Friday, June 22, 2007

Feet feats

You know, my feet were always something I took for granted. No athlete's foot, no other problems. I kept them clean and dry and tried to avoid blisters, and they in turn rewarded me by functioning properly.

Then in late 2000, I went to see a podiatrist about a mysterious pain in the side of my left foot, just below the ankle, that had been bothering me for weeks. Nothing especially painful, just a twinge that didn't seem to go away.

The doctor x-rayed both feet and informed me that I had a bunion on my right big toe that needed surgery.
(A bunion is a form of arthritis, where the two sides of the joint of the "knuckle" of the big toe rub together and form a bone spur. Over time, it becomes painful and actually damages the cartilage in the joint. Left untreated, it can become crippling.)

Wait a minute, I went in for a pain in my left foot! I had no idea anything was wrong with my right foot. (The joint was a bit enlarged but there was no pain.) The doctor never did diagnose that mysterious pain (which is easily masked with Alleve), but we scheduled the bunionectomy (click here for all the gory details, including photos of a surgery) on my right foot for a couple of months down the road (when my schedule permitted me to be off my feet for a few weeks). He also told me I'd need the same surgery on my left foot eventually, but it could wait. The surgery was scheduled just in time, as it turned out. Two weeks before the date of the surgery, I started feeling some twinges in the toe. A week later, it was up to outright pain. I could barely limp around the last few days.

So I had the surgery in early 2001, and it was successful. Then two years later I had the procedure done on my left foot. Six years after the first surgery (March 2007), I had to have a second bunionectomy on the right foot. (They can return.)

Everything went well and I was walking around in weeks with two screws in my foot to help the bone heal. But one day, two months after the surgery, I had a flat tire. There was no one else around but me, so I had to change it. Normally, not a big deal. I change tires all the time. But changing a tire involves a lot of crouching and lifting of heavy tires. Two things not recommended for postoperative feet that are still healing.

The next day, I found that my foot was swollen. I gave it a few days to recover, but after a week, it was still swollen, so I scheduled an appointment with my orthopod, who did x-rays and found that I had ripped one of the screws out of the bone. That meant I might need more surgery to remove the screw and replace it with another one. We decided to wait a month first, to see whether the bone would heal by itself.

Alas, that wasn't to be. I just found out last Thursday that I will, indeed, need more surgery. It's tentatively scheduled for this coming Friday.



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