Big toe fusion

Posted , 6 users are following.

Hi all,

I'm looking for some experience from people that have had the main joint in one of their big toes fused. I need to have this done soon and I'm worried about what level of activity I can do and quite simply, how I will walk after recovery. I do understand that recovery can take up to a year, but how is normal walking once it's totally healed? As it is I have a slightly awkward gait because my toe doesn't have the full range of movement - I'm worried this will get worse and I'll be left with a permanent limp. I'm only 42, very active and do a lot of sports, including running... will I still be able to do this? How is normal everyday walking?

Thanks very much,

Rob

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  • Posted

    I had this done last year and back to work after 8 weeks but mine was set to high an have to get it done again witch I can't wait I don't have a limp but felt really hard skin just on ball of foot directly under toe I am glad I got it done

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    • Posted

      Thanks Elizabeth, so may I ask, do you feel you will have normal mobility once the toe is repositioned? People's experiences seem to differ, but I've heard very few success stories from this surgery - that really worries me because there's no alternative other than excruciating pain. May I ask how old you are? Do you do much sport, running, etc?

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    • Posted

      Hi I'm 61 I don't do sport but in my job I'm on my feet 90%of the time I have to walk 15 flights of stairs 8 times a day because of the type of job I do my i can't wait to get my toe reset it will make it 100% the pain b4 the opp was awful I would definitely do it over again I also had a fantastic surgeon

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    • Posted

      Thank you for that. Can I ask how normal walking is though? With you not being able to bend your big toe, does it not make it difficult to walk? Do you walk with a limp or an awkward gait?

      I think that's what I'm worried about the most.

      Thanks,

      Rob

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  • Posted

    Hi Rob

    I am 57 and still active (never been a runner....not my thing!) I may not be typical but I had the big toe on my left foot fused and also normal surgery on my right bunion. All I can say is that my fusion is odd four years down the line and to be honest the bunion is still there but the surgeon told me I had osteoarthritis in that toe so fixing the screws was really difficult. I ended up going back in and had one screw removed as it started to stick out of my foot, apparently it couldn't grip the bone! The right foot is great though and no more pain. I now have a hard patch of skin which forms under the foot due to my fused joint as I still walk strangely and I suppose it puts pressure on it, I now have to go to the chiropodist to have it removed every six weeks. The best footwear for comfort is trainers (Asics) I have found but that doesn't help when I walk the dog and do the horses in the winter as they aren't waterproof! I did go for physio after about a year to teach me to walk again in the correct manner, now found out that physio should be part and parcel of the after care so do yourself a favour and ask the surgeon for a referral after surgery and do all the exercises recommended as they really help. Sorry to be a scaremonger but ask for all the help you can get from the surgeon and I am sure the procedure will be fine for you. Hope this helps but everyone is different so you should be OK. Jackie

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    • Posted

      Thanks Jackie,

      Yours sounds like yet another bad experience of toe fusion. Do you think with physio you would be walking better? And when you say it feels odd 4 years later, can you explain what you mean by 'odd'?

      Sorry for all the questions, I'm just trying to learn as much as I can - at the moment I'm thinking that the pain and discomfort I'm feeling every day is preferable to the surgery!

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    • Posted

      Hi Rob

      By odd I mean I don't have full mobility of the toe as its been fused and the toe sticks up a bit which makes walking OK generally if I have comfy boots or shoes on but finding ones soft and wide enough is an issue. I don't have pain any more but when the hard skin forms under the joint it hurts, once its filed down i'm fine again! Also if I rub the bunion site it feels slightly numb in parts like its not part of me but that is probably good at least there is no pain any more!! I walked wrong after the boots you are given to wear after surgery and probably years of suffering bunions (since I was in my teens) so the physio taught me to walk correctly and life was much better after that, just wish I had gone to him earlier. My biggest problem was that I should have had the op many years ago but I just kept putting it off. I would just go and have the operation, don't put it off any longer than you have to! Good luck

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    • Posted

      Thanks Jackie, it sounds like it was fairly successful for you then overall. When you say you walk ok, do you find your walk affected by the fused toe? I tend to walk on the outside of my foot at the moment because of the limited movement in my toe; I assume thats what happens, but to a greater extent once the toe is fused?

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    • Posted

      Hi Rob

      Sorry I didn't get back sooner but i've been away in London and I can report back that walking to get the train and tube etc was absolutely fine. I had to think whether I walked strangely and did people notice - answer is no everything was fine. I do put my foot down correctly now, no longer on the outside like you mentioned as there is no pain any more so no need to keep the pressure off the bunion site. I have tried running with the dogs and that was fine too. You do get some movement with fusion, I can wiggle my toes if that is what is worrying you, the fusion is higher up the foot. Can't think of any more to say apart from if you have a good surgeon whats stopping you just go and get it done - don't delay it will only get worse!

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    • Posted

      Hi Jackie,

      Ok, that's reassuring to hear. Thanks very much for taking the time to answer. I think I've been reading too many horror stories off the internet! I'll try not to worry too much.

      Take care,

      Rob

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  • Posted

    I had double bunion removal and fusion, last year. I too am quite sporty, I love walking, mountain climbing, swimming and sailing. Operation itself was not as painful as I thought it would be. Recuperation was slow and tedious and I really missed those mountains! I am hoping to climb first mountain next month, since my surgery last year, and I am either out walking each day, or on the treadmill at home, to build up stamina. As well as swimming. I love my new straight toes, but they came at a price; I cannot wear high heels. So I wear low heel dancer shoes instead. I cannot stand on tiptoes anymore due to the toe fusion, but at 59 I don't really need to anymore. It was right decision for me because both bunions were very crooked and it was growing more painful to walk.

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    • Posted

      Audrey,

      Thank you for sharing your experience.I still don't seem to be able to get an answer on how it feels during normal walking though. I can see that it's more comfortable for you than before, but with you not being able to bend your big toe, does that not make walking slightly difficult? Do you visibly walk differently? Would anyone notice you walking differently?

      Thanks,

      Rob

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  • Posted

    The reason I had double bunionectomy was because the bunion on the right toe, was enormous and painful. My other toes were crossing over it. Shoes hurt and for the last few years, all I could comfortably wear were trainers and sandals. My gait has definitely changed, whereas before my heels seemed more inwards when I walked, I now find I am walking straighter than I have in the last 35 years. As I healed, I found I almost had to force myself to walk in a straight line, I think because I was accustomed to walking incorrectly for most of my life. At first my big toes did not bend at all, but after 3-4 months, I found there was an element of give as I walk. Although I cannot wear 6" heels anymore, I can comfortably wear 3" inch heels without any pain. Even with my big crooked toes, I was walking 10-20 miles, 2-3 days a week. This year so far, I am now walking 10 miles a day at least 2 days a week. Every time I look at my toes, I am so glad I had the operation.

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    • Posted

      Hi Audrey, thank you. I'm sorry to ask again, but this is the part I'm most concerned about - does walking feel normal and comfortable for you now? I find that with the reduced movement I have in my big toe, walking is slightly awkward, especially in bare feet or soft soled shoes. It's clear from what you are saying that your walking is better than it was, which is great news, but do you feel you walk perfectly comfortably now, whether on a long hike or just down to the shops? Would anyone be able to tell from your gait that you've had an operation? Also, you say there is some flex in the toe now - I thought the point of the fusion was to entirely prevent any movement at all?

      Thank you and I'm so sorry for all the questions.

      Regards,

      Rob

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  • Posted

    Hi, to answer your question, walking feels more normal, now, a year after double bunionectomy. Although I had 2 big toes fused, there is a little bit of give while walking. Thanks to strong painkillers, I had minimal pain afterwards, and after 3-4 weeks, was off all painkillers. I had 2 airboots and crutches to take my first tentative steps to recovery. I went on a road trip in the United States last April and that was when I began walking (slowly and carefully) for the first time. From then on, I had no pain, it was just a case of becoming stronger and resuming my normal activities. Right now, I walk and jog on the treadmill ( too cold to walk outdoors) and swim once or twice a week. I am intending to climb mountains, from March onward's . My advice don't focus on what might go wrong, and look at the positives that you will gain; a pain free foot.

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