Sunday, January 27, 2019

Almost two years later

Two years on I intended to close this blog, but I see people have been looking at it. I guess if it has been a help to even a couple of folks it is worth leaving it open.

Things have been fine with my foot. There is a faint dull ache in the joint if I walk for a long time, say an hour or more, but nothing else. Just a bit of a reminder. 

I am sure had I not had the operation I would have been hobbling around in considerable discomfort by now. 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

15 months later

I have forgotten to write an update in this blog for months. Which is an indication of how much awareness I have of the cheilectomy over a year after the operation.


If I bend my toe upwards hard it is a bit sore, but I have to be going out of my way to inflict that minor pain on myself. Normally, I am unaware of any discomfort.

I had also forgotten about the scar until I looked for it today. Yes, there it is, a thin pale line maybe a couple of centimetres long. But barely visible. I can't say I've noticed it for months and I had to lift my foot just now to pick it out clearly.

So the operation has been a great success.

If you are considering this operation yourself, I hope my experience has been a help to you. But keep in mind that everyone is different. Talk to your surgeon.

And if you do have the surgery make sure you follow the surgeon's post-op instructions diligently - especially keep that foot elevated and resist the temptation to go walking around on it when you are not supposed to. I know it is boring as heck lying around with your foot in the air, but I am sure that doing what I was told contributed to my effective recovery.

All the best.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

5 months on

Five months on from surgery and things are very well with my toe.

I saw the orthopaedic surgeon a month ago for the second follow up consultation. He was impressed with progress and does not feel the need to see me again unless something untoward happens, which I think unlikely.

I can walk any distance. There is only a slight soreness in the joint which I am for the most part barely aware of.

I'll write another post in twelve months to flag progress, assuming nothing worth writing about happens in the meantime.

The colour in this photo is quite washed out - my foot is really a healthy pinky-red hue. The scar is still quite noticeable, but has faded. As you can see, it has fully healed.

The advice I give to anyone undergoing this surgery is:

  • Follow your surgeon's instructions, especially in the first couple of weeks when the joint is traumatized and the major healing takes place. Yes, it is a drag just laying around with your foot elevated, but it is only a short time really and being diligent about this will pay dividends.
  • Do lots of walking when you are able. But avoid impact activities like jumping and running. I've just gone to a lot of trouble and expense to have this joint repaired and I want it to last - I'm not going to wreck it again.
  • I didn't have a physiotherapist and my surgeon did not feel the need to recommend I use one. My toe has healed quickly and well anyway. You may also want to consider whether you need this additional expense. Just walk.
  •  Wear sensible shoes with fairly rigid soles.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Week 8

Week 8  April 30. 2017

For the most part, I forget I have had the operation. The pain in my toe has subsided to the point where it is about the same as it was prior to surgery. I am now hopeful that it will quietly fade away completely.

I will continue to post updates at irregular intervals, but there really isn't much to say now.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Week 6

Week 6 - Wednesday 5 April 2017

Not really much to say beyond the last entry. I've been going to the gym regularly, cycling and walking. The wound has healed nicely. No swelling. No pain in the joint when I'm not walking on it.

The only discomfort I have experienced recently is in my left hip (which I mentioned previously) when laying down. This may be due to my awkward gait when favouring my left foot, which probably put strain on the hip joint. Now that I'm walking more normally it seems to be settling down (possibly bursitis - I'll talk to my doc about it if it persists). Otherwise life is pretty much back to normal.

The toe hurts a little more than it did before the surgery (maybe 2 to 3 on a scale of 10 when walking), but I feel there is slow, but steady improvement. The surgeon said full recovery takes months, so patience is the key.

I'll just make occasional entries now as there really isn't much to write about.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Week 5

Week 5. Monday. 27 March 2017

Just in from cycling to St Kilda, where I enjoyed coffee in a cafe beside the beach.

The toe is a little more painful to walk on than it was before the surgery, but I can feel incremental improvement. I no longer limp.

In the evenings I sit and work it with my fingers to improve flexibility - the joint doesn't have full range of motion, but is getting better.

I am going to the gym regularly, but, as I mentioned in a previous post, I do not run and normally avoid exercises that cause excessive jolting of joints anyway.

The wound is healing well. I kept a plaster over it until a few days ago, mainly to stop it abrading against the sock as I walked, but have done away with that now. No swelling. I often forget I had the operation.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Week 4

Week 4. Monday. 20 March 2017.

Exactly 4 weeks have passed since the surgery.

I returned to the gym yesterday, also went today. I mainly work out on the stationary bikes - which is easy on the toe as it isn't required to flex.

As an aside, I have never been into running - I believe the jolting puts too much stress on joints and that excessive running is not a natural form of exercise. Our hunter gather ancestors probably only ran when they had to (to escape predators or chase down prey) and would be aghast to know people these days run miles for entertainment. I can't believe it when cheilectomy patients write that they can't wait to start running again. As for me - I'm going to get maximum mileage out of this surgery by not abusing my foot. I prefer walking up hills to get a bit of puff going.

Enough rant - back to the post. Last Thursday I cycled about 20 kilometres to St Kilda for coffee. No problem. As I said before, the foot is fairly flat on the pedal which minimizes flex and pain.

I've also been doing quite a lot of walking - several kilometres each day. The toe is painful, around 3 on a scale of 10, but I can tell it is improving. I still have a very slight limp and this is enough to continue to cause me some pain in the thigh and hip from walking slightly unevenly.

The wound is healing well (see photo - taken yesterday). It is a little soft in a couple of places, so I have decided to keep it covered with a plaster for a few more days rather than have it abrade directly against a sock.

The toe doesn't have full flexion by any means, but I wriggle it around in the evenings. I am confident it will gradually improve.