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Date of last update: 8/19/2017.

Forum Name: Surgery Topics

Question: post-big toe tendon reattachment surgery--ruptured again?

 fleabait - Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:56 am

hi, i cut my extensor hallicus tendon by dropping a food processor blade 2 months ago. i had surgery about 2 weeks later and they said it went very well (the tendon had been completely and cleanly severed) and i was in a cast and on crutches until dec 22, then had a posterior splint for another 2 weeks, still no weight bearing.
anyway, a couple of days ago i walked for the first time without crutches but in a 'walking shoe' on my left foot to protect the toe. it felt fine but i think i may have overdone it this weekend walking around (always in the walking shoe) and my foot is really hurting--sharp, shooting pains in the area of the incision. i'm just really worried that the tendon may have been ruptured again and am wondering if there is a way to tell? the toe hasn't wilted again i don't think, and it can't move but it couldn't really move before this weekend anyway, since it's so weak.
i have been going to a teaching hospital full of overworked doctors (wait 2 1/2 hrs each time for a 15 mn appointment, mostly with a student) and they didn't suggest any exercises or ways to take care of my foot, just said i could switch to shoes when i want and come back in a month.
is there anything i should watch out for to make sure my foot is healing properly (have been trying to get back to full range of motion, and am massaging scar tissue), like maybe not walking too much, or using the crutches for another couple days? how can i tell if the tendon has ruptured again?
thank you!!
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sat Mar 14, 2009 8:03 pm

User avatar HI there --

The tendon probably hasn't ruptured (you'd see some swelling and experience pain on manual flexion of the toe at least, if not redness as well). It may well be irritated, though, due to a little overwork. It's not so much that exercise isn't good for it, but since it's been immobilized and weakened by this, the muscles, tendons, etc., are likely to be more prone to strain and soreness. Some concentration on trying to move the toe might help you tell if there is any sort of damage (it would be unusual) to the repair, because with focus you should be able to at least feel the pull, if not actualy move it at this point. Of course physical therapy (PT) would be helpful, but if you're constrained to be seen at a busy teaching hospital you may not get that far. I'd definitely be aggressive in pursuing PT, however, as the longer the foot in general is underused, the more difficult it is to get things working again. A PT specialist will also be able to tell if there's anything not quite right going on. It's a help, for sure.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck to you. Please follow up with us here as needed.
 fleabait - Sat Mar 14, 2009 8:10 pm

Thank you, I appreciate the response. It is much better now, though still definitely healing. I am getting a referral to a podiatrist next week thankfully!

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