Hello! I am writing this blog to share my experience with the Hyprocure stent to correct my hyperpronation. I just had the surgery 10 days ago after researching various sources on the Internet and speaking to my podiatrist, one of the few surgeons who have performed this procedure in South Florida. To my dismay, there was very little information on the Internet by patients who had the procedure done, except for supposed “testimonials” on various podiatrists’ webpages. I hope this information will allow you to make an INFORMED decision. Thanks for participating!
I have flat feet. Supposedly about 1 in 10 individuals have this condition. I was diagnosed with this at the age of 7, when I complained about aching feet after coming home from ballet class. Needless to say, my ballet career was shortlived. I guess my flat feet didn’t significantly affect me until recently. I am now 28 years old, and have engaged in an active lifestyle since the age of 18. I would wear my gym shoes about 4-5 hours a week at most, only during my workouts. Other than that, I sought to find “comfortable” yet fashionable shoes. I remember that my college roommate would strut off to class (a good half mile away at minimum) with her sexy 3″ heels, while I would always resort to flat shoes. Even when going out for a few hours, I would wear my high heels, to come home to hours (or couple of days) of pain.
I have been accostomed to this for quite a few years. Just 2 years ago, I moved to beautiful, sunny South Florida from Chicago, thereby increasing my wear of my flip flops and other sandals with minimum support. About 3 months ago after walking on the treadmill for about 30 minutes, my feet started to swell and I had shooting pains right in the middle of the arch of my foot. This happened on both feet, though definitely worse in my left heel. That swelling remained for about 7 days! In the meantime, my spouse and I were to pack and travel to SE Asia for some business. Those initial days, especially the flight there, were exceptionally painful. I would try my hardest to keep my feet elevated, however, the second that my feet would touch the floor, the swelling would return.
I came back, and about 4-5 weeks later, that swelling returned. I am not one to restfully relax for many days on end. The pain to my heels resulted in significant discomfort, physically and mentally. I iced my foot and even tried to bandage my foot, but neither of these worked. The second time around after the swelling had diminished, I paid my podiatrist a visit. I had seen him about a year ago, when I had similar shooting pains in my arch (minus the swelling). At that time, he had told me I was to wear my orthodics 100% of the time and should start wearing the Crocs Relief at home. The other option was to undergo the Hyprocure implant procedure to correct my hyperpronation. His disapproving tone reflected his annoyance at again repeating himself to what I am sure is quite common: another patient who complained without taking steps to fix the problem (i.e. wearing the orthodics 100% of the time).
I decided to go ahead and request a quote from the Insurance company. When at home, I sat and thought: can I wear sneakers 100% of the time? No. Can I wear Crocs at home though I find them ridiculously ugly? Sure (bought those right around then and have been wearing them for a good month and half) Can I withstand some pain to wear those sexy Manolos that I have in my closet but haven’t been able to wear for more than half hour? Yes.
A few days later, I was pleasantly surprised when I received a phone call from the doctor’s office to learn that my insurance company would be covering my procedure — get this, 100%! I talked to my husband, and we picked a couple of tentative dates and decided to go through with this procedure. In the meantime, I started my research. I read about the procedure, found the online videos showing what the procedure entails, etc. I was unable to find testimonials from patients, the only missing piece of the puzzle. In the meantime, I got all my “pre-op clearances” complete – the EKG, bloodwork, and Chest Xray. All came out positive.
I went to visit my doctor again and ask some questions about the procedure. I asked him how long he had been doing the procedure? He said over 2 years, and he had done 43 procedures since then (pretty impressive number). I asked him what percentage of patients were a success? He said that only one patient complained about discomfort months after the procedure. I asked him how long it would take before I worked out again? He said about 2 weeks, depending on tolerance. This included, he said, walking or biking, nothing high impact like running. He recommended at least 1 month between the doing the procedure for both feet. And he said, and this is probably what did the deal for me, that my feet would IMMEDIATELY show correction.
What he failed to tell me, is that I wouldn’t be able to walk for several days. He failed to tell me that I would require crutches for a few days, would have to wear a special boot to help relieve some of the pain off from my ankles, and that I would definitely need someone’s help for a few days. Lucky for me, I work from home and these restrictions haven’t been terrible. But I honestly can’t imagine what a normal person who goes to work would do in these circumstances. Maybe I was a bit naive, but my husband and I actually booked a trip to San Francisco only a week after surgery. I thought that though there would be some pain, I would be able to suck it up and enjoy my trip. 2 days before my trip, I was barely able to maneuver around the house independently, and we had to cancel our trip. Additionally, my husband who travels for work around the US, had to postpone his WORK trip that was to take place 2 days after the procedure, to a whole week later. Lucky for us, there were threats of a hurricane close by, and he was able to change the flight date without much difficulty or a change fee.
From hereon, I am tracking my progress from Surgery Day (day 1) onwards.
Day of Surgery (day 1, Friday)
We got to the hospital about 1.5 hours prior to the surgery. They were completely ready for us. Within just a few minutes, they checked us in, checked my insurance card, took me upstairs to change into my gown. Within an hour, I was all ready to go. The anesthesiologist came by and introduced himself. Within just a few moments, I was whisked away from my husband on the bed. I came upstairs to the room where they make you wait right before taking you into Outpatient Surgery. I met a nurse, who raved about the doctor (which made me feel really good). As she was talking, she put the IV into my arm and started the anesthesiology.
Next thing I knew, I was back to where I was with my husband earlier. My foot had a huge bandage around it and I wasn’t able to move my leg very well. There was no pain, as the anesthesia effects last about 6 hours. They give me this huge boot to wear over the bandage at the hospital. When we get home, I find to my dismay, that there is really no way to move around independently. My husband literally has to pick me up to take me to the bathroom. I am stuck on the couch. I take my ibuprofen 3 times that day, per recommended by my doctor. I keep my feet elevated on a pillow and keep icing my foot. Later that night, I sense throbbing, and I take 2 of the prescribed painkillers.
Day 2 (Saturday)
I wake up with a phone call from the doctor, asking if I am experiencing any pain. They said this day is the worst with pain and swelling. Luckily I don’t experience ANY pain in the morning. I take 2 ibuprofen first thing in the morning. The throbbing doesn’t start until about 5 pm, when I finally take a prescribed painkiller. I am still elevating and icing, and depending on my husband to move from room to room. I am not supposed to shower and get my bandage wet on this day, and just take it easy.
Day 3 (Sunday)
I sense some minor throbbing first thing in the morning. I take 2 ibuprofen first thing in the morning. I keep icing and elevating all day. The throbbing is still very rare. I try to put some weight on my left foot, and it really really aches. I sense that the tight bandage is contributing to some of my discomfort. This is the last day that I take the prescribed painkillers.
Day 4 (Monday)
Not much change in status. I start my day with 2 Ibuprofens again. Still immobile, except when my husband helps out. I take a shower sitting on a bucket upside-down in the bathtub. I am very careful to not get my bandage wet. I accidentally step on my foot a few times, and it really really hurts. I have to hop from room to room to get around by myself. I honestly didn’t realize that the pain that I feel when stepping on my left foot would be that intense. The only way the pain is minimized is if I wear the boot, but I still have to put some weight on it to walk around, which is extremely painful. I take another couple of Ibuprofen later in the day.
My husband wants to get out for a bit with me, but the little bit of walking around with the shoe is just too painful. We skip going out that night.
Day 5 (Tuesday)
I am supposed to have an appointment with my podiatrist about 3 pm. I call and change it to 11 am. This is the first time I leave my house since the surgery. Getting down the stairs to the car is extremely painful. When I walk, I have hubby walk to my left and put a lot of weight on him to offset walking on my left foot. When I get to the doctor, he removes my bandages. Luckily, there is very minimal swelling. There is just one small bandage covering the actual incision. After removing the heavy bandages, he puts this sock on that is supposed to compress my foot and minimize swelling. He also gives me one crutch that I should use on the right side, so that I am somewhat mobile without my husband. I find it really hard to balance on one side, never having used a crutch before. I find this only works if I hold my husband’s left hand and put weight on that. The crutch is on loan, and the doctor says that I should be able to wear normal shoes by the next appointment (next Wed.) and that I shouldn’t need the crutch by then. He says I should continue to elevate and put ice.
Day 6 (Wednesday)
We decide to get 2 crutches for us to use so that I can be self-sufficient. We scope out craigslist and pick a pair of crutches that night. I figure I can use this now and during the next surgery. I start moving around a little more freely with the boot and the crutch. I attempt to walk without the assistance of the crutch, but it is so painful and I can only do it for a few minutes. I keep continuing to start my day with the 2 ibuprofen. My husband and I decide to go out and get dinner this night. With much difficulty, I make it down the stairs to the car and even walk from the curbside to the door of the restaurant. Unfortunately these small steps just completely wipe me out, such that the walk from the car back to the stairwell just requires too much effort. My husband actually has to pick me up and take me from the car to the bottom of the stairwell. With much difficulty I make it upstairs. I am so done for the day!
Day 7 (Thursday)
Again starting the day with my drugs (2 ibuprofen). Keep icing and elevating. I decide to just TRY walking with the shoe for a few minutes, minus the crutch. It actually works! For the first time in 7 days, I am able to navigate about the apartment, pick up things my husband forgot, just be able to MOVE without assistance. It is really enpowering! I do it for 20 minutes, sit for an hour, and do it for another 20 minutes. Unfortunately those last 20 minutes is a bit too much, b/c every other step towards the end results in extreme pain to my poor left ankle. I can’t take it. I remove my shoe, and grab my 2 crutches and use that through the end of the night.
Day 8 (Friday)
Unfortunately I over-exerted the night before. I put on the shoe and try to walk, but every 2nd-3rd step really really hurts and I can’t take it. I take my usual 2 dose Ibuprofen and keep a low profile at home. I want to go out, since I am feeling really tired of being at home. We decide to go see a movie. I figured it shouldn’t be bad, as long as we pick a movie theatre that isn’t crazy packed. I am so glad we did. Husband drops me to the curb and helps me inside, and we walk the LONG walk to the last possible theatre inside. I am in a bit of pain, especially coming out but otherwise I am ok since I took it easy most of the morning. At the movie theatre, I find that removing the heavy boot really helps and I pick a seat where I can put my foot over the seat in front of me without disturbing anyone.
Day 9 (Saturday)
Every day is much better than the day before. I am able to walk around the apartment for 2 half-hour episodes with the boot, with minimal difficulty. I start my day with the ibuprofen. I ice and elevate for a few hours. I decide that I will be brave and plan a somewhat “normal” day. I plan for us to drive an hour south to Miami, where we will hang out, eat dinner, get some cafe cubano, and see a show. We make our way down there.
The biggest problem, I find, is getting up and off curbs. It really really hurts. I continue to have the same discomfort with stairs as I did before. I take my one crutch and wear my heavy boot. I hold hubby’s hand to help balance the other side. Because of the special treatment (getting dropped off right in front of the door), I am ok with the minimal walking from the door to wherever I need to go. During the 1.5 hour show, I remove my boot b/c the boot really weighs down my foot and causes discomfort. After quite a bit of walking (my longest time yet), I am actually okay! I even have enough energy to make my way up the stairs going home. Go me!
Day 10 (Sunday)
I wake up feeling good. Still starting my day with the 2 Ibuprofen. I have chicken in the fridge, and haven’t actually cooked for over a week (thanks to my sugary sweet husband). I actually take out stuff to make a nice curry and start my curry before my husband wakes up. I figure, I might as well optimize my strength b/c I can usually only go an hour or so on the boot before being exhaused. Yes, I can only walk with the boot, not on my bare left foot. I wear my Croc on my right foot.
I go get a massage, being careful that the masseuse doesn’t touch my left foot. I am so tight, especially on my upper back as a result of the crutches. I actually drive over there, and drive back without a problem. Everyone is appalled at the big boot which really looks scarier than it is. I figure I have another 3-5 weeks to total recuperation. I am really looking forward to being able to wear a normal shoe and put weight on my bare foot.
One plus: I stand up and shower today (so far have been sitting and showering). Though I am terrified of slipping, I brave it out. The worst part is getting in and out of the tub, since at no point I actually put 100% of my weight on my left leg. Thank god for regular tubs!
Day 11 (Monday)
Today was really good. Especially when comparing to yesterday. Yesterday ended on a really, really painful note. The doc had given me the compression sock. We washed it yesterday and stuck it in the dryer, and it shrunk. I put it on, but after experiencing discomfort for a few minutes, I removed it. This removal of the sock which was making me uncomfortable resulted in an excruciatingly painful cramp! And that cramp wouldn’t stop! I mean every time I went from flexing my foot to relaxing it, the cramp would restart. I was in such pain, I was in tears when getting up to go to the bathroom to wash up and go to bed. That pain lasted a good four hours! Not good! I went to bed after taking 2 more Advil, and didn’t move my foot from the only painless position I could find all night!
This morning, my foot felt a bit stiff and I was terrified the cramping would return. I resorted to crutches for a few hours, fearful of putting my weight on my foot, even with the boot. Late afternoon, I put on my boot and was totally fine, walking around to do some cleaning. I decided to shower (standing up) and to wash my hair. I was so scared of falling, as it was so hard to maneuver myself between reaching for shampoo and turning on and off the shower. Very carefully, I was very proud of myself and was nice and squeaky clean.
I wanted to get out of the house. For the first time in days, I walked the stairs by myself, taking a crutch just to be sure. I drove by myself and even got out and walked a few feet, without the crutch. Being able to walk without a crutch and without the assistance of another was such a wonderful accomplishment. My boot, of course, looked ridiculous with the dress I had on, but it was a small price to pay. All in all, was a great day!
Day 12 (Tuesday)
I am able to move around much more easily than I have yet, with the boot. I noticed that I am able to wear the boot longer and walk more without fatigue, even at the end of the night. I am almost pushing myself more and more each day, and I go to bed with a really achy foot, exhausted.
Day 13 (Wednesday)
Today is a busy day. I have plans to meet a friend for lunch, followed by a podiatrist appointment. Showering is less of a challenge for me today, which is really exciting. I just find that it takes me a whole hour to through the shower/getting dressed/drying my hair routine, where it used to take me 40 minutes.
All in all, I am out of the house for 4 hours consecutively. My foot hurts a bit today, even with the boot. Because I have been pushing myself more, I find myself moving a bit slower than I have in the recent days. I park in an adjacent parking lot to the restaurant, and find my way (slowly but steadily) inside. My friend and I have a delightful lunch together in a restaurant overlooking the beautiful Atlantic Ocean and beach.
I go to the podiatrist, and when removing the boot, he says everything looks great. My foot is exactly as it is supposed to be, except my foot is bending forward (in a relaxed state), where it should really be perpendicular to the floor if stretched out in front in me. He has me stand on both feet, which I am able to do. He asks me to walk forward (barefoot), which of course I am not able to do. He asks me how the boot is working, and I say it’s okay and that I am grateful to have something I am able to walk with but it is really really heavy and thus I get tired wearing it. He gives me this alternative, a shoe with velcro straps on top and toes exposed, almost resembling soccer cleats without the “cleat” bottoms. He asks me to walk in them. Excited to have an alternative, I take a step forward, putting 100% of my weight on my left foot. I gasped from the pain. This is very close to a regular shoe, which I am not able to wear at all. I take it with me, but clearly I am not ready to walk with it yet. I slip back into my heavy boot, and go home.
That night, I have my crutches that I use when I get tired from wearing the boot. I say to myself, what I were to take a step forward on my left foot, with the aid of the crutch? I try it and it works. I put my left crutch aside, and walking close to the walls of my apartment and still utilizing the right crutch, I start taking steps! I felt like a child taking her first steps. I feel so happy for my small, yet very significant accomplishment! Excited, I call my mother and tell her. I can tell by her voice that she is so excited. I walk around for about 10-15 minutes, and decide that I want to be able to continue the next day.
Day 14 (Thursday)
I wake up excited to walk around. When getting out of bed, I walk on my bare feet (both of them), using the right crutch for balance. My ankle hurts, and I pop my 2 ibuprofen right away. I walk using my Crocs Relief for a few minutes, and then try the shoe the doctor gave me. I walk much of the day without my crutches. I prefer to stay close to walls, in case I need support, but I am so excited to be walking WITHOUT THE BOOT!
My fear is walking on the stairs without the boot outside, so when I leave for my scheduled chriopractor appointment, I walk with my boot. I find it so much easier to walk with the boot today, than even yesterday. My chiropractor, who had seen me last week, notices the ease in my movements right away. I even go for a nice, long 45 minute drive after my appointment, feeling great!
That night when my husband comes home, I am in the kitchen wearing my 2 Crocs. He is so happy to see me walking around, that he gives me a huge hug and kiss! I feel elated and accomplished!
Day 15 (Friday)
I feel braver today. I want to try walking with my lighter shoe that the podiatrist gave me. But because I have been walking the last 24 hours on my foot minus the boot, my ankle hurts today. I end up taking Ibuprofen even in the afternoon, which I haven’t been doing. My husband and I get lunch today, and I decide to wear the boot b/c walking is a bit more painful today. I even stop on the way to pick up something from the drug store and walk in and out. I am walking a bit slower today, but I am grateful at my attempt to run an errand (my first in 2 weeks!)
We get lunch, and I come home and relax for a few hours. In the evening, we go out, and I walk wearing the lighter shoe! This is the first time I walk the stairs with it. To minimize the pressure, I hold on to both banisters and take a step with the right foot, and follow with the left. Coming back up, holding the banisters helps and again I walk with the right foot leading each step. But going up is harder, where you still have to hold your left foot down to balance yourself, and I am able to do this. I have walked using my lighter shoe for 3 hours and I am still standing! I am BEYOND exhausted, but happy that I have walked that long! The rest of the night, I use both of my crutches. Today was my “free-est” day yet! =)
I am walking around much easier. I still look funny when I walk, as if I am walking using the outside of my foot. By Saturday/Sunday I am in regular shoes, though picky which ones I can use. I find my Columbia sportswear to be the only shoes I can wear for a few days. Flip flops are very hard to wear, as they bear no support for my feet. Sneakers are wearable (I go to the gym for the first time in weeks). Heels are definitely out of the question. Each day feels better and better. There is still swelling but minimal overall.
It turns out that one of the samples from my surgery site came out with a slight infection. The doctor prescribes antibiotics, which I am to to finish and take 2x a day for a week.
I am going out of town for the next 10 days, and they are to be busy ones. I have a high school reunion weekend fest planned exactly 4 weeks from the date of the surgery, and an engagement party 5 weeks post-op. I go to visit my mom, usually trips that are pretty active (going to the gym, the mall, just being out of the house). I go to the mall a couple of times but have to be super-conscious of parking close by, using elevators instead of stairs and overall walking minimally. I find it really really hard and quite restrictive.
My parents see me after the surgery for the first time. They are concerned by my “not walking properly” and ask when I will walk normally again. I am not sure what to tell them. I am feeling quite despondent about the slow recovery, truly expecting to be able to go on regular walks at this point.
I am in Chicago this week, again usually filled with lots of walking, activity, hanging around downtown late nights with friends. The plus is that my friends don’t notice my “walking funny”. It is still there but definitely not as noticeable. One major “downer” is that I have a super cute dress for the engagement party, but not able to wear high heels with it. Again I expected to be able to wear the high heels (which there are MANY) by this point.
I am super-worried about the surgery, which is to happen one week from now, exactly 6 weeks from the date of the surgery. Do I still want to go through it? I have to move out of the country exactly 4 weeks from the date of the 2nd surgery, and my weeks after the 2nd surgery will be filled with packing and other energy-consuming activity.
I give my podiatrist a call, voicing my concerns. He says again that recovery differs from person to person. He definitely recommends being 100% recovered on one foot before proceeding to the next foot and is happy to answer any questions I may have. I had a bit of a reaction due to the type of suture (the dissolvable kind), and also an infection from the sample sent to the lab. He hopes that by using the typical, nylon suture which needs to be removed, I won’t have trouble with the 2nd incision site. He says often patients find the second surgery to be easier b/c they know what the expect. I tell him I will wait it out a few more days (which would be Monday before surgery) to make my final decision.
I get a call from the nurse on Tuesday morning (I have a pre-op appointment with the doctor on Wed) to verify that I still want to go through with surgery. I verify yes. Turns out the weekend got better and better! The not “rolling my feet” is more and more subtle and I definitely feel much stronger. I am a bit concerned whether my first foot will be able to handle the weight of my second, but considering my move and all I decide to go through with it, because I know that there just won’t be another time in the future. I hope to get pregnant soon (was waiting for both of the surgeries to be complete), and I am sure I won’t have the luxury with a small child to be off my feet for 3-6 weeks. As the surgery date approaches I have some anxiety but overall I feel that it’s a good idea I will go through with surgery.
By this point, I am going to the gym, still not walking but doing pilates, weights, and biking. Also I am walking around in flip flops and everyday flat shoes. Most heels are not okay, but I do happen to manage one pair of Franco Sarto 2.5″ heels that I can actually wear! I am not sure how that works, but it definitely does. No complaints here! Unfortunately I discover this 2 days before surgery!
Second foot surgery, here I come!
February 19, 2009 (5 mos after surgery 1, 4 mos after surgery 2)
I apologize for not keeping up with blog. I am extremely surprised and pleased at the questions that I have received in response to my ad. Please view the comments below the blog…
Second foot surgery was a great success! I had a minor infection on the 1st foot that was a response to the dissolving suture (1st patient of my doctor to respond in such a manner). The second surgery, in which traditional sutures were used (that had to be removed by the podiatrist), was SO much better. I was actually walking around my house in Crocs in about a week, and in normal shoes in less than 2 weeks. I also felt braver and not scared that the stent would come out if I put weight on my foot (crazy but true)…
It took me about 2 mos after the 2nd surgery to get to the point where I was able to go on walks/get on a treadmill. Here I am months later, and most days I forget I went through with the procedure! Is it worth it, you may ask? I say definitely. If I had been the girl that would have been loyal to her orthodics everyday, I would have probably never gone through with this procedure. I was told the surgery was 100% covered, but many more bills came in from the anesthesiologist, the hospital outpatient room, and such. It will take us a WHILE to pay all that back. Find out as best as you can what the cost is to you! But for someone who knew that orthodics weren’t the solution for her, this surgery definitely was!
I still sense some minor discomfort in the morning for just a couple of minutes. I take 1 ibuprofen daily first thing, and then I am walking about for hours, no problem. I can wear flats and go shopping for hours or wear heels for a decent amount of time without discomfort. I recently saw my mom, who has Plantar Fascitis. The doctors had told me w/o this surgery, PF would be inevitable. I was actually able to walk around LONGER than her, WITHOUT pain, and though I felt tired after hours of walking around, she was still in pain the next day whereas I had NO pain! So yes, it has made my day-to-day much better!
What I would say to anyone who is exploring this option – weigh the following: 1) financial cost. Even if the insurance company says it is 100% covered, is it really? Only my 1st surgery was covered…2) Recovery time – do u have the flexibility to work from home or take off 2 weeks or so after each surgery? 3) Care – I wouldn’t have been able to do this without a caretaker type (my husband) for at least the 1st week after surgery. Yes it is THAT hard to walk around, even with the boot, for at least a week or 2. Also, you need to ice, potentially take pain meds (I didn’t after the 1st 2 days), avoid salty foods, etc. Not to mention driving home post-op. 4) A good doctor is so necessary! Don’t hesitate to ask all questions you may have. This is a relatively new procedure, so find out how many patients he has operated on, and make sure you are satisfied with that number! Some patients just don’t respond well to the procedure, unfortunately…
February 26, 2010
Hello everyone! It’s a year and half since I have had the first surgery done and almost that long since my second foot! I am still getting questions and comments from people like YOU with regards to the procedure! I appreciate all of your comments! To everyone who is wondering how I am doing — I am doing really great! NO residual pain or side effects, I felaly feel that my surgery was worthwhile! Last year was incredible, where I was blessed with the opportunity for lots of travel. I have trekked through Australia, parts of Europe and the Middle East, meaning long days on my feet. During these trips I usually wear “practical” shoes, but NO orthodics and very little if ANY back pain! No pain in the knees, ankles or anywhere else! And when I wake up the next morning, any aching (from just walking for many hours) – GONE!
I honestly, honestly can say that I have a better quality of life today compared to before the procedure! In fact, most days, I actually forget that I ever had the surgery at all! Any soreness in the ankles in the morning that I had the first few weeks after the surgery have disappeared – I can literally jump out of bed, walking around barefoot, spend the entire day in flip flips and life is great! I went to see a chiropractor recently, and he said my feet are not 100% corrected and he recommends wearing “practical” shoes like Birkenstocks or those with better arch support, but honestly most days I don’t and it’s fine!
I hope you have found this blog helpful! Please continue to post your comments and questions on my blog and get advice from each other! I hope I have set the foundation for somewhat of a little community that has undergone the same experience! As always if you have any questions or comments, feel free to email at email@example.com anytime! Thanks again for you participation!