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Old 10-24-2001, 04:09 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Ridgefield, NJ USA
Posts: 129
india22 HB User
Question Bunion Surgery & Screws?????

I had bunion & hammertoe surgery (L foot)on Oct. 1. The dr. said there are 2 screws on the big toe, he said sometimes the screws can stay in, but usually they give problems.

My Questions:
1. Am I supposed to have these screws out during a specific period of my recovery???
2.How would I know if the screws are giving me a "problem"??
3.Do I have to wait until there is a problem??

My foot is still swollen, but he has urged me to not use that "hard surgical shoe" but to use bigger sneakers, which will make the swelling go down.

ps. I go back to visit him on Nov. 5, where he said he'll see how walking in a regular sneaker & applying pressure is working out.

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Old 10-24-2001, 10:54 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2001
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firefly HB User

I had major bunion surgery 4 months ago, and had a plate and 5 screws in my foot. I had my "hardware" taken out a month ago, so I kinda know what you're going through. So I'll try to answer your questions:
1.) I don't think there is a specific period for getting the hardware removed or not. If you feel you want or need them removed, and your doctor agrees, then consider it when the time comes. It is another surgery to go through, though.
2.) Does your foot feel painful where the screws are?
Can you feel them in your foot distinctly? Do you feel that they are causing a problem? Ask your doctor what to look for as far as what problems they may cause or concerns you have about them.
3.)You shouldn't have to wait for a problem, your doctor should be able to tell in x-rays if there is a problem as far as screws and all that go. You know yourself, and if you feel there's a problem (or potential one) then let your doctor know. He'll know what to do and what's best for you/your foot.
As far as a sneaker shoe goes, I would take it easy and only wear them when you really need to-like going somewhere,etc. Doing too much too fast can set you back in the long run, and your foot will really be swollen if you do too much too soon. Good luck with it all and let me know of this helped you any.

Old 10-25-2001, 05:47 AM   #3
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 305
ana_24 HB User

It sounds like you had the surgery around the same time that I did (sept. 27th). I asked my doctor the same questions at my follow-up appt. last week. He said that some people leave the screws in for a while because they tend to miss follow up appts and not take it that seriously. He recommends having them removed because sometimes you can feel them poking against your skin. I still have bandages so I can't touch to feel if it's there but sometimes I'll feel something pinching and I wonder if it's the screw.

I want to have it out just to get it over with and avoid any possible complications later on. I am scheduled for the removal surgery on Nov. 5th and at that point it will be 5 weeks since the surgery. The doctor said that I can start wearing comfy shoes as soon as I feel comfortable after that.

I'm surprised that you can already wear sneakers since your surgery was after mine. Are all your bandages removed? I'm so tempted to take mine off but I'm scared of reprocautions. I'm just sick of having this giant foot. I don't wear the surgical shoe at all because I find that I can't walk with it, it's too stiff and since I walk on my heel, it's hard... I prefer to use the crutches to get around outside and at the office and at home I just walk around on my heel.

So how are you recovering overall? You still have swelling? I only had swelling for the first week and now I don't have any at all.

What do you think of your foot? I love the way mine turned out!!

Old 10-26-2001, 02:36 PM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Ridgefield, NJ USA
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india22 HB User

Thanks for the resonses!!!
After my surgery the doc told me to use crutches for the first week, but I still had the shoe.

After my 1st week appt. he told me to start walking on the heel with that surgical shoe. (which I was happy to do because I couldn't stand the crutches).

2 weeks after that he removed my stitches on the big toe and the little toe (I had dissovable screws for the little bunion). He also removed the pins in my other 3 toes, since I had hammertoe surgery.

I too was shocked when he told me to start wearing a regular sneaker. His reasoning was the "surgical shoe" is not flexible which causes the swelling to stay the same or get worse whereas wearing a bigger sneaker will give more cushion & support, but allow more movement.

It's been two days & I've been wearing a bigger shoe but I had to cut-out the front for more "width" room. I went to the mall, but after about an 1hr on my feet my foot did start to feel sore. So I went home, elevated my foot with ice & popped my prescribed Ibuprofen.

I just hated sitting in bed all day, but now I'm curious to know how long is "too long" to be on your feet.

Also Since pins were pulled out of my 3 toes, I have to wait unitl this Saturday, to take the bandages off & finally take a shower (as opposed to baths) -- When the doc took the bandages off, the area around the big toe is still quite swollen, but he said it's normal.

Old 10-29-2001, 06:03 AM   #5
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 305
ana_24 HB User
Thumbs up

Hello India,

It sounds like you're doing great! Has the screw in your toe been removed yet? Mine comes out a week from today.
I agree with the fact that the surgical shoe is not flexible at all. I find it very awkward and stiff and walking on the heel with it on is very difficult and puts a lot of strain on the foot. Maybe I should give it another shot now that the dressings have come down a bit but I think I will just bypass the shoe all together since I'm so close to normal shoes.
I'm also wondering how long is too long to be on your feet. Is it that your foot will feel sore and that is it or is it actually possible to do damage to the foot? I will have to ask my doctor.
Are you still walking on your heel or can you put your whole foot down now?

Old 11-09-2001, 10:10 AM   #6
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 305
ana_24 HB User

I just thought I'd update everyone (who cares ) on my recovery. On Monday I had the screw removal surgery and it went well. I had to go under general anesthesia again but it all went very quickly. My foot was a little sore after but only for a day or so.
Yesterday, almost six weeks to the day I wore a shoe for the first time since the surgery. It's an open toe'd summer slip-on shoe that goes on over my sock. I'm still limping but feeling better every day. Hopefully by tomorrow I'll graduate to running shoes.
Anyway, I just wanted to share my good news with everyone. I'm very excited about turning in my crutches tomorrow! Finally this whole thing is almost over!
Thanks to everyone for the support.

Old 11-09-2001, 08:02 PM   #7
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Ridgefield, NJ USA
Posts: 129
india22 HB User

Hey ana,
that's great that you got the screws out, but with general anesthesia. My doc told me I would be given a volume and the 2 screws would come out under local. When I suggested doing the IV with sedation he reminded me how I would have to go back through the whole "blood testing" thing.

I'm finally wearing a regular sneaker, but I had to buy New Balance mens size wide. I just can't wait to get back into a shoe, I haven't been able to go out to any nice places since all I have is theses oversized sneakers.

My doc said I should keep an eye out for any weird feeling where the screws are. He also said I can get them out anytime from now, but I told him I'd rather wait until January, because I don't wan't to ruin my New Year's plans by having to wear sneakers yet again.

Keep me updated

Old 11-12-2001, 11:45 AM   #8
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 305
ana_24 HB User

Hi India,
That's too bad that you're not going under for the screw removal. I didn't have to go through any blood testing... except when they put the IV in, they took a small amount of blood. I'm in excellent health so maybe that has something to do with it.
I know what you mean about not being able to go anywhere nice. I went out for dinner with some friends on Saturday and I didn't even feel like dressing up much because nothing looks good with running shoes. I can wear my own, normal ones which are nice but not exactly evening wear if you know what I mean I tried to put on a flat shoe today but it's hard to bend the foot to get it in. I'm hoping by the weekend...
The foot feels great though. Ever since the screw was removed, I have so much more flexibility and it's not as stiff. I can bend and move the toes up and down which I couldn't do very well before. I would definitely recommend getting the screw removed ASAP. Trust me, you'll feel SOOO much better. Then again, I only had one. But I found the recovery to be about 2 days. After that I was back to normal if not better than before. I had disolvable stitches which I removed this morning and I did not have any dressings after. I only had a small bandade where the incision was made.
If you're anything like me, getting the screws removed now will not in any way hinder your recovery. If anything, it will speed it up. Plus, it's 6 more weeks until New Year. I'm also looking forward to wearing high heels by then!!

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