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Old 10-24-2009, 11:37 PM   #1
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6 weeks post-op Bunion Surgery questions

Monday (10/26/09) marks 6 weeks since my bunion surgery. Im in my late 30's.They cut off the bunion, and broke the big toe to straighten it, putting in a permanent screw below the joint in the big toe. Did not have anything done to smaller toes. (I wasnt able to tolerate any real meds with narcotics in them in this whole experience, including week 1. I've had to survive on OTC NSAIDs.)

I was told to not do any weight bearing for week one and to use crutches while starting to put down weight through week 2 . However, it probably took me almost an extra week before I was able to put any degree of weight on it b/c once the doc rewrapped it at the one week mark I was in a great deal of pain. So I still had crutches at the 2 week check up.

At that appt... My doc said by the 4 week check up I better not bring my crutches with me. :-) And I didn't bring them. But i had to tell him I occasionally need them at night if I go out or first thing in the morn if I'm way overdue for pain meds. He said that's unusual by week four but that he believes I have a high sensitivity to pain. (But I also found if I overdid it, it would cause knee pain or hip pain from walking so oddly to avoid hitting certain painful parts of my foot. So I tried to wait to shed crutches til I could walk straight.)

Oddly, it did not hurt to get stitches out like I expected but every time they rewrap my foot and put gauze between my toes, it kills. He said that's odd. :-) But did anyone else experience that?

I just want to know from your great msg board--even tho we're all different-- to make sure I'm not experiencing anything abnormal and will describe some pains below. Now that I'm about to hit week six, I mostly don't use crutches but my foot definitely still hurts a lot!

It's very swollen, esp at night. I still have wrappings on it til Monday. I had no idea I'd be in the volume of pain I am by this point and thought it was 6 weeks recovery then done. NOT that I'd spend up to a year recovering (like many of the msgs make it sound like is norm).

Here's some examples of pain I'm feeling at random times, not all at the same time:
-Sudden 'stabbing pains" like someone's sticking needles into my foot in various places.
-Sudden 'ripples' like as if a nerve gets hit and it ripples pain throughout
- Stabbing pains in sync with pulse
-Stinging or burning where incision is (but it's definitely not infected)
-Massive itching (least of my concerns... that's probably good even if annoying)
-And sometimes the sensation as if a hand is tightly grasping my entire foot.
Sometimes it comes out of nowhere.
-Other times, I feel duller pain on an ongoing basis.
-I was in agony the week of the surgery having muscle cramps on the bottom of my foot as intense as charlie horses and I couldnt do anything to get them to go away (since the norm solution is to walk it off or pull back your big toe). (Any one else have those??) Thankfully, those are now much more rare.

I walk way better in the morn or early afternoon. I'm especially in pain today from 'standing' to clean my place for a couple hours today, including vacuuming. But is that really too much to do at 6 weeks?

I know I can't drive til I'm in a sneaker. I'm supposed to start being able to after Monday but that is very difficult for me to believe given the pain level.
Has anyone found they go somewhere and swell too much to drive back home after being out?

The other 4 things I need advice about are:
-What to do to make me most comfortable when flying (b/c I have to, in a few weeks?)
-My surgeon says PT is not a part of this for me. A lot of ppl seem to find that crazy. Can anyone direct me on where to read about good stretches once I can move my foot around without the wrapping?
-How long can I expect to need OTC pain meds to live with this?
-Once you were cleared to be back in a normal shoe, did you have to rotate with your surgical shoe if you swelled up? And if so for how many weeks did you rotate?

Thanks for your help! I've greatly enjoyed reading many other posts about other people's surgeries. I'm must sorry I didnt find the site sooner... or I could probably not have to post such a long note. ))

 
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Old 10-25-2009, 05:35 PM   #2
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Re: 6 weeks post-op Bunion Surgery questions

are you having a lot of swelling? IME the swelling is what makes it hurt most when you are past the intial few weeks. The throbbing with pulse, the itching, the pain with the dressing sound like they could be related to your foot swelling and the dressing getting tight etc. Do you elevate it as much as possible? Even when I had my other foot done (lapidus procedure) by week six I was able to get around ok, no crutches, no pain meds. Though I did have pain at the fusion becaue it took a few months to form a union. My doctor said to get a good arch support.

as far as foot cramps, I've had these in the past. They improve when I start taking a vitamin with extra minerals, or straight up magnesium supplements.

are you a smoker by chance? smoking tends to really delay healing, especially feet where there is not the most blood flow.

Last edited by summerluvr; 10-25-2009 at 05:36 PM.

 
Old 10-25-2009, 11:10 PM   #3
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Re: 6 weeks post-op Bunion Surgery questions

Thanks so much for your feedback/advice. No I'm not a smoker. but yes I have a lot of swelling. Some of it I can't see b/c most of my foot/arch are under gauze, tape and a tight ace type of bandage but those finally get cut off tomorrow and I dont believe I'll need to have any put back on. They said I had to have that for 6 weeks bc it's part of reshaping the foot and the healing. So maybe I'll see improvements without all the wrapping??

I sleep with it elevated and then whenever I find myself in too much pain (like today after I stood for a couple hours cleaning and cooking.) I used ice and elevation after that.

Just wanted to make sure the volume of pain for 6 weeks isn't completely abnormal.

Thanks for replying.

 
Old 11-08-2009, 09:05 PM   #4
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Re: 6 weeks post-op Bunion Surgery questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by rightie102 View Post

Here's some examples of pain I'm feeling at random times, not all at the same time:
-Sudden 'stabbing pains" like someone's sticking needles into my foot in various places.
-Sudden 'ripples' like as if a nerve gets hit and it ripples pain throughout
- Stabbing pains in sync with pulse
-Stinging or burning where incision is (but it's definitely not infected)
-Massive itching (least of my concerns... that's probably good even if annoying)
-And sometimes the sensation as if a hand is tightly grasping my entire foot.
Sometimes it comes out of nowhere.
-Other times, I feel duller pain on an ongoing basis.
-I was in agony the week of the surgery having muscle cramps on the bottom of my foot as intense as charlie horses and I couldnt do anything to get them to go away (since the norm solution is to walk it off or pull back your big toe). (Any one else have those??) Thankfully, those are now much more rare.

Are you still in pain? I had surgery 11-5 and recently i've had some odd sensations like tingling, burning and numbness. I know the numbness may get better over time and the burning feels like its on the incision area but the tingling feels very funny, i don't like it. Not sure what i can do to help with the tingling. Has anything helped with you?

 
Old 11-08-2009, 09:11 PM   #5
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Re: 6 weeks post-op Bunion Surgery questions

I think the numbness is normal... in fact it gets a lot more painful as that subsides.

The tingling and burning is the same as what I felt and I believe it's normal. It's the nerves around incision going a little haywire and part of healing. Around week 7 is when that seemed to subside (I just finished the 8th week).

Does your surgeon have you doing any PT and if so, at what week? Mine didnt order any and I wasn't allowed to start flexing/stretching out my big toe til after 6 weeks. And the biggest thing to face is getting flexibility back. It's been 2 weeks since I got my wraps off and I still can't hardly bend my toe but can FINALLY put a shoe on and drive as of a few days ago. I hope you get to work with a physical therapist.

Good luck to you!

Last edited by rightie102; 11-08-2009 at 09:12 PM.

 
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Old 11-08-2009, 09:23 PM   #6
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Re: 6 weeks post-op Bunion Surgery questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by rightie102 View Post
I think the numbness is normal... in fact it gets a lot more painful as that subsides.

The tingling and burning is the same as what I felt and I believe it's normal. It's the nerves around incision going a little haywire and part of healing. Around week 7 is when that seemed to subside (I just finished the 8th week).

Does your surgeon have you doing any PT and if so, at what week? Mine didnt order any and I wasn't allowed to start flexing/stretching out my big toe til after 6 weeks. And the biggest thing to face is getting flexibility back. It's been 2 weeks since I got my wraps off and I still can't hardly bend my toe but can FINALLY put a shoe on and drive as of a few days ago. I hope you get to work with a physical therapist.

Good luck to you!

PT is a physical therapist? No my doc didn't say anything about that. My feet have gause and an ace bandage on them. I'm probably not supposed to but i move my big toe around sometimes. I just can't help it, i cant let it be still the whole day. dosen't really hurt when i move it but i moved it a little to much once and had an odd sensation from what seemed like inside my toe. I'm trying to stop tho. I guess i'll know if i'm supposed to do this or not in about 2 weeks when i see my doc. I've also had to rewrap both feet cuz the bandages started slipping a looking all crazy. While doing so i took a peek at my incision. Looked pretty good, i think, its big tho. I know, i'm probably not a good patient cuz i won't leave stuff alone. I drove around the cul-va-sack where i live today. With my boot on of course. Did pretty good, not sure if i wanna get out in traffice but it was nice to know that i could drive a little.

How have you been able to keep your toe complete sill? I hope the pain dosen't get worse as the numbness subsides. I don't know if i can take all these funny feelings.

Hope your able to get more of your flexability back real soon!

 
Old 11-08-2009, 09:42 PM   #7
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Re: 6 weeks post-op Bunion Surgery questions

Did we have the same surgery? I could NEVER have done what you're describing just a few days after surgery. For me the first week was like the constant pain of a foot cramp/charlie horse style pain in the bottom of my foot. It was awful, like being tortured. And pain meds didnt help at all.

A little tip: Dont get caught driving with the boot or you'll get a ticket or if you're in an accident your insurance won't cover you. You're considered an impaired driver when you can't wear a real shoe. They told me 6 weeks minimum no driving but it took over 7 weeks before I could drive b/c my foot wouldnt bend in a regular shoe or sandal til just a few days ago. They didnt have me in a boot. They used a flat surgical shoe so my toes weren't allowed to bend/flex at all for the sake of not re-breaking the foot.

(That's why I wonder if we had the same procedure. There's many ways to deal with bunions. They cut my bunion off, then broke my big toe to realign it and then installed a permanent screw to keep it straight. )

Is that what you had done?

 
Old 11-08-2009, 10:26 PM   #8
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Re: 6 weeks post-op Bunion Surgery questions

Sounds like we had the same thing. I had a chevron-akin procedure. They cut the bunion and cut the big toe bone and put a staple in the bone, not a screw. it looked like a staple. I think there were 2 cuts in the bone, one at the top bone and one by the joint where they cut a V out and moved the bone. I saw the x ray and thought i saw 2 staples. The staples won't be coming out.

I called it a boot but they gave me these ugly hard velcro shoes. Its more like a sandle. I had both feet done.
Didn't know i would be considered an impaired driver...i won't be driving this week, thanks.

The pain hasn't been too bad, no cramps or charlie horses. Aside from the funny feelings today was good. I did take some pain med this morning and some ibuprofen twice today. Pain wasn't bad but i figured the ibuprofen would help with the swelling, not that i'm having much. i don't think i am. I am going to stop moving my toe tho, i don't want to damge anything. i'll try.

Last edited by AlicenWonderlan; 11-08-2009 at 10:27 PM.

 
Old 11-10-2009, 08:26 AM   #9
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Re: 6 weeks post-op Bunion Surgery questions

rightie102, sounds like you have had a heck of a time with meds and cramping. I was very scared that I would get a cramp like that because I get them alot. You should try calcet it is a calcium supplement for leg cramps. Also, you might want to get some glucosamine/condrotin. I have been taking this for about 2 years and I doubled up when it was time for my surgery. I think it helps. I only take advil at night to sleep. I have to tell you that I am not sure about the advice you are getting from your doc, my doc said NO walking for 4 weeks. I had the same procedure on my left foot on Oct 23. I could not imagine even trying to walk..... I get the stitches out Fri. I think you should keep your foot up and stay off of it. My doc does only bunion surgery, he does about 6 of them every Friday and many consider him an expert. I don't know if he will prescribe pt yet, I will find out when I go back. One thing he definetly made clear, NO WALKING and no trying to exercise my toes yet. I am relieved because all of that would only hurt. I made a video diary and put it on you tube if you want to see it, search for roydale1 and it should come up.

 
Old 11-10-2009, 08:56 AM   #10
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Re: 6 weeks post-op Bunion Surgery questions

Roydale... Thanks for the note. The muscle cramps have stopped thankfully.

I think Alice is walking or doing a dangerous amount of movements. Hopefully she can calm down. :-) I still cant believe she tried to drive already with both feet done. Made me wonder why I could do nothing for so long but your note sounds more like how i feel where you wouldnt want to even if you were allowed.

My surgery was Sept 14 and I still hurt with every step of walking. I'm in regular shoes now (sneakers or velcro sandals) and not the surgical/non bending one. I was allowed to walk using that surgical shoe during week 2 but pretty much waited til week three b/c of pain. And I finally haven't needed crutches to assist the past 2 weeks.

The hardest part for me is getting the foot into a sneaker now still kills b/c the bottom of my toe doesn't have a stretched out enough muscle. Once it's inside it is okay (but the whole foot hurts still, to walk, oddly enough including my other 4 toes, like they have sore muscles still. I thought that would have been gone by n ow after 2 weeks of shoe walking). Then getting it out of that shoe it kills again.

Alice--hope you are doing better and staying off those feet. I meant to tell you re: wrappings, you shouldnt redo them. My doc told me they are pressure bandages and put on the way they are purposely b/c they're part of the healing/reshaping.

Blessings to you both!

 
Old 11-10-2009, 02:37 PM   #11
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Re: 6 weeks post-op Bunion Surgery questions

Well as far as the walking, it doesnít really hurt to walk; I'm not walking a mile or anything like that. I stay home and keep my feet elevated the majority of the time and only walk when necessary. I spoke with my doctor/nurse and was told if my dressing were coming undone then I could rewrap it or come in and have it done; mine are not pressure or reshaping bandages. They also said that I can walk with my special shoes and am able to move my toe. I keep my walking limited and am keeping my toe movement to a minimum. They had me walking the day of surgery and yes it did hurt but every day it hurts less and less. I couldn't imagine not walking for 4 weeks then trying; of course it would hurt, the muscles have atrophied. You have to remember that every doctor and procedure is different as well as every patient and their ability to heal.

 
Old 11-10-2009, 03:57 PM   #12
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Re: 6 weeks post-op Bunion Surgery questions

Alicenwonder....I'm just in awe you could do what you could do that quickly. :-) My experience has been way different with pain. I have read online everyone suggests the stretching begin @ week three once stitches are taken out for the sake of the muscles not atrophying like you mentioned. And since I wasn't allowed to do that til week 7... I can understand why I'm struggling so much to get any range of motion back.

I hope it continues to go well for ya!

 
Old 11-10-2009, 10:00 PM   #13
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Re: 6 weeks post-op Bunion Surgery questions

Rightie - I had a lapidus bunionectomy (+ gastroc recession & my 2nd metatarsal shortened) on Aug 11. My doctor kept me off my foot for 1 month - no weight on it at all. After 1 month, he only had me rotating my ankle and wiggling my toes, and walking in my boot as I was able. He said that my foot was still quite swollen (normal) and that Advil will help, along with using my foot, and elevating when able. He also said that I would start to feel new pains as the foot was used more, and not to hesitate to take meds. He said I could take up to 12 Advil a day - and to do that on my "bad" days. I couldn't believe what a difference that made. I have seen such an improvement the last 2 weeks, and was even able to wear heels today! My foot is actually smaller than it was before and most of my shoes are too big, so I guess after surgery on my right foot next month I'll have to go shoe shopping. Oh, well! LOL!

 
Old 11-12-2009, 10:14 PM   #14
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Re: 6 weeks post-op Bunion Surgery questions

Hi Rightie,

I had a very similar surgery like you. I'm 20 yrs old and I also had my bunion cut at the side with my big toes broken and realigned with a temporary screw. My surgery was done Oct. 2 and today marks my 6th week post.

I was told by my surgeon that I could walk around with my surgical shoes the night of the surgery. It was excruciating for the first couple of days so I only got up to walk when I had to and I was only taking oral meds (tylenol 3's) for 3 days. I didn't take anymore oral meds after that. By week 2, I also attended my surgeon's appointment with crutches, but I was not in much pain...the crutches were more for my balance I had my feet rewrapped at this point and dressings were wrapped in between my big toe and second toe...that part didn't hurt...it was just alittle sore.

4 and a 1/2 weeks later I had my temporary screws removed and my dressings were taken off as well. When the screws were removed, I didnt' feel pain...it was more of a tingling discomforting feeling. Since then, everything has only been going uphill. My big toes were a little swelled and were pretty bruised but I could wiggle them a little. (I don't know if it helped, but I was wiggling my toes pretty much a couple days post surgery)

I did have random needle *****ing moments for both my feet around week 3-4...and it wasn't as if I had just walked around...it would come even while I was sitting with my feet elevated. I thought it was just my skin being irritated to the end of the screw that was sticking out so I didn't bother to find out why.

I also had alot of itching all over and around my wound area during this time. It was quite annoying since I couldn't scratch at it with the extremely thick layers of dressings. For me, this itching felt the same as if I had a scab forming over any other wound on my body....so I figured it was a good thing.

As to the stabbing pains that were in sync with your pulse, I also experienced that during my first couple of days after surgery. It was so bad that all I wanted to do was sleep because that was the only time I could forget about my pain...(even with the meds ) However, after the first couple of days, it never came back for me.

I was also not given any PT advice by my surgeon right after the surgery...so I just did as much as my tolerance level allowed me. I often wiggled my big toes and tried to walk. My surgeon did tell me to do calf pumps after my surgery, by moving my foot back and forth 5 times every hour to provide circulation in both feet. I found that quite useful in helping to adjust from an elevated feet position to a standing position and vice versa. This would make my feet feel very numb and discomforting, but the calf pumps lightened the numb feeling.

I will be flying out of the country next week and I am a little nervous about it. I have already got myself a pair of slip on shoes that I am planning on wearing just in case my feet decide to swell...i just hope that will be warm enough (we've had snow already! )

I hope this post has given you some insight on my experience. Everyone is different in their own healing process and maybe since my screws were temporary and yours were permanent...that could also differ the recovering process. All in all I hope you're feeling better!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rightie102 View Post
Monday (10/26/09) marks 6 weeks since my bunion surgery. Im in my late 30's.They cut off the bunion, and broke the big toe to straighten it, putting in a permanent screw below the joint in the big toe. Did not have anything done to smaller toes. (I wasnt able to tolerate any real meds with narcotics in them in this whole experience, including week 1. I've had to survive on OTC NSAIDs.)

I was told to not do any weight bearing for week one and to use crutches while starting to put down weight through week 2 . However, it probably took me almost an extra week before I was able to put any degree of weight on it b/c once the doc rewrapped it at the one week mark I was in a great deal of pain. So I still had crutches at the 2 week check up.

At that appt... My doc said by the 4 week check up I better not bring my crutches with me. :-) And I didn't bring them. But i had to tell him I occasionally need them at night if I go out or first thing in the morn if I'm way overdue for pain meds. He said that's unusual by week four but that he believes I have a high sensitivity to pain. (But I also found if I overdid it, it would cause knee pain or hip pain from walking so oddly to avoid hitting certain painful parts of my foot. So I tried to wait to shed crutches til I could walk straight.)

Oddly, it did not hurt to get stitches out like I expected but every time they rewrap my foot and put gauze between my toes, it kills. He said that's odd. :-) But did anyone else experience that?

I just want to know from your great msg board--even tho we're all different-- to make sure I'm not experiencing anything abnormal and will describe some pains below. Now that I'm about to hit week six, I mostly don't use crutches but my foot definitely still hurts a lot!

It's very swollen, esp at night. I still have wrappings on it til Monday. I had no idea I'd be in the volume of pain I am by this point and thought it was 6 weeks recovery then done. NOT that I'd spend up to a year recovering (like many of the msgs make it sound like is norm).

Here's some examples of pain I'm feeling at random times, not all at the same time:
-Sudden 'stabbing pains" like someone's sticking needles into my foot in various places.
-Sudden 'ripples' like as if a nerve gets hit and it ripples pain throughout
- Stabbing pains in sync with pulse
-Stinging or burning where incision is (but it's definitely not infected)
-Massive itching (least of my concerns... that's probably good even if annoying)
-And sometimes the sensation as if a hand is tightly grasping my entire foot.
Sometimes it comes out of nowhere.
-Other times, I feel duller pain on an ongoing basis.
-I was in agony the week of the surgery having muscle cramps on the bottom of my foot as intense as charlie horses and I couldnt do anything to get them to go away (since the norm solution is to walk it off or pull back your big toe). (Any one else have those??) Thankfully, those are now much more rare.

I walk way better in the morn or early afternoon. I'm especially in pain today from 'standing' to clean my place for a couple hours today, including vacuuming. But is that really too much to do at 6 weeks?

I know I can't drive til I'm in a sneaker. I'm supposed to start being able to after Monday but that is very difficult for me to believe given the pain level.
Has anyone found they go somewhere and swell too much to drive back home after being out?

The other 4 things I need advice about are:
-What to do to make me most comfortable when flying (b/c I have to, in a few weeks?)
-My surgeon says PT is not a part of this for me. A lot of ppl seem to find that crazy. Can anyone direct me on where to read about good stretches once I can move my foot around without the wrapping?
-How long can I expect to need OTC pain meds to live with this?
-Once you were cleared to be back in a normal shoe, did you have to rotate with your surgical shoe if you swelled up? And if so for how many weeks did you rotate?

Thanks for your help! I've greatly enjoyed reading many other posts about other people's surgeries. I'm must sorry I didnt find the site sooner... or I could probably not have to post such a long note. ))

 
Old 11-15-2009, 04:49 PM   #15
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Re: 6 weeks post-op Bunion Surgery questions

Hey you guys -- Rightie, Alice, Roy and everyone -- I amazed as I am reading all of your posts. I am 3-1/2 weeks post op and also had bunion surgery that sounds very similar -- V-cut in the bone and screw inserted, but my experience has been very different from what most of you describe. I was put in an air-walker boot immediately (left the surgical center in it) which I wear anytime I walk for the first 6 weeks, so I have not had crutches. The only time I had what I would call excruciating pain was the night of the surgery. After that night, it has been manageable -- mostly what I would call discomfort. At my 2-week appointment they removed the stitches (no big deal, just snipped the ends), and Doc gave me exercises to start doing. Basically, supporting the surgery area top and bottom of foot with one hand, pull big toe toward me as far as it will go (yes, I almost fainted when he first showed me this! ). I also push the toe down in the same way. As a matter of fact, I went back last week for another appointment (unscheduled, as I thought I had hurt my foot), and he told me I wasn't doing it enough, and if I didn't, I would have a lot more difficulty getting my range of motion back. So, I've been doing it, it was really hard to make myself do it at first, but now I've actually gotten used to it and it's not so bad. I have not had to use much in the way of pain meds since the first 2 weeks. The only time I really have a problem is if I try to do to much and my foot swells, then it feels like there is a rubber band wrapped tight around the base of my 2nd and 3rd toes. That is when I jump in the chair and put the ice on it. Occasionally I will take 2 Advil. I do have some numbness around the surgical site, but I haven't noticed the pulsing and pain that Rightie describes. Whoever said that their foot is smaller now, I have the same thing. The foot without the bunion looks like they attached someone else's foot to the end of my leg. I don't know what that is going to mean with regard to finding a pair of shoes now!!! I like things very symmetrical, and my two feet don't match! So, I guess I'll be having the surgery on my other foot someday (it doesn't hurt much now, so in reality, I'll probably wait until it does)!!! I have been surprised at how many different procedures and post op methods there are for bunion surgery. My girlfriend had bunion surgery and described the pain as being between hell and ABSOLUTE hell. She was so adament that she would NEVER do it again, that I almost didn't do it. For me, with the exception of the first night, I would describe it mostly as a huge inconvenience.

Question about driving - My surgery was on my left foot, so I am able to drive. My next surgery will be different though -- I know you can't drive with the boot on, but I also can't imagine starting to drive immediately after it comes off. Seems like it would not be a good thing if you had to slam on the brakes. Does anyone have any experience with bunion surgery on your right foot? Just wondering how long it was after you got out of your boot or surgical shoe before you were able to drive? This will be a big factor as to if/when I opt for that one.

Good luck to everyone with your respective recoveries. I, too, have found these boards extremely helpful -- especially when it comes to setting appropriate expectations for the length of time you are out of commission!

Take care, everyone!

 
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