Stiffness, aching and limping

I was reading the posts over on Patient Info – Hallux Valgus group – and was reminded of part of my recovery which involved dealing with limping, aching, cramp and general stiffness.

When I went back to work after 8 weeks my foot was still liable to swelling and I was walking with a limp because my big toe was very stiff and didn’t bend and push very well. This was partly due to stiffness and partly due to loss of muscle tone from sitting and lying around waiting for the bone to heal. If you don’t use it, you lose it. I did go for short walks around my local park (which fortunately for me was only down the road) to get myself moving again, but they were only short and slow walks. I basically did as much as I could stand as it was painful.

So, going back to work was a challenge as it meant getting to the train station, where I commuted by tube train into central London, then walking to work. My muscles did build back up over time as I got used to walking. I also developed quite a sore ankle and I experienced occasional cramp in my calf. I think this was due to walking in a slightly odd way as my big toe just wasn’t flexible enough to bend and push. It became more flexible as the weeks went by and I was not left with any problems once I got back into walking again. In fact, I did take up running for a while on my treadmill and had no problems.

Seven years after my surgery my right big toe is still stiffer than my left one (which is bunion free) and I think this is a permanent effect of having surgery. It’s also shorter than it was. But I would stress that this is not a problem and I can physically do whatever I want to do. I guess if I was a dancer or something like that then it might be an issue but I’m not. I enjoy walking and gardening and could do running if I wanted to take it up again.

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