upcoming foot surgery on 3/28

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I'm having foot surgery on my left foot-bunionectomy with breaking 4 of my toes. i'm going to be non-weight bearing for 6 weeks, and just have realized that I'm going to have to change the way I do everything.

?Right now my 4th and small toe on that foot have the skin peeling off of the toes due to rubbing in my running shoe which is wide and the only shoe that I can wear.  How do get rid of this peeling skin so that my toes are in good shape when I have my surgery?

?How do I go to the bathroom without putting any weight on my foot? How do I wash my face and hair in my older vanity sink when I  can't bend over on my scooter which I'm going to be on all of the day?  How do I sleep with a cast on my left foot? I normally sleep on my left side.

?Gotta go to work but please give me some suggestions! I'm clueless on how to do normal things after my foot surgery!

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  • Posted

    Hi Karen,

         I am on the 7th week of my second surgery---two feet done in the last 6 months.  I should be getting my cast off this week and then into a boot and on to physical therapy.  I did not use a scooter--I have been using crutches.  I found that I could wash my hair in the sink but, then I was exhausted and had to go back to the couch.  You are going to have to be very patient with yourself and take it day by day--don't expect to be doing much at all.  There are days that I am totally depleted and days I can read for hours.  You are going to have to sleep with your surgery leg/foot hanging elevated over a pillow and take your pain meds as prescribed.  You will need a lot of sleep as well.  These are huge surgeries but absolutely necessary, for sure.  I was unable to walk for more than a half hour without having to sit for awhile because of tremendous pain.  For using the bathroom, you need to give yourself time to even get to the bathroom and then it is pretty much being careful not to fall while you are learning to manage yourself.  I think the biggest thing was not to expect too much from yourself and give yourself permission to just rest while you heal.  You should have a chair or cart near the couch with all your to go stuff on it, being that you are only getting up to use the bathroom---phone, remote, books, meds, etc.  Someone will have to bring you your meals.  The scooter looks great but, honestly, I was too tired to have much use for it.  When you go for your post op visits, there should be wheelchairs available for you to use.  You are going to have to transfer yourself from wheelchair to tables during your visits (exam table and xray).  Please feel free to ask any questions at all.  Tami

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    • Posted

      Oh, I forgot to put in my response that when I had to sit after a half hour because of much pain, that that was before I had the surgeries.  Make sure that once your cast comes off and you are in a boot, that you go to physical therapy---it is extremely necessary.
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    • Posted

      Oh, sorry-also missed your question about peeling skin.  You are going to have to do this once your cast comes off as well.  The best way I have found is get a foot bath/massager and add some epsom salts.  I got eucalyptus ones.  After you soak your foot for awhile, just dry it gently.  That should do the trick for you!
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    • Posted

      I had surgery for my right foot on February 20 and I don’t have a cast this time. I have had two prior bunion surgeries on my left foot. (Twice because of a not so super podiatrist) I loved my orthopedic surgeon this time and for the most part all went well. After reading different stories here I’m seeing a lot about going to PT. That was never mentioned to me all three times! :-( I do believe because I didn’t have that with my left foot my big toe is not as flexible as it should be and that foot STILL hurts!  

      Im wondering exactly when did you start PT? at my post op appt the nurse gave me a few exercises to do when I’m able to. I just don’t want it to become “too late” for therapy and have similar issues again, I’d flip out after all of this! 

      I know we are all different and told different things depending on what was done, but I’m curious as to when most people started the PT.

      thanks so much! 

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    • Posted

      Hi Dona!  I'm 6wks post op Austin w 2 titanium screws and had bone spur shaved off top of foot.  During my 2wk post op appt, just after having external stitches removed, my Dr started me on PT but instead of having me be inconvenienced by driving to/from a few times a week, he taught me how.  He taught me how to do ROM (range of motion) and to do them minimum 3x a day, 5 minutes each time, and to change from the upward/downward every 20 seconds.  He also instructed me to try to extract the big toe joint before each ROM (should sound like cracking your hand knuckles 😬wink, but not to force it or worry if it doesn't happen each time.  So far it's only happened maybe once a week.  It's initially painful during each transition, but it gets better as you push through the pain cause that's how we progress.  No PT is a breeze and neither the ones done at home.  I've also added to my regimen the towel crunches too or stretching out toes and folding them in couple minutes.  Will start adding other exercises w Dr's approval at this week 6wk post op appt too.  Swelling and inflammation has gone down significantly, but still fires up a bit first thing out of bed in the morning but duration is shorter.  Lots of progress in getting toe/foot back to mobility and loosen up stiffness.  Was able to successfully get my foot back into regular shoes w roomy toe box.  I think the sooner you start the better, but allow yourself to start slowly and gradually grow from there.

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    • Posted

      Hi Dona,  I just got my cast off yesterday and will start pt in a couple of days.  I had pt after my first foot was done-just after the cast was removed-so I know what exercises to begin with.  It takes a lot of time for your feet to do what your brain is telling them to do, so, I have found pt extremely helpful being that I do  not want to fall.  Also, pt can help a lot with swelling issues and it is just kind of an extra safeguard to be sure that all is healing well.  I am in a boot right now for a month and then will go into a regular sneaker.  My feet are a lot smaller post surgery, so I bought myself some really supportive sneakers to begin with.  Also, my feet were so bad that my arches had fallen and when I  walked I was not using my toes.  I have had to relearn how to walk using my toes and I was taught exercises to strengthen my arches.  Also,, in pt, they do massage my foot so it helps along with the scar tissue.  So, you may begin pt right after your plaster cast is removed.  Take really good care of yourself.  It is a slow process but will be so worth it!
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    • Posted

      oh Dona, just reread your post that you do not have a cast.  What are you in?  My surgery was Jan 16th, so I am about 7 weeks out and cleared for pt now. If you are unsure, I would double check with your surgeon.  Pt is great but it is a lot of work and no joke,  I just don't want you to hurt your foot.  Tami

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    • Posted

      Thanks SO much Ria! you had a different sounding surgery than I did, I had the hallux..  something or other :-) but it is all very relative and I’m sure someone similar. Yes those are the exercises on the big toe and I was told to do you describe them much more in detail and I truly appreciate that. I’m not so sure about that big toe pulling thing quite yet LOL. I think I might pass out from that. I for sure overdid it and relapsed a bit because it is sore again. But I will start doing those exercises right away and just Deal with it. This is my third surgery as I said so I know the healing process is long. I’m just afraid that this right foot will end up feeling like the left foot so I wanted to get on these exercises right away. Thank you so much :-)
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    • Posted

      Hi Tami!  Thank you very much. No I am not in a cast this time. The prior two times on my left foot I was. I went to an orthopedic surgeon this time and was told that is an older way of doing things with the cast. I don’t mean to say at all that is the wrong way because I really have no idea yet. Every doctor has their own way. So I am actually in nothing right now. Which was quite scary to me considering the last two I was in a cast For quite a bit before I got to the stage. I have that shoe with the Velcro on top. And obviously no weight-bearing for five weeks.I did message the nurse and she said it was OK to start doing the toe stretches. When I asked her about PT she said we would discuss it at my April appointment. She seem to think that PT was something you started when you started walking on the foot. I almost wish I had it now so that I didn’t have to do the exercises myself and someone else would along with a massage. But I will start them diligently from now on.
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    • Posted

      Hi Dona!  Yes, pt begins after you can bear weight on your foot--for me it was about 7 and half weeks.  I am so glad you went to an ortho surgeon.  I had to have bones broken and permanent screws put in, along with shaving done.  He also put muscles, ligaments and tendons back where they belong.  Pt will be a lot of work, but you will feel so much better.  It takes a while to be able to walk the correct way.  You do have to ask your surgeon and he will give you instructions for the physical therapist based on what you need from the type of surgery you had.  I did order myself some sneakers-Dr Scholl's brand online.  Once I am out of my boot (about a month) I can switch over to my sneakers.  Hope this helps you.  Be careful and be patient---there is no rushing this type of surgery and healing along too fast.  Tami

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    • Posted

      Thanks Tami! when I mentioned PT to the nurse she said we may discuss it at the next appt. in April. I was just starting to panic that I would miss the opportunity. Because of the issues with my left foot, I tend to panic! I was thinking earlier though, that because I’m not in a cast like last time, I’m starting the toe wiggle, raise and rubbing scar and foot exercises earlier than last time. So that’s good. 

      I will befin looking at shoes soon. I like to be prepared. I have no desire to go out shopping for them though, which I really should do since I’m not sure what size I will be. It takes a lot out of me just to go to work! 

       

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    • Posted

      Hi All,

      Thanks so much for all of your input on the foot surgery!

      Mine is on 3/28 & I’m trying to get myself ready for managing on my own once I return home!

      I still don’t have a ramp built over my walkway so I’m feeling stressed about getting out of the house on my scooter!

      I just wrote an email to my surgeon yesterday asking him about the cast (would it cover my toes?), and what would happen at my 2 week post op appt? Do they take your cast off & what is done?  Any further info would be greatly appreciated!

      First time for me!

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    • Posted

      Hi Karen!  My cast, which I had for both surgeries, followed 2 weeks in a splint which I came home from surgery in.  The plaster cast goes from below your knee to the tips of your toes.  At your first post op appt you will get xrays and (if you need a plaster cast) have that put on.  Also, they will take your sutures out before putting you into a cast.  Hope that helps!  Tami
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  • Posted

    Hi Karen,

    Have you considered getting a pedicure at your nearby nail salon and requesting for an exfoliating scrub?  Those usually accompany a nice foot massage too.  You can begin exfoliating at home now by soaking feet in warm water w epson salt for a few minutes, then gently rubbing your feet w a small handful of epson salt.  Using a pumice rock helps too.  A small foot brush gets in the nooks and crannies between and under toes. I also find that a few drops of essential oils (tea tree oil and lavender) have been quite beneficial.  You won't be able to avoid dry skin on your feet from this surgery as we all have had our share.  I'm 6wks post op today and still have a lil if I don't stay ahead of it by moisturizing.  Just know and expect a lot of dry skin when you get your cast off, but don't freak out as it can be managed. smile

    As for getting around, hopefully your Dr will give you crutches especially since you'll have a hard cast on.  Or if you know someone no longer using theirs can borrow if it's adjustable to your particular height and have it w you or the one driving you home after your surgery.  My bunion was considered a mild to moderate on RT foot and so my Dr performed what was called an Austin in correcting my bunion along w 2 titanium screws and also shaved off a bone spur on the top of my foot.  They issued and put me in a short boot-like air cast and crutches.  Dr said I could go PWB (partial weight bearing) on my heel only, but could't nor dared to the 1st wk due to swelling.  

    Once you get used to using crutches, I would recommend having a light backpack or a light cloth bag (ie. recyclable cloth bag) to put some essentials in and to carry with in whatever room you relax in.  Some essentials I have in my bag are: pack of disposable face wipes (can be used for hands too), small box of tissue, hair pin, small box of individual sterile 4x4 gauzes, transpore tape, compression wrap, neosporin, essential oils (helps keep inflammation at bay when doing ROM), Correct Toes, Injinji socks, and I'd place my cell phone in there too when hobbling between rooms.  I used to have an extra water bottle and paperback books in there too but learned eventually to keep things light.  Hubby always keeps small water bottles within reach for me in both bedroom and livingroom where my books are as well.

    As for washing hair, I've yet to do the sink thing.  I have long hair so figured it would be more of a hassle.  The first few weeks into my recovery, before my stitches were removed @ 2wks post op appointment, I took baths in the tub and wrapped my surgery foot in a strong plastic bag, using strong packing tape and securely taping in two places of my leg - at the lower thigh just above knee and at the top of my calf (you can do your ankle too for extra security), and elevated/laid my leg on the edge of the bath tub.  This is when I realized upper body strength was important.  Before getting in, fill up the tub half way w water at an ideal warm temperature, then carefully getting in and relaxing in the water, while leg remained up on ledge, and scooting the rest of myself down to immerse and wet my head.  Having a big plastic cup to scoop up and pour the water over my head came in handy for when I needed to rinse off shampoo and conditioner.  And would drain that water out then soap body etc then use cup of fresh running water to rinse off with.  I read somewhere that some folks used bath chairs to sit on.  In my case, I didn't want to spend the extra money for that.  Plus, I found that elevating my surgery foot on the tub ledge while I laid in the tub helped keep foot swelling to a minimum as it usually did whenever it was in down position during this early stage in recovery.  I would also suggest, having extra towels nearby handy - one on the floor so you don't slip, one on the tub edge, and more for your body and hair to dry off with.  You'll need that towel on the tub edge to sit and turn around on when getting out of the tub, as well as for when you remove the bag.  Your clean change of clothes should be nearby within reach too.  Oh, and last but not least, have scissors on a nearby counter to reach for to cut off the bag from your leg.  I totally forgot about this on my first try as I struggled to pull off the tape and bag to no avail.  So I had to hop on crutches butt-naked (lol) to the kitchen for the scissors.  Thankfully no one was home to witness my dismay. rolleyes  Then again, it would be best to have your spouse or a trusted friend/relative nearby to call out to in case you need or forget something.  My husband didn't want me to bath without him being home for that reason.  However, during this recovery journey you'll find that the urge/need to do something usually happens when others aren't around and oftentimes it's earlier in a day when you have the most energy.  So definitely plan ahead and think things through before doing them so you're not having to hop butt-naked to the other side of the house for something like I did.  Lol.  It's funny now, but it wasn't then. smile

    Keep in mind that any surgery on the lower extremities shouldn't be taken lightly and will always require special care and a lengthy recovery given that we use our feet often, blood rushes there, many connecting bones, ligaments, tendons, and the skin on the top part of our feet are very thin.  Everyone has different experiences, procedures, pain tolerances, and health issues that contribute to either lengthening or shortening their recovery.  So be patient w yourself, don't rush through your recovery, and ask lots of questions of your Dr, and feel free to do so here too.  You're not alone!!  I've learned a lot here in the forums and knew what to expect from my Dr, and when I wasn't sure would ask more until I fully understood.  

    Good luck!

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  • Posted

    Hi Karen,  I had surgeries on both my feet (5 months apart) and a knee scooter was critical for me. Tried crutches but the pain and instability were too much. I returned to work 3 weeks free each surgery with limitations of course. I also advise getting a pedicure before surgery! DRY shampoo was a life saver! My favorite one is Batiste. 
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