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Old 09-11-2009, 04:56 AM   #1
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Marygetwell HB User
posterior tibial foot tendon surgery - immediate post-op tips?

Anyone who's had PTTD surgery, I'd be really grateful to hear how it went for you and any tips you could give me.

I'm having gastroc recession, Evans calcaneal osteotomy, and talonavicular fusion with plate and screw fixation. Did you need extending leg rests on your wheelchair? Did you need a commode or could you use the toilet from the beginning? How soon were you able to do some household chores and some cooking. The idea of someone cutting on my foot with a saw and putting screws into the bone freaks me out - on the pain scale of 1-10, where would you put yours in the immediate post-op period. (I'm hoping it goes down after a week or so?) Thanks for any help!

 
Old 09-11-2009, 08:22 PM   #2
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Re: posterior tibial foot tendon surgery - immediate post-op tips?

Hey Marygetwell,

There are tons of posts on here with recommendations of what you need before and after the surgery. You just need to read around to find them, but I'll answer your questions now:

On a scale of 1-10, my pain ranged between 6 and 10 on a pretty regular basis for about two weeks after my surgery. It would go down after I took a pain med, but then I would be wiped out, too.

I got rails for the side of my toilet, that helped in the getting up and down part to use the toilet. It was a life saver, I highly recommend them.

Household chores? What are those? I'm six months out and I can finally vacuum. I did, however vacuum a few times with crutches and the knee walker when I had it. But I don't recommend it. Not fun. I was able to start cooking (super simple things!) at about a month. The problem with cooking is you need to rest your foot and if you make something that takes more than 10 minutes to prepare, you're all swollen and in pain. I'd say about three months out I was able to really start cooking full-time again.

The first few weeks you will want someone to help with your meals. And if you have stairs, you should plan to be downstairs all the time. I wasn't able to go up my stairs for two weeks (doctor's orders) and then when I did, it was scooting on my bum. Difficult, but doable.

Good luck!

 
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Old 09-12-2009, 04:05 AM   #3
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Re: posterior tibial foot tendon surgery - immediate post-op tips?

Hi Mary
I agree with SoCal. You're going to want a potty chair, leg extentions for wheel chair, a lot of pillows to elevate and a shower chair. I'm 5 1/2 months out and still use everything but the wheelchair. Everything is in "slow mo" now. I just started back to work this month and I have to tell you I still elevate, do foot exercises at lunch and ice down with bags of peas. I'm still in PT twice a week. Then yesterday I must have been on it too much because my foot was swelled twice its size. Also, cooking get a lot of things you can microwave. My husband was only off for 3 days so I was on my own. It was funny to see the balancing act with plates, to go cups, and a walker.Ha-ha...
Take care
Rose

 
Old 09-12-2009, 07:03 AM   #4
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Re: posterior tibial foot tendon surgery - immediate post-op tips?

Since Rose mentioned a walker, I thought I'd let you know that a walker did not work for me - ever. I found myself hopping around and it was uncomfortable and I was afraid I'd hurt myself. I liked the crutches the best. I never used a wheelchair (except once for Disneyland), and only used a knee walker for a few weeks.

The first few months are NWB and a walker was too hard to keep it NWB, and then when you can put 20% of weight on it, I still didn't like how it hurt my foot.

And the shower bench is a must. I had one before the surgery (for shaving legs) and I still use it about 50% of the time. Standing on your new foot gets awkward after about 2 minutes.

 
Old 09-12-2009, 08:14 AM   #5
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stepbystep89 HB Userstepbystep89 HB Userstepbystep89 HB Userstepbystep89 HB User
Re: posterior tibial foot tendon surgery - immediate post-op tips?

Another bit of post op preparation -

If you have any rugs in your home, get them up off the floor and leave them in the closet. They are too easy to trip or slip and fall over when you are on crutches, a knee walker, or using a walker.

My husband used to pack a cooler for me before he left for work every morning - sodas, snacks, sandwich, so I wouldn't have to get up except for using the bathroom.

I had friends that were "assigned" a day of the week. They would call in the morning just to make sure I didn't need anything and then stop in or call later around lunch to see if I was ok. They would make sure I had their cell number in case something came up. That was really helpful, so I didn't feel like i was making someone go out of their way, or get in the way of their daily plan, if I knew they were already counting on helping me. And because they rotated days I didn't really feel like i was taking advantage of anyone. My biggest challenge was getting over my fear to ask for help. It is necessary for a smooth recovery, so please get used to it.

I cooked several things ahead of time and Then when I was a little better off I could throw them in the microwave to eat. Be careful while you are nonweightbearing. If you are independent and stubborn like me you will try to do everything yourself and carry too many things while using crutches or push your self too soon. Take it slow and ask for help!

Good luck and keep us posted!
Step

 
Old 09-12-2009, 11:15 AM   #6
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r2larson HB User
Re: posterior tibial foot tendon surgery - immediate post-op tips?

My husband only had serious pain for about 2 weeks. Ice helped. Keep it elevated above your heart, stay on the pain meds, do not try to walk befor the Doc gives your permission. Standard stuff.

 
Old 09-12-2009, 12:33 PM   #7
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Re: posterior tibial foot tendon surgery - immediate post-op tips?

Thanks all. I'm so glad I found this message board. I'm getting a much clearer picture of what I need to prepare for. The doc talked about all the procedures very cheerfully and positively, looking forward to the good outcome in 6 months or so, but you have given me the realism that needs to be combined with the hopeful part. Two weeks of 6-10 on the pain scale is sobering, but now I know someone who got through it, and I will too. I appreciate the notes on devices that helped or didn't. My surgery will not be for a few weeks, so I'll have a little time to get things together, maybe even practice with them without putting weight on my right foot. Based on your comments about meals I think I will teach my husband to make a big pot of lentil stew each week and we'll eat that over pasta till we get tired of it! My overall feeling from reading this board is that most people have gotten enough help from their surgeries that they are in better shape than they think they would have been without them, even though they had to go through quite a bit to get there. That's encouraging as I think I really can't escape having the surgery.

 
Old 09-12-2009, 12:38 PM   #8
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Re: posterior tibial foot tendon surgery - immediate post-op tips?

Thanks also for the encouragement to accept help from friends and to get several to each do a little so as not to burden any one person too much.

 
Old 10-13-2009, 07:17 AM   #9
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linkit HB User
Re: posterior tibial foot tendon surgery - immediate post-op tips?

oh my where do i start, had surgery 9/8/09. the high toilet seat and rails are a must, i use a knee walker and it is so much safer than crutches. i also had a bedside commode for 2 weeks after surgery and made our lives alot easier. my husband has been able to be home with me and that is a true blessing. the first two weeks i had to keep my foot elevated above my heart for most of the day with an icing system keeping my foot cool. after 2 weeks i went to the surgeon( still using a wheel chair at this point) and he removed the sutures from 3 incisions in my foot. posterior,medial and a small incision in my heal. then they put a hard cast on, no weight bearing for a total of 10 weeks. after the hard cast was put on, i am able to use the knee walker and i have a hand operated grabber attatched to it and it comes in handy, my husband also made a basket for my knee walker so i can carry a few things. i will return to the surgeon for a wound check and a new cast at 6 weeks post surgery. iam able to do some cooking, i sit in a wheeled desk chair and scoot around the kitchen. i have a little trouble using the knee walker for long periods of time because i also have knee osteoarthritis. the chair works very well. can't imagine when i will be able to use a vacuum or really clean my house again! seems like it will be a while. my husband has reminded me that just because i can begin to bear weight on my foot after 10 weeks, i may have difficulty doing so. physical therapy will help. i am being totally compliant with the non weight bearing aspect, because there is no way i ever want to do this again.lol i do know that they broke my heel as well as do a tendon repair/transplant, not clear why and at this point don't really care. i am recovering and that is what is important.
good luck and i hope some of these tips helped.

 
Old 10-14-2009, 04:17 AM   #10
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Marygetwell HB User
Re: posterior tibial foot tendon surgery - immediate post-op tips?

Thanks so much, linkit! I'm going for a second opinion on surgery this morning and your comments will help me with the decision - it is a big committment for sure. And thanks for the tips on managing at home if I decide to have the surgery. I hope everything will go well for you. I'll be back in touch.

 
Old 10-14-2009, 01:29 PM   #11
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Marygetwell HB User
Re: posterior tibial foot tendon surgery - immediate post-op tips?

I had a second opinion on my proposed surgery today. The doctor I saw strongly recommended against surgery until I try the Arizona brace. He said because of my age (72) and my not having job requirements to be on my feet all the time, I would be able to do all the things I like to do and need to do if I wore the brace. I'm going to give it a try and I'll keep you posted. Thanks so much for your posts.

 
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