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  • Return to work after flat foot surgery

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    Old 03-13-2022, 05:37 PM   #1
    Malden73
     
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    Lightbulb Return to work after flat foot surgery

    Hi all- thank you in advance for your stories and advice!

    To keep a long story short February 8th I had surgery to remove an accessory navicular bone, reposition my tendon attached to that bone, Calcaneal osteotomy to reposition my heal in regards to flat foot and a gastrocnemius (calf) lengthening procedure.

    I was in a surgical split for a little over 2 weeks and move into a fiberglass cast up until 3/23. At this point healing has been pretty stagnant- I still swell to a point the cast feels like itís going to burst just getting up to use the restroom, I have nerve pain on my right side of my foot fairly constantly and extreme heel throbbing/ general uncomfortableness.

    Prior to the surgery I was told I would be 6 weeks non weight bearing, transfer to a walking boot and start Physical therapy partial weight bearing. So I requested 6 weeks off of work. However I truly cannot imagine returning to work in a week and a half even NWB I donít imagine Iíll be able to keep my foot not elevated for 9 hours a day. At this point Iíve tested my limits and the longer my foot is down (which hasnít exceeded a few hours and was never comfortable) the more pain and discomfort I have all night and the following day.

    My general question is am I babying myself and should I be pushing through this pain and getting my butt out of bed and back into ďnormalĒ life? Were you healed enough to return to work at the 6 week mark? Should I feel the right to ask my doctor for more time off if she suggests Iím good to return to work?

     
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    Old 05-11-2022, 03:19 PM   #2
    vette599
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    Re: Return to work after flat foot surgery

    Hi, Malden!

    I'm a 39 year old ICU RN and had surgery in November 2021 to repair my ankle. I had basically the same surgery as you: posterior tibial tendon repair, flexor digitorum longus transfer, spring ligament repair, medial displacement calcaneal osteotomy with internal fixation, open medial cuneiform wedge osteotomy with bone graft, and gastrocnemius recession.

    I work 12 hour shifts as a nurse, and as you probably know or can guess, working in the ICU is not a cake walk. It's very physically demanding.

    Prior to surgery, I asked my physician about expectations regarding returning to work. He told me I would probably be good to return to work light-duty at week 10, but would not be able to return to work full-duty until 12 weeks. I was in a cast for 7 weeks and was completely non-weight bearing for 8 weeks. I went into a walking boot for four weeks. I was not able to return to work on restrictions until February 14th. I did that for 30 days. I returned to working in the ICU part-time on March 31st (I called in a couple days and was called off work a couple days also).

    I have suffered incredible swelling and pain, mostly in the heel. I RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) the heck out of this foot; honestly, as much as humanly possible. I wear really good shoes and custom orthotics. If I put it down, it immediately starts to swell. If I work, I spend the entire next day icing my ankle in a recliner. I wear compression socks 24 hours a day except to bathe. I went to PT for 6 weeks. My physical therapist specializes in lymphedema and even gave me one of their old lymphedema pumps to use at home.

    My surgeon will not prescribe me any pain medication and states ibuprofen and Tylenol should be enough. I beg to differ, and I'm not one to take narcotics. There are some days this thing HURTS. It hurts so bad, it keeps me from sleeping. That is a problem. My surgeon says this is all normal and that my x-rays all look good. He said it just takes time, and a full recovery from a surgery like this is not anticipated until a year or so post-op. A YEAR! I was not prepared for this at all. The stress, anxiety, depression, humiliation, etc. that I have suffered from this, as well as financially, has been really hard on me. I'm lucky that I have a compassionate and supportive husband.

    I am over six months post-op and still unable to walk without a limp or without being in pain. This time last year, I was working four jobs. Now I can't even work one full-time.

    Don't get discouraged. This is a really rough road we are traveling - one that, I'm sure, neither one of us were prepared for. You're not a sissy. I feel like my surgeon didn't really prepare me for this good post-op info, and I think I may have had unrealistic expectations. Don't push yourself and cause more damage. Listen to your body.

    My husband and I went to a concert on Saturday night. It was the first show I have attended with general admission/floor tickets since before the pandemic started. I stood on my feet for about 4 hours. By the end of the show, I could barely walk - it was as if the foot was so swollen (even with tight compression socks) that it wouldn't bend at the ankle. The pain was unbelievable. When we got to my car after a 4 block walk, I was in tears.

    Four days later, I'm still struggling. I did have to work on Monday, but other than that, I've had this foot elevated and I've stayed off of it a great deal. It's still incredibly painful - probably a 7 out of 10 - and very swollen, in spite of me keeping it up, icing it, wearing compression socks round the clock, and using the lymphedema pump. Moral of the story: six months out and I still am debilitated by this and can't participate in regular activities, so don't feel bad if you feel like you can't do it.

    I'd like to hear how things are going for you. I came across this message board while Googling, hoping to find some direction on how I should be feeling/progressing.

    I look forward to hearing back from you!

     
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    Old 05-21-2022, 05:59 PM   #3
    FlatFootTeacher
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    Re: Return to work after flat foot surgery

    I am 7 weeks out of ankle surgery, but my surgery way less than yours. I had a peroneal tendon repair and an ankle arthroscopy that removed some fragments. I went back to work after 6 weeks (I am a teacher). I actually went to school the day my hard cast came off, and I got the boot. When I got the boot, I was allowed to weight bear as tolerated. Iíve been back at work for 7 days total, and Iím so wishing I had come back half days instead of full days (or not at all). Iíve been using a knee scooter and just started walking with crutches putting some weight on it. It has been sooo hard! I come home so tired and foot swollen that I basically spend the evening elevating and icing. I only have 4 more days until summer vacation, so Iíll make it through, but boy do I wish I would have stayed out the rest of the school year or just done half days.

    My advice is to try not to push yourself back too soon. You are not being a baby. I thought the same thing until I went back and basically regretted it! If you really feel the need to go back, maybe you can work it out to only do a couple hours a day for a week, and add an hour a day every week until you get back full time. Good luck!

     
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    Tags
    accessory navicular, flat foot surgery, foot surgery, osteotomy, return to work



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