Bunion Recovery

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Your comments have been so helpful. I am having surgery tomorrow-June 20. Lapidus procedure to repair bunion, osteotomy on tailor's bunion, and bone spurs removed from back of heel-all on my right foot. I am so worried and nervous about the surgery/recovery!! I am very confident with my doctor, but the unknown can be scary. I am 57 and concerned that my age may affect the recovery. I have even been wondering if I should go through with it, but after reading about what might be ahead (deformed foot) I think I should do it. Since the ball of my foot and the heel are both being operated on my doctor says I can't put weight on my foot at all; I'll be in a cast for 5 weeks then a boot for 3 weeks.

Any advice you could give me about recovery would be greatly appreciated!

I live in a 2 story house with only a toilet/sink in the downstairs bath. I'm planning to stay on the sofa for a couple of weeks. What is the best way to elevate my foot? What is the best way to get up and down stairs? How do I manage to prepare food on my own? How do I "bathe???" Help!

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  • Posted

    You won't be able to take an actual bath for awhile.  I bought plastic covers for my feet from Amazon so I could shower as soon as my doctor gave me the OK--it was several weeks.  You can use pillows to elevate your feet, but I got a foam block from Amazon and it was great.  I didn't have to keep adjusting pillows.  I froze dinners so my husband could heat them--he's no cook!  Line up some friends and/or family to drop by the first few days to help.  You'll get the hang of it after that.  I didn't have to contend with steps, but I think going down on your backside would be the answer.  Going down is much harder than coming up.  Your feet/toes won't bend for some time and your feet will be swollen.  You may need to buy some non-restrictive shoes several sizes bigger than normal.  I bought some running shoes 2 sizes bigger and it was worth the money.  You have time to do that later after you get out of the boots.  I also purchased a shower chair and it was critical.  You will feel so much safer and it will allow you to sit instead of stand.  Hope this helps.
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    • Posted

      Intervision Ortho Bed Wedge; Carex Universal Bath Bench w/Back; and Brownmed Seal Tight Original Cast & Bandage Protector, Adult Short Leg Wide.  My husband also built me a contraption that would keep the covers off my feet--you won't want anything or anybody touching your feet!  Others have given you good advice, but the one most important thing is to keep your feet elevated above your heart for at least two weeks.  It will be critical to your recovery.  When my doctor saw me for the first time to take out the stitches, he said, "Well, someone followed my instructions!"  lol
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  • Posted

    Susie, I am a similar age, it does take a long time, in particular your foot may feel hot and look pretty inflamed for some time (maybe 6-8 weeks), it may feel tight in the plaster, mine did. 

    As for bathing, I used a great slip on plastic cover avialable from Lloyds Pharmacy, £15, a bargain that keeps the foot dry and lets you shower with confidence. 

    You will probably get crutches and shown how to use them. These will make life easy, you can get up stairs with crutches easy enough.

    I did things pretty quickly like bake bread the next day, you can do a lot sitting down. Just dont stand for long periods. The ideal is to keep your foot elevated above waist height so I just used a few cushions on top of a suitable box and sepmt a lot of time reading, online (a tablet/laptop helps) and inevitably watching more TV than is healthy. 

    Im not sure how fit you are but I also did simple exercises that did not involve standing, e.g. sit ups and simple plank (on knees not feet). This avoids gaining lots of Kg.

     

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  • Posted

    Hello Susie.

    First of all, let me tell you that you will be absolutely fine.

    I am 64 years old and had my hammertoe and bunion surgery on my left foot on 27 November 2013.

    I'll quickly run through your questions and give my answers.

    I also live in a two storey house with the only bathroom and lavatory upstairs.

    You will ( or should!) be given advice and help on how to use your crutches. You won't be allowed to leave the hospital unless you can safely ascend and descend the dummy staircase that the hospital has for this purpose.

    On ascending the stairs, hold both your crutches the hand that is furthest from the hand rail in our staircase and hold the handrail with the hand nearest to it. Then put your GOOD foot on the first step followed by your poorly foot onto the same step. Continue this until you reach the top of the stairs.

    Descnding the stairs hold the handrail with the hand nearest to it and both your crutches in your other hand. Place the crutches onto the first step followed this time by your poorly foot and then place your good foot onthe same step. Continue this seqence until you reach the bottom of the stairs.

    It will take you a long time to begin with but after a cople of days you'l have got ito this routine and will be able to go up and down the stairs without difficulty BUT IT WILL BE SLOW.

    If you have a bag with a long strap, I suggest you wear this to carry aroundthe house with you and put your mobile phone in it. I used such a bag and it was really very useful. I could also put other bits and bobs in the bag whish I needed to take up or bring down the stairs or take from room to room.

    6 days after my surgery I was brave enough  manage to go outside andpeg out some washing. I tok the bag of course and also my crutches and would hur my washing basket with wet washing out of my study door so it landed on a garden seat near the door. You'll be amazed how you'll manage.

    Although in your case, as your surgery involves not be able to put any weight on your foot at all you may have to wait to be as adventurous as I was.

    Re the bathing. I just used to have a thorough up-as-far and down-as -far wash twice a day and my usband would give my back a good scrub as this was the only area I couldn't manage to reach.

    I have purchased a Limbo which is like a long plastic stocking with a rubber seal around the top and this enables you to shower without wetting the cast/bandages. However, as I didn't feel confident striding into the bath ( our shower is over the bath) I didn't use my libo until many weeks after the surgery as I was afraid of falling. You will probably find that your balance may be unsteady, as I did, and therefore to attempt a shower seemed unwise.

    So, I didn't have a bath or shower ntil 20 January 2014. How good it felt after all those weeks.

    If you have a walk in shower or wet room arrangement you may feel confident to take a shower.

    Better to be safe than sorry is my motto!

    Food preparation:  Have you a stool in your kitchen that you could sit on whilst preparing your food? If not someone may be able to get one for you or, lend you one.

    You could get someone to maybe get you some of the ready meals which are available and can be kept in the freezer which van be cooked from frozen.

    Or, Wiltshire Farm Foods have lovely meals which you can order online and have delivered to your home and put straight in your freezer.

    Get all you family and friends to rally round and help you with every household task that needs doing. You don't say whether you live alone or have family living with you. And DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK ANYONE FOR HELP/ASSISTANCE.

    Foot elevation: I used a plump pillow and as I have a reliner armchair with a raised foot this was very useful. If you don't have a recliner chair then I suggest yu just sit in your usua armchair and maybe get a dining chair strategically placed and put your pillow on the chair seat and just sit with your foot and leg resting on that.

    Thekey thing is that you must keep that foot elevated because as soon as it's lowered you will experience throbbing and the feeling of tightness as though your foot is going to burst.

    I didn't have any of the extreme pain I was warned to expect but I did get the throbbing if my foot was lowered. As soon as it was raised the throbbing stopped.

    You will be given pain relief to take home with you following your surgery. I had Tramadol ( which actually made me dizzy and nauseus and I had to stop taking it. Tramadol does have a reputation for adverse side effects. I mention this just to warn you.). Afte a few days, and because I was not in any pain I didn't need to take anything other than an occasional paracetamol and Ibuprofen.

    If you are a car driver, it is important that when you resume driving ( this will not be for a few months I guess) you must notify your car insurer that you have had foot surgery and explain what you've had done. This will not impact on your insurance premiums but is a requirement to inform them. If you happen to drive an atomatic vehicle you don't need to notify the insurer.

    You must be able to satuisfactorily perform an emergency stop so it's very important that whe you do resume driving you just try sitting in your car and work the pedals and you may find that you havetemporarily lost some of your confidenc.

    I had, but am very happy to report that I am now back driving the many short distances of before my surgery and have no discomfort. The first few weeks were a bit uncofortable thougand I had to find a comfortable position on the pedal .

    If you go to the website of The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and read it's document 'A Patien'ts Guide to Bunions ( Hallux Valgus) and Lesser Toe Deformities' I think you will find this useful.

    I have done and have also suggested to other who use this discussion site to read it.

    Good Luck for tomorrow Susie. I am sure yo'll be fine. Just remember that for the first few days you'll be drowsy if you're have a general anaesthethic and you'll be quite happy to stay in bed for a couple of days and then just sit around in your chair.

    Oh, one other piece of equipment I bought was a bed cradle. This keeps the weight of the bedclothes off your feet and I think in my case is has definitely been an extremely good investment. You can buy thgem online or, if you have a mobility aids shop in your area you will probably be able toget one from there. You may find having a couple of pillows under your foot in bed will also help.

    Keep me posted and remember that there's lots of us bunion buddies out there and you are not alond.

    I am looking forward to having my other foot done in September.

    G

     

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    • Posted

      Our children are grown and out of the house. My husband will be home (working from home) for two weeks, then back to traveling for work. I'm concerned about being alone week 3 and following but will definitely call on family and friends! Thank you for taking the time to write such a helpful reply!!
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  • Posted

    Susie, I'm a 55 year old male. Had LF buionectomy March 29th, LF May 28th. Without a doubt it is difficult some days. Most everyone has the same fears as you. You will be ok. Take it ''ONE DAY AT A TIME''! This is an excellent forum and also if you are on facebook I reccomend the page '' I SURVIVED A BUNIONECTOMY''. People who have been and who are going thru the process. Feel free to check out ''HELLO THERE"" thread of my journey in which I journaled along with friends I made all over the globe. I hard situation in which god people great people in my path to help me recover. Good luck. You can do this!!!
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    • Posted

      Thank you! This thread is so helpful~the people are wonderful!! I did join the fb page too.
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    • Posted

      A hard situation in which god put great people in my path what was ment to be said. lol
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  • Posted

    SUSIE, I do wish you every success, are you able to get health assisstance? Ask your doctor if there is any home help you are entitled to. I'd be setting up downstairs now, but you are having surgery today, so that suggestion isn't helpful, but before the operation you should have put a bed of sorts downstairs, and cloths etc, and items to use to clean yourself. If you have to get up the stairs I'd say use your bum, one step at a time but that is going to be dangerous if you fall, but I can't see any other way to get down or up without falling with a crutch.

    I'd put a few pillows up on the sofa and keep the foot raised and only get down for essential needs, toilet and food. Excercise the upper parts of the body when you can. Let us know how you go. God bless you, I too live alone but do not have a two-storey house!

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  • Posted

    I hope everything went well with your op. You have had some wonderful advice from contributors to these pages. Strict elevation for a minimum of two weeks is the absolute golden rule.

    May, I add that I think you will be being VERY unwise to attempt stairs for at least a month if not 6 weeks. Think of the consequences of one slight slip. I was once in the waiting room at Addenbrooks to visit a friend who was on life support following a car crash. There was a family of a lady, also on life support. They said she had fallen at home - from the fifth step of her staircase.

    All the best

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  • Posted

    Susie, how are you?
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    • Posted

      I remember that feeling!  Hang in there, it'll get better everyday.  I have just started jogging again and we just got back from playing golf.  Life is beginning to get back to normal after 4 months.  You'll be there soon.
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