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Old 01-27-2010, 07:53 AM   #1
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Deliberately stretching and flexing after foot surgery beneficial to circulation

I am 12 days post surgery for a severely broken first metatarsal - that is the bone above the big toe. I gave up my percocet at two days and managed to keep the pain at bay by propping the bad foot. I now have a desire to get out with my family but noticed that my foot feels engorged and almost in pain when it is near the ground while in a wheelchair or on crutches. As early as a week after surgery I began rolling, arching and stretching my foot and heel in the hopes of increasing circulation. My fracture is secured by an external fixator and four steel rods - the Dr used cement to set all the small fractured pieces and grafted the disjointed bone so I feel that moving my foot (this actually feels good vs feels painful) is not disturbing the set of the fracture. Did any of you move your foot as much as I describe - I will double check with the Dr tomorrow at my appointment but you guys are so great with real life advice and I am most impatient. Also, how long before it gets less uncomfortable when lowering the broken foot from elevation - I am 43 years old but staying in bed feels like having one foot in the grave. Dramatic maybe, but mentally staying put with an elevated foot at all times is really getting me down.

Last edited by Trixie1966; 01-27-2010 at 07:56 AM. Reason: sp mistake

 
Old 01-27-2010, 11:07 AM   #2
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Re: Deliberately stretching and flexing after foot surgery beneficial to circulation

Hi Trixie -
I'm recovering from reconstructive foot surgery - different than your experience, but the same in that I'm also having to stay down with the foot elevated. I'm currently in a surgical splint - but find myself moving my foot as much as I can - wiggling the toes mostly - but it sure feels good. I've been using a knee walker when I am up which has made getting around so much easier. How long of a recovery are you looking at?

I see that you are down there in sunny Florida so with nicer weather I can sure see where it would be harder to stay inactive. (It's snowing here in Iowa as I write). Are you able to get outside at all? I wish I had some magical words for you - but just knowing you are not alone always helps! I have my little "throne" set up with everything around me here in the living room - handwork, magazines, books, knitting...but still it is hard - I understand!
Take care,

Mary

 
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Old 01-27-2010, 11:50 AM   #3
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Re: Deliberately stretching and flexing after foot surgery beneficial to circulation

Mary,
Thanks so much for responding and I am hoping your recovery is rolling along too. I just hung up with the Dr and will go in tomorrow to have stitches out and my foot rewrapped. I too am in a surgical splint wrapped with an ace bandage. I guess the frustration is in my fear that no union is occuring or that my moving my foot about has somehow undone the set of the bone between the pins. Only once or twice has it hurt when I have overstepped movement. The fear of non union comes from finding out via pre operation blood work that I am not as robust physically as I thought I was before testing. I don't know if raised cholesterol would affect a bone fracture union but between that and an elevated risk for hypothyroidism (according to recent bloodwork) I am quite anxious about the first x rays showing poor growth. I do have four steel rods and an external fixator in place and he did actually graft the bone together so perhaps my worries are in vain. By the way, did you notice when the foot felt more normal when lowered versus raised up on pillows? It actually throbs and hurts when I get up on my feet on crutches or even one of those ride on scooters at the grocery store - is that simply a sign that I have a lot of blood flow to the foot? I am sure I am over analyzing but you can't change certain personalities now, can you?

 
Old 01-28-2010, 09:28 AM   #4
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Re: Deliberately stretching and flexing after foot surgery beneficial to circulation

Hi Trixie, I am three months post-op from a big toe fusion. At 12 days, it still hurt and throbbed to have my foot down. I kept it up as much as possible for about a month anyway. I could slowly increase the amount of time with it not elevated. Now I am good with down all day usually. It only feels uncomfortable, as opposed to sore now. I do notice though that I am better if I get a few minutes of it elevated in the morning before I start my day. So, I sit on the couch with my coffee and computer and ease into the day. That is not all bad.

When I started being more mobile, I noticed that walking and moving around did help the swelling. I would imagine that would help the circulation, and therefore, the healing. I live in the snowy north, so that limits my mobility. If I were in a snow-free zone, I probably would have been walking more.

I recently had a scare and was checked for a bone infection because of what the most recent x-rays said. Apparently all is good, so now I continue on. I have a massage tomorrow and I am going to ask the massage therapist to work on my feet a bit to see if that helps as well.

Be patient, this will take some time.
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Life is too short to wear tight shoes. ~ May you have happy feet in 2013.

Last edited by Northwind; 01-28-2010 at 09:29 AM.

 
Old 01-28-2010, 03:48 PM   #5
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Re: Deliberately stretching and flexing after foot surgery beneficial to circulation

I kept my feet immobile for the first couple of weeks I was in the ace splint. Once I got into the boot (2 weeks post-op), my surgeon told me to start wiggling my toes and doing ankle circles when not in the boot. It wasn't very comfortable at first. As far as swelling these days, I don't feel much pain when not elevated. But in the beginning, it always hurt and throbbed if not elevated.

I had my final appointment for my left foot today (Aug surgery) and 3rd appt for my right foot (Dec surgery) and I'm happy to say my left foot is healed and feels great, and my right foot is healing ahead of my left foot! I have followed my surgeons instructions to the letter and he says I've done great and he's extremely happy. So, my advice is to do what your doctor says and don't do anything ahead of schedule without talking to your doctor. After all, they deal with this stuff all day, every day and have a lot more experience than we have!

~ Jill

Last edited by jane806; 01-28-2010 at 03:48 PM.

 
Old 01-29-2010, 10:55 AM   #6
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Re: Deliberately stretching and flexing after foot surgery beneficial to circulation

Northwind - great news about not having a bone infection! I was thinking of you as that must have been a real scare. I appreciate you and Jane giving me feedback on how to move forward with foot movement. I had a drs appt yesterday and he cleaned the ex fix, removed the stitches and advised me to move the ankle forward and around. I probably overdid it as I woke with a lot of pain and stiffness. Jane was the first foot simply more sensitive to the recovery than the last or do you think your tolerance for pain increased. I am determined to keep moving and will deal with the pain but am curious as to how long this pain might last? Next week I go back for my first x ray - God willing he will see some progress but for now I will keep at the arching and ankle turning. If either of you recall how many days this period of pain lasts then it makes it easier for me to push through this period of recovery. As always, thanks for the help and good to hear you both are doing well in recovery.

 
Old 01-29-2010, 04:43 PM   #7
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Re: Deliberately stretching and flexing after foot surgery beneficial to circulation

Trixie - my first foot had more pain before surgery so it was probably more damaged. My surgeon warned me that the recoveries could be totally different for each foot, and he was right!

I think I felt pain for 2-3 weeks - at least that's how long I took percocet or vicodin. It helped to elevate and ice my foot as much as possible. Hope this helps!

~ Jill

 
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