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Question about keeping foot elevated after surgery

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Old 06-29-2006, 03:39 AM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: New York City
Posts: 101
mkl HB User
Question about keeping foot elevated after surgery

Had the pre-op appointment with my podiatric surgeon yesterday and as July 5, Surgery Day, draws closer, I am finding more things to obsess about. The written instructions I was given for care following the operation for bunions and hammertoes includes keeping the foot elevated above the heart. I didn't read all the post-op care instructions until I came home and they do NOT say how long this foot above heart business has to go on. For days? For weeks? I am concerned because I thought I would be spending a lot of time on the computer during recovery, but all my 'puters are desktops. I tried sitting on the computer stools with my heart above foot and it would take a young contortionist to do that, not a not particularly athletic 63 year old woman. There is not enough time to order and set-up a lap-top for use in bed with all I have to do between now and the surgery date. Realistically, how long can I expect to undergo Internet Withdrawal along with all the other pain before I can sit with my leg semi-elevated? And oh, boy, am I ever NERVOUS about the whole operation. First foot is 7/5 and the second foot is 7/26. Yikes!

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Old 06-29-2006, 06:35 AM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Branson, MO, USA
Posts: 463
kimann HB User
Re: Question about keeping foot elevated after surgery

Welcome to the forum! There are all manner of helpful hints in these threads, from people who have experience. I have gotten more info from my peers here than from my Doc!!! The added bonus is that most of us, being "out of commission", have MUCH more time than Doctors! LOL
You will need to keep it elevated as long as you have any swelling, which could take months to clear up and return to normal, but it won't have to be 24 hours a day. The first week, you'll find you need it more, as it will throb when you dangle it, but you'll find you're able to be "up" more.
I know I would have had more problems without my net access than I did with it. Perhaps try sitting sideways with your foot "up" in a chair next to you, pillows added for height. No, that's not "above the heart", but it is better than dangling, and will keep you from swelling too much while you're surfing.
Maybe you could get one of the tables on casters that raise and lower, similar to ones used at hospital bedsides? You could have the cpu in the floor next to your sofa or bed, and the monitor and keyboard on the table?
Even if you leave it in its current location, you likely will be able to be "up" for a couple of hours, then go back to lying down awhile.
Good luck to you. Let us know how you do! Kim

Old 06-29-2006, 07:30 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2006
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racecarsnotdogs HB User
Re: Question about keeping foot elevated after surgery

I agree, it's just about impossible, unless you're laying down, to elevate your foot above your heart. I was back at work within a week, and had a stool underneath my desk to rest my foot on. I found that as long as you have your foot up off the ground (and not dangling, like mentioned above) you're fine, even if it's not above the heart. You'll know when it's up high enough, as it won't throb like when it's down.

I think I stressed out way more than was necessary after my surgery. I think the best advice is to relax a little bit and don't get worked up about the details. Your body will tell you what's right, and what's working or not working.

And for the record, it was about a month for me before I didn't have to worry about elevating my foot, but I'm sure it's different for everyone.

Old 06-29-2006, 08:06 AM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2004
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nycjane HB User
Re: Question about keeping foot elevated after surgery

What they said. I used a chair with a pillow on it when I wantd to use my desktop. When I was lying on the couch I propped it on a couple pillows.

Good luck.


Old 06-29-2006, 02:38 PM   #5
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Join Date: May 2006
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moondancer2 HB User
Re: Question about keeping foot elevated after surgery

like you...i had my bunionectomies 3 weeks apart (april 12, and may 3)...which seems to be unusual for those on this board...they are either at the same time.....or many many months/years apart.
i expected to have to keep my foot higher than my heart, but my OS said higher than my knee. I'm 49....and after the first foot, i could get my leg up onto the desk where i had my computer. with the 2nd foot -- i was still elevating foot 1 when i could....getting both onto the desk wasn't an option, and the way the desk was set up, i couldn't get foot 2 on the desk as easily as foot 1. my solution....very brief periods at the computer for the first couple of weeks, with my foot on a chair.

by the way, i'm now 8 and 11 weeks post-op....during the daytime, i don't elevate my feet at all -- they're on the floor. i quit elevating them at bedtime about 2 weeks ago...except that occasionally it will just 'feel better' to put a pillow under them.

your feet will let you know what you need to do, and for how long!

good luck.

Old 06-29-2006, 03:26 PM   #6
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: New York City
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mkl HB User
Re: Question about keeping foot elevated after surgery

Thanks so much for all the suggestions....this Board has been a tremendous help to me in deciding to go ahead with the surgery. Went out and bought a bunch of pillows for the "elevating" times ahead.

Moondancer, that is great news about keeping the foot higher than the knee rather than the heart. I'll try it and see how it feels and listen to my feet. I was very surprised when my podiatric surgeon, who is supposed to be one of the best in NYC, said that the surgeries would be done 3 weeks apart. Surprised and euphoric! I had thought the second foot would be done only when the first was completely healed.

I say: Bring it on! Walking without agony on every step is my wildest fantasy!

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