Foot Surgery Update: 1 Year Later

Today, February 4th, marks one whole year since I had foot surgery!

Just as a recap, I had surgery to fix a problem with my posterior tibial tendon… basically my feet have really flat arches and there was a lot of inflammation in my left foot around the tendon that connects from the foot arch to the calf muscle. I had been in a boot for the latter half of 2019, and nothing seemed to be helping my foot get better. Hence, foot surgery! (For a lengthier description of the surgery, you can read my post from May 2020).

June 2019 – my coworker and I matched!

At the time of surgery, I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to go running again, and I hoped that I would at least be able to walk normally again in the near future. For a long time it seemed like it neither of those things would ever happen – but they did!

I wanted to give an update as a way to encourage those who might find themselves in similar “is-there-a-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel” situations – the short version is I’m about 95% back to normal! (Hooray!)

Things I can do today:

  • wear a pair of matching shoes (aka. no boot!)
  • walk long distances without assistance
  • climb stairs
  • jog, run, and sprint (that last one only for short distances)
  • balance on one foot (left and right)

Continued limitations I have:

  • must wear very supportive shoes (no cute flats, flip-flops or high heels!)
  • need to wear orthotic inserts inside my already expensive supportive shoes
  • some pain/tightness occasionally with my left foot and calf
  • need to monitor and be better aware of my body – if something hurts, I need to honor it, not push through the pain – maybe this isn’t a limitation, just good common sense!

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July 26th – 4 Years

Here it is – July 26th. Today marks 4 years since I experienced a major case of postpartum depression and was admitted to the hospital for a week.

I reread my post from last year’s anniversary in 2019 – I really struggled with that one, a lot of feelings of grief came up for me. I guess you never really know how your body is going to heal and process trauma. One thing I do know, it takes TIME.

I’ve been excited (sort of?) for this year however because I’ve felt really positive when I’ve thought about this day arriving. I feel like maybe I’ve turned a corner – I feel like I can really embrace this part of my story and understand how it’s made me a better and stronger person. Maybe next year will be different, but I’m thankful to feel grateful and positive this year.

While I would certainly have never wished this experience on myself or anyone else, I’ve been reflecting on ways which I think it has changed me. Not just changed, but empowered.

#1. It’s made me a passionate advocate.
After going through this experience, I knew that I wanted to publicly share what had happened to me. About 3 months after my postpartum depression episode, I published my first blog post about this experience. I remember just hoping it might make a difference, that it might help at least one person not feel so alone. I’ve since been given other opportunities in different avenues to share my struggle with depression, specifically dealing with postpartum stuff, and it has been very healing (albeit difficult) for me. I try to make it a point to be very open with others in conversation about struggling with depression and anxiety and going to counseling – I want to remove the stigma of mental health any way I can.

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Recovering From Foot Surgery: What it was Really Like

Exactly one year ago, my husband and I had just gotten back from taking an 11-day trip to Japan for our 10th anniversary. That was where my foot problems had started – about halfway through the trip my left foot began hurting so much that it began to be difficult to walk very much. After months and months of wearing foot braces and walking boots, it was finally determined that I would need surgery.

I had surgery on February 4th of this year – it’s been a little more than 15 weeks now. I would say I am about 85% recovered. There’s still a long way to go on building up my leg and foot muscles since they were out of use for so long, and I still don’t have quite the same range of motion that my other foot has, but I expect that over time it will continue to improve.

I had never had any sort of surgery before, so I really didn’t know what to expect. For those who may be in similar situations, or are just genuinely interested, I thought I would write a bit about what the whole experience has been like. Each person is different and heals at different speeds, but the following is what it has looked like for me.

***I won’t include any pictures until the end – there are some who may not want to see them – THIS IS YOUR WARNING, there are post-surgery foot pictures at the end of this post***

Feb 4 – Day of surgery – I was most nervous about being put under anesthesia since I had never experienced that before. It was an outpatient procedure, I went in early that morning and was supposed to be home by the early afternoon. For those who are wondering, this surgery was to address my posterior tibial tendon, which is a tendon that supports the arch of the foot and connects to the calf muscle. (I have flat arches and the arch was “collapsing” so that my foot was not supporting me correctly.) The technical name of the surgery was super long, and the only thing I remember about it was the word “osteotomy,” which involves cutting into the bone and for my situation, placing metal grafts in two places in my foot. I ended up coming out with four incisions, three on my foot and one higher up on my calf (they had to do a calf muscle lengthening procedure).

I remember them wheeling me back to the operating room and seeing those big lights above me. I expected them to ask me to count backwards from 10, but as soon as they put the mask over my nose and mouth, I remember nothing else except waking up in the recovery area. The surgery took between 2-3 hours, and I woke up with a huge splint and wrapping on my foot. I wasn’t in a ton of pain because the doctor had injected a pain blocker into my foot which would slowly wear off over the next couple of days. It was weird not being able to feel my foot or toes, but so far it wasn’t too terrible.

Upon getting home and “walking” into the house (I was using a knee scooter) I suddenly felt extremely nauseous and threw up. I thought it was due to the anesthesia, but I would later find out it was a reaction to the pain pills they prescribed me.

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