A Patient’s Journey to Recovery

October 20, 2016

In this blog a patient discusses her experience following two operations, a 1st MTP joint fusion for hallux rigidus affecting her right foot and a bunion correction for her left foot bunion deformity.

I think it is important for patients to bear in mind that there are two important components to a successful surgical outcome. Surgeon factors and patient factors. A surgeon has to make sure that they are operating on the right patient, at the right time, for the right condition with the right operation. Meticulous surgical technique with utmost respect for the soft tissues coupled with accurate and precise steps. This will ensure that the patient has a solid foundation on which to build on (the rehabilitation phase).

The patient then has to ensure that they help themselves by giving their foot the respect that it deserves. It sounds obvious I know, but all too often patients are under the misunderstanding that the operation is the be all and end of all of treatment. In fact it is only the beginning of their recovery. The rehabilitation phase demands a great deal of patience, but having been a patient myself I know it can be extremely frustrating and limiting. It is important to focus on the end goal, after all any operation is an investment in your future health. Once wounds have healed and bones have mended, then the real recovery begins with intensive physiotherapy. How long it takes to fully recovery depends on a lot of different factors which is why it is difficult to accurately predicate an individuals road to recovery. Factors that affect patients recovery and healing rates include:

  • Age
  • Patient health and fitness at the time of surgery
  • Co-morbidities
  • Whether they smoke
  • What medication they are on, such as use of steroids or immunosuppressants
  • History of diabetes
  • Presence of infection
  • Local blood supply
  • Previous operations/scars
  • Alcoholism
  • Obesity
  • Stress
  • Excessive mechanical load

I am grateful to Marian for providing details of her experience following her two operations. I hope that it will give insight and consideration to those contemplating surgery themselves.


“My feet have gradually hurt me over a number of years but at the time you just manage. I adapted the way I walked to alleviate the pain by walking on the outer edges of my feet. The knock on was that my knees, hips and back began to trouble me. The answer was to address the primary problem – my feet.

I organised an appointment with Mr. Malik. He diagnosed arthritis in my right foot which would need a fusion of the big toe and a bunion on my left foot which needed to be ‘straightened’. Thereafter I should be able to walk correctly. The appointment was reassuring and informative. I had complete confidence that he would be able to help me.

I chose to get my right foot treated first as this one was causing the most pain. The surgery was straight forward and after I was given detailed instructions of what I could and couldn’t do. It was wonderful, like a switch had turned off the pain instantly. It is important that while Mr Malik is doing his best for you that you too do your best to aide recovery. I followed the instructions exactly and my foot healed beautifully. I didn’t realise just how long the swelling would take to fully go so I held back from having the other foot operated on for a while.

Eventually the left foot got more painful so I returned to Mr Malik. He again worked his magic, with his impressive skill and care. The swelling has now completely gone and I can wear both shoes comfortably. It has taken a while for me to re-educate myself to walk properly but I can really feel the difference on the rest of my body. I am enjoying walking with our dog again and hope to get much fitter.

Thank you Mr Malik, I now have two fantastic feet.”

Marian Grove

 beach-walk

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