Bunion surgery - much more painful than I ever imagined

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Had Scarf osteotomy to remove bunion on right foot on Friday 2 March. Foot numb for almost 24 hours so not much pain until Saturday morning - then sheer agony! Ibuprofen & codeine alternated with paracetamol & codeine the most effective painkillers but you can only take so many in a day. Have stayed in bed as walking (on heel) has been almost impossible and stairs too terrifying; bathroom visits have been a source of dread as when I stand there is a surge of blood to the foot and it feels as though it might explode. Then for the next 10 minutes or so after returning to bed the pain and throbbing are intense. However, this is now easing a bit so hoping to be gradually more mobile. Any advice anybody?

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  • Posted

    Hi

    I'm in my 5th week (Shoe off next week hopefully!) and I was the same. The first couple of days were painful and then it just subsides. The worst was trying to sleep but other than that its just watching movies to keep your mind off the throbbing, if it is. I kept a basic surgery chart so I could tick off the days and mark pain levels and my pain was at 0 by Friday (surgery on Monday).

    Also the exploding foot thing is normal! After the stitches came out, my first shower was ridiculous and I could only manage a couple of minutes before I thought the foot might explode! But with every day everything gets a little better. Just make sure you rest it. I staying in bed with ice to the ankle for the first 4 days then moved to the sofa and I have very little swelling.

    Jo

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    • Posted

      I had a bunionectomy 8 years ago with the orthopaedic surgeon shaving the bone. I waited 12 months for the operation and was sorry I had it because he hardly said anything to me during that time, then afterwards I was left with nerve damage to my foot and the bunion waas satill there. He was supposed to remove it, not just shave it. Swelling took 1 year to go down and during that time I had to wear thongs. Worst operation ever because of the lousy surgeon. Now on Tuesday I'm repeating the operation having one of the best surgeons. Was told it would take 8 months if not longer before the swelling goes down.
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    • Posted

      Hello,

      I read you had nerve damage from your surgery.

      I'm in my 4th week and am concerned I may have nerve damage. During my second week I've been experiencing really bad burning pain in my foot. Like fire lighting up foot and my little toe. Receptionist said it's normal, but this is really bad to feel like it's normal. Especially since everyone else seems to be healing and having less and less pain. I'm just wondering how did you know you had nerve pain? How long before they figured it out? And what did they do to make it better?

      Thank you. Hope you get this since its been so long

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    • Posted

      Hello, Olga,

      Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I am out of town and didn't have internet connection until now.

      So, what I did find out was when I went for my 8 wks appt (suppose to get cast off, but didnt) was when he 're-did the dressing we found that the area where the fire was coming from has a severe bloody blister. A bad calise was behind on the pinky toe. Behind the foot. Is was causing pain to the nerves there spreading over the whole foot. See, what made it so bad was the way the foot was positioned in the cast and stayed that way for a long time. My foot was turned a little and being pushed down on that one side. This last week before I'm completely out of this cast/walking boot I'm allowed to take the cast off for stretching and moving the toes, but still no weightberring. Since then the pain has vanished completely. That spot, though is still very tender and hurts when I touch it. And when I put my foot down with pressure.

      How do you feel? Are you having burning fire in your foot too?

      I hope not because that is the worst pain that I felt and nothing I took made it go away

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    • Posted

      Hi Jennifer, thanks for getting back to me. Yes I am having that burning sensation and taught maybe I was getting an infection or something. I went today and they told me everything is fine is that that nerve is still getting adjusted to the surgery. I am glad that we are both ok. I will be removing my stitches next week so maybe it will feel better. I hope that u continue to recuperate God bless u.
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    • Posted

      I'm glad to hear you don't have nerve damage. I read that can be common among bunion surgery. I still have a little burning from Time to time but it goes away quickly and not nearly as bad as before. Things do get better from here.

      I get to walk tomorrow and can't wait. This bandage is what is making it hurt sometimes.

      Wishing u well.

      Jen

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    • Posted

      Hi Olga,

      No, after I got my stitches off they didn't put steri strips on. They just rebandaged my foot. I've read that some people's stitches would dissolve in the bath.

      I am finally walking again. A little bit more everyday. I found that wide new balance worked the best. Plenty of room for swelling and not too big for my other foot.

      How are you doing??

      I'm still contemplating doing the other foot, but the remainder of the pain I was in quickly changes my mind.

      Hope you well,

      Jen

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    • Posted

      Ok, Jen I didn't know that they had  placed steri strips until I removed the bandages so I called the doctors office and I asked the receptionist and she told me that they come off as I shower but I guess I'm feeling anxious. I don't have pain just is still swollen and I can't bend my toe. How long were u off work from work?
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    • Posted

      Don't worry. I'm 11 weeks today and still can't move my big toe, let alone my other toes. I can wiggle the other 4toes a little, but that's it. So, I think that's normal.

      I'm suppose to go back to work may 4th. I will have been out of work a total of 12 wks, but I think I'm going to take an additional 2wks, just to make sure I can withstand a 40hr shift. Although I'm able to walk in a shoe, by the end of the day I need to still put my foot up because of all the swelling. And I can only handle 4-6hrs. No pain though. Quite surprised by this. I expected some pain. Foot is still numb where the screws are in my foot. (Staple in big toe and 2 screws on the base of foot)

      I think you'll be okay to shower and wash your foot. Just wash it carefully. It does feel really good.

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    • Posted

      hello, iv decided to have bunion surgery as iv had bunions since 5 years old i am now 17, i am going to see a specialist surgeon on 2nd august for tests and im worried wether i should have the surgery or not because of the risks. i want to have the operation because of the deformity of my foot it makes me really self consious and i get a lot of pain but i dont know if i sould take the risk in surgery incase my foot looks worser and i get more pains. please let me know how you recovery has gone and your results
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    • Posted

      Hello. I am 59 yrs old and have had bunions for as long as I can remember. They are hereditary in my family. I had my first foot done on May 20, and today is July 25, so it's been just over 2 months. I believe your results will depend on your doctor and your pain threshold as every person is different. I had my bunion removed... Bone cut in two places to realign my big toe, screws put in to hold the bone, and tendon lengthened to correct big toe overlap on my second toe. I have had virtually no pain. I took one and a half of the pain killers the first day because I was expecting pain but it never came. I followed dr's instructions, was in a boot for about 7 weeks, then a surgical shoe for 2 weeks. I had surgery on a Friday and was back at work the following Thurs. I do have a desk job so I did not have to be on my feet much but the boot made walking quite easy. I think healing for a person as young as you will probably be much easier than an older person. Write down any and all questions you have and take them to your dr visit so you don't forget anything and get everything answered. I wish I had had my surgery years ago. I am planning on having the second foot surgery in September. I do have swelling and expect to have it for awhile but otherwise am happy with the results. I say just make sure you have a good dr who has lots of experience with the surgery.

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    • Posted

      i'm responding late as i just found this site. i, too, had a terrible surgeon with no communication/instruction! i developed a rare bone infection throughout my body and spent the summer in an out of the hospital getting intravenous antibiotics! i had to have a second surgery after which my immune system crashed and i almost died. For the last four years my life has been a mess - terrible pain, massive doses of pain-killers, unable to walk normally-depression and fear! i'm having my THIRD surgery by a different surgeon in two weeks. if ANY of you are considering surgery of this type - make SURE your specialist has excellent credentials and that you have open, thorough communication and explanation. sadly, i am sure that there are many others besides goanna and i who have needlessly suffered and whose lives have been changed - not by "fluke" - but by the ineptitude and malpractice of these so-called "orthopaedists"!!

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    • Posted

      i know how you FEEL :P it's hard to ask someone for their podiatritist's or ortho-surgeon's name. many of us are also "in a hurry", trying to find a professional who will FINALLY rid us of our pain and let us walk "normally" again. i developed a rare bone infection throughout my body - followed months later by a life-threatening immune system crash! i have an appt. with a well-known PODIATRIST for an assessment prior to my THIRD surgery by an "ortho-specialist". if you live somewhere where podiatriatists are covered by your health care - by all MEANS go that route. ALL podiatritists DO is feet! at least consider what I am doing - getting a focussed assessment by an EXPERT! best of luck! (y)

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    • Posted

      How did you know you had nerve pain? I had bunionette surgery done on my little toe less than two months ago and I also had my plantar fascia tendon stripped and cleaned I still have a lot of pain in my foot and don't know if this is normal. But when you touch the upper side of my leg under my knee it shoots pains that are unbearable all the way down to my foot where my scar is. It sends me almost to my knees with pain

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    • Posted

      Hi Gianna- I was wondering how you are doing from your tailor's bunion surgery(bunionette). Do you still have nerve pain? Is it better at all? I just had tailor's bunion surgery 2 weeks ago and I have burning from my sural nerve. I'm very concerned, and I'm hoping it's temporary. My surgeon told me it's from retracting the nerve in surgery and that the nerve gets irritated and it will take months and time for that nerve to heal. Certainly I'm concerned that irritated really means injured. I'm also wondering could that have been avoided. Is your foot a lot better now? The pain from your bunion and nerve? Are you on medicine for it? I'm very scared right now. Prior to surgery I asked my surgeon what are the chances in having a nerve injury and he said slim to none. I'm just trying to understand if this is really common and avoidable? Thanks so much!

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    • Posted

      Hi Olga- do you still have burning in your foot? Is it permanent? I hope it got better? Where is your burning? I had tailor's bunion surgery 3.5 weeks ago. I felt burning in on the side of my foot and down and where all the shots were from. Very scared!

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    • Posted

      Hi Jo

      I just had a bunion removal yesterday. How long did it take to get your stitches out. My doctor said I had to be in a boot for 6 weeks? Is that the end of the whole boot thing after that?

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    • Posted

      Hi I'm a 15yr currently in school and had bunions since I can remember, they have been getting more painful since the last year and undergoing surgery later this year, I have them on both feet meaning I get 2 boots. I am certainly self concious of my feet but know you are not alone! But I'm very frightened of the risks of surgery and my schoolwork and work outside of school.

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    • Posted

      Hi - I don't know if I can do them at seperate times - I am going to a children's hopsital and must be younger than 16, and my 16th birthday is a month after the surgery. What are the risks associated with having both feet treated at the same time?

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    • Posted

      Hi - the risks are nerve injury, infection, worse pain and worse result than before the surgery. If you do one foot at a time if something goes wrong at least you can still walk with the other foot. These risks are real. I personally would only do one foot at a time.
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    • Posted

      I had both feet done yesterday and need to get back to uni in 6 weeks. It's very painful but my surgeon said as I am young (36😳😝wink I should be able to cope and heal better which is why he was happy to do both feet. I'm sure you been as young as you are you will recover well. The only thing is been so young they can come back by the time you're 60-70 I was told

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    • Posted

      yhe risks for both feet are the same as having a single foot done however it's twice as hard to get to the loo to start with but you can use a wheelchair for the first week. My surgeon said recovery time is the same as single foot but you don't need to do it twice so really half the time of getting the two done at different times

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    • Posted

      Hi I've read about your cast being positioned wrong last Nov I had my right bunion done n it was a plastic cast the surgeon removed it before I laeft bossy the same day because it was rubbing my foot in I healed fine last fri though the cast is now a proper hash plaster cast which they refused to remove at AnE the day after becos they didn't want to interfere with the surgeons work  my foot is getting a little warm at times so I'm gunna my drs tomorrow t ask nurse t change my falling off dirty bandage and I'm gunna have a little look at it then x

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    • Posted

      Hi gemma68833, I am so afraid of having bunion surgery. I am 68 years old and I had bunions on both feet since I was 12. They have become increasingly worse as I got older and also I have developed hammer toes on my other toes. I'm to the point where I cannot even buy good fitting shoes as the hammer toes constantly rub on top of my shoe or the bunions on the side of my feet cause me excruciating pain. When I was younger the bunions did not bother me so much but I was always embarrassed of them and whenever I went to the beach I buried my feet in the sand so nobody would see them. Now I always keep my feet covered because they are ten times worse. I saw a podiatrist yesterday to have this problem taken care of and he told me he would have to fuse the big toe bone put screws and all my feet and I would be immobile for at least 3 months. And then there is no guarantee this would work. I'm afraid to fuse my big toe because even though I can't move it a lot right now I would not want it to become overly stiff and not be able to move it at all. Also I would have to go back and have my other foot taken care of after this. It frightens me to do this because maybe the surgery would not even work and maybe I would be in worse pain. I guess I inherited my foot woes from my grandmother. The only thing I inherited but at least I got something LOL. My question is this, is it worth it to go ahead and have the surgery? I am really over the fence on this and scared to do it. Anyway if you can offer me any help or if anyone can offer me any help I would greatly appreciate it.

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    • Posted

      Hi Stormy939

      Please don't have your toes fused because its permanent and the most horrible feeling of them not being separated. I had my little toe fused to the one next to it which makes it hard to cut my toenails and they're trying to separate knowing its not natural having them like this. I'm seeing my orthopaedic surgeon on August 2, asking him to book me into hospital having them separated. I can't stand them being fused, plus I do get some pain. As for your bunions, you should see an orthopaedic surgeon who has the best reputation as many can do more damage to your feet as it happened to me when I had my first bunionectomy having it corrected evleven (11) years later. I live in Sydney, Australia and the best surgeon here is Dr Fred Noah in Park Central, NSW. I'm wishing you all the very best for you having the operation done. Here in Sydney, it's done as day surgery with you having to wear a surgical boot on your foot 24/7 for six (6) weeks or a bit longer depending on your progress.

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    • Posted

      Hi goanna57! So nice to hear from you I live in the u.s. In Florida. I've been dealing with these bunions and hammer practically my entire life and want to do something about as it is becoming very hard to even find shoes to wear. The doctor I talked to wanted to fuse together the bones in my big toe, my big toe bones,. Which would make them permanently Frozen or stiff. She also wanted to make a cut right below my ankle and straighten my foot out that way. The whole thing's scares me but if I don't do something I have to wear nothing but tennis shoes the rest of my life which I don't want to do. Right now all I wear is jeans can't wear dresses. Thanks for your advice I will not have the fusion done there are other podiatrist, and I'm going to look around some more.

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    • Posted

      goanna57, I hope that your second surgery went well, and your feet and toes are beautiful! It's a shame you had to go through the misery of a surgery that didn't turn out right. Wishing all the best for you!!

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    • Posted

      Hi Stormy, My second operation went well but I wish I didn't have two of my toes fused together and will ask the orthopaedic to somehow reverse the fusion when I see him on August 2.

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Stormy

      Thanks for replying and nice hearing from you .... all the way from Florida. U.S. If you were living in Australia, the operation would be done by an orthopaedic surgeon in a public hospital at no charge at all compared to the high cost in the U.S. I'm weary of poditarist doing the surgery because they're not fully qualified as what you have mentioned about your feet.

      I wish you all the very best of luck with the surgery. It will take you six (6) months or a bit longer for all the swelling to go down and to wear heels no higher than 2.5 inches. I'm still wearing soft flat shoes as I haven't tried wearing any others as yet. My operation was done on December 6, 2016.

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    • Posted

      goanna77 thank you for your reply! It's nice to hear from you so far away! The surgery would cost me about $450.00 US dollars, with my health insurance paying for the rest. The recovery time and the imobility is what is holding me back. If not a podiatrist to do the surgery who would you recommend do it? I am really upset over this, as I can't even wear a dress anymore, because of the clunky shoes I have to wear, and the pain levels are very high. Hard to find anything to fit my feet anymore, except tennis shoes. Also, I have developed an overlapping toe on one foot and 3 painful hammertoes. Can you tell me, if not a podiatrist, who would be the best surgeon for this much-needed operation.

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    • Posted

      Hi Stormy, I would only let an orthopaedic surgeon operate on your feet because a podiatrist doesn't have the same qualifications and the surgery can be risky. You will need to have K-Wires inserted into your hammer toes keeping them straight which will stay there for six (6) weeks. Also be on strong medication such as Endone for pain. Please check the qualifications of each orthopaedic surgeon online and even asking people what they think of such surgeons before any operation because I wouldn't like you being disappointed with the surgery. I'm glad you have medical insurance there helping pay for the treatment. You will also need to have physiotherapy after the op getting your toes mobile again once the wires have been removed. I had six physio sessions crying at the first four because of the pain when my toes were touched. You will also be given exercises to do at home which will help you. I can imagine the pain you're feeling and the frustration of not wearing what you like because of your toes but if you find the right orthopaedic surgeon, you will feel much better being happier. Best of luck!!!!! I wish I could give you my email address but I'm not sure if that's possible on this site.

       

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    • Posted

      Hi goanna57,  Yes, I think you are right! I should have checked it out with an orthopeadic surgeon, instead of a podiatrist. This gives me hope that maybe surgery is not out of the question. I always hated my feet, but lived with the pain. But now they have become worse, with right toe starting to overlap my second toe, which has become a hammer toe, and also the other toes are following suit! ( guess they don't want to be left out of the fun )  Ugly! Thank you for the information, I think I can endure the 6 months of surgical pain. Compaired to the 50 plus years of pain I've had with these feet, I will look toward the end results as my goal. I just cannot condone fusing the big toe joint to my toe, making it imoveable.( as the podiatrist told me he would do ) How can a person stand on tip toes with a toe joint like that? That really scared me. How can you walk correctly if your big toe does not bend??  living with the painful feet I have now is better than that!

      Sorry the physiotherapy sesson was so painful for you!  I imagine it will be the same for me. But I am used to crying over painful feet, and disapointment at never being able to wear nice shoes with a dress anymore. I know, I sound depressed, but you gave me new hope now! 

      Thank you so much for your advice, and I think maybe now I will have courage to move foreward, seek a orthopedic surgeon, and begin the jouney. An be glad to "get back on me feet again"!.......as they say

       

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    • Posted

      Hi goanna57!  I am glad your second operation went well.  You had your toes fused to another toe? That must be hard to deal with.  I hope that he can reverse it somehow.  I know, they wanted to fuse my big toe joint to my big toe, but not fuse the toes together.  I am afraid to have them do that. How can you even walk like that, or stand on tip toes, or kneel? We use our big toe joints for so many things.

      I sure hope you can get the results you want.  I am with you all the way, and thank you for giving me such great advice

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    • Posted

      Hi Stormy, there's no way I can stand on my toes now two have been fused. Orthopaedic appointment was for August 2 but I changed it till 14/8 because of other appointments. I hope the surgeon can reverse the fusing. Thanks so much for your message and I wish you all the very best too.

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    • Posted

      Hi Stormy, I'm so glad you're thinking of having the surgery done by an orthopaedic surgeon instead of the podiatrist but please remember to check each surgeon out fully before having your operation. There's some lousy orthopaedic surgeons here in Sydney but the best one is Dr Fred Noah who is a perfectionist and such a lovely person. My first bunionectomy done by another surgeon left me with nerve damage which Dr Noah fixed. You would never be able to stand on your toes if they're fused so please find a good surgeon with a fabulous reputation and make sure he listens to everything you tell him without him brushing you off by having a fairly short consultation. I'm glad I've given you hope. Please keep in contact letting me know how everything is going. Wishing you the very best of luck with the operation. Remember it could easily take six months before the swelling goes down before wearing shoes. Soft flat shoes are best until your foot is fully healed once the surgical boot is removed. I had to wear my surgical boot 24/7 for six weeks, meaning I wore it to bed protecting my foot. Whatever you do, DON'T put your foot to the floor without wearing the boot during this time because it will damage your foot plus the pressure will be unbearable. Believe me I tried it leaving me in heaps of pain. Also, the surgeon should give you strong pain killers which helps but can cause constipation. Fruit juice helps in this matter. All the best!!!!

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    • Posted

      Hi Goanna57, was so happy to hear from you again! I am going to a surgeon who specializes Keyhole surgery. They do a less invasive type of cut (keyhole) and the down time is so much easier. I don't know if the condition of my feet will qualify me for this surgery, but I am going to check it out tomorrow. Minimally Invasive Surgery. I am hoping maybe I can do this, if not, I will have to resort to the the way. You have given me so much good advice! I wish you lived closer to me, so we could sit and have a cup of tea or coffee and discuss our feet. LOL  All I know is, I am tired of not being able to wear nice shoes, and I am tired of having my ugly feet with bunions and hammer toes showing in summer sandals, and at the beaches.  It is so embarrassing, and it has gotten so painful. The bunion on my left foot is has actually dislocated my big toe, ( according to the exrays I had taken a few weeks ago. I was surprised to see this, but it makes sense, the way that toe sort of flips up on the end.) and there is a little bit of arthritis in it. On my right foot, I have a huge bunion and hammer toes.  So

      painful. I have to tape each toe separately anytime I go out, so I do not get corns and blisters. takes me an extra 1/2 hour to go anywhere. 

      I am just go to see the Minimally Invasive surgeon to see if I qualiry for that surgery. I will check him out tomorrow.  I will let you know what he says.  ( probably I am too far gone for it)  Hopefuuly, I can do something soon.

      I thank you for all of your great advice! And for listening to me complain about my awful, painful and ugly feet.  

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    • Posted

      i see you posted 19 months ago. i am 67 and had a lapidus hammertoe operation on right foot a week ago. i could not survive without my husband's help as i am not strong enough/fit enough to balance on left foot (am right-handed) . my arms are not strong enough for crutches so am using a scooter and staying upstairs where the bathroom is. i am also 40# overweight. pain wasn't too bad and didn't last but a few days. no weight bearing for 3 months. my poor husband is worn out. still icing and elevating. after operation, asthma flared, had vomiting a few days later, got blisters on my face that were almost cleared up by yesterday. anesthesiologist gave me about 5 drugs and thinks possibly my reactions were due to ANCEF. be in best physical condition before operation and have a caregiver. saw foot yesterday at doctor office before they put on fiberglass cast. am pleased. good luck!

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    • Posted

      Check doctor reviews and ask adult friends if they liked their doctor before having surgery. Choose a doctor you really like who has a good bedside manor. (Some are condescending and may talk down to you; do not use anyone who treats you like that!)

      It is probably best to have surgery in the summer so you can be off your feet as the doctor recommends. I am 61 and just had my surgery this week. The pain is more than what I expected, but I am glad I did not wait longer to have it removed. You will probably recuperate much quicker because you are younger.

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