Foot Bunion surgery and more


Apr 15, 2022
Australia Australia
Hi again everyone. Hope your knees are all going well!
I am having revision bunion surgery on 27th September. This time I am having my big toe fused, removal of all the old screws and plates, osteotomies of 3 toes ( shortening, arthritis cut out and pinned) and removal/ resection of another big neuroma ( nerve tumor).
I hope some of you will keep me company on the very long recovery. I enjoyed corresponding with so many of you in the knee replacement forum.
Fortunately I had an uneventful and easy tkr recovery but foot surgery is a whole different ballgame. I am dreading being off my feet for 6 weeks, even though I should be thinking positively about the outcome.
Thanks in anticipation.
We wish you the best with this upcoming surgery!

So, it’s one foot this time, correct? I can’t imagine your previous surgery doing both feet at the same time. :console2:

It’s awesome you’ve had such a good TKR recovery! I certainly think you deserved it, after all you went through with your feet.

We don’t have any specific recovery guidelines for this surgery, but I think many of the knee ones will be helpful, especially the rest, ice and elevate.

Best wishes!!
@kiwicurls We will be here for you! Foot surgery is quite challenging as you probably know already. Lots of nerves in feet that do get traumatised. All the best!
Hi, @kiwicurls.....My husband had this type of foot surgery (just once, though), so I know how painful and difficult the recovery can be. I agree with you that the most difficult part of it all is having to be totally off your foot for six weeks. We'll be here for you!

Are you planning to use a knee scooter to get around? At some point I probably need to have a ligament in my left ankle repaired that was severed from the bone at some time years ago. I never knew that happened and only found out when seeing a doctor about why my ankle seems to get twisted and hurt so easily. I was pleased to hear the problem could be fixed rather easily, but not so thrilled about the six weeks completely off that foot. So I'll be following your recovery closely to see how you make it work. I just had my right hip replaced, so it will definitely be a while before I plan any additional surgery I live by myself with a pup to take care of, so I'm concerned a six-week-non-weightbearing recovery would be quite challenging because of that.
Hi @Jamie
I hope you are recovering well after your hip surgery?
I understand how difficult it would be if you live alone, to recover from ankle/foot surgery. I can tell you now what I did the last two times and will do again, but without my wonderful husband it wouldn't have been possible. You may have to go to a rehab place for a few weeks. Don't worry, unlike knees, you are not allowed to move the ankle/foot so no nasty physio! You'd just be sitting back letting the nurses take care of you.

I tried a knee scooter once, many years ago when I broke a bone in my foot but my knees were in such a bad way (bone on bone) that it was impossible to use. Also, I went for a slide on our shiny slate floor!
I used a pick up frame when I had the last few surgeries but this time I might try the frame with wheels I used after my TKR. I have to walk on my heel for six weeks and wear a surgical boot, even to bed. The weight of the boot can hurt your back sometimes and throw things out of alignment. It also wrecks your bed sheets so I kept the old sheets from before; saves destroying my nice new sheets! I think it's all the rip tape and buckles that cause the damage.

As you cannot get the foot wet at all, and cannot stand on one leg, I bought a shower chair. Husband taped a plastic bag over my foot but I sort of sat sideways in the shower, with foot hanging out just in case some water seeped through. You really cannot shower alone, unfortunately, and this is , to me, the worst part of the recovery. I loathe having someone help me to shower, that's why I was so pleased to find that I could manage alone the day after my TKR.

You need a toilet seat raiser, a bed cradle (to keep weight of blankets off your foot) and masses of pillows. Your foot must be kept higher than your heart at all times when sitting as it will swell horribly.
As for icing: I have never found a successful way of icing my forefoot/toes. The ice packs just keep falling off. My husband wrapped an ice pack up in a tea towel and tied it around my toes when I was finally out of the boot but before then, it was nearly impossible. We do not have the ice machines you have in the US. All suggestions are welcome, but really, when your foot is in the boot, it's not easy to ice and you have pins sticking out of the toes with little pearl buttons attached, so wouldn't want to dislodge them either.
Sorry this is so long, but I thought it might help others who are having/had foot/ankle surgery.
Wow…..this information is extremely helpful for everyone who may have this surgery to another surgery that requires non-weight bearing for a time. Thank you!!
Hi @kiwicurls, we're here for you. I wish you all the best. You certainly understand how to listen to your body and recover sensibly.

I thought I had no experience with what you're about to go through until I read your recap. It was very familiar because I did it for 4 months in 2015. A couple weeks before my LTKR was scheduled, I fell and broke my ankle in several places so hard that the force split my tibia from the knee to mid way down the shin. The ankle had to be surgically repaired with pins and a plate and the leg set while I was non-weight bearing in a long boot for about 8 weeks. I also had to wear the boot 24-7 and had to sleep with the leg elevated. Big trouble was that the left knee was already toast and the TKR surgery had to be postponed because I needed a leg to stand on. I ended up using a wheelchair to get around the house and move about outside because my left leg just couldn't handle the job. I could only do stairs on my backside and was lucky to have set up a small fridge and microwave upstairs in prep for my TKR. It was a tough 2 months but when the doc told me I could ditch the boot, I took it off right there in the office and walked out carrying it.
Oh, @hawk2go , that must have been dreadful, especially just as you were preparing for tkr. How is the ankle and tibia nowadays? That’s far worse than what I am about to have done! I hope you had help at home?
Understand exactly about ditching the boot! But they are a necessary evil, aren’t they.
My house is too small for a wheelchair, wouldn’t get it through the doorways.
How is the ankle and tibia nowadays?
All good! The best I can say is that it was a fairly fast recovery, I was discharged at 4 months. You should be fine without the chair since you'll have your other leg to maneuver about but I also (ab)used my rolling office chair. I hope you have good friends to help you out.

Yes, I had help, thank goodness. I cried a lot due to shock and plain frustration but I learned in that time how dedicated my friends (including family and colleagues) were to my wellbeing. I learned how resilient I can be and that exposing my vulnerability actually was a strengthening act. A dear neighbor gave me a pair of Wonder Woman socks when I left for my LTKR 5 months after the fall and I found that completely appropriate. I bequeath them to you as you recover your joints. :)
I had big toe joint fusion in 2018. I divided up my days between lying in bed and lying on the sofa, always with my leg up on a large yoga/exercise ball. I found the higher my foot, the less throbbing.

The first week, my OS wanted me elevating my leg 55 minutes per each hour. The 2nd week, 50 minutes per hour, the third week, 45 minutes per hour. Etc.

I became quite clever in doing all sorts of fitness exercises with one leg up on the ball. Lying on my back, my side, even my stomach. I did push-ups with my knees up on a cushioned chair and my hands down on the floor! My leg was still elevated!

I wished I had purchased a second surgical sandal (I didn’t need the boot, just the sandal) because I hated wearing it outdoors and indoors and in bed. I saw it on Amazon after the fact.

I don’t usually take baths, just showers but I did take baths for those weeks when I couldn’t get the foot wet. I managed to lower myself into the water, always keeping the one leg outside of the tub.

For me, the most painful part was when I finally got to walk normally in real shoes again, which really woke up those nerves. After 6 weeks. Until then, I walked in the surgical sandal with my toes up. Heel walking.

Also, after the fusion, my bunioned, almost partially dislocated toe was longer. I had to go up half a size in all my shoes, including my pricey hiking boots.
Good luck! I had a bunionectomy and a bunionettectomy on my right foot. I had hardware on the outside and a pin in my big toe. It was not super painful, but not being weight bearing was the biggest obstacle. Luckily my parents live close by and could check on me. I definitely over compensated using my left leg, hmmmm maybe that was another piece if the puzzle to the l hip replacement. Unfortunately, some of the screws popped out and they had to be removed. I also had a neuroma which didn’t resolve, and my dr gave me an unguided injection which helped, until he hit a nerve and now my toe crosses over looking all deformed. I was pretty upset with that, after going through surgery. I wear a little toe spacer to keep it comfortable. Other than that, I had no issues for healing. 6 weeks went quickly. I had a cam boot, but ultimately felt more comfortable in the shoe. I was lucky enough to work remotely. I can still wear heels (it took about 4-5 months after surgery) and have no limitations. Try not to hop on your good leg, that’s my best advice. Crawling was helpful lol. Also, the bath idea mentioned above is what I did. So much easier than showering.
Hi @Zoebichon and @dnordo220
It’s interesting reading how others manage after this challenging surgery.
No way could I get in and out of the bath so I will stick to my shower chair with one leg hanging out.
I am a bit concerned about my new knee replacement because that leg will be doing all of the work for a while. I daresay it will cope.
I already have a few of the surgical boots as I have had several previous foot surgeries. I will keep one shoe just for sleeping in.
I am glad it’s spring now and I don’t have to struggle getting into long pants. Dresses are much easier as they don’t catch on toe pins.
Zoebichon, I too had to go up a shoe size after the first toe fusion. It changes the whole shape of your foot.
This time next week I will be in the operating theatre, all being well.
Back in the ward after foot surgery. I will have to wait until I see surgeon in the morning to find out exactly what he did. Apparently he spoke to me after surgery bu I was still unconscious. Why do they do this?Pain is not too bad but they won’t let me get out of bed at all. IV running straight through me. Hate using bedpan
Welcome to the other side @kiwicurls ! Hope you can get your pain managed well before leaving the hospital. Please let us know what your surgeon says.
So glad to hear you're out of surgery. You may need to ask for pain meds so they are given to you on a schedule. Don't wait until you are really in pain to call for them. It's better in these early days to have pain medication in your system round the clock that to try and beat down pain that has been allowed to build up.
Thanks everyone. The surgeon found a huge piece of cartilage flapping about in my forefoot. He was very surprised to find it and said it would have been causing the intense pain. He removed it and the neuroma, fused my big toe and cut the arthritis out of the other toes, shortening them. I other words, a forefoot reconstruction.
My foot doesn’t hurt much at all but I am in agony from muscle aches over my entire body. I heard that the muscle relaxant they give you before intubation can cause this. Has anyone else experienced it? Arms so sore I can’t lift them!
I came home today but go back on Friday for another dressing change ( my surgeon does the frequent dressings in his rooms.)
I don’t have any toe pins this time, just sutures and have a surgical shoe, not a boot. I have to keep foot elevated for 6 weeks. Only allowed up for 5 mins every hour just now, heel walking with frame.
Knee people you will laugh at this! A young male physio came to see how I was managing on the frame and his advice? Absolutely no exercises, just elevate foot! Haha compared to their tkr torture, isn’t this a contrast !
Glad to hear you're doing so well. That was quite the surgery you had! Hopefully you'll continue to improve and have no real pain issues. I'm not aware of any muscle problems resulting from the relaxant given for intubation, but could see how that might occur. It should go away fairly quickly, I would think.
He was very surprised to find it and said it would have been causing the intense pain.
I’m so glad they found the cause of your pain!

Knee people you will laugh at this! A young male physio came to see how I was managing on the frame and his advice? Absolutely no exercises, just elevate foot! Haha compared to their tkr torture, isn’t this a contrast !
Finally a sensible outlook!

Best wishes! :flwrysmile:
I feel terrible. I have had a muscle reaction to the drug they give to paralyse before intubation. Called succinylcholine and I had to call the anaesthetist last night. I cannot sit up or move my arms without help and it’s scary. He said it will wear off in a day or two and they don’t know why it happens to some and not others. You can have many anaesthetics and not react then wham!
Steve has to do everything for me, even pulling me into a sitting position in bed. Chest tight, hard to cough. Never having another operation!
On the plus side my foot feels ok. I am lucky I have the anaesthetist phone number and he reassured me because I thought I was dying.
I’m so sorry, I'm sure that is so scary! It’s probably hard to even type of whatever device you use. You are in my thoughts and prayers. :console2: :prayer:

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