Warning – this post includes photos of my feet and scars.
It’s now been a couple of weeks since I had my bunion surgery and have discovered the answer to a question I’d been pondering…
Now that I have metal screws in my foot, would I automatically trigger the security sensors at airports?
Well, I discovered that the answer is no, as I took a trip to Brisbane on the weekend to attend the Australian Psych0logical Type conference and spend time with the lovely Jill Chivers making some new videos for your delectation.
If I’d had my time again (and I checked with my surgeon before I took the trip if it was advisable or not), I probably wouldn’t have booked a plane trip so close to surgery. Sitting with my foot up at waist level or higher is fine. But sitting with it down (as required on an aeroplane) became pretty torturous during that 2.5 hour trip, even wearing the compression stocking that I was given for my operation.
Fortunately, as I was mostly attending a conference, I could spend the majority of my time sitting with my foot up which eases the swelling and pain considerably. Also moving my foot and ankle helps to minimise the swelling and pain and keep the blood circulating.
Speaking of pain, I wrote too soon that I could give up the hard drugs in my last post. I found that daytime paracetamol was enough to dull the pain, as there were enough other things to distract me from the bone pain. But at night when trying to sleep, I had to keep taking an opioid to allow for decent rest and sleep (so important for healing).
I stopped taking them overnight at my 2 week anniversary post-operatively, as the bone pain (a weird ache deep inside my foot) all but disappeared at that stage. So now I only take a paracetamol when necessary and am trying out the Panadol Osteo option as it’s longer lasting (8 hours).
This week I’m easing back into doing some work, but still resting lots. My plan is to work half a day at a time, so not to overdo it and put my recovery back. Because I need to keep my leg up high, I can’t sit at my desk for more than 30 minutes at a time without pain (and the pain is all about swelling at the moment – it just makes my foot throb), so I’m propped up on my bed (I got myself this grey bed computer desk/tray) so that I can do some work in relative comfort.
And I can tell it’s going to come in handy even after this recovery period is over.
I was so happy to see my surgeon at the two-week mark and have the bandage removed, it was stiff and hard with dried blood (sorry to get graphic on you) that pressed against the wounds, so there was an immediate sense of relief upon removal. My stitches were also removed and a dressing placed over the top for a few days (still showering with my foot in a cast protector sleeve as I wasn’t allowed to get my foot wet).
Now that the dressings are off I can shower regularly (though still recommended to not soak my foot until the wounds have completely healed up).
But, be warned, after your foot has been bandaged up for weeks, well, there is a lot of dead skin that hasn’t been shed so now that’s gradually peeling away, and I do have a bit of a rub with a face cloth to try and remove as much as possible while in the shower.
My surgeon has recommended using lots of moisturiser or bio oil on the scars to promote healing and reduce scar tissue. I’ve had to keep some tape on them as they haven’t quite healed up enough yet.
My foot is pretty bruised and sore – I have a massive bruise on the arch of my foot and also on my big toe as well as smaller bruises around the incision sites. Because I had 4 toes operated on these all have felt quite numb, but feelingin my toes is starting to come back this week as the swelling is reducing.
My surgeon also made a toe separator, moulded to my foot, to keep my big and 2nd toes apart to promote healing in the right direction too.
I still don’t like the feeling of things pressing on my big toe, so I cut the top off a sock to wear during the day, and at night I’m still sleeping with my foot on a pillow or two but uncovered by any sheets or blankets.
I’m also starting with my physical therapy exercises to ensure that my joints get remobilised (as they are stiff), bending my toes upwards gently at the big toe joint (where the toe meets my foot) and holding for a few seconds at a time is that stage that I’m currently at.
I stopped needing crutches about 10 days after surgery and have now got a cane (found it at Savers thrift store for $5 and decided to decorate it). I can easily walk without the cane, but have been advised by my doctor when out and about to take it – more for safety and tripping, and using it for support if I’m tired.
You can see that my right foot is still quite swollen compared to my left, but it has gone down considerably in the past two weeks.
So there you have it. Thanks for all your Netflix recommendations (have watched a few, read some books, and rested as much as possible). And I’m really looking forwardto the swelling going down to a point where I can sit up without having to have my foot up.
I have to keep wearing the post-operative shoe when walking for 4 more weeks and am not allowed to drive until I reach 6 weeks post-operative too (that is the biggest pain!). I’ve found with the shoe that to keep my hips well balanced I have to wear a shoe on my left foot – something flat but with a sole that is around 1cm thick.
Thanks for the report, Imogen. That is one straighter foot, but takes quite a lot of recovery. All best for smooth healing and regaining full range of movement. Bio oil is great for minimising scars.
Re Netflix- one recommendation would be Secret City political thriller short series set in Canberra.
I wish you a full and rapid recovery !
I have a bunion that will probably need surgery at some point, so I read this with interest. Not looking forward to it! Wishing you a speedy recovery
Not fun but I’ve been assured it will be worthwhile – I do hope so!
Thanks for the update! I hope your healing continues to go smoothly.
Your foot is looking very shapely for just two weeks out! The big toe separator is a great idea. And you get some relief and air on your foot. I had to wear a surgical boot in bed and out except for bathing for six weeks! Netflix? Wired in the Blood Series starring Robson Green.
I figure if I’m lying in bed with my foot up and nothing is touching it I can have the boot off for a bit!
Thanks for the report Imogen. Keep taking it easy.
Wow! Your right foot looks fabulous considering the traumatic surgery only a few weeks ago. Here’s to Happy Health & Healing ?.
Did you polish the left toenails ☺️? I’ve found polished “piggies”, even just one foot, helps boost my mood; improves healing of body & Spirit.
Love your painted walking stick with the cheery flowers. That’s a sweet idea. I use Nordic-Walking poles for stability & balance. TeeHee, I put ribbons & bells on them for Christmas/Winter and ribbons & flowers for Spring/Summer/Fall. Figure why not have fun & be unique!
Yes my foot is looking better – though it’s still quite swollen compared to my left, not that you can see it in the photos as it’s the ball of my foot that’s very swollen. Yes left foot has polish, not right foot at present (they made me take off polish for the operation). But I do love a polished toe!
Ouch Imogen ! I hope you are healed by now. You seem to have skin that heals well.
This looks and sounds so painful.
Thanks- it’s getting better slowly!
I just read your blog I had bunion surgery 2 weeks ago so I kind of know what your going through. I still can’t walk on my foot I wish you all the best Reading your blog i feel has help me thankyou
So there with you Emma! It hurts for some time – but I’ve been told it gets better (it still hurts me some now – but no where as much as it did to start with!)
Wow your foot looks great for 2 weeks in. I am 2 weeks post surgery on both feet. It has been tough but not as bad as expected. Still some pain around toe joint when on feet too much. Trying to rest as much as possible but easier said than done with kids. App on Monday to get bandages off etc, nervous!! Good luck with rest of recovery
Both feet! Your brave to do them at the same time! Stay off your feet as much as possible -they say it speeds up healing.
About to have double bunion
Surgery and have two kids. Dreading the downtime as I’m so active. Could you do anything? Cook? Clean? I’m not good sitting still!
First few days not much – but after that I could stand for longer and do some cooking. You really can’t do much and you’re supposed to have for the first 3 weeks your foot above your nose for 55 minutes of every hour!
I am 19 days post op bunion surgery, I am not a very patient patient, so independent and the being laid up with my leg in the air is sending me stir crazy! The pain is not bothering me (a lot easier now) I’m getting around in the Frankenstein boot but it’s throwing my balance out and I’m like a wonky donkey! Underneath my big toe is the most painful, it’s not allowing my foot to be completely flat, thus throwing my whole leg out! I can’t wait to be able to walk properly again. Sorry for moaning! Just needed to offload to fellow bunioners….
I too had surgery on my right foot Bunion and hammer toe correction Surgery was on 16th October so 12 days post op Not too much pain but then I am still using painkillers every 4-6 hours (roughly) I am going back to see my surgeon in 3 days I have a pin still protruding from the hammer toe that he corrected so hoping he will remove it I am getting around the house on crutches but more often I don’t bother with the crutches I heel walk on the operated foot I am going to ask the surgeon when I should return to work I was hoping maybe next week I work in an office so sitting most of the day However iI will have to commute and, with 2 good feet it takes approx 7 mins to walk from the station to my office My question is, will that be possible for me or am I being too optimistic? All advice greatly appreciated
I’m 2 1/2 weeks post surgery on both feet. Have tried to do too much the last few days, and am regretting it due to pain and swelling. The thing that has been most helpful to me has been a hand held vibrating massager- it’s like a miracle! It has helped with the swelling and gives me better pain relief than the opiates did (although I’m still doing regular Panadol). Your foot looks great Imogen – good luck with rest of your recovery, and thank you for sharing the journey 😍
Hi! This has been helpful. I had my 2 week post op yesterday and he x rayed and said it’s looking good. I’m now allowed to bear a little more weight – of course all night I had this minor throb in what felt like the “bunion area” but it’s was enough to disturb my sleep. I’m off the heavy pain meds because they upset my stomach so I’m just taking extra strength Tylenol and may stagger it w Advil today. Did you sometimes feel worried when you hadn’t had pain and then would have some pain? I’m sure I didn’t do anything wrong just feeling anxious and also sleepy! I have to go back to my office Monday and just also probably nervous about That. Any wisdom is welcome!!
Make sure you can put your foot up – elevations makes a huge difference!
I just had bunion surgery yesterday morning around 9:00. My foot is still totally numb. I have bumped it accidentally and felt nothing. Was this the same for you in first 24 (?) hours. My Doctor didn’t say anything about it being numb for so long. But I my boy experiencing pain at this point so that is great. Maybe it’s just new medicines.
They give you some strong medicine I would think it’s probably this – but if you’re worried do ask your doctor!
Thnx for your post. It gives me a rough idea what to expect after the surgery.
I can see you had a surgery 2 years ago and you are able to tell me when exactly did you return training (physical activities) .
I do run and exercise outdoors and am wondering when can I return to these activities?
I am trying to stay optimistic and convince myself I can return to normal activities sooner than expected.
I would speak to your surgeon about this – I was back doing exercise at 3 months – you really have to let it heal and it takes ages. You also want to do all the physical therapy you can in this first 3 months so it doesn’t stiffen up too much as it heals.
Hello, I am 12 days post op for bunion & fusion, I go back to hospital this Wednesday, hopefully to have stiches out. Its good to know what to expect,my foot aches & is throbbing big toe joint, may be a tablet later. Thank you for insight xx
Good luck with your recovery! It takes some time! Keep it elevated as much as you can.
I am 4 days post-op on my right foot bunion removal. The pain has been tolerable, but I have had to take pain pills about every 2 hours at night (about every 6 during the day). Did you have pain in your heel? That is where I am having the worst pain right now and what wakes me up at night. I just find it weird that my pain is there and not where the bunion was removed.
I didn’t have heel pain – I would chat to your doctor about it!
I am just short of 2 weeks post bunion surgery on both feet. The patience needed for this is something else i tell you. I only get my stitches out in the next 2 weeks, i wanted to ask, was it very painful when your stitches were removed?
I’m 24, so I’m hoping I’ll heal fast.
It was a while back now and I can’t remember, which makes me think it wasn’t super painful to get them out (it’s always a bit of a weird feeling getting them out). Patience is needed – it’s a long slow recovery.
Did you have the lapiplasty procedure, or something different. And, more importantly, would you do it again?
I had an osteotomy – and I’d only do it again if I was in heaps of pain and it was affecting my walking. It’s a really long recovery and my big toe doesn’t bend up as much as it did – but it fixed my pain that I experienced when walking. Lapiplasty looks like a different surgery so I”m not sure about the recovery on that
I plan to have bilateral bunion and bilateral 2 toes operated in winter. I saw your pictures, how did yo manage to wear a tight fitting pants? The opening seems quite tight in the first picture.
And when you shower, do you have to put plastic bag over the foot and then over the shoes? so it is a double bagging?
At night, in winter how could you keep warm for your feet if I have to use bed cradle?
It took my shoe off for showering so the bag only went over my foot! Plus when getting dressed, the shoe was off. Thick slipper socks are great to keep your feet warm too.
Thanks for the info Imogen.
So, I can wear pretty much anything for winter. I thought I had to search for winter pants with wide opening because the feet would be very swollen.
Was the wound sore when you pull the tights over?
Do I have to look for thick loose socks for winter?
I am 11 days post surgery and I find ice very helpful for pain. Only need a couple of Advil a day now, but the ice about every couple of hours until the ice pack is warm.
I just found this post and it was perfect timing. I am 11 days post surgery and am sitting here with my leg elevated. Reading your entries and the comments has been very encouraging. The days have been better since I keep busy reading, watching netflix and having friends stop by. I find the nights are when I am more aware of the thick bandages, especially around and separating the big toe. I am really looking forward to the next appointment and to move on to the next steps..no pun intended 🙂 I am using a knee scooter to get around the house which has proven invaluable! I can’t imagine only using crutches for two weeks straight. I work on my feet for 8 hours a day as an Occupational Therapist, so I will be off from work for many many months, but I really don’t mind the time off! Again, thanks for sharing your journey.
Hope your feet get better quickly I found it took some time to be able to get back on my feet for longer periods – sitting with feet down is the worst!