One of the main concerns in my recovery is getting full range of motion back in my big toes, so that I can walk, run, do yoga and, ahem, wear heels.
I did ask the doctor (not my surgeon) at the hospital when the casts were removed about exercises, but he said I didn't need to do them.
However, I know from reading other people's experiences that in America especially, people get given exercises to do, and it makes sense to me that it would be beneficial to do some, even if the NHS doesn't deem them necessary.
The main exercises I can find online pretty much all seem to be the same as these ones here.
The timings on the sheet are different, because it seems that in America people get their casts off really soon, after a couple of weeks. I'm not sure why that is as the standard bone healing time here in the UK is six weeks - if you break a bone, you get a cast for six weeks - so it seems odd to me that they'd take them off sooner than that.
I'm glad I had mine on for seven weeks as I feel it gave my bones a really good chance to heal in the right place.
Anyway, ignoring the timings, I am now trying to do the same exercises every day.
So I hold my big toe near the operated-on joint and move it up as much as I can without crying, then hold for ten seconds, then do the same thing moving it down and hold for ten seconds.
Then I put my toes on the floor and lift up as though going on tiptoe, putting weight through the toes, as much as I can without weeping in pain, and hold for ten seconds.
It really hurts.
I am careful not to push beyond discomfort into agony as that would be counterproductive, but I have learned from yoga that it's important to breathe through mild pain and listen to your body so that you challenge it, but at the same time don't push it too far.
Yesterday I took some pictures so that a) you lot could see how little I can move and b) I can chart my progress over the coming months.
This picture shoes how far I can currently lift my feet from the floor. It's not so bad - I could definitely get some low heels on lol.
The same exercise with just the left foot. Probably I should do this with a ruler for future pictures, but it looks about three inches?
This is me pointing my toes. I feel like they don't move at all when I do this!
Applying pressure to the toe to move it as far down as possible. Which is probably about one millimetre!
Overall I think that the progress is OK. Even in the last few days I've gone from it being painful to get my feet into the trainers, to being able to do it without pain, albeit gently and slowly.
You just don't realise how much you bend your toes in daily life until you can't do it easily. I have a new respect for elderly people now, I can tell you.