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iluvmarvel 04-29-2009 11:02 AM

Tips for Bunion Post-Op
Hi Everyone!
I'm new to these boards and am having bunion surgery on the 6th (1 week from today). I'm not sure the exact name of my procedure, but it sounds like the Lapidus procedure (taking a wedge out of the 1st metatarsal and midfoot fusion w/ screws) but I'm also having a wedge taken out in the big toe (2nd bone from the tip) and a screw put in there. Also, I will have some external pins put into the midfoot fusion area (My POD said it would be like my own personal erector set! :dizzy: ). I will be NWB for 2 weeks, then in a boot (looks like a ski boot).

I was just wondering if anyone had any little tips for post-op. I heard that using a bean bag instead of pillows for elevating was helpful because then you don't slip around so much. My husband is amazing and will be taking good care of me (cooking, cleaning, etc.) so I don't have to worry about having to do any of that.

Does anyone else have any tips that I may find to be useful or make things easier?

monster bunion 04-29-2009 12:07 PM

Re: Tips for Bunion Post-Op
Welcome to the boards! One week to go for may want to:
1. Clean the house. Wash the windows, you'll be looking out them a lot.
2. Buy extra food to store in the freezer, like ready-to-eat frozen foods.
Get some small frozen peas (at least 2) (not for eating, for your foot).
3. Stake out your base of operations: pillows, tv, ice chest, basket with
underwear, shirts, etc.
4. Get some books to read or dvds (the stuff on tv these days is terrible).
5. Get some safety bars for the toilet (some have bought higher seats).
6. Get a handheld shower head and chair for the shower.
7. Get a rolling office chair or walker, or knee walker or wheelchair.
8. Get a long stick with tongs at the end to reach stuff that has fallen
on the floor.
9. A two-way radio was nice and fun to use at the same time.
10. Buy any personal health products now, enough to last at least two
months so your husband won't have to.
11. You may want to keep a journal for meds and for record-keeping.
12. Get extra pillows or a bean-bag, your foot will be raised for at least
a month.
That's about all I can think of right now. Good luck.

iluvmarvel 04-29-2009 02:01 PM

Re: Tips for Bunion Post-Op
Thanks for all the tips! Some of those I've done or will be doing this weekend, but there were some new ones in there too! Thanks!

Janesfoot 04-29-2009 02:07 PM

Re: Tips for Bunion Post-Op
A laptop saved me. I'm not a computer person, but it helped me feel connected. I also could go shopping online! I e-mailed friends with whom I had not communicated for far too long. A tray with legs for meals etc. to use in bed is very helpful the first few days. I had bunion surgery one year ago May 9th (also my birthday, what was I thinking?). I'm doing well now. I'm glad you found this board. It was a lifeline for me. Good luck.

iluvmarvel 04-29-2009 03:13 PM

Re: Tips for Bunion Post-Op
Thankfully, I already have a laptop and I'm thanking God for it :) I don't think I'd be able to survive without it!

This board has been extremely helpful! I've been researching here for about a week, since I found out I needed surgery, to try to find out what I could expect for the surgery and recovery. I've heard a lot of "what to do"s and "what NOT to do"s that I think will be very helpful. Secondly, I've learned what an amazing husband I have! He's taking the day off work for my surgery to just be with me and help me out. He has already told me that the's going to take such good care of me and will take care of all the cooking and cleaning while I'm "out of commission". And also, I've learned that everyone gets discouraged and a little depressed when they realize how long the recovery process is and have to stay in one place for so long. I think knowing all these things ahead of time will make it much easier to deal with when the time comes.

Thank you, everyone on this site, for helping me prepare for my surgery next week!

CarlaSt 04-29-2009 04:34 PM

Re: Tips for Bunion Post-Op
great that u will have help. i am married and have 2 children but my children r in school and hubby works and i ve been home alone for 4 weeks

i had bunion removed from side of my big toe. my POD told me it was the largest one he has ever seen. fixed hammer toe, re lined big toe and inserted screw.

I was suppose to be off my feet for at least 4 weeks but i got up the 3rd day out. Walked on my heal. my foot swelled beyond belief and i was in so much pain. i wish i had known about the bean bag because i would of bought one of those pillow type one. I could not sleep in bed with my hubby. i had to sleep on the sofa with my foot on the back of it. every time i dozed off i would jump and it made my foot hurt bad!
They gave me lorcet plus for pain but i waited til the pain was bad and took it so it did not help me.

i use ice every hour to ease the pain and help the swelling. the pain is better now . meaning it went from a 10 to a 4.

my advice is use ice, keep it elevated, take the pain meds b4 it hurts, do not get up unless u r just going to the bathroom.
Good luck and keep us posted :wave:

MsTammy 04-29-2009 05:31 PM

Re: Tips for Bunion Post-Op
If at all possible, I would recommend that your husband take off a couple days to be with you. If it's not possible for him, try to have someone there with you for a good 3-4 days because you will still be feeling out of it and not yet able (both physically and mentally) to do all those little things. Those first few days are rough and you'll really just be on the bed/couch. That's it. And you'll probably need help getting to and from the bathroom, even with crutches. Everything you do for a couple days is literally SOOOO draining. You'll definitely need that support.

Also, I'm assuming you've had your pre-op consult by now but remember that you cannot take any over the counter medications in the week before surgery. You should have shared with the doctor/nurse what you regular prescriptions are and they'll have told you to stop something if it could interfere but beyond your prescribed meds, you cannot use anything... no cold/flu meds, Midol, etc. especially not aspirin or ibuprofin, as these are blood thinners and cause excessive bleeding. Other ideas...

- Be sure to get the prescriptions filled for pain medications filled a day or two before the surgery so it's ready to go when you get home.
- Read the side effects of the pain meds before the surgery. Some, like Vicodin, cause constipation so you might need/want to have a stool softener on hand, just in case. Gross, I know, but it did turn out to be very helpful to have around.
- Stay on top of your pain meds. Begin taking them before your initial anesthesia wears off because you'll be miserable if the meds don't kick in before the anesthesia wears off. Also, record the times you take each, as your will not remember! I recorded the times for about 3-4 weeks so I know exactly when I took what, the intervals and when I started weaning off.
- Have the meds (sitting out) and some water near you at night so you're not fumbling in the dark, in the middle of the night, while in pain.

If I think of anymore, I'll chime in! Good luck to you! And remember, it's better to be over-prepared than not prepared enough!

iluvmarvel 04-29-2009 10:33 PM

Re: Tips for Bunion Post-Op
Thanks for all your tips! Thankfully, my mom lives nearby and she doesn't work outside the home, so she's going to come spend a couple days with me after my husband goes to work and before he gets home.

I'll try to keep everyone updated on how I'm doing.

I haven't had my pre-op yet but its on Monday. I found it odd that it was only 2 days before my surgery, but they did send me info for things I have to stay off, etc. Plus, I've been researching on these boards for tips and ways to prepare, so that's been very helpful!

Thanks again!

pearl 55 04-30-2009 03:32 AM

Re: Tips for Bunion Post-Op
Ms Tammy what good tips i have read from your thread i will be definately contacting you when i have my bunion surgery.

Janesfoot 04-30-2009 12:56 PM

Re: Tips for Bunion Post-Op
Will you have pre-surgery crutch training? I found it very helpful. I thought using crutches wouldn't be a problem, but I learned I was a disaster waiting to happen. I decided to take the crutches and a walker, even though my pride was hurt. I'm glad I did. The walker gave me more stability. You will feel out of it for a few days because of the trauma of surgery and the pain medication. It is great your Mom will be there. You will need her help and you won't feel like moving too much. Don't over do, even though you will get antsy. I had a setback and had to go nwb for a week (even though I was pwb from day one) because I was too active after the stitches were removed. I had never had a broken bone, let alone two osteotomies, and I had never had surgery before, so I was clueless. That is when I discovered this board. I was so discouraged and scared. I recovered quickly. The reassurance I received from the board was the most helpful. Keep writing with any question, even if it seems silly.
Good Luck.

iluvmarvel 04-30-2009 02:55 PM

Re: Tips for Bunion Post-Op
Yeah this board has helped me a LOT as far as expectations go. I've never had surgery either, but I was an athlete in high scool and college, so I've had my fair share of injuries. I don't think I'm doing the crutch traning, but I don't really need to because I've used them multiple times. I'm just worried about trying to get up the stairs to my apartment the day of surgery (to get from the car to my home) on crutches. I think I may just have my husband carry me. :)

Helen136 05-03-2009 12:19 PM

Re: Tips for Bunion Post-Op
I was down your path 6 weeks ago when I had my bunion surgery. I had an austin and taylor bunionectomy with 4 screws in total placed in my left foot. Of course I was extremely nervous the night before and day of. My surgery lasted about 2 hours in total.
I arrived at the hospital 0700 hrs and was home by noon. While I was wheeled to my car I did hobble into the back seat keeping my foot straight as we drove home.
I also have steps in my home leading to my bedroom and upon arriving home, I took one step at a time and used the heel of my operated foot and cruthches to get upstairs. My foot was bandaged up like a sausage.
I didnt feel much pain but mostly a numbing...pins & needles type sensation.
The first night was not bad. It was on the second and third day as everything wore off that I felt this burning sensation. That was the only time I used the prescribed Vicoden which was worthless to me. I popped a second Vicoden 6 hours later to no avial... it did nothing for me. I stopped using them and used Advil instead which helped me more and allowed me to sleep better.
This is probably the most important thing you can do. It paid off for me and as I mentioned, 6 weeks post surgery my swelling is not as bad as other nightmare stories I have heard and I'm already into my regular sized sneakers.
I did go to the mall for a few hours using my crutches and luckily it wasnt an issue but elevating is really a big plus.
I didnt need anyones assistance although there was plenty. No railings in my home. No chairs in the shower. I used a handheld shower head and it help and was given a plastic cover by the hospital to use on my foot.
I think being thin also helped significantly. My biggest problem post op was forcing myself to stay in one place with my foot elevated. I am too active and extremely girlie. The internet helped and shopping was lots of fun online.
Do stock up on magazines, reading material and videos....
The only medication I was prescribed post op was Naproxen for the swelling and the useless Vicoden...
I returned to work after 3 weeks.
Good Luck with your surgery. let me know if you have questions.

MsTammy 05-03-2009 07:49 PM

Re: Tips for Bunion Post-Op
Yeah, the cast cover for the shower was the best thing ever! I had to buy one myself because my doctor said not to waste the money and just to tape plastic grocery bags on my leg. Umm, no. Too tedious and wasteful for me. For $30 I got a fabulous cast cover from Walgreen's Home Medical Supply. We have one locally but you can get them online. It was great for me, especially since it used it for both surgery recoveries, and it never once leaked or let in even one drop of water. SO worth it!

Funny side story... my surgery, too, was out patient and only took about a hour for the surgery and had to stay for another hour for observation. Afterwards, we went out for breakfast! Isn't that nuts? The waitress certainly thought so! I was starving and figured the ankle block was in full effect so why not?! I was getting a bit miserable towards the end of breakfast but I was mainly fine still at that point, just getting uncomfortable. By the time I got home, Days 1-2 were not so great but by Day 3 it started getting considerably better.

srfrgrl1 06-01-2009 10:38 PM

Re: Tips for Bunion Post-Op
I thought I'd give you my two cents, too..having had my bunionectomy surgery (one screw) with the removal of a bone spur at the other end of the metotarsal (sp) just last Thursday.
I was awake through most of the surgery, chatting away with the doctors and nurses, was in recovery for 20 min, my boyfriend took me out to breakfast, then we went home. This whole time I was putting light weight on the "shoe" they sent me home in, my foot in a bandage and ace bandage.
But in about an hour, I was taking my pain meds every 3 hrs (Percodan), and using a pair of his old crutches, because I couldn't put any weight on my foot.
The next day I could put a little more weight on it, and by Sat. I was no longer using the crutches at all. I loosened the ace bandage on Sunday, as it was too tight, but other than that, I was doing much better.
I drove to work today, with a manual gear shift with clutch (my left foot was the one operated on). No problem. I only missed 2 days of work, Thursday and Friday. Had my post-op visit at 5pm today, everything looks great. Very little swelling, as I'd iced the ankle and kept it elevated ever since surgery. My toes and foot are very bruised, but I expected that. I haven't taken any pain medication since yesterday..nothing!:) got my "boot" today, but will wear the "shoe" to drive.
My sutures come out next Wednesday, and then I'll be able to get it wet. I just got the "shower sleeve", but now am confident enough to use it!! Thanks, Tammy!
Two weeks after that, I'm hoping for a full recovery, and back to surfing and full workouts. My doc says not to overdo it during this time, when i'm feeling I'll go into the gym, but just do upper body exercises, and the rowing machine with the sliding seat for cardio..being careful not to put too much pressure on the ball of my left foot.
I hope your recoveries are as far!
Oh, I'm 52 yrs old, fairly active, but about 18 lbs. over my normal weight, so I'm very aware of what I'm eating during this period!!

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