Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Another update on my foot

Two years and nine months ago I had the first surgery on my foot. The main symptom that sent me to the doctor was severe knee pain when climbing stairs and running. The running was the main issue. I need to workout, I have osteoporosis and I need to keep my bones as healthy as possible, but I dislike working out. I dislike it intensely. I get bored. I also dislike taking any form of medication.

I discovered that running is the activity I dislike the least, probably because I can get it over with fast, in fact the faster I run the quicker it is done. I also find it challenging and therefore exhilarating. But the pain in my right knee eventually forced me to give up running. The knee surgeon looked at the x-ray and told me there was nothing wrong with my knee. However, he then caught sight of my right foot and immediately referred me to his colleague - a foot specialist.

it was my right foot - 
looks good now though you can still see the scars
The foot specialist agreed that I needed surgery for a bunion and a hammer toe. Now, I do admit that the hammer toe caused me some pain, in fact even in soft sneakers it hurt most of the time. That surgery took the best part of a year to recover from fully. Oh, I was able to walk and drive without difficulty after about 4 months, but it was a full year before the swelling went down sufficiently to fit into most of my shoes. Before the swelling had completely subsided, I noticed another toe was getting hammered, so I took myself back to my foot surgeon. (see here for photos before and after surgery).

That was November and he agreed it needed to be done but could wait until I was ready - I decided to leave it until after the new year.

In February, 11 months after the first surgery, I went back to him to schedule the surgery but also to get his opinion on yet another toe on the same foot, that was looking a bit hammered. Sure enough he agreed to take care of both toes - actually, the little toe was also heading in the same direction but my little toes are so incredibly small, and set low on the side of my foot, that neither of us considered it to be an issue worth surgery.

March was becoming my annual foot surgery month, however two hammer toes is not nearly as serious an operation as a bunionectomy, so I was back on my feet almost immediately and full recovery took 3 months. I was not impressed to discover that my knee was still as sore as ever. So I paid some attention to my balance and realized that I was putting little or no weight on the inside of the ball of my foot, I assume this was something I had subconsciously done to avoid putting stress on the bunion, and avoid jamming the hammered toe up into the shoe.

For the next 5 months I practiced rolling off the ball of my foot and making sure that my big toes took all of the stress while walking. I did frequent exercises to strengthen the muscles in my legs, and increase the flexibility of my feet. I got a balance ball - and spent a lot of time attempting to balance on one leg on that thing. It was not easy, but it worked wonders, so much so that I still use it regularly.

This week, two years and nine months after the first surgery I am delighted, if somewhat disbelieving, to report that I have finally started running again, well, I say running, what I really mean is jogging. Gentle jogging just for 2 minutes at a time, then 5 minutes walking to verify that the knee is doing OK. Repeat for 30 minutes.  I am really hoping that I will soon be back to my 40 minute run 4 days a week. The other days I plan to work on strengthening my core and improving my balance and stability.

It is never too late!

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