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Amputate or not?

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Old 11-25-2004, 07:51 AM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Belkgrade, Serbia
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Cvikera HB User
Question Amputate or not?

I have terrible problem and I am not able to solve it alkone, so I would like you freands help me to make hard decission.
My story begun with toenail surgery, few months ago, than it was infected, after that I had more surgeries, more infections and finally the last (maybe not yet!) surgery. It took three months of different curing and surgeries, and finally ended with my big toe completely crippled (all the tissue between bone und bottom skin removed, and still (after nearly two months) no solution of the problem.
True, there are no more infections, skin healed, but I still cannot walk without pain. I can walk only with crutch or cane, but with terrible pain every time I stem on my right foot. Only comfortable way to walk is on crutches, without use my right leg. However, I am very afraid of serious muscle atrophy if I don't use my leg at all, so I use crutches only when I need really long walk.
I discussed my problem with several doctors, and they did not found any other solution but to amputate my big toe. They don't insist on it, they said it can be left as it is without further complications (but with all those problems for lifetime). So, as they said, "it is up to me" to decide to amputate or not. Sometimes, when I feel all those pains, I decide to amputate next day, but when I return home and rest, I am afraid of it, and decide to think about that tomorrow. But time is going, and I have to make final solution, I but I didnít want to do it before I get all information, and finally became sure amputation is what I really want.
If anybody with similar experience can answer to my questions, would be grat:
1. How painful is surgery and postoperative treatment?
2. Would I be ever able to walk normally, without cane and without limp, again, and when?
3. How long I will be on crutches after surgery, before I will be able to walk?
4. There are have two options of my possible amputation. One is to amputate only the first knuckle of my big toe, what would mean that toe would not be used (stump would not tuch the ground), but there will be a stump still existing, looking, more or less, like a toe. Other option is to remove first and second knuckle, so that there will be no stump at all. Doctors prefer second option, because remaining stump would be not used anyway and it can only make some problems in future. But, stumples foot would look much worse cosmetically, at least it is my opinion. I would like to hear more opinions.
5. Is there any sort of prosthetic toes what would be not only cosmetic, but what would help better walking?

Ana Cvikera

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Old 11-25-2004, 10:17 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2004
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Re: Amputate or not?

I don't know about recovery times and stuff, but my grandfather had his big toe amputated, leaving a stump, due to gangrene. This was when he was very ill and in his 70s. He recovered and was able to walk just fine, so if somebody that old and sick can do it, I'm sure you would be able to as well. I don't know of any prosthetic toes to help with walking. But although the big toe is helpful in walking and running, my father was born with foot malformations including not much of a big toe (or any of the other toes) and he wrestled, played football and soccer, ran marathons, etc. Once you get used to it, you should be fine.

Old 11-26-2004, 06:10 AM   #3
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Re: Amputate or not?

Just one big thing that you need to think about here is that you could possibly end up still having this same pain as you are now even if you did have the toe amputated.Sucks I know but it is a very real possibility.And, even though I am sure that it dosen't seem possible to you right now,but you could also end up with even worse pain than you already are.once the nerves are affcted or even cut, it can produce some really bizzare and horrible types of pain syndromes.I would try maybe researching 'phantom pain".i am so sorry that you even have to make a decision like this.Just remember that the more knowledge you aquire on this the better informed decision you will be able to make.Good luck to you.Marcia
3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

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