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I had a bunionectomy lapidus surgery on my right foot inOctober 2017 by an orthopedic surgeon in Texas. Just wanted to share my experience because I wish I would have known all this before surgery.
Right before surgery they placed a nerve block in my leg which made my leg completely numb for the first 3 days. I liked the nerve block. When the medicine in it ran out, I easily pulled it out of my leg myself. I the tried taking the narcotic pain medicine they gave me but it made me feel sick so I just took 650mg of Tylenol which worked for me. I probably stayed on that round the clock for a couple of weeks.
I was non weight bearing and non driving for the first 2 weeks. The hardest thing the first 2 weeks was the inconvenience of this... getting around with one foot. For bathing, I wrapped my foot with cling wrap and dangled my leg out of the tub ( for about 2-3 weeks).... not easy!! I used crutches the first week which was hard then switched to a knee walker... a great invention. I went back to work at 2.5 weeks post op with the use of my knee walker. I still use the scooter now for long distances but finally at 4 month’s post op I just now am able to walk mostly normally on my foot. It does still hurt if I’ve been walking on it a lot.
About 6 weeks post op I started physical therapy. I wish I would have started sooner- my Dr did not suggest it until I told him at 6 weeks I couldn’t hardly moves my first couple toes. Therapy has helped a lot but after a couple different therapists I requested one particular therapist who manually would stretch out my foot each time. This was the most pain I had. It HURTS when he stretches it!! But I feel it has REALLY benefitted my foot!! I also do daily exercises: towel scrunch, heel raises, stretching my toe against a wall. Gotta be religious about doing these daily. Make the time!!! This is the future use of that foot!! I hated towel scrunch at first but now find much benefit to it. Exercises aren’t fun but you gotta make yourself do them.
I feel you must find a balance between exercising the foot and resting it. Many people told me that staying off the foot will accelerate healing. I tried when I could. I have also taken Vitamin D3 and used a bone growth stimulator (with the approval of my Dr). At 4 months the swelling has finally mostly subsided but many people have told me the foot won’t feel normal for atleast a year.
What I would have done differently...
- Started therapy sooner/ my therapist said it can be started even a couple days after surgery but your physician may not agree- get his/her permission.
- Stayed off my foot more, perhaps taken longer off of work.
- Done more research beforehand on physicians and recovery. I think my Dr did a good job but he told me very little about the recovery process. Ask a lot of questions prior to surgery!!! Be informed!! Do your own research.
- Be better prepared for the financial costs- surgery, follow up appointments, medicines, post op shoes, therapy. It adds up!!
Am I glad I had the surgery?? time will tell. I don’t think I’ve talked to a single person who’s had a bunionectomy who doesn’t have some other ongoing issue with their foot. I had some numbness and neuropathy- both my surgeon and therapist told me to massage those areas and the incisions (after completely healed) and I do think this has helped. It breaks down scar tissue.
Best wishes on your foot!!
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