Exactly 1 day after my last post, I received very good news in my 12 week post-op appointment. The doctor and nurses were very pleased and impressed with my healing progress, and said I did not have to go back for THREE MONTHS!
Three months? Wait. What am I supposed to do until then? Can I walk barefoot? Can I drive? Can I ride? Can I run?
The first great news: Yes, I can drive again! Regarding physical activity, the doctor said I should not increase by more than 10% each week, and that I should not start training for a marathon. Not knowing quite what that meant, I asked for a physical therapy (PT) referral and started sessions last week.
In week 1 of PT, I have been given the following exercises:
Toe curls (trying to scrunch up a towel), 2×10 twice a day
Seated heel raises, 2×10 twice a day
Ankle rotation front and back, 2×10 twice a day
Ankle rotation side to side, 2×10 twice a day
The first couple of days of trying to move my toes caused some discomfort that I was not used to. My foot has not hurt since the second week after surgery and now the exercises make my toes hurt a bit. However, I can already feel how these exercises are helping me walk normally by letting my foot roll onto the toes, and the ankle rotation feels wonderful.
The other great thing about PT is that my I can begin trying out new exercises. I have been pretty consistent with my upper body weight training, but since last week I have incorporated squats (body weight), and brief elliptical and recumbent bike cardio sessions.
I’m incredibly pleased with my post-surgery state. I thought I would lose a lot more strength than I did. I think eating 40%+ protein has really helped maintain my muscle mass, despite the atrophy in my legs. I also started swim lessons and I love being able to work on my goal of becoming a triathlete even though my legs and feet are not ready yet.
Yesterday marked 12 weeks post bunion surgery. It’s incredible how easy it is to fall back into a normal routine and forget the recovery journey, and I find myself randomly longing for the early Netflix-and-napping-all-day days. I’m stuck between “still recovering” and “almost okay” which is a bit awkward.
These are the things that remind me that I’m still recovering:
I cannot drive yet
I cannot wear regular shoes
No exercise using my feet
I still have to wear a toe separator
My foot swells and tingles after being at the office all day
I have a limp when I walk
This are the things that make me feel almost okay:
I can spend 8 hours at the office with only some discomfort
I CAN SWIM (provided I am not barefoot around the pool)
I’ve been killing my upper body weight training
I can sleep normally
I can wear regular shoes (if they have thick, sturdy soles — so not my regular shoes)
I can paint my toe nails 😉
My next recovery milestone is driving and doing some form of exercise that involves using my foot. I am very happy with the pace of my recovery and the surgery results. My right foot does not hurt at all, and now I am noticing the bunion pain in my left foot (which was shadowed by the severe pain in the right foot).
I can’t yet say whether this will make running or cycling better for me in the end, but I can’t imagine how it could not!