Toe fusion and shortening. : Hi, I've got to have my... - NRAS

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Toe fusion and shortening.

Hi, I've got to have my big toe fused and the two next to it are going to be shortened. Anyone else had that done?

I'm wondering about recovery times etc.

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Foot surgery is complicated. I understand that the non-weight bearing period after is at least three months. All the best. Doreen

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Hi, thanks I wasn't expecting 3 months non weight bearing!!


I haven't had what you are having, but I did have bunion surgery on one foot a few years ago. It was more complicated than I had imagined. It was total non-weight bearing for 8 weeks, then in a walking boot for 4 more weeks. I figured I have it and bounce right back, not so much. It wound up being one of the hardest surgeries for me, and I've had many through the years on various parts. :-) Hope yours goes really well! Hugs!


Hi, thanks for the reply. I was expecting a couple of months but not 3. But thinking about it when I had my wrist fused I was in plaster for 2 months then a splint for another month. I'm sure it's psychological bit Id feel safer in a plaster cast!!

The bit I'm dreading is not being able to get around 😏


Hi, I had my big toe fused at the same time as they took out some of my other 4 toes bones out because they were permanently dislocated & pointing down. I only had to stay off my foot/toes for 8 weeks. I got tired of the crutches so I just walked slowly on my heel.

Now my right big toe is the longest on that foot and my foot got wider.

I do know that you will need to wear shoes with a bigger toebox after the surgery.

Walking will feel weird too, because your toe won't bend anymore. I actually had to go to physical therapy afterwards to walk correctly & to strengthen my foot & ankle muscles. (I had been compensating for years for my hurtful feet with walking on the sides.)

Good luck Hector



Hi Christine, many thanks for that. My foot is doing basically the same as yours was, I've been putting the op off for a couple of years mainly because of not being able to get around when it was healing. But it got to the point of having enough of the pain.

I hadn't thought of having to have physio afterwards and they haven't mentioned it. Maybe they're keeping it as a surprise!!

I've been walking on the side of my foot because of the pain, so much so that the X-rays showed the toe next to my big toe had got wider.....I found that fascinating.

Thanks again.


Hi Hector,

Your heading drew me to your post.

I have really munty toes and feet and just spoke to GP recently.

(I tend to avoid the rheumatologist).

With the regard to the lumps expanding width etc. she said there was nothing to be done. I got the impression there wasn't necessarily much for the further shrinking upward/or downward, depending which way you look at it, lol, that there wasn't much to be done either. Having said that, I also pointed out to her that because my immune system is so compromised, be it meth. or R.A. itself, I had no desire to pursue anything

surgical that was likely to be affected by existing immune problems.

I shall follow this with interest, thanks and good luck!


Hi Brightangel. Interesting that you'd trust your GP more than your rheumatologist. My arches have collapsed, my big toe is bent more or less at right angles and doesn't touch the floor, the rest of my toes are bent, dislocated and look like they've had an argument with each other!!

I've had steroid injections and lifts but it's got to the point of enough is enough and something had to be done.

If you're not ready to go down the surgical route then you could try injections or get referred to a podiatrist who could get lifts made for you.


Hi Hector,

Thanks for your response. My GP applauds my efforts at alternative

therapies and treatments and trying to eat reasonably healthy.

Pre R.A. days I have never had great results with meds and more often

than not experienced side-effects which negated the supposed benefits. She knows my history and my past experiences and that

there have been times I did really well without meds. For this reason, I held off on the meds as long as I could.

Oooooh, I sympathise with you and your poor toes........

Having said that, I love your light-hearted reference to them ..."Looking like they've had an argument with each other!" lol...

Let's face it , if we can't laugh at ourselves and others, we really are


Mmmmmm I haven't had steroid injections but am coming off

the end of about 6 wks of tablets for infection which affected sinus

and breathing.

I was admitted to hospital so they could discover whether it was RA or

the Methotrixate that had perhaps damaged lungs and causing

breathing difficulties.

Interestingly enough, when I was in hospital for 3 days the sinus and

mucus cough stuff vanished, I guess due to air con?????

Whilst I still have slight wheeze it seems to have increased my energy

not being adversely affected by infection.

Anyway, sorry to go off track but one thing available here in nz are

"Balance Walkers" shoe inserts and I have been wearing them nearly 4 yrs, the same pair!

They cost about$100 Nz and they do great in stabilising my feet!

So much so that when I participated in a 12 mth RA study through the

hospital I had no falls, only slighty losing balance but regaining balance

which I put down to these very thin inserts which can be worn in

any shoes. The reason I got them was to take the weight off the balls

of my feet which used to constantly hurt and ache because all the weight went on them and with the 'padding' being displaced forward,

hence the pain, I Can't recommend these inserts highly enough and

they may help you also.

Having said that, whilst I am very stable on my feet my toes, like yours,

have a friggin mind of their own lol!

Thanks, I will keep in mind the injections as I had thought that surgery

was the last resort. Hope you do better...... Smiley-face!

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Hi, as you say if you can't laugh at what our body is doing then we're totally stuffed. I'll bear those inserts in mind. I'm sure thanks to the power of the internet I can get them in the UK.

I've tried numerous alternative stuff too before resorting to surgery. One thing that really helps me all over and did release the tendons on the base of my foot was Bowen therapy. It's great because it's gentle. If you haven't tried it Id say give it a go. I have a treatment monthly because it keeps me straight πŸ˜„.

Interesting about your breathing being better when you were in hospital. Maybe it was the aircon.

My op is on the 17th Dec so fingers crossed.....I can do that on a good day!!

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Hiya, I did try to reply when I got your message but it got lost in translation, i.e. I lost it before I sent it and attention span at the time was that of a nat, (spelling??), lol, my bad.

Yes am sure you will find the inserts online.

I have heard of Bowen but never tried it. Will keep in mind,

thanks. (My daughter who was asthmatic from childhood

had treatment, possibly from a Bowen therapist, which helped with her poor posture, many years ago). I haven't seen him for 2 yrs but I had a guy who used to have me automatically racing across the other side

of the couch to subconsciously get away from him, lol and

I would jokingly swear at him and call him a bastard 'cos

it hurt, but I am one of those who needs 'tough love' lol

in the sense of effective treatment.

I am not aware of any good online advice/ stuff here in NZ and consequently have found this site great for broad experiences and advice and am sure you are getting the

best of it.

I will mark you on my calendar to send you 'good vibes' for

your op, best of luck, Smiley-face!


Hi. I know what you mean about attention spans!! I put it down to the meds and RA....nothing to do with age!!

I'll have a Google and see what I can find.

Such a shame there aren't any support groups in NZ. This is a good one, I don't post often but do read a lot of them and learn a lot.

Thanks for the positive vibes, this time next week it should be all done and I'll be home πŸ˜„


You will be a whole new person!!!

(Seems like me, you could do with a brain

transplant as well for the attention span thing).

Actually, I always say I need a T.B.T....

Total Body Transplant, lol, so I'm holding out

for one of those.


Like the sound of being of whole new person πŸ˜„


Hahaha. Well at the very least, an up-graded one. I am surprised we virtually

exchanged messages around the same time. Usually it's way off 'cos of where I am.

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Upgrading is good....that was spooky!! πŸ˜€


Hahaha........ (plays 'spooky Agent Mulder

music in background).

In case I don't get back online here before

the 17th, best of luck, sending good vibes

and warm fuzzies your way for the 'Upgrade'. Expect to hear the good news

when you are fully 'upgraded' and back in business! Smiley-face.

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Thanks for the good vibes and warm fuzzies. I'll update when I've had it done......not long now!!


I too am following this post.

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So sad we are all munty, lol but so nice there is somewhere to go

and nice people to give advice and help.


That's very true.


Hiya, Hope you are doing good!!!!

I thought of you on the 17th but haven't been online for

a while. Hope you are able to enjoy xmas as much as possible and you will be that ....'new upgraded version'!


Hi, I'm doing okay thanks. The fusion went well and he decided to only shorten 1 toe.

When the consultant came to see me after the op he said the joint was very arthritic and had collapsed!! The X Ray didn't show how bad it was.

Very little pain which is a good thing, Id describe it as an occasional dull ache. πŸ˜„


So glad to hear you had minimal pain.

Bit scary though that the other one was badly

collapsed... makes me wonder how crapped out mine really are too!!!!!! lol.

Hope your xmas went well and all the best for

the New Year and hopefully good health!

Cheers, I'll drink to that hahahahaha!


It was a bit worrying, but it's all sorted now. Fingers crossed for end of January when I see him again and have an X Ray. have a good new year


Yes, fingers crossed, if you can manage that lol, I have to do it in spirit as they are

as unhappy as my blood toes!

Cheers, Happy, Healthy New Year,

God knows we deserve it!


Same to you. I can now cross my fingers. I couldn't when RA first decided to say hello. But when they got my meds sorted and put me on Humira the swelling went down and I can cross them now. They're a bit bent but hey ho who wants lovely straight slim fingers anyway!! πŸ˜„ xx


Hahahaha, you made me laugh.

Sorry, I not been here lately.

Lucky Bastard!!! I didn't take them up on the Humira as I had thought it was replacing the Meth. but when I found out I was doubling up I didn't want any more drugs when the M. gives me enough shitty side effects already, lol. Maybe I too would be able to cross fingers instead of just being able to indicate with one, lol.

Know what you mean, I gave up any hope of 'pretty' once everything starting going sideways, literally lol. Tired and slow you can hide somewhat (they think you're lazy....) but lumps and bumps and hideous bits, not so much......

We can but hope for a better, brighter, healthier New Year.... cheers! ( I do have a wine beside me right now!!!!).


Hi, the wind and rain brought the phone lines down and they've just fixed them so sorry for delay. Luckily I don't suffer with side effects from methotrexate and I was really struggling so I thought why not.

Hope you're keeping okay and still enjoying the wine, sometimes you just have to have the odd glass. Still getting on okay with the foot and because to wound has healed I've been allowed to hobble down to see my horses. It's been nearly a month so I was really pleased to see them.


Hi, sorry, just lost it .... (my reply, I lost the plot long ago...).

As I was saying.... No worries, though for a

while I worried you didn't love me any more, lol. Global warming ha, seems to be

affecting world. I saw my GP and she is

referring me to foot and hand people to discuss my options, your experience encouraged me and I am glad to hear you are getting more mobile. Horsies, cool.

Bet they were more glad to see you!

I always say.... "They shoot horses don't they" and keep waiting for someone to do it to me when I wander around lol.

Glad things are looking up, Happy New Year! Smiley-face.


Hi, good that you're seeing foot and hand specialists. My foot is coming on really well.

Not sure what's wrong with your hands but I had my left wrist fused in 2008, I'm left handed and it was the best thing I've had done. He did consider a wrist replacement but because of me having horses he wouldn't because to quote him 'I'd destroy all of his good work in 5 years'!!

The horses were pleased to see me though one in particular was a bit worried because of the way I was waliking, he's sensitive like that :-)


Hiya, Glad you're doing better.

My fingers have the swan-necking as they call it and in the last yr the R hand has two knuckles gone bigger than ever and rings don't fit on that hand any more 'cos of the cysts the Methotrixate has caused on the joints (along with the bag of rocks effect that my giant thumb has which I believe I already bitched about, lol).

Sounds like whilst I still survive with my crap that yours has been more destructive. Ironically, my sister who has had it for over 40 yrs since a teenager has

never had any surgery, which surprises me, though I think they just gave up on her. Oh, sounds like poor horsie was sad for you, how sweet. I never had anything to do with them but have seen documentries how sensitive and intuitive they are particularly with children with disabilities. Sounds like you are heading in the right direction. Seeya.....


Hi us, as you say my RA started off with swelling then my joints started to crumble. Possible because as my consultant and the wrist orthopaedic surgeon said 'I'm not a lady that does lunch'!!! I've got a couple of large knuckle joints but since the Humira the swelling has really gone down. I can fit my rings back on now. That's the thing with RA they just don't know how it is going to progress, which makes it a bugger to treat. Doing loads better, tried my shoes on the other day and now fitted so had to buy more ready for next week when I get rid of the protective shoe ..... All going well. Horses are very good for people with all kinds of issues, a few

Friends of mine work with therapy horses. So I agree he was definitely concerned. He's got more used to it now and walks slowly beside me letting me use him as a balance. Take care xx



Hahahaha, always sorta-kinda envied those Ladies, lucky bitches!!!!!

Mmmm interesting to hear about the Humira taking your swelling down.

I am buying new rings when they are on sale for about $50.00, 'cos it costs that to

re-size the buggers, so often have 6 on the one bloody finger of the left hand lol.

Ooooohhh nice you getting back into your shoes, lovely you are getting some new ones too, helps make all the drama worthwhile! How cool is that for Horsie to be adjusting his ways to help you.... that's lovely! Makes me feel all mushy, lol.

Good luck with shoes, so pleased for you yet so jealous!!!! lol. (Was just laughing to myself about you and horsie both having shoes, I guess they are the only animals who do????) Seeya.....


Hi ya, all going well should get rid of the protective boot tomorrow morning. I'm getting fed up with wearing it, so looking forward to be able to walk properly and not with one leg longer than the other. Once I've got rid of it I'll be making an appointment with my Bowen therapist so she can straighten me up. My horses are barefoot so no shoes for them πŸ˜€ Sounds like you do a lot of ring shopping, I just gave up wearing them until the swelling went down. I'll have to work out how to message you on here so we can chat. Take care


Hiya, Glad to hear you are finally gonna be able to stop dragging yourself around with

dodgy foot. Have you noticed how once you have something like that, that people can see, they can't do enough for you???

Yet we can be sick as dogs and they don't

notice? I guess humans are very visual creatures and unless it's staring them in the face, they don't look beyond the surface. Good idea, you will need help

straightening yourself out.

I guess like us, horsies are happier without shoes. Honestly, I don't do a lot

of ring shopping, lol but I like to have something nice and shiny to look at instead of just the munty fingers.

Sorry, I don't know how to communicate here alternatively, me not the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to techy stuff, lol. Best of luck with getting back to normal. Smiley-face!


Hi, sorry for late reply, bet you thought I'd vanished off the face off the earth.

The foot is going amazingly well, it still swells up at the end of the day if I do too much but that's to be expected. My walking has improved dramatically, because I'd been walking on the side of my foot for years I had to relearn how to walk again - that took some concentrating!! Anyway I can also now get some of my shoes and boots on that I couldn't get on 3 weeks ago, which is great news, especially since I was working on the 9 to 12 months advice.

You're right what you say about people not realising how bad we feel just cos we look okay, it's frustrating and annoying but I've learned to smile and walk away.

Hope all is well with you xx

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Hiya, glad to hear you are doing so well,

impressive! Hahahaha.... yeah, thought one of your horsies had turned into pegasus and you'd floated off into the sunset, lol.

Yes, can imagine it did take a lot of concentration to re-learn walking correctly. I still recommend my shoe inserts lol, and no I am not working on commission. I noticed when I looked back at the spasmodic journal entries I made some yrs ago I seemed to have falls whereas now I generally don't. Most disconcerting though from about 8 yrs ago the x-ray people said I would eventually need plates in my feet and I was horrified when they showed me how much or rather, how little was connecting

my little toe. Encouraging for me though to hear your success story.

Keep on keeping on and improving, so good to hear. Smiley-face!


if only one of them would turn into a Pegasus or a unicorn, I'd be rich :-).

I must have a look at the inserts and see if I can get some.

I definitely class my op as a success, curiously the one that niggles the most is the one that was shortened and not the big toe which has been plated and screwed....weird or what!

Take care of yourself xx


Hahahaha, you should be so lucky, but not

in your lifetime, sorry to say.....

I might be able to track a link or something so will look into it.

It's good for you to be able to say definitively that is was a success as you often hear of less than optimal results.

Mmmmmm doesn't make a lot of sense does it?????? That old story.... neither rhyme or reason lol! Like I said though it does give me some encouragement. I am higher up the list of the hand clinic now they have proven I am an NZ citizen lol but still no word about being on the list for footsy clinic so looks like I have to chase up. Yes, you take care also and keep on putting one foot in front of the other, lol. Seeya......


Good luck with the hand clinic and hope you get on the foot clinic soon. Knowing what I know now I wish I'd had it done 2 years ago when they first suggested it. Take care xx



Yes, could be a wait I suspect.

I will be very interested in seeing what they have to say. It is the cysts caused by the methotrixate that annoys me at the moment with shooting pains going through them at times.

Cheers, Look after yourself too.


Ooh, never heard of cysts caused by methotrexate. That sounds really painful. I hope they get you sorted out.

I'm now wearing a tubigrip support for my ankle which has now started to complain because I'm walking straight!! The op site itself is fine, just the occasional nerve coming back which is painful but expected.


Yeah, I found out after the event. The finger/thumb ones aren't usually too bad more ugly than anything but the footsy ones are what get shooting pains through them at times. Life's a bitch, lol!

We can't do right for doing wrong lol.

Straightening up seems the smart thing but I guess after years of being out of kilta there will be some protest. Yeah, nerves can be a problem, I have had that on and off for years, but not painfully so, at the site of a tumour removal in my lower abdomen area. More just tightness with mine but I guess there's a lot of weight on yours whereas mine didn't have that problem. God help us, lol

cos we keep on trying but I think we might

need a magic wand!

Keep on smiling!!!!! Cheers.

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Well it seems as if my foot has finally got into shape, I've been wearing my normal boots the last couple of days without any problems and my ankle isn't swollen any more. It's looking good. Take care


Hiya, am so pleased to hear that.

As you have said, it makes it all worth while. You're getting over winter now are you???? We are in Autumn and noticing the chill so I think that's causing more aching in mine, bugger lol!

ooohhh are you getting about more with the horsies??? Hope so.


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Hope all is well...

I spoke to the Company who supplies the

foot supports I recommended and they said they post from NZ to overseas.

If you want to check them out at all the site is ....... and they are a

NZ Company.

I chased up my foot apptment and they had told gp but not me that I am now on a 4 mth wait list, as of 20th January. Tell that to my foot that screamed at me this morning lol!



I had a bunion op in august where they fushed my big toe and also shortened my other toes.It was about six weeks before i could leave off the boot they gave me ,the pain was minimal and i would definately have my other foot done.Good luck.

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Hi, thanks for that. I especially like the bit about the pain being minimal πŸ˜€


I had both my big toes fused and all my metatarsal heads removed and tendons cut quite a few years ago. I could barely stand let alone walk, the pain was excruciating. I was completely non weight bearing for at least 2 months and was wheel chair bound using crutches was not an option due to shoulders, wrists and hands. The outcome of the surgery was positive much less pain for quite a few years. However your foot profile changes. The back part of my foot remained that of a six 6-7 but the forefoot for me was dramatically shortened. I buy six 6 because of back of foot and need the width as my feet also widened.Trying to get shoes to fit is impossible however you can compromise. I wear sketchers go walk 2s fit flops in the summer, wider fit shoes with orthotics in the winter plus my sheepskins. Unfortunately I cannot grip with my toes as tendons cut but it's not insurmountable just good choice of foot ware. Having said all this I would have it done again in a flash as pain reduced. Really you need to talk to the surgeon about post op care as it appears to be different depending on the surgeon. All foot surgery is complicated because foot anatomy is complicated and the weight and stress put on them is huge. Follow the post op care that's prescribed for you as we are all different and our disease is particular to the individual. My foot surgeon was brilliant and I trusted him implicitly. He always promised to make me better than I was and he did. My feet are a real mess but that's because I didn't get referred to him early enough for him to do more conservative work and he had rubbish to work with. Good luck but please ask questions they're your feet.

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Hi, thanks for your reply. Your comments about the pain made me think OMG what am I doing!! But having read all of your reply I felt much better πŸ˜„

I'm picking their brains when I've seen them, first was at the initial consultation and then on Monday at my pre-op. He's brilliant and answers everything. I struggle to get shoes to fit now so no change there then!!

My op is the 17th December, hoping for good TV over Christmas so I don't go stir crazy.


Hi didn't mean to frighten you but the 'pain' was prior to surgery I've obviously edited it incorrectly the surgery reduced the pain considerably for quite a number of years.

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It was only a brief OMG moment. You also had a lot more done than Im having and both feet at the same're very brave.

I was pleased to read that it helped and to read that you'd have it done again was reassuring.

Doctors can only answer questions to a certain point. It's always good to hear from people who've been there and done it.

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I declined foot surgery last year, for several reasons: they wanted to do 4 procedures at the same time; the recovery time given was 3 months per foot in plaster; they said the chances of success were just 50:50 and there were significant risks; and I had had a hip replacement already that year... I have a friend who has much more severe RA than me, who has had one lot of foot surgery and is waiting for another. She recommended building upper body strength before foot surgery because you rely so much more on your arms and shoulders, not just to get round on crutches, but getting up and down stairs, in and out of chairs etc when you can't weight-bear. She used weights and an arm bike while she was waiting for surgery and after her first op... She is skinny, but she also pointed out to me that the heavier you are, the more weight you have to haul around after foot surgery - and I do need to lose weight! All this sounded like good advice to me, so I'm passing it on :)

Meanwhile, I have reduced my pain significantly by limiting the amount of walking I ever try to do - less than 100m on an average day. I have purpose-built orthotics from the hospital and shoes with extra room inside them. I'm on various meds that help, and a steroid injection a month ago definitely made a big difference for a while. I'm hoping I can avoid surgery for a couple more years...

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Hi, thanks for the advice. Fortunately I'm skinny and because I've got horses my upper body strength is good....carrying hay nets and feed sacks is good for that. Though it does make my consultant raise her eyebrows in despair sometimes!!

I've had orthotics in my shoes for a couple of years and steroid injections, but they just don't work anymore, nothing left to inject into!!

I think if I'd just had a hip replacement and they wanted to do 4 procedures on me I'd have said no.

Swimming is good for upper body strength and general mobility, it's helped me no end.

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Sounds like you you're doing all you can :)

I'm a swimmer too - I go to the pool 3-4 times each week, always at least one lot of serious length swimming and one full-on aqua-fit class. It makes a fantastic difference to my fitness, muscle strength, pain levels and mental health - especially since my walking is limited. By the way, the local steroid injection into my foot didn't do much, but the intramuscular systemic one worked a treat! :)

Good luck!


Blimey, 3 to 4 times a week swimming, that's good going. I only go once a week and only started to go because my mum had had a hip replacement after she broke it and she would only go swimming if I went with her. The benefits have surprised me πŸ˜„


I know, sometimes I feel like I spend more time in the water than out of it! But really, I spend only about 2.5 hours per week doing some sort of vigorous exercise in water, and another hour or so lolling about in a jacuzzi! I am lucky enough to go to a pool where there is also a spa, and that definitely helps encourage me to go regularly, because the combination of exercise/heat/relaxation is so good for my pain. I started going in desperation, really, when I could no longer walk far, and was getting sore, unfit and fat... Now I can't imagine life without it, and it gives me so much pleasure. :)


Jacuzzis are good. I love the steam room, that helps my joints too, much more than a sauna. I guess it's the humidity. We've got to do whatever we can to help us and make us feel better πŸ˜„

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Definitely! :D

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How are you doing now, Hector? I hope you're well on your way to recovery :)


Hi, thanks for asking. I'm doing really well thanks. One of the wounds took longer than it should have to heal but that was because the dressing rubbed it.

I got rid of the orthopaedic wedge shoe after 6 weeks and back in normal boots, although a bigger size because of the swelling. But I can now get into some that I couldn't get into 3 weeks ago so I'm going the right way. Because I was walking on the side of my foot for so long and I'm now walking flat the ligaments etc on the side of my foot are complaining!!

It's weird to be walking flat and to have the top of my big toe touching the floor!!

It still swells up at the end of the day especially if I've done too much, which is quite often πŸ˜„

Wish I'd had it done when they first suggested it 2 years ago.

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Wow, that sounds really good, Hector - I'm v pleased for you! :)

I turned down foot surgery last year because the chances of success sounded too low and the risks too high... It's good to hear success stories, because chances are, I won't be able to avoid it for ever...


Pleased it helped, it is as you say good to hear about stuff when it goes well. The thing is if you leave it then your foot would possibly get worse. The surgeon told me that the joint was worse than it looked on the X Ray's and had totally collapsed on itself.

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