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Removing stitches after lisfranc hardware removal surgery

 
 
 
The morning after we arrived in Cabo, the swelling had gone down in my foot and my husband was ready to try and remove my stitches.
 
I could not wait!!
 
 
3 weeks post op after lisfranc hardware removal surgery

I thought I could do it on my own, but my hands were shaking too hard, so my husband took over.  The top of my foot was very sensitive, so he had to be very gentle.

 
Removing stitches after lisfranc hardware removal surgery

My husband took his time and made sure each thread of my 8 stitches was accounted for.

 
Removing stitches after lisfranc hardware removal surgery

After we were sure everything was done correctly, he adhered steri-strips to my incision to help hold it together.

3 weeks post op from lisfranc hardware removal surgery

I was now ready to do the “homework” my surgeon gave me.  He asked me to walk several times a day in the resort pools in order to begin to regain the proper movements for walking once again.

 
Relaxing by the pool after lisfranc hardware removal surgery

I was surprised to find that I had to once again, re-learn how to walk by repeating the mantra “heel, toe, follow through.”

 
 I was not able to swim at all, and was actually content walking around the pool smiling to myself because I was walking again without pain!!!!!!
 
My homework assignment after lisfranc hardware removal surgery

As you can see, the pool was large enough to really get in a lot of walking!  Once I was able to walk without concentrating, I pushed my husband on a float around the pool while he read a book. Other guests asked me if they could hire me to do the same thing for them!

 
Recovering from lisfranc hardware removal surgery

I decided that recovering from lisfranc hardware removal surgery is best done in Cabo at the Esperanza resort!!!

 

Lisfranc hardware removal 2 weeks post op

2 weeks after my lisfranc hardware removal surgery I couldn’t wait to have my stitches removed.  The pain from this surgery mostly stemmed from the incision site and each step I took made me feel like my skin was ripping.  Because my incision looked red and was hot to the touch, I was concerned that it may be infected.

2 weeks post lisfranc hardware removal surgery

When I arrived at my 2 week post op appointment, my surgeon assured me I did not have an infection and that my incision looked “normal” with the amount of weight bearing I had been doing.

2 1/2 weeks post lisfranc hardware removal surgery

At this appointment my surgeon also decided not to remove my stitches after all.  My husband and I were leaving for a trip to Los Cabos a few days later and because feet often swell on long plane rides, my surgeon was not comfortable removing my stitches.  He didn’t want my incision to break open and then have me find someone in Mexico to stitch it up again!!!  (No one was going to touch “his” foot.)

He asked me to remove the stitches after waiting 24 hours for my foot to recover from plane swelling.  He sent me to Cabo with a suture removal kit and showed me how to remove my own stitches when the time came.

Suture removal kit

 Notice how the scissors has a pointed edge to help pull up the stitch for easier cutting..

On the plane, I brought along an ice substitute and iced my foot each leg of the trip.  We had to switch planes in Arizona and the airlines had a wheelchair waiting to transfer me to my new gate.  I honestly thought I was past all of the handicap stuff, so I was a little embarrassed as my wheel chair pusher wisked me through the Phoenix airport at lightening speed, with my husband trying to keep u

lisfranc hardware removal surgical boot
Lisfranc surgical boot Esperanza Resort Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

We arrived at our favorite resort in Cabo San Lucas, the Esperanza Resort.  My “cute” surgical boot and I made it at last!!

 

A few days after Thanksgiving, the hardware my surgeon removed from my foot arrived in the mail!!!
Hardware used to heal my lisfranc fracture

 

 

My surgeon knows I have been writing a lisfranc blog and was more than happy to let me keep the hardware he used to help my body heal from a lisfranc fracture.

lisfranc fracture plate


lisfranc fracture screws

What amazed me was to see the screws varied in color,  physical size and thread size.  Check out the teeth at the end of the screws!!!  YIKES!  Maybe it was for the best that my anesthesiologist would not let me watch either surgery!

 
 
lisfranc fracture screws

Psychologically it has been very rewarding to think I no longer have plates and screws in my foot.  My surgeon has assured me that in the next 6 weeks, the holes in my bones left by the screws will fill in.

33 weeks after lisfranc surgery

 
I cannot believe it was 33 weeks ago today that I had my lisfranc surgery!  I apologize for not keeping up with my blog these past few weeks.  
 
I had my lisfranc hardware removal surgery on Nov 20th (5 1/2 weeks ago) followed by entertaining for both Thanksgiving and Christmas plus my husband and I took a  “lisfranc hardware removal recovery trip to Cabo.  So things have been hectic.
 
I will try and pick up where I left off from my last blog.  
 
One week after my lisfranc hardware removal surgery was Thanksgiving and we were having 14 people over for Thanksgiving dinner.  I was told I could not lift a finger and had to stay off my foot as much as possible icing and elevating, so my husband and I had to get creative.  (As you can see, at Thanksgiving, my foot was really swollen, black and blue and extremely painful)

1 week after lisfranc hardware removal surgery

My husband hired a chief to prepare the food so the only thing my husband  had to do was warm up all the food.    Our guests were mostly family members and all understood that I had to play the princess once again.

1 week after lisfranc hardware removal surgery

2 days after lisfranc hardware removal surgery

 
 

 

 

 2 days after my lisfranc hardware removal surgery I was told to remove the dressing and ace bandage.  I wasn’t sure what my foot would look like, and I was surprised it wasn’t more swollen.

 
 
2 days after lisfranc hardware removal surgery

You can still see where my surgeon placed his initials and where I signed “yes!” indicating my right foot was the correct foot to be operating on.  My surgeon used the exact same incision for removing the hardware as he did for my original lisfranc surgery repair.

 
 
lisfranc hardware removal incision
 
 
 

After a shower I had to let my incision air dry and I needed to elevate and ice, something I know how to do!  My nurse told me the ice doesn’t have to be over the incision, and that icing the ankle will help just as much.  That knowledge came in handy since the incision area is very tender!

I have been keeping the incision covered with a large band-aid which protects the area from germs.  I remove the bandage daily to make sure the area around my stitches is not turning red with infection.

Lisfranc hardware removal surgical site

I have been meticulous about staying off my foot as much as possible and have been icing and elevating most of the time.  This has been hard, psychologically, for me because it seems like I have gone backwards in my lisfranc journey.  But I know, that in a little more than a week, my surgeon will remove my stitches and I will be able to resume walking again, and this time, I hope it will be pain free !

27 weeks post lisfranc surgery with more surgery tomorrow

After recovering from lisfranc surgery for 27 weeks, my husband and I took a quick trip to Florida before I head back into surgery tomorrow.
I was not able to walk barefoot on the beach, and sandals were still uncomfortable, but that didn’t stop me from being able to enjoy the feeling of sand on my toes!
27 weeks after lisfranc surgery

I decided to be really adventuresome and try walking through Sea World.  We took it slow, and I was able to manage walking around the entire park and enjoy several of the shows!

After visiting Sea World, I even managed to walk through the airport to catch our plane. When we got home last night, all it took to be pain free was a little ice, elevation and tylenol!!

Tomorrow I am having the hardware removed from my foot.  I am not at all nervous about the surgery itself, but am apprehensive about the recovery.  I have been assured by both my surgeon and his nurses that recovery will be much easier this time, but I still wonder how long it will take to recover to the exact point I am now.  I have worked hard to regain almost normal walking and I dread going backward.

I know, though, for a positive long term outcome, hardware removal is necessary

Today marks another milestone in my lisfranc recovery journey!  While shopping at the grocery store, perusing isle after isle of items, I suddenly became aware that I hadn’t thought about my foot since I walked into the store!  The realization hit me after walking halfway through the entire store without one ounce of pain or stiffness.

 

26 weeks post lisfranc surgery scar

 I couldn’t stop smiling at feeling so “normal” and greeted everyone I saw with a huge grin.  I did resist the urge to tell complete strangers to notice that I was just a normal walking shopper, once again.

 

  After checking out, another shopper bumped into me and I didn’t fall apart in a panic worrying she would step on my recovering foot.  In fact, my first reflex was no longer to pick up my right foot and hide it behind my left for protection.  Instead I managed to smile and say, “hello.”  WOW!!!!!

 

I am now able to walk about 3/4 the speed of other people and I can keep that gait without a limp!

26 weeks post lisfranc surgery wardrobe

 

I still am much more comfortable in sneakers and decided to buy matching jackets.  I girl needs choices of what to wear in  the cold Minnesota fall weather!!!

 Today I officially “graduated” from physical therapy!!!  Plus, my therapist said it was time to retire my cane permanently!!!! I am absolutely ready to start my “real life” and slowly begin my “normal” activities once again.

 
 
Good – Bye cane!  (24 weeks post lisfranc surgery)

My PT measured my range of motion and compared it to my non injured foot and announced that I now have my full range of motion once again.  When he measured my foot strength, I almost pushed him off his chair!!  He actually laughed and said my foot is now full strength.  No more atrophy!!!

 
24 weeks after lisfranc surgery image

 
My actual recovery test score came in at a disappointing 70% but that is because I cannot run, jog or walk very far yet.  That will take more time. But I can walk slowly, and I am absolutely thrilled with my progress!
 
 
24 weeks after lisfranc surgery picture
right side view
 
My instructions moving forward are pretty simple.  “Listen to my foot.”   I can resume going to the club and use the stationery bike, the elliptical machine and also the leg press, (In addition to my treadmill at home.) He also said to go ahead and do the balancing exercises and stretches to keep my range of motion and flexibility.
 
24 weeks post lisfranc surgery
left side view
 
 
 
When it came time to actually say “good-bye” it was much harder than I ever imagined.  How do you say “good-bye” to the man who taught you to walk again?  There are not the right words to express the depth of my gratitude for what he helped me accomplish.  He gave me my life back! So, after a huge hug and a few tears (on my part), I rushed to my car consoling myself with the fact that today is most likely his last day before he goes out on paternity leave.  His wife is due to have their baby boy any minute, so I wouldn’t have had him for another PT session anyway.
 
24 weeks post lisfranc surgery scar

The next milestone for me will be my 24 week post surgical follow up which is next Tuesday.  Hopefully that will result in good news as well!!!!!

 
 

After 23 weeks of healing after my lisfranc surgery, I am finally able to wear “real shoes.”

OK, so their not “cute shoes,” but they are not ugly!!!

 

23 weeks after lisfranc surgery and finally wearing real shoes

 


For weeks I  have been searching for comfortable flats that wouldn’t put pressure along my incision or press on the big toe area that is still numb.  In other words, I was looking for a shoe that fit like a sneaker, but looked like a real shoe.


I was just about to give up when I found out that I would need to attend a funeral of a dear friend.  I just couldn’t imagine wearing either pair of my neon sneakers to such a somber and formal affair.  So off to Nordstroms I went.  The salesman I had was fantastic and after explaining my situation, brought out these shoes:



Comfortable shoes after lisfranc surgery

 

 

 These shoes have a zipper on both sides for an easy, painless entry.  The leather is soft and flexible, virtually putting little to no pressure on the top of my foot when I take a step.

 

Double zippers make these shoes comfortable after lisfranc surgery

 

 The inside of the shoe has a nice arch support with removable soles in case my surgeon decides I will need to have orthotics.


When I wore my new shoes to church today, I was bubbling over with happiness.  I had to resist the urge to tell everyone, including  complete strangers, that I was wearing real shoes for the first time since March 9th, 2013!!! 


Instead I settled with smiling widely as I proudly walked down the isle to my seat. I felt my heart racing and it was hard to contain my elation at this momentous occasion. 


My friends, who asked me how my foot was doing,  were met with me excitedly pointing at my feet and announcing that I was wearing my first pair of real shoes. I received more than my share of hugs today!!!!!

A comfortable shoe brand to wear after lisfranc surgery

 

In case you want to check out my shoes, the brand name is Munro. They are not cheap, but not nearly as expensive as Manalo Blahik’s.

Before I ever heard of a lisfranc fracture I took my feet and my ability to walk for granted.
Normal feet before a lisfranc injury

I was diagnosed with a lisfranc fracture of my first two metatarsals  with ligature rupture and joint displacement and on May 10th, 2013, I had this titanium plate inserted into my foot.

 
 
 

Lisfranc fracture repair X-Ray
 
 
 
Lisfranc fracture repair X-Ray 

2 weeks after surgery, I had my cast removed.

 
 
2 weeks after lisfranc fracture surgery
Today, 22 weeks after my lisfranc surgery, my foot is almost healed!  I am approximately 75% – 80% of the way to the finish line!
 
During my 27th physical therapy appointment, my therapist was astounded at my progress just in this past week.  I was able to get through my exercises with little to no pain, even when he decided to make them harder and more challenging.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
22 weeks post lisfranc surgery
 
In the midst of my weekly foot massage and manipulation, I was mortified that my therapist noticed I was beginning to get callous’ on my recovering foot. ( I had made sure I received a pedicure before my appointment, so that my feet would look acceptable. ) He laughed when he saw how horrified I was and quickly explained that callous’ were a good thing and showed him I was healing. Callous’ mean that I am walking more and that my skin is starting to toughen up just as it is supposed to.
 
I shared a story with my therapist about how I woke up during the night, thinking I had a spider crawling on my big toe, which is still partially numb.  After snapping on the light and assuring myself I was not in bed with a spider, I realized what I felt was the sheet on my big toe!  Finally, after 22 weeks, I can feel a sheet sliding on the top of my foot!!!!!!  
 
 
 
lisfranc surgery image 22 weeks post op, right hand side
 
During my appointment my therapist worked with me on activities I can start to do at the health club ON MY OWN!!!  
 
At home, I can now be on my treadmill for 10 minutes a day.  (Forward, backward and sideway walking.)  I have permission to increase the amount of time slightly each week, because I promised to listen to any type of foot discomfort.
 
 

lisfranc surgery image week 22 left side view
It helps that my therapist is encouraging, patient, kind and is also my biggest cheerleader.  I am absolutely thrilled with my ability to walk forwards, backwards, sideways and with my strength to balance on my toes.  
 

 
But there is sadness to this process too.  I will soon be saying “good-bye” to the man who gave me back my ability to walk again.  Countless times he calmed my fears and patiently explained to me, in detail, what was going on during my recovery. Picking the right lisfranc surgeon is crucial, but having the right physical therapist is indispensable! 
 
 
22 weeks post lisfranc surgery image

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