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Flat Feet

How did you feel straight after

surgery?

To be honest, immediately after surgery

my first feeling was one of immense relief.

I had been brave enough to finally go

ahead with surgery and I wasn’t in any

significant amount of pain. I spent three

nights in hospital after the first operation

because I wanted to be sure that I could

manage with crutches before going home.

I was more confident after the second

operation and spent two nights in hospital.

The first two weeks after surgery

I wore a plaster cast for the first two

weeks.You are instructed to stay off your

foot completely and keep it elevated as

much as possible. I took a full three weeks

off work and my boyfriend fussed about

looking after me. It is so important in

those early days to have help at home.

Carrying things while you are using

crutches is very difficult, so just getting

food and drinks for yourself is a challenge.

The first two months after surgery

I had to avoid weight-bearing on my

foot for a full six weeks after surgery. I

started work again after three weeks,

but was working from home. Fortunately,

my employer was really supportive and

flexible. Physiotherapy started pretty

quickly, two weeks after surgery. You

start with exercises to move your toes

around. It’s amazing really that at such an

early stage, your feet are already healing

and you are able to move a little. At first,

I went to physiotherapy once a week

for four weeks, then every other week

after that.The physiotherapists at the

London Bridge Hospital Sports Clinic

were great and it was so important to

have physiotherapy in the same place as

the London Foot and Ankle Centre. It

was very reassuring – you have a long

recovery and if I had any worries about

how well I was getting on, they would

explain exactly what was happening and

what to expect.

Three months to six months

after surgery

By the three-month stage, I was able to

walk around in a pair of trainers for a

short time and started travelling on the

tube again. I was starting to feel like my

old self and it was tempting to overdo it,

but my foot would swell if I spent too

long on my feet.You have to be guided

by how you feel – if your feet become

painful and swollen, it’s time to rest.You

feel like you are starting to get your life

back, but don’t do too much too soon.

Six months and beyond

It was back to business as usual by the

six-month stage. It took slightly longer

to fully recover from my first operation

than from my second, as there was slightly

more swelling in my right foot than left.

But for both feet, by six months, I was

getting back to normal activities, including

lots of walking and light running. However,

with this type of foot surgery, it takes up

to a year before you can say that you are

fully recovered.

There is now a massive visual difference

with my feet. I didn’t have surgery for

cosmetic purposes and it shouldn’t be

undertaken for cosmetic purposes. But I

can now fit into normal shoes without any

pain or discomfort. I can walk around for a

long time without getting pain in my back

or headaches.That is a real achievement

after being in pain for so long and is

life-changing. Simple things like just being

able to rise up on your toes seem almost

impossible six to eight weeks after surgery,

so by six months, being able to rise up

on your toes and jump feels like a major

milestone.

What would your advice be to

anyone considering this type of

surgery?

First of all, I would say that anyone

considering this type of surgery needs to

think very carefully about their reasons for

having it.This surgery is a big commitment

and a major undertaking, both physically

and psychologically. Even though I had

already had one operation, by day three

after surgery on my second foot, I was

feeling really grumpy and frustrated. It’s

a natural psychological state, when you

consider the long recovery that lies ahead.

My second piece of advice is to follow

the instructions from your surgeon and

physiotherapist to the letter. I wanted

the best possible long-term recovery

and so I didn’t cut any corners and start

leaping around too soon. My final advice

would be to check your surgeon is a very

experienced foot and ankle specialist. I did

my own research and could be confident

that, with Mr Klinke, I was in very capable

hands and stood the best chance of a

complete recovery.

FIFTEEN

Flat Feet – Case Study