Cica Care, Week 13, Physical Therapy
It’s week 13. I haven’t updated for a while so I’ll hit a couple of big points:
At this point I have been in physical therapy for about 5 weeks. The therapist says I have good movement in the great toe joint. She has me doing strengthening exercises and flexibility exercises. How do you strengthen a big toe? Put a therapy band around it, have the therapist hold the ends and you pull the toe towards yourself fighting the resistance. Granted it’s not very much resistance but it’s harder than it sounds. It’s also a little painful. (See “Pain” below.) To get flexibility she massages the foot, and manually manipulates the joint. I do exercises like pick up marbles with my toes and drop them in a cup, lie on my back and bridge up, one-legged balancing type things, clams, and a few other standards. I’m also being treated for what I think is tendonitis in my hip (unrelated to foot!) so we’re doubling down on the core strength work.
I had my three-month (12 week) evaluation with the Doctor and he told me I don’t have to come back unless there is a need.
I still have a slight limp because I don’t yet have all the flexibility back in my toe and that manifests itself in the way I walk. The joint gets sore if I walk a lot, or if I wear certain shoes for too long. I still feel it anytime I am walking or standing. I’m also still most comfortable in my wide toe box comfy shoes. The doctor will tell you that you will be back to your normal activities in 6-8 weeks. Well, if your “normal” includes cycling everyday or playing tennis… that is not quite the truth. I am not supposed to run for a couple more months, which means no tennis either. (See “Sports and Activity”.) This is a little bit of a disconnect from what I thought would be the case. If you are very active, keep this in mind if you get the surgery. I have had both feet done this year and I’m going slightly batty from not having full use of my feet for almost the whole year.
Sports and Activity
I have been in the pool which, aside from being extra cautious when I push off the wall, feels good. I have been on an elliptical machine which felt ok for about 30 minutes but the toe got a bit sore after that. I am going to ease into Yoga next week, modifying some of the poses so that I don’t over-tax the joint.
I had expected not only pain relief from the surgery, but I also had the expectation that I would have perfectly straight toes. As you can see from the photos, that is not exactly the case. They look better when pressed against something, like the floor or a seat cushion that I used as a backdrop in many of my pictures. To the left is a photo where the foot is elevated and you can see how the big toe still is crooked. Also, you can see that I’ve developed a bit of a hammer toe in the second toe. It’s a little hard to reconcile myself to the fact that after all this effort I still don’t have nice feet. So I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself. Would I do it all over again? I suppose so, because I did have severe pain and my bunions were so bad. However, I guess I would have really liked to see more photographs (websites like this!) to see what the range of possible outcomes were. I knew there could be a recurrence, but I didn’t expect to have to worry about it immediately after surgery. I’ll keep updating and post how things go in the weeks/months ahead!