I had a post op appointment yesterday (5.5 weeks after surgery), and after the doc looked at the x-rays they took that day, she determined it was time to wear shoes again since the bone was mostly healed.
Now I can sympathize with others who say how painful it is to put on a shoe due to a stiff toe joint. I don't have a lot of range of motion anymore, which means the process of putting on the shoe and walking is painful. I think though that walking along with the PT that was prescribed to me will be helpful in remedying this situation.
So for others of you who had reduced ROM of the great toe joint post surgery, how much did you get back and how long did it take?
I decided to go shoe shopping for this occaision since I really did not have a shoe that met all my needs--the major ones being that the shoe must be both flexible and supportive. I found a great shoe that doesn't hurt to put on, and is actually kind of cute. The shoes are a red pair of Keen mary janes. I managed to squeeze my swollen foot into a normal size for me, so they have more width than a normal women's shoe. So now, I may be walking funny, but at least I have cute shoes!
My doctor had me bending my big toe back and forth within two weeks of surgery for bunionectomies-- said that it was very important for flexibility. A physical therapist also suggested exercises like picking up marbles and a scunching up a towel using my toes, which I also started at two weeks. Eventually (I can't remember exactly when, but I think at either 4 or 8 weeks), I was also supposed to stand on my toes. Perhaps because of all that, I have had pretty good flexibility almost from the beginning and still have it almost a year post-surgery. I wouldn't think that five weeks post-surgery is too late to gain back the flexibility you lost-- Be diligent about following the advice you get from your doctor and PT and do wear shoes that allow your toe to bend; just don't overdo the walking-- go a bit further every day, but listen to your feet and stop when you need to. You should continue elevating (and even icing if needed) for some weeks to come. You will walk normally eventually-- I walked like an old rusty robot at first. It took weeks to regain a normal gait and I couldn't walk very fast for even longer than that, but by three months, I was 80% back to normal function and felt like 100% by ten months. I am very glad I had the surgery done; I am far better off than I was before. And it is sweet icing on the cake that, in addition to being pain-free, my feet look good for the first time in decades!