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Old 04-06-2009, 10:09 AM   #16
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Re: If you have had your big toe fused, please respond

Ellen,
Pure and simple, your positive attitude is healing. Thanks so much.
Footfalls

 
Old 04-06-2009, 02:37 PM   #17
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Re: If you have had your big toe fused, please respond

Hi tijean
I am also in Mississauga, Ontario and we have this great medical supplier called MediMart. I am now 4 weeks post op from a Toe Fusion and was able to go back to work after just two weeks with the help of a walker I rented from MediMart for just $50.00 per month. Since I am an Administrative Assistant to the Principal of a Secondary School it is a busy area. The walker allowed me to go wherever I needed in the early days post op and as a result I didn't have to bother anyone. I am able to get around in the office very well and when I am seated at my desk I can also elevate the foot with the walker as well. I was very fortunate to be able to be off painkillers after only 4 days and haven't taken anything since. I suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis as well and I think having to go off my injections for that has been a challenge, but I am quite positive that I have done this surgery and it will be less painful that what I have been experiencing the last 3 years+.
I agree a positive attitude sure helps in the healing process.
I hope everyone continues to heal quickly.
Sharon

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Old 04-06-2009, 04:56 PM   #18
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Re: If you have had your big toe fused, please respond

hello all,

I had my left big toe fused on 20 November 2008. I have a long history of RA (for more than 20 years); I am 47 and apart from RA I am a healthy person. I never was a runner, but prior to my surgery I used to go to gym 3 or 4 times a week , inspite of all RA business.

My surgery involved not only a fusion of the big toe, but I also had osteotomies of all lesser toes on my left foot because my toes were dislocated and crooked. The surgery went very well, however, my surgeon wanted me to stay in the hospital for 5 days (and I did enjoy it bacause it was much easier than to stay at home!) ; the first 2 days I was on strong pain-killers, but after 2 days I was off and since then I haven't had any pain-killers at all...or maybe just occasionally.

I was in a cast NBW for 6 weeks; at 6 weeks K-wires were removed from my lesser toes and I was allowed some partial weigh bearing on the heel and on the side of my foot; I was wearing a post-op shoe for another 8 weeks and I was using crutches; I went back to work at 7 weeks post-op. I am an IT professional, so, my work is pretty much sedentary, there is not need for me to move around much.

Also, at 6 weeks I went back to my RA medications; at that point I started to experience terrible RA flares in my other foot (right foot) and my right anckle and my rists. This was mostly because I was putting too much pressure on my other RA foot and rists when using crutches. Actually, by now my other foot has completely deteriorated, therefore, the next year I have to do the same surgery on my right foot. (hopefully, my left foot/ fusion will heal by that time).

At the moment I am 4 and half months post-op. 3 weeks ago I've graduated into sandals, Rockport. I still use 1 crutch when I am in public places or in the shopping centre. I am limping awfully. After i started wearing sandals, my big toe started to hurt a lot; now I wake up at night because of pain, however, it is mostly a very dull pain, quite bearable. As I've already mentioned, I still cannot walk properly. Most likely, I am behind the normal healing schedule and it will take another 2 or 3 months for me to walk more of less normal.

Of course, you have to be positive abouth the outcome of the surgery but you have to keep in mind: - fusions are prone to non-unions, mal-unions/ delayed unions and this could be pretty dangerous from pain and healing point of view; if non-union, you may end-up with repeated surgeries. I still do not have a solid union - and this it at 4 and half months!!! Also, whether or not you will be able to wear heels depends on the angle the fusion is done, so you should discuss the issue of heels with your doctor prior to the operation.
I was very naive and totally relied on the judgement of my surgeon, and now I can clearly see that the angle my fusion was done doesn't allow me to wear any heels at all and that it why my big toe started to hurt when I've started to wear sandals (the other day I measured the heel on my sandals and it appears that my sandals have 1.2 cm heel - I mean cm not inches).

What else I can add? - at the moment I cannot call my gait a 'gait' , because it is simply a bad limping. I am avoiding putting weight on the ball of my foot because of the dull pain and because I sill do not have a solid fusion; my left leg is now thinner than my right leg and my posture has changed because of incorrect walking and crutches... But, my husband and my friends are optimistic - the moment I have solid fusion, I should resume my gym workouts and hopefully, my body will back to normal.
I wish all of you good luck and a speedy recovery! Take care!
Vicky

Last edited by shell4; 04-06-2009 at 05:02 PM. Reason: spelling

 
Old 04-06-2009, 06:17 PM   #19
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Thumbs up Re: If you have had your big toe fused, please respond

Vicky

Your story is hard to read, i hope you have success in the end. I am 9 weeks post op from a right toe fusion. I also had a bone graft from my hip inserted to lengthen my toe. My total nwb period will be 12 weeks then a walking boot for 4. I've also been using a bone stimulator every day since the 2 weeks post op. My ortho surgeon is a believer in them and says he feels it really helps in the healing of the fusion. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and doing everything by the book as i'm scared to death to hear those words "the fusion didn't take". This whole recovery has been way harder than i ever imagined so i'm desperately hoping for a good outcome. I too have worked out all my life and this past 9 weeks has taken it's toll and I can't wait to sweat again.
Did your doctor ever talk about physical therapy? I'm definately going to push for it just to help get my gait back to some sort of normalcy again. It'd probably be really easy to adjust your gait by walking on the outside of your foot, which is a no no.
I'd recommend checking out both the bond stimulator and pt.
Good luck keep your chin up.
Brenda

 
Old 01-26-2010, 09:33 AM   #20
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Re: If you have had your big toe fused, please respond

[QUOTE=elldee;3927760]I would be very grateful to hear from people who are post-recovery from having their toe fused.

Here's my story - if you've had toe fusion I'm sure you've been through this.

Hallus limitus developed 4 years ago ( I am 38 years old). Orthotics, anti-inflammatories, reduced activity, rocker shoes all tried with no great success. Had a simple chielectomy 8 months ago. Surgeon said 25% bone on bone and I would need more surgery in 2-5 years, but he was hoping for reduction in pain and more movement. Unfortunately, I did not get more movement and while the horrible grinding and snapping decreased after surgery and the large bump was reduced, the pain on bending and pushoff was just as bad.

Since surgery, I have had all shoes modified with steel shanks and rocker soles. Depending on the day, these allow me to get around, but I am so concerned, consciously and unconsciously, with keeping that toe from bending that I protect it by walking with my foot more to the inside, walking on the outside of my foot and walking with the top of my body thrown forward (to try and keep the toe from bending.) Compensating like this is now causing pain on the inside of my knee, the opposing shoulder, my back, and my hamstrings. And my foot still hurts of course. The grinding is back and bone is being laid down around the joint again, which means my shoes are pressing on the outside of the joint too.

The surgeon now says fusion, although he ususally reserves this for patients in their 60's - that's a way off for me and I really fear for the joints in the rest of my body if I have to keep compensating like this.

Recovery from chielectomy was exceedingly painful (even the surgeon was surprised at the level of pain) and I am admit I am terrified by the pain after toe fusion. I will ask to be admitted to hospital overnight, rather than being sent home that day this time. I also realize I will be on my butt for 3-6 weeks and on crutches for months. But because of the wear and tear the rest of my body is now experiencing, I am prepared to suck it up and go through the recovery, if it would give me my life back.

My question is - what is life life AFTER the year of recovery. I understand my gait will be altered because the joint won't bend, but I am thinking that it is altered now anyway trying to protect the toe, but at least the joint pain will be gone? I walk with a limp now anyway and tense all muscles all day to protect the toe (which is exhausting). I also have muscle spasms in my buttock, back and thigh muscles, all from trying to protect the toe. I find myself using my knees to turn in my kitchen to avoid stepping on my foot (and knees were of course not meant to turn). I am also concerned that taking large does of Naproxyn just to get by is not good long-term for one's kidneys and liver.

What it is like to walk after fusion? I know my days of jogging are done, so are the days of wearing any sort of fashionable footwear. I am 38 years old and was very active. Now even walking my dog or vacuuming is a big deal. I walk very slowly because of the fear of shooting pain if I mis-step or put too much pressue on my foot. I am prepared for a life of wearing modified shoes, if I could resume walking, low-difficulty hiking, being able to make my way to a beach etc.

I would like to hear if I can expect an improved quality of life with the toe fused. Yes, all medical professionals have said "hang on to your joint as long as you can". I have tried my best, but I find being in pain all the time (both in the toe, but also generally aching everywhere else from working so hard to protect the toe) is depressing and making me quite snarly and withdrawn.

I live alone and am also quite terrified of being helpless for months during recovery, so any encouraging tips on the recovery process appreciated too. I will hire someone to cut the grass and walk the dog. I'm sure my friends will bring groceries from time to time, but unfortunatley, I will mostly be recovering from this alone.

I would genuinely appreciate any time you could spare to respond if you have had your toe fused.[/QUOTE]



******
Hello,
I am sorry to hear you are suffering so. However, I think I can relate.

I've had several foot reconstructive surgeries in the last 10 yrs. One was in 2008 to do a bunion repair/toe fusion. I had the hardware removed in 7/09 and apparently developed a bone spur which the surgeon shaved down during hardware removal.

Since then, I have been experiencing a jamming feeling in the toe, be it in shoes or barefoot. This seems to occur on push-off mostly but the throbbing definitely happens when I am standing still. I've had PT to loosen the joint of scar tissue but it seems that my toe gets worse after. I am really at a loss too. I try to carry on with my activities of daily life, but do notice that many are limited. Hiking and any aggressive foot activity are definitely not happening.

I am 41 and it is mentally exhausting to deal with a bum foot each day. No amount of shoe replacements or adjustments, or other modalities seem to help. I also agree that the joints can only compensate for so long, and the stomach organs can process so many pain medications.

I used to be a marathoner and now have to adjust to so many reductions in activities.

Hope this helps you. You are not alone!

Prisc1125

 
Old 01-28-2010, 09:25 AM   #21
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Re: If you have had your big toe fused, please respond

Elldee

I had my right toe fused last Feb 4, 09. After literally years of pain and indecision, and doctors telling me to fuse, i finally found a very good ortho surgeon who specializes is feet that i felt i could trust, had the fusion and couldn't be happier. The pain is gone! If you've got bone on bone there is nothing else you can do except fuse. I will be glad to go into the whole recovery and all if you are interested, but the bottom line is it was a necessary evil but one year later i'm very glad i did it. I would tell you to go to my guy if you are in my area because he is the best. Take care and just do it!
Brenda

 
Old 02-01-2010, 02:49 PM   #22
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Re: If you have had your big toe fused, please respond

My husband just had big toe fusion and is documenting the process. He'd love to hear others' tales, too.

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Old 02-03-2010, 06:08 PM   #23
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Re: If you have had your big toe fused, please respond

I just read your post and I am new at this. I had my great toe fused and hammer toes fixed on the same foot. I am 8 weeks post op. I am 53 years old and I to have always been very active and in pain since I was about 25. This is my third surgery. I am in a great deal of pain still not sure if the fusion took yet the doctor said it was to early to tell. I am walking with an air cast boot which seems to cause me more pain due to the incision on the top of my foot and I think I have some kind of nerve damage. Did you have your toe fused and how did it go for you?

 
Old 02-06-2010, 06:15 AM   #24
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Re: If you have had your big toe fused, please respond

Hi 53. I hope you are feeling a bit better today. I still have not had the surgery. My surgeon wants me to wait as long as possible as I am still in my 30s and I do have some cartlidge left. But he is willing to do it when I say it's time. I'm just hesitant still. It will be hard for me to be off my feet for 3 months, so I keep delaying. I get around with orthotics and steel shank rocker soles built into my extremely attractive orthopedic shoes and running/hiking boots (I truly am the height of high fashion these days!). But it's still a major problem and unfortunately I try to compensate with every other part of my body, which throws everything off. So mostly I ache from nose to toe. Let me know how your healing goes. Not sure if this will help you, but when I had my chilectomy I also could have sworn I had nerve damage since I couldn't feel anything on the outside of my foot (plenty of screaming pain on the inside though) , but most of the feeling in the skin came back in about 3 months, although there is a small spot that remains numb 3 years later. I hope you have an OK day reading book and watching many movies. Take care and post back. I really would like to know how it goes for you.

 
Old 02-06-2010, 08:46 AM   #25
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Re: If you have had your big toe fused, please respond

I just read all the posts here and it was interesting hearing the different stories and experiences.

I had my right big toe fused on Oct 28, 2009. It was a really hard decision to make. I got new orthotics the year before, and spent a ton of money on comfy shoes. I had a steroid injection into the joint, and that helped for a few months. The shoes didn't really help. It is very depressing to have a sore foot even when wearing Keens, and Merrells with good orthotics. My doctor referred me to the surgeon in March, and I saw him in June. He told me my two options were cheilectomy and fusion. He figured fusion was the best option. I was dumbfounded, because I thought there was something in the middle, based on what the podiatrist had told me. I was able to make an appointment for a couple of weeks later and do more homework inbetween. I made the decision to proceed when he told me the foot would not fuse on its own and that it would become more painful.

I had the surgery on Oct 28th and went home that day. They used a spinal and some drugs to make me groggy. I would skip the groggy drugs if I were to do it again, because I believe they made me sick. He put a plate with five screws in it, and my toe is fused at a 20 degree angle. I was able to heel weight bear as pain allowed, from the beginning. I was able to start walking normally at six weeks. Now I am walking almost normally, three months later. I was though, accused of waddling (by a pregnant lady!) the other day. My foot is mostly painfree. As others have said, I only needed the pain meds for four days. I am not ready to start any tap classes, or to start jogging yet. If I do walk a little much, my foot gets a little grumbly, but it is manageable. It still swells a bit, but that is not a big problem.

I did have a scare a couple of weeks ago. I had another x-ray and it showed something that could indicate a bone infection (osteomyelitis). I had a bone scan and the tech said there was "activity". I was scared until I saw my doctor. Apparently the activity is more likely a sign of healing. I will be getting another x-ray in a week or so to monitor the process.

I live in northern BC. It snowed and snowed on Oct 29 and 30, and the snow stayed. I stayed inside for two weeks, with small outings. I put a plastic bag over my foot, and used crutches for support. When I got the stitches out at two weeks, I was able to put my foot in a Birkenstock sandal. A few weeks later, I was able to put my foot in a tie-on Merrell and that was the best option. I was being chauffeured around, so got dropped off in front of doors, so the snow really wasn't the worst problem.

My surgeon told me that I will be able to jog after it is healed. That is kind of funny, because I have not jogged in a long time. Never-the-less, if I could jog, then I could be active. I decided to have the surgery because this one little joint had really altered my lifestyle. I am hoping to reclaim my life soon. I am 52 and plan to have many years left. It is scary to think of having a fused toe, but I think it is well worth getting rid of the pain!

Good luck.
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Life is too short to wear tight shoes. ~ May you have happy feet in 2013.

 
Old 02-09-2010, 08:58 PM   #26
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Re: If you have had your big toe fused, please respond

I had my fusion in 04 and I was the best thing I did. I started with surgeries in 99 and the dr wouldn't fuse because I was only 29 at the time. I suffered thru 2 surgeries before the fusion. I am looking at another fusion on my root foot and I have no reservations about it. I am able to almost everything that I want.

 
Old 03-19-2010, 10:06 PM   #27
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Smile Re: If you have had your big toe fused, please respond

Hi,
i had a toe fusion in 2007. I have a job where i am on my feet
alot. My toe joint was totally destroyed and the doctor
had no choice but to do a fusion.
I was off work ten weeks and was non weight bearing for six weeks.
It took several months to adjust, but i am doing fine now with
no pain. However i cant wear real fashionable shoes or run but
i can walk fine.
I am concern now because my toe on my other foot is hurting
me now. I do not want to go through another fusion!
If anyone has had both big toes fused, please respond! I would
like to know how you are doing.
Short stuff::::

 
Old 03-20-2010, 05:09 AM   #28
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Re: If you have had your big toe fused, please respond

My husband is having VERY successful recovery from toe fusion on January 25, 2010. He has written a blog about the whole process. Unable to post blog name here but if you google 'toe fusion blog' you should be able to find it.

 
Old 03-20-2010, 09:11 AM   #29
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Re: If you have had your big toe fused, please respond

I know a woman in this town who has had both toes fused, about two years apart. Her last toe was fused over a year ago. I am not sure how the process was for her. She did say they took about a year each to heal. I know she is extremely happy with them now.

I am at five months and plan to start a boot camp fitness program in a couple of weeks. I have been walking more lately, and walked a few miles on Sunday. It is so nice to be active again. I can't remember the last time I walked several miles without paying dearly for it later.
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