Lapiplasty and the road to recovery

As I mentioned in the last post, our wings have been clipped in more ways than one. The COVID-19 pandemic took us and our rig off the road literally. And since we were going to be home indefinitely it seemed like a good time to address a long-standing problem I’ve been having with my feet. Let’s go back…

After nearly 30 years of leading management workshops while wearing (beautiful) high heeled shoes and then running over a dozen half-marathons (not to mention high arches, thanks Mom!) my feet were trashed. I was hiking fewer and fewer miles before the pain hit and running has been out of the question for awhile. Since retiring four years ago I’ve sought relief from numerous doctors, received shots in four different places in my feet, tried massage, physical therapy, chiropractic, and acupuncture treatments. Nothing seemed to provide relief.

Earlier this year I found Dr. Jeff McAlister at the Phoenix Foot and Ankle Institute. After multiple diagnostics he determined that a bunion was creating the pain in the balls of my feet. However, rather than treating the issue with a traditional bunionectomy where they shave off part of the big toe joint, he recommended a Lapiplasty 3D bunion correction. This procedure realigns the toes at the base and thus straightens and stabilizes the entire joint. Of course it’s more technical than that, but you get the idea. This picture isn’t my x-ray, but you can see the hardware I now have.

Having elective surgery in the age of COVID-19 created a few challenges. First, the surgery was delayed for about a month until the Governor lifted restrictions. Then I could not have the procedure without a negative COVID test two days prior to the surgery. Luckily the hospital mobilized quickly to make sure the tests were available and processed in a timely manner. P.S. the nasal swab is NOT fun.

On the day of the surgery we went to the outpatient facility and got right in. In fact there were only a few other patients that day and it felt like I had the place to myself, along with plenty of nurses , technicians, and doctors. I was in and out of surgery in about an hour and home before 4:00 with a wonderful thing called a nerve block. I couldn’t feel the lower half of my leg for 24 hours and I was tricked into thinking this was going to be easy!

Now that the nerve block has worn off and the post surgical pain has set in I’m managing with ice, elevation, and pain medication. My hope is that the pain begins to subside in the next few days. However, so far it’s not been easy or fun. Poodles, neighbors, and a wonderful nurse named Steve are getting me through. I’ll go back to see Dr. McAlister in one week to hopefully have stitches removed and to receive a walking boot. Until then I’m non-weight bearing and learning to get around on my cute pink scooter.

Thanks for reading and I’ll post an update when something noteworthy transpires. In the meantime you can find me either in bed or on the couch, but wishing we were on the road again!

12 thoughts on “Lapiplasty and the road to recovery

  1. So 2 years later and I’m curious how it’s going for you. My husband had it done 10 days ago and today he goes for a hard boot at his post-op visit. He wasn’t in bad pain at all. Only took about 8 of the hydrocodone they gave him. Boredom was the worst part for him.

    • Thanks for the question. Wow, I can’t believe it’s been two years! Well, I’m back to running, cycling, and hiking. I still have discomfort if I push too hard and I think part of that is scar tissue from the second surgery I had to remove neuromas (not lapiplasty-related). If I’m on my feet a lot they still burn, which was my original problem. So, while I’m glad I had the surgery, as it was really a last resort, I still struggle with discomfort. I think that may just be the way it’s going to be. Wishing you and your husband speedy recovery.

    • Hi Ceyla, oh yes it hurts. As bad as anything I’ve experienced. Remember, you’ve had a big surgery with a lot of trauma. It will take considerable time to heal. The good news is that it does get better pretty fast. The first two or then days were the worst for me. Take the meds as prescribed. Keep ice behind your knee and just settle in with some movies, a good book, or whatever soothes you. You will get through this!

  2. I’m scheduled to have Lapiplasty next month, now I’m experiencing cold feet (HAHA) I don’t personally know anyone who has had it done, but I did have a patient that used my same doctor tell me she would NEVER do it again. 6 months post op and she still has issues. I’d love to know how your recovery has gone, or did go. Are you back up to full speed yet?
    Thanks!

    • I wasn’t in great shape at six months but within a year I was running 10Ks on the trail. I had a second surgery 5 months after lapiplasty- Removed neuromas and ligament repair in my 2nd and 3rd toes. So, I wasn’t even really cleared for good rehab until 7 or 8 months after the first surgery. Once cleared I did extensive PT, massage, and eventually worked with a trainer to get my strength back. I’m running most days now-not the half marathons I did before but I’m back out there. Some days I use a little ice if I feel swollen but all in all, I’m better and glad I did both surgeries. Oh, I had gained some weight when my problems started and through recovery. Losing 25 lbs has really made a difference too.

  3. Marnie, did you have any pain, numbness, tingly feeling on top of your foot near the metal? I have no feeling on that scar area. Also my toes go out sometimes. Would love to know.,

    • Hi Sarah,
      I still have some pain and tingling where the hardware is and that’s eight month later. Mostly I feel it when I walk fast or try to run. However it’s not as prevalent as it was. I’m getting more feeling around the scar. It sure takes awhile. Best of luck!

  4. Pingback: Nine Days Post Op | Marnie and Steve Travel

  5. Poor Marnie. I feel for you. When your feet hurt, everything hurts. Dad always told me that I inherited my bunions from his mother. Maybe it’s an inherited trait, but we could do without that one! Feel better soon.
    Love
    Marla and Cory

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