Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fun and Foot Surgery

I haven't posted in a while because I've been recovering from foot surgery to correct a hereditary bunion problem.  My doctor is much more conservative than the one I had twenty-odd years ago when the first foot was fixed, insisting that I bear no weight on the foot for five weeks!  Luckily, my sister suggested I look into a knee scooter, so I rented one from  It arrived the day after I rented it online -- great service!  It is SO much better than crutches, which are awkward at best.  Plus, there's the cool factor -- everyone who sees it wants to try it out!  My grandchildren have especially enjoyed it.

In case any readers are considering foot surgery, here are a few tips I've discovered to make recovery a bit smoother:

Before the surgery
  • Obtain a bench and a hand-held sprayer for the bathtub.  This arrangement makes it possible to bathe without help (although you may want a "spotter" the first time or two). 
  • Test-drive getting up and down from the toilet using only one leg and your arms.  My master bathroom is not set up to make this easy, and I wish we'd rented some sort of apparatus to provide support.  You may find that one of your bathrooms is more accessible.
  • Plan to have someone with you all the time the first week or so.  My sister flew in from Nashville for the first few days, and my daughter drove up from Houston for several days when my husband had to be out of town.  
  • Plan to have plenty of reading material -- and a laptop, if possible -- to entertain yourself. I think introverts like me have an easier time with the enforced isolation!
  • Obtain a bedtray for meals the first couple of weeks.  
  • Buy some cute new pajamas!  Having fresh pajamas to change into that first week was a blessing!  
  • Fill prescriptions for pain pills and obtain a temporary handicapped hang tag for the car.
After the surgery
  • The first week or ten days, keep the foot elevated above your heart and get up only to visit the bathroom. 
  • Ice the foot (I used bags of frozen peas) for 30 minutes every two hours that first week.  I followed this advice and have had virtually no pain or swelling of the foot.
  • Practice using the scooter until you feel confident with it before attempting an outing. 
  • If your surgery is on the right foot, as mine was, plan to be chauffeured around for a long time.  I'm at four weeks post-op now and still unable to drive.
  • Appreciate your caregivers!  Mine have been wonderful, taking on all my household responsibilities for the duration.  I think my husband has a better idea of what I do around the house now that he's doing it all!  I'm sure he's also tired of moving my scooter into and out of the car trunk, but he hasn't complained.
  • When you are able to return to work, plan a way to keep your foot elevated most of the day.  My job is very sedentary, so I was able to return two weeks after surgery.  The only accommodation I've needed was to move my laptop to a table so I could keep my foot propped in a chair.
Those are all the tips I can think of for now.  It has been a long four weeks, and I have one more week of non-weight-bearing, but I look forward to being able to walk without pain soon. I'm also looking forward to taking a shower!  Baths are better than nothing, but that first shower will be a long one, I'm sure!


  1. The only thing better than your great advice it the wonderful picture! Thank you for the kind words. It was our pleasure to serve you - Goodbye Crutches

  2. A bedside commode can be rigged to fit over the toilet, and it is possible to change the height to work. I needed it to get up and down a lot more at first - spent 8 weeks non-weight-bearing on surgical foot.

    Because I had to take all my weight on my good leg to get up and down, and my other leg on my scooter all those weeks I needed as much physical therapy for my knees as for my foot. However, I'm back to (almost) full steam, and glad I had the reconstructive surgery on my foot!