We all have that friend that has the cutest shoe collection. That person that has a different shoe for each outfit. What would that person do if they were stuck in a walking boot for 6-8 weeks. I think they would go pretty crazy just like Alicia. Alicia was no wimp when it came to hurt feet, remember she loves cute shoes. Over time she developed a bunion on her big toe, which she ignored for years. It wasn't until she started to have pain on her pinky toe that she finally went to the doctor. The pinky toe pain was just too much to ignore any longer. The foot doctor told her the only way to stop the pain is with a bunionectomy. Alicia agreed to the surgery. Then while she was still in the walking boot she started physical therapy. She was ready to do anything to get back to her cute shoes and her normal active lifestyle.
Alicia was so determined to get back to normal she did everything she was told to do down to the letter. She thought it was crazy but 2 weeks after she was out of the walking boot she was discharged from physical therapy. She’d bought all the exercise equipment used in her physical therapy sessions so she was able to do her exercises at home. Needless to say she was determined to get back to 100%.
About 4 weeks after being discharged from physical therapy she still had a lot of pain in her foot, her big toe didn't move, her foot still swelled up everyday, it hurt to have her foot touch the floor, her scar hurt when it touched her sock, and she couldn't walk very far.
She was convinced there was something wrong with her. She must’ve been doing something wrong because surely at 8 weeks after her surgery she should be normal again.
Her surgeon and her physical therapy both said she was doing great. Why was she still having all these problems?
In her desperation she went to the internet to look up anything that could possibly help. She found one of my blog posts about walking boots. After several days she got up enough nerve to send an email asking if there was anything that could be done to help her. She was sure I would tell her there was nothing to be done, that she just needed to work harder, or tell her how she’d messed up.
But to her shock what I told her was of course she still had pain and swelling!
Getting out of her walking boot was really the start of her healing. Sure after about 4-6 weeks the skin and bone that was cut during surgery had healed BUT that's not the whole story.
We have to rewind a little and go to the start of the story. She had a bunion removed. Why did she develop a bunion? Sure, her adorable shoes could have been an aggravating factor but the way she walked was the reason the bunion developed.
That means slowly over years her toe joint and muscle have adapted to that growing bunion and now suddenly after a surgery all that has changed. It takes much longer than 4-6 weeks to retrain your joint how to move and change how you walk.
You could hear the relief wash over her while we were on that first phone call. She had not messed up her foot, she had not been the cause of months of pain and there was a way to get back to her active lifestyle.
At our first session I was able to identify muscle imbalances in her hips and ankles that were affecting how she walked. We talked about how to stop her scar from being so sensitive to even light touch. And most importantly we talked about how long it will really take for her to recover. We talked about the stages of healing, what the landmarks are for each of these stages and how she could help her body heal fully.
She told me after several sessions how much weight was removed from her shoulders just having a plan that went from start to finish with milestones that she had the ability to work towards.
If you have recently had a bunion removed or if you are developing a bunion and you’re interested in this type of care Click this link if you to ask about cost and availability
If you have questions about your specific injury and you’d like to talk to a foot specialist Click this link to talk to a PT
WE HELP ACTIVE ADULTS OVERCOME THEIR ACHES AND PAINS TO GET THEM BACK TO THEIR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES WITHOUT MEDICATION, INJECTIONS OR SURGERIES.
Dr. Molly McDonald