Thanks to a kick up the bum (actually, no – it was really a lovely comment on this site by Chris who appears to have had similar surgery to me), I’m back posting again.
Yes, yes, I know it’s been a month. I guess it’s partly my being lazy and partly the fact that progress is slow and it’s hard to come up with new and exciting things to say. So let me start by saying that I’m still regularly wearing “octopus tape” and today it is ocean blue. I quite like this colour!
Blue octopus tape. Quite a good colour, methinks.
Extreme closeup - blue edition.
While the tape is pretty fancy the truth is it means two things:
1) Now that the weather is getting colder it’s not like I even get to show off my fancy taped foot. No more sandals – at least for now.
2) The swelling is really the BIGGEST issue with my foot. So to answer Chris’s question: No, not walking properly yet but am LEAPS and BOUNDS ahead in progress than a month ago.
I’m resigned to the fact that my foot will swell, anywhere, anytime. However, it’s not as bad as before. My range of motion in my ankle and most of my toes is almost back to normal. ROM is 15 degrees on my left (surgery) foot and 18 degrees on my right foot. So that’s huge progress. This is due to my great physical therapist and doing a TON of exercises at home – and yes, they hurt… but they’re getting easier.
I don’t seem to get too much pain in my foot these days – sometimes if I’m walking around too much I get some pain but it’s mainly the swelling that bothers me. I still can’t put my foot down fully – it doesn’t lay “flat” and the big issue is really the range of motion in my big toe, which is pretty useless right now but now that I’ve got my ankle back working and am building muscle tone in my leg, calf, hips and thighs, we’re focusing more in therapy on that blasted big toe.
I still have those crazy tingling sensations in my foot and still can’t fully feel my big toe but it’s clear that the nerves are indeed coming back but slowly – as predicted. I’m told I really have to give myself an entire year to get all sensation back (hopefully!).
The other issue is the total lack of balance on my left foot. I’m doing balancing exercises in therapy and at home and standing on my left foot (or attempting to) makes me look like an 80-year-old drunk. I think I can go about 5 seconds now without falling over. And 5 seconds is a LOT for me.
Exercise and ice are my best friends these days, but as you can see from my latest photos, the swelling is not nearly as bad. When I do all my exercises – especially heel raises my foot does turn purple, though!
So, this is where things stand. I’m now on land only therapy (no more pool therapy) and actually have only one more PT session in two weeks time. Will I be cured? Absolutely not! But will I have all the exercises I need for my foot to get better? YES!!!
A direct word to Chris: Don’t despair – my foot still doesn’t lie flat 4 months after surgery. Yes it hurt like hell to walk heel first very soon after surgery and I know I cried – A LOT – but my orthopedist made me do it. The longer you leave it the harder it gets. Take your drugs and walk on the foot. Even if it’s just to the end of the hall and back. Baby steps! I’m living proof you DO get better – but it is a slow recovery process and I’m pretty sure now I’m not going to do my right foot until next summer if I can hold out that long. I want this foot to be fully recovered.
So, Chris, and everyone else. Hang in there! I rarely walk with the cane these days. I use it to go down stairs – up stairs are easy – my balance is shot going down stairs, though, and I use it if I’m out in public – mostly to keep people away from me and not have them accidentally step on me.
There IS life after bunion surgery. Promise. But yes, patience is key (followed by drugs and ice!).
I promise to check back in more regularly so you can see how I’m doing.