Alternatives to crutches?

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I'm scheduled to have surgery next Saturday to remove a bunion and correct the second toe. I'm concerned about the impact of using crutches, given that I already have a painful forearm, wrist and occasional tingling or numbness in the fingers of my left arm and often need to wear a hand splint. (It's not carpal tunnel syndrome and I'm on the waiting list for further investigation). Does anyone with a similar problem have any advice?

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  • Posted

    If you are having your op in the UK using the NHS you will be supplied with heel only weight bearing sandals so will only need your crutches to steady yourself in the early days and won't be able to leave hospital until the physio is happy with you using the sandals and the crutches. Good luck, hope it all goes well for you. 

     

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    you may want to look into renting a knee scooter.

    I used one instead of crutches and it was awesome. I highly reccomend it. 

    Good luck! 

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  • Posted

    I could not cope so now have a wheelchair
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    • Posted

      Thank you Rena. I'm hoping, from advice given here and having spoken to Physio this morning, that I'll be able to manage very quickly without crutches. Hope you are doing OK.
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  • Posted

    Hello Jayniejay.

    I can understand exactly your concerns.

    I had bunion correction and hammertoe correction on my left foot last November. I also suffer from tennis elbow in my left arm  ( this seems to be recurrent and chose the weeks prior to my surgery to re-emerge) and , like you, was concerned about the impact of using crutches following my surgery. However, I did manage and was surprised and pleased to soon realise that after oinly a few days I was managing very well around the house using just one crutch. When I ventured outdoors I took them both. But these outdoor explorations were not of long duration or indeed too often. At least for the first few weeks. I live in a house with only the one bathroom/lavatory upstairs. So, you will be given help and advice on how to manage the stairs once you've had your surgery. Your hospital physiotherapists will want to make sure that you can manage your crutches before you are considered for discharge. They will have a ' dummy' staircase and will show you how to get along. Like you I was very apprehensive about how I would manage with crutches and the huge strapping and bandage on my foot and the special heel wedge shoe you will be given to wear. But, just take it slowly ( not that you can do otherwise!) and I guarantee that you will be ok.

    So, let's fast forward to October 2014. I had the bunion on my right foot removed on 1st October and am home and managing very well. The key is to make sure you sit with your foot elevated above groin level to alleviate swelling. You will soon realise that once your foot is down you will get throbbing. I find that this is worse only when I am standing in one position for any length of time. When moving around the throbbing is hardly noticeable. The general advice is to only be on your feet for no more than 10 minutes in each hour. You'll soon realise that you can't do any more than this without throbbing setting in. Do take care with your recovery as failure to do this will not only cause discomfort for you but cause excess swelling and delay what is already a lengthy recovery following this kind of surgery.

    I have had an excellent outcome from my first surgery and am hopeful that this second operation will be likewise.

    I followed my surgeon's advice to the letter and I realise that doing this has definitely been worthwhile.

    If you look at the website of The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and read ' A Patient's Guide to Bunions ( Hallux Valgus ) and Lesser Toe Deformities' you may find it useful.

    If you're a car driver and your car IS NOT an automatic, you MUST notify your car insurer of the type of surgery you've had carried out when you eventually resume driving again. This will not affect your insurance premiums but it is a requirement that the are notified. The reason is that you must be able to perform an emergency stop effectively and operate the vehicle pedals without any problem.

    So, for now, I wish you well.

    Please get in touch if you require any further assistance.

    I feel as though I'm quite an expert now!

    Gil;lian.

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    • Posted

      In answer to your last comment, yes, I think you are! Strange how lower arm problems worsen in the weeks before surgery - this is exactly the case here too. Thank you for taking the time to give what is sound, encouraging and reassuring advice. I'm expecting to have the bunion on my right foot removed next year so may have gained more wisdom by then. I'm sure to be in touch again but in the meantime wish you a good and full recovery for bunion number two.
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    • Posted

      Hi Gillian.

      Hope you are recovering well from operation number two. I had stitches removed and foot re-dressed yesterday evening. More of a gruesome sight than I'd expected so just as well I was lying down. That was not painful but I think my poor foot reacted to being disturbed and was more painful than ever later on and through the night. I'll know next time to dose myself up beforehand, not wait until after the event!

      One thing I meant but forgot to ask the consultant was how much rest and activity to aim for over the next four and a half weeks, until my next appointment when the pin in the second toe is removed. I was told to continue to walk only on my heel and keep using crutches so I guess this is as restrictive as anything. What has your experience been? I don't feel the need to push beyond my limits and risk damaging the good work or extending the long period required for full recovery.

      J

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  • Posted

    Pleased to report that crutches aren't impacting on hand, wrist or forearm pain - hardly walking as yet of course.

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