Hallux Rigidus: surgery and recovery

I had surgery to correct my Hallux Rigidus two weeks ago; here is a recap of surgery day and an update.
Warning: the picture at the bottom is gross!

I arrived at the hospital and had very little wait time before I was taken to the back. This was good because the more I sat and thought about it, the more I started to worry. The nurse came in and instantly gave me the painkiller Oxycontin to help with the pain. I immediately started to panic thinking “Why do I need this BEFORE the surgery? How painful is this going to be?”

I should have asked for an anti-anxiety pill instead because at that point I was ready to BOLT! I don’t really remember it having any effect on me other than stress!

Next came the IV sedation, which is never fun. I have small veins and it just hurts to have that giant needle jammed into your hand. I was hoping to fall asleep fast, but no such luck. I remember being rolled into the operating room at which point I must have finally fallen asleep.

I woke up to a loud buzzing noise and after looking around—(still in operating room)–I realized it was the sound of the SAW that was hacking off the bone spur! I could hear the doctors talking (about the election, their weekend plans, etc) and I could see the clock (it was 10:05am, the operation started at 9:30). The only saving grace was that I could not feel a thing. It was completely surreal and reminded me of my favorite TV show Dexter.

I stayed in recovery for a bit and then managed to faint and throw up as they were releasing me. I like to leave an impression.

Recovery has been tough. I have about a 4 inch gash on the top of my foot. I could not walk the first few days and just moving my foot was extremely painful. The painkillers made me feel too nauseous so I skipped them altogether. I just sat on the couch, watched Lifetime, and whimpered. Meanwhile the laundry piled up, the kids were screaming, and the house looked like a cyclone hit it.

Slowly I have been able to start walking again, although my big toe still isn’t moving much. I am hopeful that when I get the stitches out next week, I will be able to flex and point with perfection. In the meantime, I am very paranoid that a child (or dog) is going to step on my foot and re-open the incision.

The jury is still out on whether or not this is a success. I have high hopes that I’ll be able to run again someday, although I will probably avoid any long distances. I have no desire to do this surgery again, so I plan to take extra care of my feet going forward.

My advice again, if you have an issue or pain–GET IT CHECKED OUT EARLY! It does not pay to wait and hope it goes away on it’s own.

After all, you could end up looking like this!

For those of you that are not injured right now, please get up and get moving! Have a great weekend!


  1. Stemulite says

    That’s a pretty nasty looking photo. Hope it doesn’t hurt too much.

    Back in the day, I was involved in a pretty gnarly car accident. It landed me on the operating table several times. Once, I was having a replacement screw put in my femur (yes, a replacement…the other had become loose) and I woke up during the surgery. I could feel them tugging me back and forth on the table as they attempted to adjust the rod. Like you said, surreal. I also started talking to the anesthesiologist.

    By the way, I never had much luck with pain killers either. They always made me feel terrible! I’m pretty sure some of that has to do with whether you take the drugs on a full / empty stomach and with / without liquids.

    Best of luck on your recovery!

  2. Robin says

    Eeek! I hope the surgery was a sucess. Foot surgery really sucks from what I’ve heard, but everyone that I know who has done it was very happy with the results.

    I had a similar anesthesia situation. I had gum surgery (I know, you’re thinking gum surgery, whatever.) This was about the worst type of gum surgery you can have and involved my entire mouth. Anyway, I kept waking up and the doctor was talking about his trip to Africa. I told them, “I’m awake!!” They said I was fine. At my follow up, I asked the assistant how the doctor’s trip was, and he said, “you remember us talking about that? you needed more drugs.” I said, “I KNOW!”

  3. workoutmommyworkoutmommy says

    stemulite: tugging and pulling? yikes! good point about the drugs, i was taking them with nothing in my stomach.

  4. workoutmommyworkoutmommy says

    robin-gum surgery sounds terrible! I did the same thing with saying I’m awake and they ignored me. I guess they don’t think we really are?

  5. Alice says

    Hmmmm…. You woke up DURING the surgery??? …. I don’t even know what to say to this. Scary.
    The picture does not look so bad. Just a very swollen foot, and the incision ain’t small. I have heard that this surgery takes a while to heal, so don’t despair. Make sure to keep positive (so easier said than done) there is no reason you will not run again.

    When I had my hand surgery last April, I woke up crying (which I do every time I go under) and had to throw up on the way home, we had to pull to the side of a pretty busy road… the shame… Also, I too stress out a lot before surgery. I use to refuse the taking a pill to ease that, cause you know… I am tough and all, right? Not anymore, yes, I will have the valium please because really, I don’t need to be climbing up the walls right before going into surgery.

    I am sending good hobit foot vibes to your tootsies. May you prance around soon, landing on both feet.

    Alices last blog post..

  6. Alyssa says

    You poor thing! The whole situation just sucks (pardon my language).
    Please take care of yourself! I’ll add my good, happy foot thoughts!

  7. Alyssa says

    BTW, anyone else here find that their kids’ (esp. boys) behaviors are rubbing off on them? As soon as I saw the warning about the “gross” picture (which is not bad at all), I immediately scrolled down to see it.

  8. Sagan says

    Aww ouchy! It’s a good thing you’re a mum so you know how to take care of yourself while you’re recovering:)

  9. says

    ouch! i understand the fear of someone or something reopening it. i had bone spurs removed from both of my baby toes a few years ago and the recovery was hard.

    enjoy the pampering and sounds like you are being smart…i know, there is no way i would want to repeat that surgery experience! agh.

    Normal to Natalies last blog post..Thursday Thirteen – 16th Edition

  10. says

    Ay-yi-yi! I do hope this heals quickly and that you’re taking it easy.

    p.s. Pain meds make me incredibly nauseous, too :(

    Momisodess last blog post..PH: Family

  11. says

    Love the new look! I am so sorry you had to go through all that! I too woke up in the OR during a cardiac catheterization!! No fun! Hang in there,girl! I have confidence you will run again!

  12. says

    Oh geez! So sorry!! take care of yourself.

    And don’t worry about the kids or the house. A couple of weeks of craziness isn’t going to kill’em. 😉