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Old 05-31-2012, 09:21 AM   #1
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3 week post bunion surgery questions

Unlike many others I found my bunion surgery to be relatively painless. My mom went home yesterday so its just me and my 15 year old son again. Which basically means I'm back to doing most stuff around here.

I went on Monday to get the cast off and they took out the 11 staples that closed the incision. The pain I felt then was worse than all the pain I had from the surgery put together!! Instead of a cast I was given a Darco toe splint and Darco velcro shoe. I was nauseous and sweating like crazy when the technician was putting the splint on so I wasn't paying much attention to how she did it - mainly how tight to put it. Yesterday I finally got around to scrubbing my foot - I still can't make myself touch the incision - and since the incision is still open a bit I put a gauze pad overtop of it before putting the splint back on.

What I need to know is how tight to put the toe wrap. I know it has to be tight enough so that the big toe doesn't move back over but when I do that it becomes quite painful. And the top of my big toe is still very numb. I can't bend my toe at all when I try. Is that normal??

The doctor also told me that I should be PWB now using my heel to walk. I find it hurts to do that but I can hobble using my heel and the side of my foot - but only with the shoe on. I have very little fat on the bottom of my feet so I'm basically walking on the bones.

Should I be trying to walk at all?? The doctor didn't stick around so I didn't get to ask any questions. I was told by the secretary that unless there is something wrong with the surgery I won't be given physical therapy. I have no insurance and can't afford to pay for it anyway. I don't want to screw up my foot because things so far have been going good.

 
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Old 06-01-2012, 04:57 AM   #2
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Re: 3 week post bunion surgery questions

anyone have any suggestions? comments?

 
Old 06-02-2012, 06:45 PM   #3
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Re: 3 week post bunion surgery questions

I would not put the wrap on too tight. as far as the weight bearing, don't over do it. I had a walking cast (aircast) the second time around and thta made all the differnce. My doctor told me to try and keep the pain down so scar tissue wouldn't form. With my first bunion surgery I tried to wear a shoe right away (as I was told) and the pain was unbearable. Take it easy on yourself. good luck. I am heading into surgery number 6... Jane

 
Old 06-11-2012, 06:44 PM   #4
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Re: 3 week post bunion surgery questions

I'm in my 5th week post-op. Swelling and bruising has gone some but still some swelling near the big toe area. My incision is healing but I figured it would heal completely within 3 to 4 weeks. There's still a bit more healing to do right where the bunion was. How long did your incision take to heal completely?

The doc suggested I try on a sneaker during the 5th week. My foot could barely make it in a couple days ago, but I tried again this morning and not so bad but that area is still a bit swollen. I can bare more weight on my foot, doing some exercises (no high impact) as well as my toe exercises. I doubt I would be wearing any nice shoes for a while. I'm just hoping the swelling goes down by the end of this month so I can start biking again. How long does the swelling last?

 
Old 06-12-2012, 08:59 AM   #5
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Re: 3 week post bunion surgery questions

I'll be 5 weeks post-op this friday. Jane, I can't believe you're on surgery 6! I need to quit my whining and consider myself lucky.

Iwa, I'm not even going to try putting my foot in a shoe for a while. I'm wearing the toe splint and velcro shoe as much as I can but I take it off for a few hours each day to air out the incision since it hasn't healed yet.
My main concerns now are that my big toe is still numb and I cant bend it on my own. Right next to the incision it's still a deep purple and I'm not sure if that's bruising or if it's excess blood rushing to my foot from walking. It doesn't swell up though. Last night we went out to supper and had to walk there. It was only about 4 blocks but I used my crutches anyway just to be safe. The wide strap on the toe splint shifted causing the velcro toe piece to start pulling on my big toe. I wasn't in a lot of pain but it was uncomfortable enough that we ended up taking a cab home.
I have to go to work next week for a few days - 6 hours each day and I won't be getting extended periods of sitting. I'll be standing most of the time. I thought I'd be ok to do it but after the little walk I did yesterday I'm not too sure anymore.

 
Old 06-13-2012, 03:55 PM   #6
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Re: 3 week post bunion surgery questions

Hi jodeew71,
I went back to work in my 4th week and I tried to work a 6hr shift but there was no way I could do it. I sit at desk for long periods of time,periodically standing and walking but since I'm sitting, my foot swelled up quite a bit.
I'm now working 6 hrs a day and standing and walking more but it's still very uncomfortable and all this activity contributes to my foot swelling which caused my incision to crack open a bit. Ouch! So, I told my boss I won't work longer than 6 hrs till my incision completely heals.
I also started wearing a compression sock today and it made so much of a difference.
Good luck to you on your return to work.

 
Old 07-08-2012, 09:02 AM   #7
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Re: 3 week post bunion surgery questions

Iwa, how are things going for you with your foot and the swelling? Still wearing the compression sock?

I went back to work on June 20th and worked for 5 days straight. My shifts were 5 - 6.5 hours but it's retail so add another 30 minutes on each day. I was ready to cut my feet off on day 5 but after a few days off things went back to "normal".

I'm in southern Ontario and like much of the US, it's been a lot more hot & humid than normal so no matter what I do I can't get the swelling in my foot to decrease - I wrap it in a tensor bandage, foot baths, icing and elevating. Before I went back to work I was going to buy a compression sock but as soon as I got it over my foot I had to take it right off because of the pressure it was putting on my big toe. I settled for an open toe ankle sock which worked great for the first 2 days. By the third day of work my foot was swelling up before my shift was over and since the sock seam stopped on my incision it wasn't comfortable.

Anyway, I saw my dr on the 28th of June (7 weeks post op) and he said that my bone was healing nicely but I'd have to continue to wear the toe splint each night for the next 7 weeks as the tendon will want to pull the toe back over. I told him that I have no movement in my toe and the top and side are still numb - he said it all comes back in time. Not the answer I wanted and I guess it showed in my dumbstruck facial expression. So, his PT advice is for me to grab my toe and move it up/down until the point I feel pain. And do it multiple times a day. Great.... I guess I'm a wimp when putting myself through pain but I can deal with it when someone else makes me do it. lol

He also told me that I should be wearing my running shoe now and don't need to wear the velcro shoe. I tried. After 2 hours at work I had to take my runner off and put on the velcro shoe. Even with my orthotics I couldn't handle the pain in my toe/bottom of my foot & back. Not to mention the swelling.

So in a nutshell, I'm now just over 8 weeks post op and I think things are going good with the healing of my toe anyway. It's just the swelling that I have a problem with and as long as we have these high temperatures there's nothing I can do about it. Unfortunately when my foot is swollen I walk on the outside of my foot and since I have very little padding on my feet, the bottoms hurt.

What is everyone else doing to keep the swelling down? Do you have any suggestions for lotions/creams that help soothe feet? Anything at all. lol

 
Old 07-09-2012, 03:04 AM   #8
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Re: 3 week post bunion surgery questions

jodew71 - When I had bunion surgery the first time (#2 is this Friday, other foot!), the best advice I read on this forum for increasing mobility of the toe was an "exercise" done in the bathtub. I know it may sound goofy, but here it is: while sitting in a warm bath, have your feet braced at the end of the tub, scooch down, like your are pushing off the side of a pool, and then do push off. The warm water of the bath seems to help the toe be more flexible, and you push off, making the toe flex. Another goofy anecdote is when I was four months post-op I began taking Zumba, which is an aerobic, latin dance type exercise class. I know classes will vary, but my instructor seemed to include a lot of moves which included getting on the balls of my feet to turn and move. I had been walking for exercise, but the dancing really made the difference, and made me stretch the toe in ways walking did not. I hope this was helpful.

 
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Old 07-09-2012, 06:25 AM   #9
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Re: 3 week post bunion surgery questions

Hi, My doctor also had me scrunching the towel on the floor when I got out of the shower. that seemed to help. Glad to see another Mainer on the forum. I love Zumba! I think after my first lapidus it would have been about 6 months before I could do it though.Jane

 
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:25 AM   #10
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Re: 3 week post bunion surgery questions

I'm definitely going to try the tub and towel exercises. As for zumba, I tried it once and never again. I think it had more to do with the instructor than the class itself. She knew 5 of us had never done it but she just plowed right ahead without any instructions for the moves or any help at all really. Luckily I remembered some moves from my Buns of Steel and Tae Bo tapes (I'm dating myself here) so I could at least attempt to copy her. Unfortunately for me there was too much twisting and my knee didn't like it the next day.

 
Old 07-09-2012, 02:42 PM   #11
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Re: 3 week post bunion surgery questions

Sorefooted - Your comment jogged my memory, and it was 6 mos. post-op., though my doctor told me I could play tennis at four months post-op, amazing since I don't play now, and haven't for years! Summer in Maine in an air cast isn't what I dreamed of during the winter, but I've been to the beach and hope to return again before the summer is over.
jodew71 - Another thought...
I remember after I had my right foot operated and it was safe to start walking more, I really had to work at walking on my whole foot and rolling off my toes. I had spent so much time heel walking that it was hard to walk normally. To give you an idea how much of a difference using the toes makes I'll share what happened last week at my "crutch training". I met with the hospital PT. I asked her about the different appearance in my calves (one looked thicker than the other). She asked me to turn around and rise up on the balls of my feet. She said that the left calf had little muscle tone due to my walking flat footed because I cannot flex the big toe because of the arthritis compounding the bunion on my left foot. In other words, I haven't been able to roll off my toes for quite some time on the "bad" foot.

 
Old 07-09-2012, 06:09 PM   #12
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Re: 3 week post bunion surgery questions

Hi jodew71. I'm a little over 9-weeks post op and my toe is getting better. There is still a bit of bruising and swelling around the big toe area (where the bunion was). I'm an active person and currently I am in the process of moving so I've been really putting some stress on my foot. NO PAIN! though and that is great. However, at the end of the day, my foot is like a balloon. The great weather that we've been having in Portland doesn't help with the swelling but I am not complaining. It probably doesn't compare to the tempts your getting.
Normally what I do when my foot swells is I use an ice pack on it for about 30 to 45 minutes, and then I massage my toe area using an anti-inflammatory cream called Topricin. You can get this at Sports Supplements. This is wonderful because it goes directly to the tissue rather than through your blood stream. I think the gentle massage that I give myself around toe has help in preventing scar tissue so when I'm on my tip toes, it doesn't hurt as much. I use this cream before I put on my bike shoes and use a compression sock and it helps keep the swelling down. Yoga is a good exercise too.
My doc told me after my last visit (6-week post op)that the swelling will eventually disappear in 4 to 6 weeks. So, I'm hoping the swelling goes away by the end of this month because I'll will be driving cross country on August 1st and I don't want to have to deal with the idea of swelled up foot.

 
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