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Old 10-09-2012, 11:25 AM   #1
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Question Purple/blue toes! Subtalar Fusion from Tarsal Coalition

Hi, I am 4 weeks post-op from a subtalar fusion (talocalcaneal) and have been doing SO well! I mean, it's been painful and frustrating and depressing and boring and and and...but I knew what I was getting into with the surgery. Nothing can REALLY prepare you for it all though, right?!

Anyways, I was doing so well initially (my surgeon decreased my time in bed from 6-12 weeks to 4-6 weeks after surgery) that I got (too?) optimistic about other healing. I had a splint for 2 weeks and my current hard half cast for 4 weeks and then move to a boot. He has maintained his initial requirement of no weight bearing for 4 months.

In the meantime, I am feeling pretty good and want to get up to help with dishes or cook a little or ANYTHING to feel productive but within 4 minutes my toes swell up and turn this awful blue/purple! Of course this is accompanied with some pretty uncomfortable swelling (worse than almost all the pain, strangely). Is this normal?!?! How long does this last during the healing process? Is this a way for me to judge how well the healing is acutally going and when I can stay up for longer?

I'm so appreciative of any and all responses! I've spent the morning perusing the site, laying her crying and laughing and nodding my head!

Looking forward to hearing from someone,
Meg

 
Old 10-09-2012, 11:58 AM   #2
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Re: Purple/blue toes! Subtalar Fusion from Tarsal Coalition

Did this just start happening? It sounds a little out of the norm. I'm 2 weeks out and have some swelling but nothing like that. Hang out a little bit and see what some of the other have to say. Might be worth a call to the doctor.
Ginger

 
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:34 PM   #3
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Re: Purple/blue toes! Subtalar Fusion from Tarsal Coalition

It started happening about 12 days post surgery. I had my splint removed and the hard cast put on 16 days post surgery, asked the surgeon about it and he said it was normal. I didn't think it would continue to last this long, is all! I will definitely call him, probably tomorrow, but thought I'd check on here first. As much as I trust and like my doctor, it's so much better to hear things from people who have or are experiencing it!

I hope your swelling continues to stay minimal, Ginger! Thanks for responding

 
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:40 PM   #4
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Re: Purple/blue toes! Subtalar Fusion from Tarsal Coalition

Hi Meg!
I also had a subtalar fusion. I experienced the same thing. If my foot was down for any amount of time, my toes would swell huge and turn blue. People were always commenting that my cast must be cutting my circulation. Usually the color change would only last 10 minutes or so then they'd turn pink again. My doctor wasn't alarmed. He said as long as they didn't go blue and cold and stay that way he wouldn't worry much.

I always swelled alot inside my cast. Hated that feeling that my foot wanted to get bigger and it didn't have anywhere to go but tight.

I definitely wouldn't hesitate to contact the doctor if it continues and you're concerned.
Take care!
~Kimberly
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April 2012
Double Arthrodesis
Achilles Tendon Lengthening
January 2013
Subtalar Arthrodesis Revision
Talonavicular Fusion Hardware Removal

December 2013
Screw Removal

 
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Old 10-10-2012, 02:36 AM   #5
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Re: Purple/blue toes! Subtalar Fusion from Tarsal Coalition

Hi Meg

I had a subtalar fusion 15 months ago and I remember how difficult it was to have my foot down that early on. Swelling, the discoloration and the pain/discomfort that accompany it is just part of the process... and it can last a long long time. The foot has been through a major trauma and it cant pump the blood out like it could before. Everyone is going to be different and your reaction may be more dramatic than others. But as long as you are confident that the cast is not too tight (and if all is comfortable & good when your foot is up, it probably isn't) i'd try not to worry.
It does get gradually better, but some swelling can go on for a year or more...not the really bad black & blue kind like you have now. But, when I first went back to work (4months post op) I remember some afternoons that I almost couldn't close the velcro on the boot because my foot/leg had got so swollen and later when wearing shoes again, some afternoons I would have to change into a wider shoe because the regular ones had gotten too tight..and this was still happening at 8 or 9months post op!
I hope this helps

 
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:03 AM   #6
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Re: Purple/blue toes! Subtalar Fusion from Tarsal Coalition

I experienced the same thing after flat foot reconstruction. It is very normal. Remember, you are still early in the recovery process. The blood flow causes the lovely purple color and swelling.

 
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:47 AM   #7
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Re: Purple/blue toes! Subtalar Fusion from Tarsal Coalition

Thank you all SO much! I'm already feeling better My doctor didn't tell me much of the details, so I'm learning as I go...as I'm sure you all did. I hope that each of you had support like you're giving me now!

Today I ordered a knee scooter (I'm going to call it my Kneelie Wheelie!) and am hoping that I'm able to move around a little more easily. Have any of you used one of these?

 
Old 10-10-2012, 11:03 AM   #8
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Re: Purple/blue toes! Subtalar Fusion from Tarsal Coalition

I have one and it is a savior! Have to watch on uneven ground and always get off of it to the side of your good leg. Never cross over it. I learned the hard way with a face plant into my recliner. Haha. Makes it so much easier to do thigs around the house. You will be happy you got one!
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April 2012
Double Arthrodesis
Achilles Tendon Lengthening
January 2013
Subtalar Arthrodesis Revision
Talonavicular Fusion Hardware Removal

December 2013
Screw Removal

 
Old 10-10-2012, 01:13 PM   #9
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Re: Purple/blue toes! Subtalar Fusion from Tarsal Coalition

You will love it. Beats crutches by far. Adding to the driving tips...set the brakes when you are getting on or off. This keeps it from rolling away from you as you are trying to transition. Also make sure you have it set to the correct height. And no speeding on the hardwoods!

 
Old 10-18-2012, 09:12 AM   #10
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Re: Purple/blue toes! Subtalar Fusion from Tarsal Coalition

Oh no! My kneelie wheelie is too tall At its lowest setting it's about an inch and a half above where it would be comfortable, so I scoot around on my tip toe. Which is ok. Also, where my cast ends at the top (on my shin) has developed a bump and bit of a bruise from the pressure of resting my leg. Yikes. I get my cast off on Monday and move to a boot so I'm hoping that is a big improvement.

I'm VERY nervous about moving into the boot! Excited a little too, yes, but that's trumped by the fear of losing my shield. When they changed the splint last time and put me in the cast I couldn't (or felt like I couldn't) move for that 50 minutes. What's the difference in all your all's experience at this point in healing? Better from the last time?

JLynn66, may I ask? When you went back to work at 4 months were you walking? I'm a server (waitress) and can't even BEGIN to imagine walking (6 weeks post-op now). I am realizing that I may forced to find a new profession (I'm 33). I had this idea that at my 4 month mark (when my surgeon said I could do weight bearing) I'd be able to just up and take off! It's becoming painfully obvious that that will be far from the truth. Muscle atrophy in my quad and calf aside, not moving my foot for 6 1/2 weeks is, as I'm learning, really crazy! What was your weight bearing progress like? If anyone else has experience as well, I'd so love to hear, thank you!

Also, I can still feel both the incisions when I move in certain ways, the heel especially sensitive. How long do they take to lose any and all pain in these two spots?

Thanks everyone, and Ginger, how's your healing going?

 
Old 10-18-2012, 11:21 AM   #11
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Re: Purple/blue toes! Subtalar Fusion from Tarsal Coalition

Sorry about your wheels being too tall! I don't have that issue as I am almost 6' tall. Would it help if you wore a thick soled shoe on the other foot when you're using it? Maybe some shape ups!
__________________
April 2012
Double Arthrodesis
Achilles Tendon Lengthening
January 2013
Subtalar Arthrodesis Revision
Talonavicular Fusion Hardware Removal

December 2013
Screw Removal

 
Old 10-18-2012, 12:37 PM   #12
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Re: Purple/blue toes! Subtalar Fusion from Tarsal Coalition

Hi Meg! I'm doing really well, thank you. I took the 2 week "toes above the nose" literally (for the 2nd week anyway) and didn't pay too much mind to elevating way up after that. It sure does make a difference though. Laid off it today and the swelling is so much better.

Hey, regarding your scooter...when I researched mine I read several reviews about the size being too big and it seemed that most of the companies worked really hard to satisfy their customers. If you're still going to be using it for a while it might be worth a call to see if they can return or exchange. Having it too high can cause you to tip more easily and/or strain your back and good leg. It's a big investment and you want it to be right for YOU.
I had to put a pillow on mine to protect my knee (replaced 2yrs ago). Did you see Paula's (Prico54) post earlier today about her progress w/boot and weight bearing? Very encouraging. Everyone seems to start slowly and then just take off. Ditsy too. You'll be next!
Ginger

 
Old 10-18-2012, 12:41 PM   #13
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Re: Purple/blue toes! Subtalar Fusion from Tarsal Coalition

Seriously! Maybe I could get in shape while I'm wheeling myself around, I definitely need it! Don't the shape-ups claim work the butt, calf and thigh?! Haha

I'll give wearing a shoe a try. I was trying to not do it, but I'm not quite sure why!
Thanks

 
Old 10-18-2012, 12:49 PM   #14
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Re: Purple/blue toes! Subtalar Fusion from Tarsal Coalition

Ginger, thanks for the encouragment to talk to the company - I will call them today and see what they think And I DID see Paula's post, woohoo! Here's to all of us taking off

 
Old 10-18-2012, 06:05 PM   #15
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Re: Purple/blue toes! Subtalar Fusion from Tarsal Coalition

Meg
I agree with Ginger, call the knee walker company and tell them it is too tall. My knee walker has adjustments but he also told me to call if I had any trouble. You might risk a fall and that is not good. They told me it was important that it fits your height.

As for going from a cast to the boot, I had foot reconstruction 8 weeks ago and after I got home with my boot. (No weight bear) I was told I could take it off to get a shower and all other times I had to wear it, even to bed. That same evening I was in severe pain and almost had to go to the hospital for pain management. They told me that just slight movement caused the nerves to act up and that is why I had the bad pain. Most of the pain was on the top of my foot. After two doses of Oxy it finally controlled the pain. And I am one not to take pain meds. Do not panic though, everyone is different going from cast to boot. Maybe take tylenol before your appointment and when you get home elevate the rest of the night.
Jodi

 
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