incision on my 2nd toe and up my foot that is from a hammertoe. They removed part of the joint, released some of the tendons and repositioned the toe with a long pin. I work as a Senior Underwriter for a large insurance co. Even though a lot of my work is sedentary, a lot involves getting around the office to get files, faxing, etc.

Karenlr.... The doctor said that because of my prior surgery I have so much scar tissue so that is preventing me form bending my foot. He also is putting me in PT to help with my gait and the strenghtning of my leg as my leg looks like a toothpick compared to my other leg. I never had a cast, just the ugly blue surgical shoe. Personally, I think if I had been seeing my doctor every 2 weeks instead of 4 weeks I would not be in this predicament. My OS is one of the best in the country. He may be an expert at surgery but I feel that his follow up care could use improvement.... If I were you I would not push it until Friday. I would let your doc take an x-ray and make sure there is nothing going on....My first appt for PT is next Monday....I'm apprehensive but I'm also looking forward to taking that first step on my own...GOOD LUCK on Friday. Keep us informed......

 
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