I am three weeks post-op from an Austin bunionectomy. The foot looks great, I'm in no pain, and today I was cleared to walk! -- But now I'm going through a lot of the things I read about on this board. Now that the bandage is off my foot is starting to peel. I limp when I walk because my leg muscles have wilted away and my foot is stiff. --And, I can't get into my shoe! Not because my foot is too swollen (it barely is swollen at all) but because my toe won't bend enough to tuck it into a shoe no matter how much I loosen the laces. I'm trying to start my exercises (bending the toe backwards) but it hurts a little when I pull (a pinching feeling) and my whole foot is incredibly stiff. I'm not a whiner, I just don't know how far I can bend it without doing damage. Anyone have suggestions about how you got started with the exercises? How fast did you notice any results?
All your problems are exactly what I went through when I first got my cast off two weeks ago. For the peeling, I got an exfoliating sponge at the local drugstore and just got rid of all the dead skin on my foot, except I didn't rub the areas near my incisions too hard. As far as getting into shoes, if the doctor is saying that you can bend your toe and walk on it and be in normal shoes, I would go ahead and keep trying to get them on. I had to keep the laces of my left shoe undone for a week and a half and can still only tie it loosely. I've also found that it's easier and less painful for me to do the exercises with my feet on the ground as opposed to pulling on my toe with my hand, that hurt a bit more. Hope this helps!
Start doing your exercises as soon and as much as possible. I had a crappy doctor the first time that didn't give me any exercises, so a month post-op I went to get a second opinion for the pain and stiffness, but by then it didn't do any good. The joint was already becoming arthritic.
That was two years ago, and it didn't improve. Now I am having a second surgery in two days to correct the first. So please do your exercises before you lose too much mobility, even though it hurts.
Regarding the big toe exercises post-bunionectomy: I had a Lapidus procedure, right foot, on 6/3, and was in hard casts until 6/26. The doctor showed me the big toe stretching exercise on 7/3, after I was in the removable walking boot 1 week. I may have misunderstood some of these posts, so bear with me. I really don't see how I would have been able to start the exercises any sooner. While in the casts, my foot was immobilized and only the tips of my toes were exposed. How was I supposed to grab onto the big toe and pull on it? I still do a set of 12, 2 or 3 times a day, and really haven't had any persistent stiffness. It feels a bit tight when I wake up in the morning, but that's about it. And if this is as bad as it gets, its far preferable to the wobbly, floppy mess I had before surgery! So, in my particular case, it wasn't necessary to start exercising until the beginning of week 5. I don't seem to be suffering from any ill effects, anyway.