Pins - v - K-Wires and I am in UK

Posted , 3 users are following.

I have just had my second foot operated on for bunions and one hammer toe.  My left foot was done last July 2015 and I had two hammer toes with a pin put in each.  I was unlucky and one of the people who found the removal at 4 weeks from surgery of the pins very painful.  

(Also unfortunatley my big toe is wanting to move back but the foot is 100% improved in how it was before.  I was due to have the Lapidus procedure on both feet but my bones were slightly too 'soft' so other metal work used instead.)

On 26 April this year I have had my right foot done. (A different surgeon as the previous one because he had to reduce his work load through ill health.) The second toe was straightened (could give all the details) but this time the surgeon has stablised my toe with two K-wires.  These would have been removed 4 weeks from surgery but it has been delayed (as no surgeon) until 5th week.  

I am finding this one toe more painful than the last time with 'pins' . However, I was in an air cast boot last time and this time I am in one of the 'shoes' with velcro over.  So I am wondering if the movement I can do with my foot causes the problems.

Anyone else had same experience as me?

My questions -

1. Out of interest how have any of you found having a K-wire removed?  I am been silly enough to 'google' this and wished I had not.  I am also wondering whether to take some pain relief about 20 mins before my appointment time.  

2. I think the pain (knowing two wires are in there) I experience could be when I happen to lower my foot e.g. say if you have it up on a stool and you happen to let your foot dangle slightly over the edge.  (I also wake up with pain even though I rest my foot on a pillow - I think then it may have 'flopped')  Have any of you found this?

Of course when I was in a boot although I could walk putting my foot to the floor it could not bend inside the boot.  Now I have a more flexible foot.

Any advice greatly appreciated to a 70 year old 'patient'frown lady.


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16 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Gilly I had a K wire rmoved yesterday from my Hammer toe that was. I had googled, seen the videos on you tube and searched this site. I was terrifid about having the K wire removed. Mine had been in for almost 8 weeks. It came out in 3 seconds ( I did keep my eyes closed as I am a wimp!) It didn;t hurt as no nerve endings in bone  the consultant twisted the wire loose with pliers but honestly no discomfort. My wire was bent too but this didn't hurt..phew absolute relief not having to avoid knocking it al the time!

    As far as ' floping 'foot discomfort yes I had this. I have been using a scalf to put underneath my foot to pull the toes toward me gently ( before pin removal). This caused loads of discomfort and strain I think.

    I had the vlcro fastenng sandal Gilly, I think walking flat footd for weeks has made me ache all over at some point. I hope this helps smile

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much Nellie - just to read one positive outcome really does help regarding K Wire removal.  I know my problem is the memory of the 2 pins being removed on my left foot last July.  If this had been the first foot ignorance would have been bliss.

      My goodness you had to put up with it for 8 weeks!  Was that an extra long time to the usual or isn't there a 'usual' time period for wires to come out?

      I was annoyed when they said I had to wait an extra week like this because of no surgeon.  Then I thought maybe an extra week would not be a bad thing because maybe my toe would start to try and expel them!  Wishfull thinking I know.....  

      So if I understand you correctly you too felt that if your foot happens to 'flop' in a downward movement the discomfort from the pin makes you want to shout!  It is almost like a long splinter in your toe if you don't touch it you can cope.  (Well for some reason I have two!)

      When you say about a scarf - do you mean when you were resting you tied a scarf around your foot and then up to your leg to stop the foot 'flopping' when you a resting?

      All I know is thank goodness I do not have a third foot to consider having this done to!  

      How are you today?  Hopefully you feel you are now well and truly on the road to recovery and enjoying sunshine. Thank you again  [smile]

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    • Posted

      Hi Gillysmile the discomfort I experienced was from my ankle and thhe top of my foot I think from not usng it, its hard to explain. The scarf I used to support my put to ensure my foot wasn't hangnig to the left all the time ( left foot by the way!) I would gently pull my foot into normal position to exercise it a little as I had knee pain. I know that If ever I stretched out in bed-my wired toe felt like I had a charge through it ( horrible!)

      Yes 8 weeks was alot but I didn' get any sensation or tingling to suggest it was ready to come out (thank heavens). I kept telling myself it will be well and truly healed! Everyones procedure, advice,guidence and experince varies so this web site has been invaluable.

      Its a beautiful day and I've ventured out for a very short walk to the shops today and I was exhausted! I had to buy sme velcro fastenng hikng sandals as trainers were too uncomfortable yesterday. The freedon of no wire to catch on anythng or stub against a ktchen plinth is bliss!! Hope you are having a nice day where you are Gilly keepme posted with your recovery. I have 4 more weeks off work as I have to stand al day. t wil be 12 weeks in total and I had my surgery 8 weeks ago on monday. wink

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  • Posted

    Hi Gilly, I think we chatted last year when I had scarf and akin with hammer toe k pin also.  The k pin came out easily, I was worried but needn't have been, it was over before I knew it!  

    But how are you getting on a year later?  My foot isn't as good as I thought it would, very stiff, aches and pains around the op areas, and other parts of foot too.  I have a specially made insole for my shoes to help displace the discomfort, but they creates other aches!  It was suggested some massage needed, but I couldn't wait 6 mnths for NHS so am paying privately, and after three goes it's beginning to feel better.  How about you?

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    • Posted

      Thank you Barabara and Nellie for at least sending me off in 2 weeks time - tomorrow - with hope!  The pins being removed last time were not at all nice and left too much to remember. 

      I will remember you saying about massage as I am so pleased it is helping you.   Our surgeons all have their own ways and with that comes after care advice.  Again maybe 'one size' does not fit all and we have to explore options that will suit our own feet.  Not easy is it?

      Now Barabara my left foot, operated on last July, was deffinatley the worse one and unfortunately was not such a success as I think the surgeon hope for. (Basically lesson learnt if life doesn't get in the way try to have op done as soon as possible.) 

      As I said it is still 100% improved from the deformity angle than what it was.  I still get pains in the scar area running alongside my foot. But being retired and not working my choice of comfy footwear is my own. I do seemed to have lived in trainers or my latest is Sketchers.

      This surgery really does highlight how complex our feet are and then the surgeon who carries out the work.  I really had to pluck up courage to go for the second foot.  However, at 70 I decided it was 'put up or shut up', and I was grateful I was getting it on the NHS.  My big toe had travelled right under my second toe which had become a severe hammer toe.  

      What put me off is I asked to see the new podiatric surgeon, as the surgeon who carried out my surgery before as I said earlier had to reduce work through sudden serious illness and so dropped off NHS work and just kept to private, for a review on my left foot before I went ahead with right foot surgery. (She was called in at the 'last minute' to pick my podiatric surgeons work.)

      She took one look at my left foot and said 'Not the best corrective surgery I have seen and it is too soon to do corrective!  So whilst you are here I will look at your right foot!  I said I have some questions and she said 'Questions!!!' I said 'Yes' and if I agree to this right foot surgery I will be asking more.  (I did not think she was being very professional and decided she had to fight her way into what seems a man's world.)  This was last November and she said she would have me in late December/January but I hear no more and thought maybe when she saw the state of my foot she thought I would prefer simple cases and kept putting my name down the bottom of the list.

      It really left me in a state of shall I just forget the right foot and get the left foot operated on again if that is what it needs.  Once you have been through this once it is not nice having to go off again and voluntarily!

      Anyway I decided to raise my head above the parapet and ask for another review which I got.  Then the appointment was followed up in the post with an op date for the following week!

      So I cleared the air with her and said that I thought her comments did not help me at our first meeting and I will put it down to pressure of work!  I said I had written down my list of questions and that is the way I am!  By the time we had finished she was much better and ended our time with let us go back through your list to make sure I have answered everything.  She also said she would not do corrective surgery unless I was in pain.  She said it is important to be mobile and if I am able to do that with my left foot it is best left.

      So now she has operated and has already used a different technique i.e. K-wires instead of pins.  Last time I had one pin in the two toes nxt to my big toe.  This time two K-wires in the one hammer toe next to my big toe.  They would have come out 4 weeks from surgery but as she will not be at hospital then it is going to be 5 weeks from surgery.

      So Barabara I cannot say I am not having problems with my left foot but I have not really tried other than comfy shoes.  What the aircast boot did do was left me with problems with my back/muscle in my leg. I have had to have physio because it made my walking out of balance even though I put a shoe with a 'chunky' heal on my right foot to try to get an even height.  So long walks have not been very frequent and 'dressing up' is not something I do very much. 


      When I had the bandage off to take stitches out of hammer toe all I could see was just the top of the wires and my stomach turned at the thought these have to come out!  I was not even happy with a straight big toe - my mind went to wires - so - hopefully when these wires comes out I can enjoy my new foot whatever shape it ends up.

      Hence - have this op done as young as you can. [lol]

      Keep in touch both of you and it is such a comfort to get positive feed back. (Wish we could preview our psot before sending it - hope it all makes sense.)

      Gilly x

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    • Posted

      After replying to you - I thought I would google wires/pins etc.  How stupid!!!  Started to get too much info!  

      Action now - 'hobble' out into sunshine. Our over working minds can be a nightmare!  eek

      Have a good day both of you. x  

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    • Posted

      Good morning Gilly & Barbara

      I have been researching physios this morning as i haven't been advised on exercise and the poditrist said walking was all I need to do! I have again been trawling the internet but to no avail. I will give it a week with my own stretches ect ( standing on lowest stair both feet half on half off, to stretch back of my ankle)  I will attempt exercise bike too. I can't bring myself to bend my toes usng my hands so have been trying to gently go up on tip toe. I feel like I am walking with my weight on the outside of my foot! Wearing larger sized crocs and hiking sandals I have tripped up once or twice too Oh my word! I should have been back to work today but I have four weeks to improve, I don't think I will be pirouetting any time soon! Mission today carry laundry to end of garden !!

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    • Posted

      I meant to add I will see how  go and I may bok a private physio appointment! I can't wait 3 months to se if I need physio, as the surgeon mentioned!
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    • Posted

      I have been outside reading a book - feel so guilty!  Not used to staying still and books are for bedtime reading usually.  

      So Nelly - have you got the laundry to the end of the garden?  This after care advice/action is interesting.  My first op the surgeon did not give me any extra advice other than his own website and good handouts with his advice for me written on top.   I saw a lady after my op who said hers were not as bad as mine and wasn't his physio nice?  I said I didn't get a physio. BUT!!! When physio came to see me on day of op he said I will see you after op.  So ........ that never happened.  Maybe the difference between NHS or Private.

      When I went for my review I asked Miss 'I am so good' what exercises should I be doing with the left foot several months after op.  She said 'You could put your bare foot on say a towel and try bending your toes to pick the towel up with them.'  Well - that's impossible the hammer toe now repaired will not bend and my big toe wants to bend to the next toe!!  So that exercise doesn't work for me - perhaps it might for you Nellie?

      Mind you Miss 'I am so good' did not provide instructions as previous surgeon.  Physio gave me a leaflet and said phone if you have any questions.  In fact not sure if I said 'Miss I am so Good' wrote to my GP and said the practice nurse needs to see me in two weeks time to remove stitches.  

      When I was a few days after the surgery I was able to start thinking - I phoned hopsital and said I was not comfortable receiving totally different after care than first time and did not want my foot un-wrapped for the first time by a practice nurse.  I considred it would be unfair to ask her advice.  I got my way and was so pleased nurse took out stitches and I was also seen by an assistant to surgeon who then gave me advice how to walk.

      So the question here maybe - does it depend on op, does it depend on surgeon, does it depend on keeping cost down i.e. extra charges for physio, does it depend on asking well in advance if I can be booked in for physio, does it depend on us saying what we would like if possible if we are not happy rather than do as we are told?, etc.

      Anyway Nellie I think you are being very brave standing on the stairs like that!  Have you tried Sketchers?  My daughter suggested I try them and I have (just took my shoe off) Sketchers Relaxed Fit with Air-Cooled Memory Foam.  They also do half sizes in them which for me was important as I am inbetween sizes.  I am a Crock fan and have found they can rub my scar so I always need to wear socks with them now.

      These operations have certainly messed with my head i.e. once pain under control finding it hard to turn it into an opportunity to do relaxing things.  I did knit a cardigan to take my mind off pain and finished it!  But managed to knit it smaller than it should be for me - husband said it is an opportunity to now loose weight! Blooming cheek - mind you this op does make you feel like treats to cheer you up.  (I think I must have been confused with size I was knitting and putting it down to general anesthetic brain and being tense!) 

      Good to compare notes - Gilly

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    • Posted

      Hello Gilly ( I have mis laid my glasses just incase it looks like I have typed with my feet blindfolded!!)

      The differing procedures, advice is frustrating. From day 1, reading posts on here I have either felt that I have not had the appropriate boot, that I have ben left too long for dressing changes, k wire removal and that I have no guidence DIY recovery!! 

      I too like to ask questions, don't like being pushd out of the door or made to feel neurotic for taking an interest in my successful recovery. I am a staff nurse and feel many patients see Dr's as gods! It isn't acceptable that patients don't feel comfortable or are mde to feel a nuisence. I am a cast iron patient advocate. I know he pressure to see patients timely is difficult. I often have needed my husband to accompany me as I only hear what I want to and need to rely on him to fil the gaps! Would you believe after I have said this, when I had the k wire out, the consultant was slightly distracted with another patients notes being in the wrong place while holding the pliers!! I had noticed last week that it looked liike I had a sitich left in my hammer toe. It was occluded by 'scabs' but I forgot to mention it! Today My toe felt sore on top so I have washed it and while 'creaming' I saw the long ends of a stitch! So cross! I have dissolvable sutures and at the 2 week dressing change othr long stitich were snipped! Such a hassle having to get to the surgery to get it out! If I could see and had a stich blade i would have done it myself. My toe loks very red so might as well get it checked at same time!!! Oh dear FOOT BORE WARNING!!! smile  

      Yes Gilly I have looked at sketchers especially the memory foam ones. I am a size 9 ( not a transvestite! I may add!) and I am going to wait for the swelling to reduce before buying a pair. Fortunately I cn wear trainers, crocs or my trust Clarkes leather shoes for work.

      I have been knitting too, I am knitting rows of rectangles with a view to joining them up and making a blanket. At lest while I have knitting needles in my hands they are not full of biscuits! I have gianed 8 lbs while off!   told me husband NOT to offer me cake, hot cross buns, or chocolate and not to let me have any!! I had thought that all my chewing over the past 8 weeks would have burnt calories!! My brother gets married in Sept and I am wondering what colour and size crocs I will be wearing or I may do a Julia Roberts bare foot thing!! ( leaving a trail of dry dead skin! Have a nie evening Gilly smile


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  • Posted

    My foot massage is for breaking up the tissue between the toes where it was cut to. Help straighten.  The technical name begins with an m. Can't remember.  And she dies reflexology as well.  There certainly is improvement, no lumpiness under toes, foot feels better.  So hopefully it is worth paying for this myself.  I just want to get back to normal and not hobble about in my shoes!  I certainly wouldn't recommend this op.
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  • Posted

    Sorry about typos.  And I'm 70 too, by the way. 😀
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    • Posted

      Well - two young 70 year oldslol

      I must admit I too have mixed feeling about this op and now I have had both done so no going back!  The thing that probably made me seriously consider it is seeing my 93 year old Mum with her bunions very unsteady on her feet.  The first surgeon said bunions, etc is often a contributing factor to falls in the elderly. 

      So - who knows - what is best and I know the deformity seemed to be increasing rapidly.  My feet were not good and it was nothing to do with cosmetics!  As the first surgeon said my feet were not going to get any better and if I was to want it later then my bones would be that much older.  

      So perhaps we should ask Victoria Beckham how her feet feels now? Didn't she have it done - mind you she never seems to smile and I expect all her shoes are hand made to fit all the little bumps!wink 

      Gilly x

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    • Posted

      My Grandma (94) and my mum (70) have awful feet. My idea was to get my feet sorted as an investment for my future mobility. My mum enquired with a local shoe maker about made to measure shoes - he looked at her feet and told her he didn't have a mould that would suit!!! So funny x


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    • Posted

      Thank you for your messages Nellie it really cheered me up.  I just had a thought why don't we say we can only eat what we can pick up with our freshly operated toes i.e. the exercise Miss 'I am so good' suggested.   As I can't do it I think I will lose weight pretty fast but first I must finish my apple crumble that I made today mmmmm.......

      So your Mum isn't going to follow in your footsteps and have the surgery?  You could tell her you have been chatting to a 70 year old that has gone for Gold i.e. two feet!  There again maybe she is the sensible one - bless her.  My Mum said her army doctor told her to leave her feet alone (bunions) if they weren't bothering her as surgery was not good.. So you can guess when I told her what I was going to do she quoted her army doctor even all these years later.  x


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