Sunday, September 6, 2020

My experience with bunion surgery: Preparing for surgery (Part 1)

 I've had several people mention that they may have bunion surgery in the future so I thought I'd share some of my personal experience with preparation and recovery. There are lots of different types of bunion surgery and protocols so take this for what it is - one person's experience. 

I am glad I had the surgery as once fully recovered  walking longer distances should be pain free.

What was they type of surgery I had? A Lapidus Bunionectomy. 

"A Lapidus bunionectomy is a procedure in which the first metatarsal bone is fixated to the medial cuneiform bone with a plate and screws to stabilize and correct a moderate to severe bunion.  The procedure involves removing a small wedge of bone at the base of the metatarsal to allow for reduction of the bunion.  Fusing the joint at the base of the metatarsal helps prevent any possible return of the deformity."

A sample x-ray of what they do - not my foot!

My before surgery prep for recovery:

- I read online about recommendations for what you will need and what to try ahead of time. My Dr. is a good surgeon but not great on detailed info about anything but surgery. Lots of good info available though.

- Clearly you need a caretaker for the early weeks. I'm lucky I had a live in one and thus not only I but also our dog were taken care of.

- Make sure you have clothes and sleepwear that will fit over a very bulky bandage almost to your knee, then a cast and then a walking boot. You will also need shoes that can be loosened to fit your still swollen foot when you reach that stage. I wore very loose crop PJ bottoms to the hospital. It helped with clothes that it was warm weather but I had few options until I got the removable walking boot.

- I rented a knee scooter and crutches. Borrowed a shower chair. Bought Ibuprofen, a reusable ice pack and cover, a reading pillow, a folding bed table for eating (which I ended up using when on the couch), lotion with vitamin E for my incision scar, a shower cover for the foot and leg, Got out a water bottle to make sure I drank enough to battle opioid side effects.

- We picked up my pain prescription ahead of time. I should have also gotten an anti-nausea patch prescription ahead of time as I know opioid painkillers make me nauseous. Would have save the surgery day evening scramble to get that after I threw up.

- We arranged a couch area so I could be out of bed each day from the beginning. We set up a charging station, a small table I could reach laying down, 2 pillows for elevating my foot, Made room to get to the couch with the knee scooter and practiced. Covered the couch so no blood would get on it. 

- We set up the guest bedroom. Again cleared it to make room for using the knee scooter and practiced. Untucked the sheets so I could set up 2 pillows for foot elevation and to keep the recovering foot from being under the covers.

- We decided the guest bath was the best for access and safety. Set it up with everything I would use. Practiced how to maneuver the knee scooter and how to leverage myself on and off the toilet with just one leg available.

- I practiced getting over the front door threshold with the knee scooter so when I came home there wouldn't be a problem.

- We stocked up on food and I downloaded a lot of easy reading books onto my Kindle.

- Realize most of your shoes won't fit your still swollen boot once you can put on a shoe. It is summer and I have a pair of very adjustable sandals were the only thing that worked once I needed to wear one.

- What else would I do next time? I’d get a small cart to load up and push with one hand while using the scooter or a crutch. It was tiring to carry things back and forth with one hand. I’d make sure we had more meals in the freezer. I’d expect that I would be very tired during the day and need naps. I’d find out how to keep doing leg and shoulder stretches and work harder on my posture.


6 comments:

  1. Do they know what cause bunions to form? Sounds like quite an ordeal to have and go through.

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    1. From what they had me learn via video pre surgery, there is a heavy genetic component. The problem is that if left untreated your big toe can actually cross over you other toes. I had it done because the movement of my bones made my foot hurt when I walked any significant distance and it would only get worse e over time. I’m glad I did it as it will be great once recovered.

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  2. There was a lot to plan for and go through in your recovery from bunion surgery. I found it interesting how you planned ahead in many ways, good ideas.

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    1. Thanks. I believe the research that if you know what to expect from surgery and plan to deal with it then you recover faster with less pain. I also didn’t want to put last minute scrambles onto my husband’s shoulders in addition to everything else.

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  3. Hope you are doing well now. Can you please let me know about the knee scooter you used? And what should anyone look for before buying one?

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