Morton's Neuroma Surgery Recovery: Ten Weeks Post-Op

Today marks ten weeks since my neuroma surgery on both feet. This is what my feet look like.

The left incision looks darker because the surgeon cut right on top of the black marker line that had been drawn on my foot. So it is taking longer for the ink to go away. He did not cut precisely on top of the marker on my right foot and it is now looking like a light, thin line.
You can barely see the little spot on my right foot where I had the internal stitch complication two weeks ago (from overdoing it). I gave my foot extra rest for a week and took an antibiotic as a precaution (because the stitch opened in that spot and there was a small amount of drainage). But it has healed up well and now feels no different from my left.

Based on how well I did early on in my recovery, my expectation was that at ten weeks my feet would be almost normal. They really aren't. But I think I had unrealistic expectations. And my surgeon minimized the recovery a little bit (in my opinion). I'm not in pain and I am walking fine. Obviously, my feet felt good enough that I unintentionally overdid it. The incisions are looking better all the time. I'm not unhappy with my progress. But I'm a little surprised at how easily my feet still swell and get sore. The swelling is felt more than seen. Even when my feet don't look swollen, I feel the sensation inside my feet that I have come to recognize as swelling.

For instance, yesterday I cleaned. I did a little more than I have previously done in one day, including vacuuming the whole house. And I also cooked dinner. After dinner, I could feel the internal swelling and a minor stinging sensation (internally) around the area of my incisions. I knew I had to get off my feet for the rest of the evening. I have learned that just because my feet look completely healed externally, that does not mean they are completely healed internally.

I'm back to riding my semi-recumbent bike 40-45 minutes almost daily, though. And that does not bother my feet at all. I always put my orthotics in my shoes, which transfers any pressure from pedaling to my arch rather than the ball of my foot. But if I'm on my feet as much as I want to be, I still wind up feeling the consequences by the end of the day.

However, I do not feel like I have a rock or a marble in either foot, as some surgical patients have described online. I'm thankful for that. I know I had a great surgeon. Also, I am not aware of any numbness unless I run my finger over the skin on the ball of my foot near the third and fourth toes. When I do that, I can tell a difference in that spot. There is less feeling, but it is not totally numb.

My frustration at this point is that I want to do more. I want to go to an exercise class (Zumba) and I know it's too soon. I've read that some patients are back to running at this point. I can't imagine that. But then, I am not a runner to begin with. I suppose I could run if I had to, but it would seem unwise to me. I didn't think I was doing too much after week seven. But carrying my two-year-old grandson around and going on an easy nature walk with my six-year-old grandson did cause me that internal stitch issue and resulted in another week of staying off my feet. So I'm being more cautious. I'd rather do a little less and not have a week of consequences.

I see Dr. Yu for a routine follow up next Tuesday. Looking forward to another quick trip to Nashville and a visit with our munchkins!


Bonnie said…
I thought your line that "just because my feet look healed on the outside doesn't mean that the healing on the inside is complete" sounded like an analogy of life's difficulties that we sometimes have to endure and walk thru until they are resolved one way or the other...It's a hurting world out there and we have to be so, so sensitive to people's needs especially when they aren't obvious.

You must be so pleased with the progress you've made after your surgery!
Shari said…
Yes, I totally agree with you, Bonnie. I've been told many times by women who were both physically and emotionally battered that the physical wounds healed long before the emotional wounds did. There is so much pain in the world that is not immediately visible to us.

I am very pleased. But at the same time I'm frustrated. I can't believe how sore my feet are today simply because I stood in the kitchen and baked last night. I guess this is something I'm going to have to get used to for a while. I'm glad I got the surgery behind me and didn't keep putting it off. Age is not on our side in the healing department!!! : )
Anonymous said…
My surgeon told me I didn't need the orthotics after surgery. I'm also at week 8. I'm back to walking around the block. I'm wearing supportive shoes but not the orthotic. I know what you mean by stinging - mine is doing that today and hasn't done it for a while. I must have overdone it.
Anonymous said…
Hi, I've had 2 double foot surgeries for MN and now worse than ever. I'm told I will only have one last shot at fixing so need to find best surgeon for the job. I've heard of Dr. Yu in North Carolina - can you tell me what method did he use to fix your feet Shari???
I'm looking at having the ball of my feet cut at Mayo or having a bigger cut under the arch of the foot by Dr. Dellon at Johns Hopkins. I've heard good and bad about most methods - would just like to find 2 doctors agreeing on one method!
Thanks for taking time to reply.
Shari said…
I went to Dr. Yu in Nashville, TN. Not NC. He went in through the top of my foot. I had one MN in each foot. I can't imagine having the surgery from the bottom of my foot. But since I've only had one type of surgery, I can't really make comparisons. I had a successful surgery and no more pain.
Hello! I decided to post a thank you note for your posts about Morton's neuroma surgery. I had mine in my left foot 19 days ago and there is still bruises and swelling, but very little pain. The scar is also pretty small, as my surgeon didn't use external stitches, only tape.
Your posts helped me a lot because at first the doctor told me that the recovery would be very fast, so I kind of counted on going back to work after a week. Then after the surgery, he gave me a 30 day note to be off work and I was a little confused. But I'm glad I was able to rest and I'm sure that's what made the recovery so good. In the first 12 days I thought that it was hurting too much, not going well, something was probably wrong, etc. But then I went back to his clinic and he removed the bandages and the tape that worked as external stitches and then I felt a lot better. I suppose that in another week I'll be able to drive, hopefully.
Anyway, all this was mainly to let you know that you helped me understand what was going on with my foot and helped me be less scared. Thanks a lot!! Cheers, Angélica from Brazil
Anonymous said…
I am 4 weeks postop from having a neuroma removed from my right foot. The first two weeks I was in intense pain and took Percocet. After the bandage was removed the swelling and pain subsided a great deal There is still swelling and aching mostly near the incision site. I went to an Ortho who has a subspecialty in the foot and ankle. (I read you blog and hunted one down)!

I also have one in the left foot but the dr. would not do them both at the same time. For now I am wearing a croc like shoe called Anywear which is a nurses shoe and is quite cushy! The postop shoe caused some soreness on top of the 4th toe so I switched over at 3 weeks. I see the dr. 2 weeks from now and hope I haven't pushed things too much. At times have a stinging feeling near the incision site but it appears to be closed and no oozing.

I just wanted to thank you so much for this valuable information and wish you and your family well and God's blessings!

Anonymous said…
I am now 12 weeks post neuroma surgery and my foot is still swollen big time. Can not walk on toes, still limping...Saw Dr. yesterday and he now wants me in a walking cast to try to use less of my foot. Why didn't he do that when I complained about the swelling at 8 weeks. I don't think I'm every gonna get better. Still experience pain especially when it swells up like elephant foot. I am extremely frustrated with this whole process. Anyone out there take forever to recover?
Anonymous said…
I had surgery to remove a neuroma in my right foot last August (2013). It was about 9 months before I was pain free and mostly without swelling and the discomfort that entails. Hang in there! I know it's tough. I wondered over the course of time if I would ever get to this point. Remember this (as an RN posted) the healing is not linear or a progressive healing. There will be good days then some swelling may happen, etc. The important thing to know is if the surgeon 'tucked' the end of the severed nerve high into the muscle so it would not be a problem. Best of lick to you!6h4
Dorothy 84 said…
I'm 6 months post-op and still dealing with pain and and some swelling. I teach school and am on my feet a lot. By the end of the week my feet hurt. I'm getting very frustrated. I dealt with the neuroma pain for 2 years and I just knew things would be much better after surgery. The recovery time is definitely taking me longer than I was lead to believe before the surgery.
kate said…
I read this blog before I had my first neuroma surgery. I have since had 3 surgeries on my right foot and I will have a doubke surgery on my left foot in 3 weeks
Anonymous said…
4 weeks post op..lots of stiffness and numbness in toes.. no bruising, little swelling... doc says i can run after 8 weeks post op... i find that very hard to believe... supposed to go back to work in 45 days i hope i'm able.. i'm a pilot and i need that foot working properly.. i'd like to hear from someone who is 12 weeks or more post op to see how they are doing..
Dorothy 84 said…
I'm 13 months post-op and am still experiencing some swelling and pain. It's better, but things are improving so much slower than I had anticipated. My doctor did have an EMG done to make sure I was not suffering from neuropathy or tarsal tunnel. I've found that using the custom orthotics I was prescribed before the surgery do help position my feet so I don't put as much pressure on the ball of my foot. I'm just having to go through the breaking in period again. I've read a few other posts from people who have had a similar experience, so I'm hoping things will continue to improve

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