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Old 09-16-2010, 07:33 AM   #1
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Big Toe Fusion - Does the long recovery time help fusion?

I am six weeks (nearly seven) post big toe fusion surgery, and have been trying to find information (without success) about why it is necessary to keep your foot elevated and stay off your feet as much as possible for such a long period of time. Is it simply to alleviate pain and swelling (as one source told me), or does 'excessive' walking or standing contribute towards non-fusion?
I am concerned about this because earlier this week my husband ended up at hospital emergency with extremely painful kidney stones which will need surgery as soon as the specialist can book him in. This has forced me back onto my feet to look after him and the rest of my family (two children and an elderly parent). I had just come out of my cast that morning (my surgical shoe is to be worn for another 8 weeks). I was supposed to remain with limited mobility for 2 more weeks, and 'light duties' for a further 6 weeks after that. I feel that I have been thrown in at the deep end!
On the bright side, my toe seems to be holding up well, with only limited swelling and redness, and mainly low-key ache with an occasional short, sharp pain. Hopefully it will be okay, and it will fuse successfully despite my early ambulation. I am due to have an xray, and see my doctor again next week.
Any information would be appreciated. Just being able to share my worries has been helpful - I can't bother my husband with it at the moment!
Thanks,
Emgee

 
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:42 AM   #2
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Re: Big Toe Fusion - Does the long recovery time help fusion?

Yes, walking too much on it at this point can cause a setback. Be very very careful!

 
Old 09-16-2010, 02:54 PM   #3
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Re: Big Toe Fusion - Does the long recovery time help fusion?

i agree. be very careful-you dont want another surgery. ask your dr if a boot is better.

 
Old 09-18-2010, 09:01 AM   #4
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Re: Big Toe Fusion - Does the long recovery time help fusion?

Thank you both for your advice - I am trying to take as much care as I can, and I'm assuming that because it isn't hurting too much, I haven't done damage so far. I'm also watching out for any swelling and redness.
My husband has been feeling somewhat better today and has been able to share the load for the first time in a week. I have been able to rest my foot more today. His surgery is now scheduled for the day after tomorrow (including an overnight stay). Hopefully by the end of next week things will be a little easier for us both, and my doctor, (whom I see on Thursday), will be happy with my progress despite the difficulties.
Thanks again, Emgee

 
Old 09-29-2010, 10:15 AM   #5
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Re: Big Toe Fusion - Does the long recovery time help fusion?

Hi, would u mind writing about your experience? I am going for a fusion on my left big toe next week and wondered what the whole experience was like. Thanks,

Last edited by msflygirl; 10-04-2010 at 02:52 PM. Reason: left my real name

 
Old 09-29-2010, 12:52 PM   #6
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Re: Big Toe Fusion - Does the long recovery time help fusion?

You can do a search on here for older posts about big toe or 1st met fusions. Just go to the top of the page to the search block and type in either and it will bring up a long list of threads. Good luck!

 
Old 10-03-2010, 09:01 AM   #7
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Re: Big Toe Fusion - Does the long recovery time help fusion?

Hi Jackie,
I am happy to share my experience, and hope it is helpful to you. Like you, I tried to find as much information as I could beforehand (although I have discovered everyoneís experiences are a little different!)
About two years ago, I had two relatively minor toe injuries (nothing broken). Over the following years, I experienced pain and swelling which became progressively worse and more frequent. By July of this year, I had had enough of the increasing pain, and new xrays and the very limited range of motion remaining in my right big toe indicated fusion surgery was necessary.
My toe now has two titanium screws in it. The surgery only involved my right big (Great) toe, and I have had no other foot surgery. I had a general anaesthetic, and stayed one night in hospital.
Post surgery, I had a small cast that covered my toe and the left side of my foot, and a soft crepe bandage over that. This came off after six weeks. I also have a surgical shoe (for when I walk) which I have worn since the operation.
I took fairly strong painkillers for the first week, but didnít need them after that, provided I stayed off my foot and kept it elevated most of the time. I only hired crutches for two weeks, and put weight only on my heel if I had to walk. I didnít get bored despite having to remain on the sofa most of the time, and caught up with reading books, watching several TV programs Iíve never had the time to watch, and developing my computer skills! I have a computer jigsaw program which makes jigsaws from your own photos on the computer. It kept me entertained for hours. My family were also very good while I had the cast on, and helped with housework, cooking etc.
As you will have read in this thread, the day the cast came off I was forced back onto my feet due to my husbandís illness (he is now fully recovered) and was very anxious about the potential disaster this could be for my toe. Fortunately, my eight week xray showed some fusion beginning to happen, and my surgeon was happy with my progress, despite the problem. However, he did tell my husband that now he was back on his feet, I needed to get off mine for a bit longer! His advice was - if it hurts, rest it. If it continues to hurt when it has been rested, then you are overdoing it!
I asked about the long recovery and elevating my foot: elevation is to relieve pain and swelling and is more important in the early weeks. My understanding of the long recovery time (ie lots of rest and limited time standing and walking) is that it is necessary to prevent damage or movement of the hardware (in my case, the two screws) before the bones have solidly fused together.
It is now nine weeks since my fusion surgery, and I return to work next week, with my surgical shoe on for another four weeks. I am not allowed to ďrollĒ onto the toe until I see the surgeon again in November, so I will be walking with a limp for a while.
My toe is beginning to feel and look more normal with each progressing week, and it is great not to have the kind of pain I had before. Iím looking forward to enjoying walking my dog again!
I hope all goes well for you!
Emgee

 
Old 10-04-2010, 11:25 AM   #8
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Re: Big Toe Fusion - Does the long recovery time help fusion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emgee View Post
Thank you both for your advice - I am trying to take as much care as I can, and I'm assuming that because it isn't hurting too much, I haven't done damage so far. I'm also watching out for any swelling and redness.
My husband has been feeling somewhat better today and has been able to share the load for the first time in a week. I have been able to rest my foot more today. His surgery is now scheduled for the day after tomorrow (including an overnight stay). Hopefully by the end of next week things will be a little easier for us both, and my doctor, (whom I see on Thursday), will be happy with my progress despite the difficulties.
Thanks again, Emgee
I am going for the same surgery on my big toe on Friday, would u mind telling my it went? They told me I would have a soft wrap for two weeks and then a boot for 8, it is day surgery, was it painful? Thanks, Jackie < edited >

Last edited by hb-mod; 10-04-2010 at 01:07 PM. Reason: Please don't post personal info such as real name, email or phone.

 
Old 10-04-2010, 02:46 PM   #9
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Re: Big Toe Fusion - Does the long recovery time help fusion?

thanks for all the info, I have lots of programs taped and books galore for sitting errrr laying on the couch ha....appreciate you writing back and will let u know how I make out ok

Take care, Jackie

 
Old 10-11-2011, 03:30 PM   #10
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Re: Big Toe Fusion - Does the long recovery time help fusion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emgee View Post
I am six weeks (nearly seven) post big toe fusion surgery, and have been trying to find information (without success) about why it is necessary to keep your foot elevated and stay off your feet as much as possible for such a long period of time. Is it simply to alleviate pain and swelling (as one source told me), or does 'excessive' walking or standing contribute towards non-fusion?
I am concerned about this because earlier this week my husband ended up at hospital emergency with extremely painful kidney stones which will need surgery as soon as the specialist can book him in. This has forced me back onto my feet to look after him and the rest of my family (two children and an elderly parent). I had just come out of my cast that morning (my surgical shoe is to be worn for another 8 weeks). I was supposed to remain with limited mobility for 2 more weeks, and 'light duties' for a further 6 weeks after that. I feel that I have been thrown in at the deep end!
On the bright side, my toe seems to be holding up well, with only limited swelling and redness, and mainly low-key ache with an occasional short, sharp pain. Hopefully it will be okay, and it will fuse successfully despite my early ambulation. I am due to have an xray, and see my doctor again next week.
Any information would be appreciated. Just being able to share my worries has been helpful - I can't bother my husband with it at the moment!
Thanks,
Emgee
Hi Emgee,

Your post has given me a lot of information. I had my big toe fused on 16th Sept. 2011 with a rod and six screws. I am in the 4th week now post surgery. Would you tell me how your feet is now and are you able to move around without any problem ? I had taken 4 weeks of leave but am not sure how long more I should keep my foot elevated and how long more I should take leave from work. Appreciate your response please.
Thanks a million. Uma

 
Old 10-11-2011, 04:06 PM   #11
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Re: Big Toe Fusion - Does the long recovery time help fusion?

The reason for remaining non-weight bearing for so long is to allow the bone to fuse. If you walk too early, the motion and stress caused by walking will disrupt the fusion site. Because of this it may not fuse or may take much longer to fuse. Elevation will not do much to promote healing of the fusion, but it will keep the pain down.

 
Old 10-11-2011, 07:38 PM   #12
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Re: Big Toe Fusion - Does the long recovery time help fusion?

i agree with everyone. the main goal is fusion. for some it takes longer with nwb and others are different. please just follow what your dr says and everything will be fine.

 
Old 12-08-2011, 12:37 AM   #13
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Re: Big Toe Fusion - Does the long recovery time help fusion?

Hi Uma,
Sorry for the delay in replying, I was away on holiday! Hope all is going well for you.
In response to your question, I took eight weeks off work (I am a schoolteacher of young children). I also then had two weeks of school holidays before I needed to return to work, ten weeks after my fusion. I tried to follow the doctor's orders as much as possible in respect to elevation when possible and taking it easier for a while, and all of my X-rays showed that things were progressing well.
My advice is to take it slowly, and don't rush to do things you don't have to. I think it took about five months for me before things began to settle down and feel more normal.
It is now well over a year since my fusion, and I rarely think about my big toe anymore (apart from the fact that it is stiff, as it should be after a fusion). It is pain free, looks very little different to my other toe, and I can do most of the things I did pre-fusion.
Hope this is of some help, (and again, sorry for being unable to reply sooner).
Does the long recovery time help fusion? In my case, Yes. It is worth it all in the long term!
Emgee

 
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