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Midwest-JD 12-09-2005 02:48 PM

Big toe almost completely numb... normal??
I'm exactly 4 weeks past a Lapidus procedure, Wiel osteotomy on 2nd metatarsal, bunionectomy, arthritis clean-up, some cartilage removed and 4th pin placed right behind big toe, and have noticed (just in the last few days) that my big toe is feeling very, very numb. :confused: Is that normal?? I'm thinking that it wasn't as numb before (probably was a little, which I figured is normal post-op, due to nerves cut in surgery, etc.), but it seems much MORE numb now than it did even just a couple days ago... Anyone else had this happen? Can it be just a normal part of the healing process? The toe is (along with the rest of my foot/toes) still swelling somewhat, though not as bad as initially, but other than that, I think it looks normal (except for being very purplish!) Should I call my doc, or am I being a worry-wart for nothing?

Thank you for any input!

sorefootsophie 12-09-2005 07:39 PM

Re: Big toe almost completely numb... normal??
Hi JD, Okay, I can't stand the thought of NO ONE replying to you. I have been waiting hours for someone to reply. There isn't much else to do when you're housebound. Normally, I think people feel numbness where there is an incision. But I don't think that is what you are talking about. I had the problem with the boot. That was the main reason I asked for the cast. When I had the boot on, it was like it was pressing on some nerve that made my toes first go numb and then scream in pain. I don't think the doctor quite understood what I was talking about, but since I have not had the boot, I have not had the problem.
Now, I know you are sitting there in your recliner. Good for you...I wish I had a recliner!! Do you have the boot on? Could it be pressing against a nerve?? Just a thought! Or is the boot off for an extended period and then you have the numbness?? As I have been told (as in the example of the smelly cast) the doctor. You should be able to ask anything. Most of the time (for reasons I am yet to figure out) I would rather just sit and stew over a situation than call the doctor's office. I do seem to remember some numbness from my surgeries years ago, but I honestly cannot recall if it was the whole toe.
Hopefully Christmas is shaping up for you...because of the "midwest" name, I'm sure you have lots of new snow!! After my fall in the store parking lot last week, I haven't had the nerve to venture out again but will have to soon. Hope everything else is OK with you. You have an appointment with the doctor on Thursday, right? If you don't want to call you could ask then. But if the boot is the culprit, you could address that too!
Do you still have any type of bandage on or are you able to shower and get your foot wet(wash it etc). I have heard that after surgery, the hot water can cause your foot to turn bright red or purple. Did you find that (if you can get it wet!) That is the only problem with a washing the foot. I am using a rubbermaid two step stool in the shower. It is still difficult but somewhat manageable. How is your pain threshold now? Good luck! Sophie

Midwest-JD 12-10-2005 08:05 AM

Re: Big toe almost completely numb... normal??
Hi Sophie! :wave: Thanks for your reply!

Yeah, the toe is pretty much numb *all* the time, whether I have the boot on or not... and the foot definitely turns colors when I put it in water (yes, I can get it wet, wash it, etc., which I *really, really* LOVE!) My doc has me putting foot alternately in hot/cold water to try to get the blood moving again so it doesn't swell up so much - it has definitely helped (either that or just the passage of more time) :p The foot stays purple and/or red for quite a while after that - so I'm sure that will eventually go away. I think I"ll call my doc on Monday, as I've never had the completely numb toe like this, with either of my previous foot surgeries. Why does stuff like that always have to come up on WEEK-ENDS??? :rolleyes: (Of course it's been like that for a few days before the week-end, but I wasn't really worried the first couple days.) I don't have any kind of bandage or wrapping on it at all now - I got REALLY tired of putting on the ace bandage under the boot, when I had to take it off 2-4 times per day for soaking foot or to take bath - so now I've just got a sock on it - SO nice to not have to monkey with bandage!

Oh yes, we (in NW Minnesota) definitely have our share of snow - but worse - the GLARE ICE that is under the snow - we had a terrific ice-storm last week, and it's been so cold that even the de-icing stuff won't melt the ice on sidewalks, streets, or parking lots. Thousands lost power around here due to power lines and poles breaking and going down - we were lucky and didn't lose ours - I was all ready with my kerosene lanterns, though, so the kids and I could do read-alouds. We also have a generator to run the furnace and/or freezer if power goes out - ya just about have to have one of those around here in winter, in case of power outages like that. No heat here would mean freezing-cold house in a matter of hours, broken water-pipes, all kinds of fun stuff. :rolleyes:

I was hoping to go shopping today, but it's still SO icey, I don't know.... :confused: I have been purchasing several items on-line, but now it's getting late enough that I won't dare order much else after today - I will definitely be shopping on-line today - still hope my husband can take me to a couple places later today. (After daughter's figure-skating testing and son's TaeKwonDo)

You're right about the dr. appt. - I do have one on Thursday - and that will be 5 weeks (minus 1 day) since my surgery, so I'm ***HOPING*** that he will NOT decide to put a cast on, AND that he'll say I can start putting a bit of weight on my foot - on the HEEL anyway. Then I'll feel like I could safely get out to a few stores and get some serious Christmas shopping underway. :D

Hope you're doing well...? I don't have a whole lot of pain in the foot anymore now - some, sometimes, but not at all like it was in the beginning, and the swelling has improved quite a bit now, so that really, really made a difference. I even made it downstairs to my scrapbook room yesterday, and finished a 2-page spread that I started a couple days before surgery - it's a world-record for the layout taking the longest time! :D

Thanks again for replying - you're so sweet!

Have a great week-end!

kehorner 12-11-2005 12:19 AM

Re: Big toe almost completely numb... normal??
I didn't realize the full extent of my numbness until a few weeks after surgery. I think the problem was that I was so swollen (and also immobilized) that my other toes weren't really moving back and forth against the numb toes. So I didn't have any sensory stimulation to realize that I wasn't feeling it, if that makes any sense...

Midwest-JD 12-11-2005 07:41 AM

Re: Big toe almost completely numb... normal??
Thanks, Kehorner for posting. That helps me relax a bit - knowing that it happened to someone else too, so maybe it's normal...? Same thing here - up till the last several days, the swelling was so great that maybe I just couldn't "feel" the numbness until now. How long did that last for you? I know I had numbness over my incisions on previous foot surgeries (chevron osteotimes and bunionectomies in '81 and '82), but don't remember toe being numb as well.

Thanks again for your input! :)

kehorner 12-11-2005 10:05 AM

Re: Big toe almost completely numb... normal??
I don't remember exactly how long the numbness lasted, since it was nearly two years ago. But maybe a few months? I had ankle surgery, so the toe numbness I'm pretty sure was from nerve compression from swelling, and not cut nerves. I think it came back sooner than the cut nerves. It got all tingly, too, as it was coming back.

wtwct 12-11-2005 05:20 PM

Re: Big toe almost completely numb... normal??
I had my first met joint fused about two years ago. It was numb. As a matter of fact, it is still numb. Who knows, I think they cut my nerve. I hope you get all your Christmas shopping done today!

Midwest-JD 12-12-2005 06:50 AM

Re: Big toe almost completely numb... normal??
Hi W -

Thanks for your reply. :) Wow - 2 years later still numb!??! :eek: It does sound like they must have cut or damaged a nerve somehow... What did your doc say about it (if you asked)? I wonder if it might still eventually re-gain feeling? (I know that with nerve damage, some is permanent, some comes back, but takes a LO-O-O-o-ng time). I would think that would be very frustrating! I do hope mine isn't going to stay numb that long! Does that cause you any problems? Tripping? Injuries to toe that you don't immediately notice?? I'm sorry that happened to you.

I did get almost all my Christmas shopping finished yesterday - Whew!! (I LOVE E-bay!! :D I'd be panicking about now if I hadn't been able to do the majority of my shopping online this year - all the parking lots, etc. are just way too icey for me to even attempt shopping right now!) I found some GREAT deals - mostly for my kiddos. The last gift I got last night was one of those DDR - Dance Revolution - dance pads - for $20 INCLUDING SHIPPING!! We had one a couple years ago (or so), and one day daughter went to plug it in to use, and she hooked up the wrong AC adaptor, and the whole thing started sizzling, crackling, and SMOKING! :eek: (Needless to say, that was the end of THAT DDR pad!!) She almost cried, she was so disappointed. :( So she'll be very excited to have a new one - I think this time I'll duct-tape the AC adaptor to the pad so they can't hook up the wrong one! :D

Thanks again for your reply - I so appreciate the knowledge shared by those who have "been there/done that"


sorefootsophie 12-15-2005 02:26 PM

Re: Big toe almost completely numb... normal??
Midwest JD, How was your doctor's appointment?? Did you get any answers on the numb toe issue? Hopefully the weather was not too bad and you could make it out!! I would have thought it is too early to do the weightbearing I'm anxious to hear what he said. How is your scar looking? How about your ROM? Does your foot still swell a lot when you have it down for an extended period of time?
I still have two weeks to go with the cast on until my next doctor visit! My foot is sore at times but I think it's just a healing kind of sore. My college age girls will be arriving home soon, so I should be able to get out a bit to pick up some Christmas things. Hubby is away on business so getting out has been impossible.
Let us know how you're progressing. Thanks, Sophie :angel:

Midwest-JD 12-15-2005 05:38 PM

Re: Big toe almost completely numb... normal??
Hi Sophie! :wave: Well, I was so intent on getting "permission" to put a bit of weight on my foot, that I completely forgot to ask about the numb toe thing, but I guess I wasn't quite as worried about it after another poster said they had/have the same issue...

SOOooo... my appointment went well. Tomorrow I'll be exactly 5 weeks post-op. Got new X-ray and doc says it's healing well - there is bone filling in in the places that it's supposed to be - he said it looked good. He was reluctant, but did say I could start putting a bit of weight on that foot, in the boot, and with crutches. :D That's all I wanted to hear - I just want to know that I can have my foot down so that I might be able to actually get out somewhere without feeling like I'm going to have the crutches slip out from under me (very icey here - everywhere!). I'm not sure I'll go out in the next couple days, cuz we just got more new snow today, and everything is very slick again, so I'll wait until the plows and sand-and-salt trucks have been out - including parking lots - before I venture out. I have some pretty major back/disc/spine problems, and a slip/fall on ice could be really, really bad for me, so I'm very cautious - I don't want any new injuries, thank-you-very-much!! :D I have a handicap parking permit for use in the winter every year, so that makes things a bit easier.

Then, next week, he said I can start ditching the crutches, as tolerated, and walk with "just" the boot. If pain flares up too much, go back to crutches for a couple days and then try again. I'll be in the boot for 3 more weeks, then I see him again, and if everything is good he said we'd try a shoe. He wants me to get a certain make of New Balance shoes and wear them most of the time. Doing that can also help put off problems with the other foot too, so I"m definitely going to get those New Balance shoes - no matter what they cost!

He was concerned that my foot is still swelling as much as it is (it was pretty puffy when I was there - shiney, stretched skin, even), and was going to give me a surgical sock to wear, but when we left I forgot all about it, and he must have too. I'll call tomorrow and see if my husband can pick one up for me on his way home from work. So, in answer to your question about swelling, yes, it does still swell - especially later in the day - but nothing like those first 2-3 weeks, when it was so swollen I thought my skin would split! :eek:

How nice to have your older girls home - Christmas break? How many kids do you have? I imagine you're just as antsy as I am to "get out and about" and do some shopping. Now that I have the okay, I can't WAIT until I feel secure enough to actually GO!! :bouncing:

Thanks for checking on me, Sophie! I appreciate you and others here who are all a great support. I really value my online friends and sharing experience with y'all really helps to re-assure me that things are as they should be.

Hope you have a wonderful week-end (couple weeks?) with your girls!


wtwct 12-15-2005 08:22 PM

Re: Big toe almost completely numb... normal??
I cannot believe that it has been five weeks. Time flys LOL. You need to be careful about going out in the ice with the crutches. Hopefully, you will have someone go out with you. I am glad that you have turned the corner and will start weight bearing; at least a slow weight bearing. My sister and I went shopping tonight, well, my sister did most of the running and I drove the car. I picked her up at the doors. It worked very well.

sorefootsophie 12-16-2005 09:39 AM

Re: Big toe almost completely numb... normal??
JD, Wow just posted a long post and lost it somehow so I'll try again!! I'm so glad your doctor appointment went well. I usually get so ahead of myself at the appointment that I forget to ask questions as well. Right before surgery I was worried about doing that so I made a list and then was a little embarrassed to look at the you can't win!! :o
Wow!! :bouncing: Five weeks. (Four for me!) I can't believe he is letting you put weight on it already. PLEASE let me how how that goes and how it progresses!! That is the scariest part for me. I have two more weeks in the cast so you'll probably be really walking around in that boot when I go for my appointment. I don't know what is next for me?? Maybe your husband could ask the numb toe question when he goes to pick up the stocking!
I am very antsy about getting out but also scared of being mowed down by the last minute shoppers. I think this really opens your eyes and I for one will always help out whomever I can in the future!! :angel: I have 4 kids (3 girls, 1 boy)...2 in high school and two in college. No way I could home school them...they are smarter than me at this point. :rolleyes:
Take care and don't try to go too fast!! You wouldn't want a setback at this point. I remember back when I had my original bunion surgeries done. After one week of walking on my heel with the ace bandage and tongue depressor (wow they did it back then...I'm surprised it didn't fall apart), I got a walking boot for one month. After that I squished my foot into a running shoe. I was so young and naive that I went and played badminton the next day. I thought I was invinceable but sure suffered for that one. This time I'm going very slow (much to the disappointment of my family). Maybe age has something to do with it but I feel like this has taken so much out of me. I'm so happy that you feel so great so fast. Please keep me posted!! Thanks and happy shopping! Sophie :angel:

Sorry, just a few more questions! What do you think is the percentage of time you wear the boot versus having it off? Do you sleep with it on? If not, have you ever woken up (is that a word?) and forgotten about your foot? Do you do ankle exercises along with the toe stretches? Has your calf become smaller? Mine is at least an inch smaller!! And the ankle hasn't moved in a month! I hope it comes back fast. Has anyone had this and since nothing was originally wrong with the ankle, does ROM come back faster? I did notice before the cast went on that my ankle was swollen. Not sure why! Also I'm not sure if it's normal that my foot is still swelling in the cast (especially by the evening). Sorry for so many additional questions.....but everyone here is always sooo helpful. :wave:

Midwest-JD 12-16-2005 11:45 AM

Re: Big toe almost completely numb... normal??
Hi WTWTC and Sophie! :wave: Yep - 5 weeks today, and yes, time flies (even when you're NOT having fun!! LOL!) I will still be very, very careful when (and IF) I go outside - we just got new snow again, so it's slippery all over again. I'm such a chicken, there's almost no chance of me injuring myself. The foot does still hurt, so I'm being careful and not putting a *lot* of weight on it. (Dr. told me several times to take it slow and careful, and to back off if it got very sore - he was reluctant to tell me I could put any weight on it all, but said as long as I'm careful not to completely walk on it I should do fine - he realizes how impossible it is to go anywhere around here in winter, and knows I've been pretty much house-bound for 5 weeks now. :rolleyes:

WTWTC - I am very anxious to go shopping, but not sure if I can get into my van right now - it's so high I pretty much have to use both feet in order to get in, so I may end up waiting until at least next week sometime - much as I'd LOVE to go TODAY!!

Yep, Sophie, I remember feeling invincible when I had bunion surgeries and Chevron osteotomies during college-years... I had a walking cast for either 4 or 6 weeks (can't remember for sure- getting old, I guess!! :hammer: ), and went right into a shoe, and thought I was ready to conquor the world. I didn't go play badmitton, but did definitely over-do things, and ended up going to dr. (he squeezed me in on emergency basis) to check and see if I had broken the osteotomy, as I was in SOOoo much pain!! (It wasn't broken - just 'normal recovery' pain and overdoing things!) :nono:

Hope you both have a great week-end!

sorefootsophie 12-16-2005 12:36 PM

Re: Big toe almost completely numb... normal??
Hey JD, I think we were posting at the same time (only I was editing) so I'll copy that part here in the hopes you will see it! Thanks Sophie

Sorry, just a few more questions! What do you think is the percentage of time you wear the boot versus having it off? Do you sleep with it on? If not, have you ever woken up (is that a word?) and forgotten about your foot? Do you do ankle exercises along with the toe stretches? Has your calf become smaller? Mine is at least an inch smaller!! And the ankle hasn't moved in a month! I hope it comes back fast. Has anyone had this and since nothing was originally wrong with the ankle, does ROM come back faster? I did notice before the cast went on that my ankle was swollen. Not sure why! Also I'm not sure if it's normal that my foot is still swelling in the cast (especially by the evening). Sorry for so many additional questions.....but everyone here is always sooo helpful.

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Midwest-JD 12-16-2005 06:06 PM

Re: Big toe almost completely numb... normal??
Hi Sophie! :wave: Yep, I must have been posting while you were editing.

I probably wear the boot less than 30% of the time (my doc would have probably scolded me if he knew that - but I ain't tellin') :nono: Anytime I'm sitting in recliner (which is a lot right now) or laying down, I take it off. *Sometimes* when I get up for just a short bit (like going to the bathroom) I don't bother putting it on, but a couple times I almost lost my balance and just about had a heart attack, so I've been better about using it when I get up.

I do not sleep in it - tried the first night, and lasted about an hour before I was up, tearing it off, with very loud velcro noises waking up my husband! :p (And I'm sure if it had been a non-removable cast, I'd have been crawling out to my husband's workshop for a SAW! :eek: I can't believe how IRRITATING it is to not be able to move the foot around - it's like if it's in one position too long I get driven CRAZY with pain/muscle spasms/something! I don't remember being this bothered when I had casts at 19 and 20 - I do think being older now has made a big difference in recovery - much slower!)

I sleep flat on my back (with pillows under knees) all night - never move around in my sleep - so this works great for me. I just added a few pillows under that foot, and leave the blanket off the foot (can't stand the weight of the blankets on that foot/toes), and throw an afghan over the other foot (that is sticking out) :rolleyes: (I also have taken up wearing socks to bed, with my feet sticking out of blankets - gotta keep 'em warm SOMEhow!) I've never almost gotten out of bed without remembering, cuz I leave the boot on the floor right next to the bed (where I would normally put my feet down), so I can't even get out of bed without stepping on it... I worried at first that I might forget in the middle of the night or in the morning, but it doesn't happen - really. (at least not for me - the gimpy foot is the first thing that crosses my mind in the morning (along with my sore, stiff back, which I'm used to that, unfortunately!) :rolleyes: I do move my ankle around a lot - up and down, around, back and forth, etc. Doc told me to do that anytime I've got the boot off (so I've done it a LOT! LOL!) I've not noticed if my calf has gotten any smaller, but I do remember that happening when I had cast 20+ years ago with bunion surgery - it doesn't take very long to get that muscle back - maybe a few weeks. I do know that my right leg has gotten a LOT stronger over the past 5 weeks - never could do 1-legged squats before, but I sure can now - it's a necessity for getting off the toilet!! :eek: :D (Sorry, probably more info than you wanted! LOL!)

From reading other folks' posts here, it seems the swelling is very common, and some folks still have some swelling several months after surgery - especially later in the day. When the doc saw my foot in it's semi-swollen state at appointment on Thursday, it was 4:00, so late afternoon, and I told him it's usually best (least swollen) first thing in the morning, and gets more puffy as the day goes on - he said that's pretty typical/normal for swelling. Ice-packs help me with that (I also take Celebrex, which helps a lot too - doc had originally told me I'd have to temporarily stop the celebrex, as it can slow the healing/fusion, but without it my swelling was so bad it felt like my skin would split, and with the x-ray yesterday he said it is healing very well anyway, so the celebrex stays! Advil is helpful too - I was taking that ALONG with the Celebrex for the first couple weeks - always with food or milk). Also, putting the foot in a big pan of very cold water, though it's uncomfortable at first, really does help - but that won't help you a whole lot, with a cast on. :( My dr. did tell me to also try putting either an ice-pack behind your knees OR a heating pad behind your knees - he said both/either can be helpful. I tried the ice-pack behind the knee and it did seem to help *slightly* - it's worth a shot if the swelling is uncomfortable for you.

I'm finding that now, even though I have official permission to put the foot down, I'm still very hesitant to do it - I can tell it does increase pain, so I'll hold off for a few more days, I guess.

Hope you're having a wonderful evening!

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