big toe fusion and stairs

lesley123
lesley123 Member Posts: 42
edited 26. Jan 2016, 20:16 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hi, my biomechanic is now unable to get my corticosteroid injections into my big toe joints because of the extent of my OA. Consequently he is recommending me seeing a surgeon about fusion surgery. He has told me that he will only refer me if I am sure that I want the surgery, assuming I am offered it.

I have decided that, apart from my job, I have nothing to lose and a lot to gain because the pain and the way I walk just makes me feel so old and is really getting me down. Plus, it won't be long before I'm unable to do my job anyway. However, what concerns me is that I live in an upstairs flat and my stairs are very steep. How big a problem is this likely to be for my recovery?

Comments

  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    From what I've read on here that is likely to be a big problem, one of my 'real life' friends lives in a first floor flat, she had ankle surgery and was housebound for three months. Big toes are crucial for walking so my advice would be to contact an occupational therapist (or physio?) for advice about post-op living. Hopefully someone who has had this done will see your post and reply. I wish you well and I hope that if you have it done it will make a big difference to the quality of your life. DD
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,101
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I've no experience of this op but you can read former posts on it by searching the forum. There are quite a lot. Just click on the tiny pale blue/grey 'search' tab above and enter 'big toe fusion' on the top right line.

    I don't know how much stairs would be a problem. I guess – and it's only a guess – if your other joints are up to handling crutches, maybe not.

    I do hope someone who has had this op wlll see your post/
  • lesley123
    lesley123 Member Posts: 42
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks. I have been looking at some of the posts and I'm going to see if I can get both feet done at once. I am also going to practise going up and downstairs on my bum haha
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,101
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Now you're worrying me, Lesley. I think the op and recovery are bigger than you're bargaining for. Try reading this http://tinyurl.com/j9khtl2 . Some of the details will be specific to that particular clinic but, generally speaking, the recovery details will apply to all surgery ie the special sandal, keeping the foot elevated, no driving for 6 weeks, no chance of normal shoes for some time etc. It might seem a lot of bother for a toe but that toe will have been sawn, hammered and nailed.
  • lesley123
    lesley123 Member Posts: 42
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Now you're worrying me, Lesley. I think the op and recovery are bigger than you're bargaining for. Try reading this http://tinyurl.com/j9khtl2 . Some of the details will be specific to that particular clinic but, generally speaking, the recovery details will apply to all surgery ie the special sandal, keeping the foot elevated, no driving for 6 weeks, no chance of normal shoes for some time etc. It might seem a lot of bother for a toe but that toe will have been sawn, hammered and nailed.


    Don't worry. I realise that i won't be doing much for 6 weeks and will be virtually confined to the house for 2 but I want to be sure that I can get out when the time comes that I'm allowed to. I loathe being stuck indoors so even if I can make it downstairs for someone to drive me to a cafe for a cup of tea will be welcome.

    I'm hoping that both feet can be done at once to minimise the time I have off work
  • Airwave!
    Airwave! Member Posts: 2,428
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I have had ops on both my big toes at a relatively young age, the first one went OK but the pain continues although not as intense, now (the toe is angled up a few degrees to let you roll forward) the rest of my toe joints are painful as are my joints all over.

    I had a ceramic joint implanted on the other one but the bone never grew around it to stabilise the joint (diagnosed with osteoporosis) so it was removed and I now have a 'space' which is tender to touch.

    Shoes are a big issue, I've had insoles made up which just cause more pain and if I change shoes it takes a while for the pain to settle.

    You don't always get what you wish for!
  • TrishaW
    TrishaW Member Posts: 109
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi there,

    I've had a big toe fusion in 2013.

    You can manage stairs but in the first couple of weeks will be in some pain and need to keep off your feet most of the time.

    I brought everything I needed for the day in a big beach bag slung across my body down with me in the morning, and took it back up at night.

    I also set up 'essentials' next to my bed (upstairs) and sofa (downstairs)

    Basically the first 2 weeks you have to lie down with your foot up as much as possible (allowed 10 mins per hour of getting to the loo etc)

    You will use crutches at first to take weight off your foot and wear a special shoe they give you for 6 weeks.

    A physio will teach you how to walk up and down stairs safely with crutches before you are discharged.

    My 'tips' are.....

    1.sort your house as much as possible pre-op as you won't be doing much for a while (nice clean sheets etc and freezer stocked)

    2. Wearing a special shoe/sandal on one foot means you need a trainer type shoe for your other foot with the same height heel or you will limp! A normal trainer is ideal

    3. The special shoe is open toed so your toes will get cold! Buy mens big warm socks to wear over your bandaged foot (you may need to cut them at the ankle to get your foot through)

    4. You can't get the foot wet for at least 2 weeks so will have to have a strip wash or buy a cover for your foot in the shower ( a Limbo) I had a friend come round to wash my hair in the sink for me. Those moist toilet tissues by the loo are handy.

    5. You may find you need strong painkillers for the first few days...make sure you get some. And write down when you take them so you dont get confused

    6. As you're lying down you'll find it easier to drink through a straw.

    7. You'll need to set up your sofa will a pillow for your head and one for your foot, tv, book, drink, pills, phone, tablets etc. You also need your foot on a pillow in bed .

    8. Eat lots of calcium rich foods for bone healing. If friends want to bring you something ask for fresh vegetable sticks, natural youghurt etc. You may consider a vit D3 suppliment.

    9 I went crazy being stuck indoors so borrowed a wheelchair from the Red Cross so friends /family could occassionly push me out for fresh air in the first few weeks before i could walk far. I think my recovery was slower than most though -it varies from person to person.
    Generally it's quite restricted for 2 weeks then less so for 4 weeks then you can do whatever is comfortable/ drive etc.

    I hope this helps! Good luck!

    Trisha

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