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Mrs E H J P's Story

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    For several years I have had arthritis in my right big toe joint, (Hallux Rigidus). Due to the pain in this joint I tend to walk slightly over to the outside of my foot, this has put strain on the small bones (metatarsals) in my foot and last year I presented with two stress fractures in the third and fourth metatarsals. This was very painful and I was referred to Mr Zubairy at the Lancashire Foot Clinic. The fractures eventually healed but the painful big toe joint remained. Following X-Ray and a further consultation with Mr Zubairy, in which he explained my condition and how it could be treated. I was given the option of having the joint permanently fused or a ‘cheilectomy’, which is an operation to remove the boney spurs from the arthritic joint and thereby reduce the pain and free up the joint. I decided to go with the second option, the cheilectomy. Mr Zubairy explained that he was in the process of introducing key-hole surgery and was hoping it would be in place by the time I was due for surgery.
    Following my arrival at Gisburne Park Hospital I was taken to my room by a staff nurse who explained the admission procedure to me and settled me in. Once all the usual admission procedures had been completed I was visited by the anaesthetist, and then by Mr Zubairy. I was delighted when he told me that he would be able to perform the operation using key-hole surgery. He explained the procedure to me and said he would give me a nerve block to ensure I had minimal pain following surgery. I went down to the operating theatre in the afternoon and, following a general anaesthetic, woke up in the recovery room. I had no pain and was soon transferred back to my room and returned to bed with my foot elevated. After eating a light tea and recovering from the effects of the anaesthetic. I was once more seen by Mr Zubairy and I was allowed to go home later that evening. I was given a special shoe to wear to protect my foot (not very glamorous, but certainly effective), general advice on post-op care, and a load of pain killers (which incidently I didn’t need due to the effectiveness of the nerve block)
    I was very surprised when I got home at how little discomfort I had. There was virtually no pain and indeed the worst part was the dressing which felt most uncomfortable at times, I couldn’t wait to have it removed and when the time came, 9 days after surgery, I was amazed at the size of the incision, it was so tiny and almost completely healed. I did find it helpful for the first few nights to use a pillow to elevate my foot when in bed.
    For the next few weeks I wore some MBT sandals, which I had purchased when I had fractured my foot initially. These shoes are very expensive but, to me, they were worth every penny as they were the only shoes I was comfortable in. I gradually tried some of my other ‘sensible’ shoes and increased my walking to about 3 - 5 miles most days. Today, 8 weeks after surgery, I have worn a pair of shoes with a small heel and it felt wonderful. I am amazed at how quickly I have recovered from the surgery and am looking forward to returning to doing all the things I love, such as dancing and taking long walks in the countryside. I find that, although I am not completely pain free, I can now walk much further, and with much more ease than I did before the operation and as it is still early days I am hoping that, given time, things will improve even more.
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