five post-surgical side effects i didn’t see coming

I knew there would be post-surgical side effects. Atrophied muscles, soreness and decreased range of motion were all part of that list. I was ready for those things and the challenges they would bring.

There were, however, some side effects for which I was entirely not prepared.

post-surgical side effects

Increased Sensitivity

My entire right leg is just a bundle of nerves from the knee down. Sure, there is soreness at both surgical sites, but there is also this awful jangling all over. It’s like a razor burn everywhere and it stings when anything touches: air, blankets, my pants. I think it’s getting better as the days pass, but in the meantime, it’s an unwelcome and distracting side effect.

post-surgical side effects
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Dry Skin

Speaking of my right leg, and probably directly to the jangling, is dry skin. Who knew that three weeks of being encased in a splint would lead to shedding layers of skin like some kind of snake? Not me. Again, this came as a complete shock to me, and I’m trying to hydrate my way back to a point where I can use lotion without it stinging.

post-surgical side effects

Weight Loss

I really thought I would pack on pounds after surgery. After all, I was literally on my booty for weeks, resting and elevating and icing. I haven’t necessarily watched what I was eating, just because we have been gifted so many delicious meals from friends. Well, the contrary turned out to be true. We don’t actually have a scale in the house, but based on the way my clothes fit, I’ve dropped some weight.

Granted, my reduced mobility means I can’t really get to the snacks and junk, but I still find it crazy seeing as how there is no concerted effort to exercise. I’m not complaining, but it is interesting to see how hard my body is working without my realizing it.

post-surgical side effects
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The Walking Boot Is A Torture Device

Not to be dramatic but I loathe the walking boot with the fire of one thousand suns. Here I am, working so hard to get back to bearing my full weight on my injured leg and the very thought of sliding into the boot fills me with dread. It’s stiff like a ski boot, heavy, and awkward. My calves and shins are bruising from the stiffness and the front of my ankle aches from trying to bend against the rigidity. It’s infuriating that the one thing I need to get stronger is the thing that’s causing me the most distress. I was absolutely not at all prepared for that post-surgical side effect.

post-surgical side effects


I don’t want to say that I’m fearless, because that’s not true, but before surgery, I felt a lot more brave. Now, I feel that I’m being overly cautious and mindful of risk and injury. There’s nothing wrong with being wary, of course, but it’s been a long time since I was afraid to go out or backed down from presented challenges. I need to get over it, because this is 100% not me.

post-surgical side effects

Would you have anticipated any of these side effects?

Which would be the hardest for you to deal with?

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23 Responses to five post-surgical side effects i didn’t see coming

  1. Darlene says:

    Agree with all. I lost weight as well.

    Just think. It could be worse. I was immobile for 8 weeks before moving and PT.

    In that awful boot for 4 months.

  2. I lost a lot of muscle when I was post surgery which I accounted for the weight loss. Also I just was not as hungry when not exercising.
    Deborah Brooks recently posted…Add These Bodyweight Exercises At The End of Your RunMy Profile

  3. Glad to hear the recovery is going well. I think after an accident/injury I would be a little more fearful of things as well.
    Lacey@fairytalesandfitness recently posted…Sleigh RunMy Profile

  4. Yep, the dry skin was disgusting for me, too. I have dry skin to begin with, and it was a major flaky mess under all that gauze and steristrips. There was fear, too…of falling (due to my awkward gimp from not bending my leg) and rupturing the suture seam. I also was terrified of another staph infection…one day at work, I accidentally poked myself with a staple, and my finger bled like crazy. I was paranoid “something” would find it’s way into my skin LOL

  5. Elaine D says:

    I can’t imagine being in a boot so I feel your pain. I also understand that the fear comes from the possibility of risking injury again. Once something traumatic happens to us, we become more cautious but in time with healing you’ll build that confidence again.

  6. The dry and itchy skin makes sense and I bet the weight loss also has to do with your body putting so much energy into healing. I had surgery almost six years ago and I still feel a weird numbness and tingling in the area.

    • runswithpugs says:

      I finally had to just use straight coconut oil to moisturize because it was the only thing that didn’t irritate the raw skin.

      And I’m sure my body is using a ton of calories for healing, but i8t was crazy tot me that I could be eating stuff like lasagna and all kinds of comfort foods and be dropping weight.

  7. Renée says:

    The FEAR is the worst. And I didn’t even have surgery. But after I had the worst pain I *ever* had in my life with the herniated disc, I am so afraid that one false move and I’m there again 🙁 it sucks because I am NOT fearful. I’m not Cathy Courageous either but being fearful is not me.

    I hope the nerve sensitivity is temporary. I have to take medicine for my foot (that was something that came after surgery) and now my groin, for the rest of my life. Nerve irritation and nerve pain are things that are also not fun but it does help to know that there is something out there that won’t be addictive like pain pills that can ease the pain.

    • runswithpugs says:

      Yup. Terrifying.

      I think a lot of it as to do with how raw my skin is. I think. It’s not PAINFul. It’s just there. The pain thing is really confusing to me. A lot of what’s going on doesn’t hurt, and all anyone wants to talk about is my pain. Even when I check into the ortho, I always have to answer four questions and they are all focused on pain location and intensity. I don’t hurt. I’m uncomfortable, sometimes achy, sometimes sore, but none of that is really pain, in my world. It’s weird.

  8. De Bolton says:

    I remember all of those things when I broke my ankle. I was shocked at how my body healed and how aware I was of my body. And the boot sucks I’m sorry. I hope you have a lift for your shoe. It helps!

  9. Wendy says:

    For me, the hardest thing would be the inability to do everything I wanted. I do not do well when I am sick or injured. The boot sucks. I’ve been in the boot a couple of times. It’s not fun.

    You’re doing great–keep on sharing! I know it helps.

  10. Farrah says:

    I didn’t even have surgery (just broke my hand), but I definitely remember a bunch of these same things from when I broke my hand, especially the fear of re-injury too–it took a while to finally get back to doing what had “caused” it.

  11. Laurie says:

    Oh no! I am sorry to read that the boot is torture. I think you should give yourself some time to get over your fears. You will do it as you begin to have more victories.
    Laurie recently posted…Blogging About BloggingMy Profile

  12. Pingback: 2020 goals: taking on the new year | Runs With PugsRuns With Pugs

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