My sinus tarsi implant (Hyprocure)
I had the Hyprocure Sinus Tarsi Implant implanted in my left foot in the middle of February (five months ago). Before I had the procedure done I could hardly find any information that wasn’t provided by the Hyprocure website or podiatrists who were associated with the company. In addition, every patient testimonial was on a podiatrist website. I would have really appreciated having more information that was provided by independent people who had had the surgery done. Sorry if this blog is a bit long- I wanted to give anyone who’s interested a complete picute of what the surgery is like. It’s also a diary of sorts for me.
It has been five months since I had Hyprocure surgery done so I have decided that I am far enough along in the healing process to provide my opinion. Let me say this- it has completely changed my life! Although I am still healing, my foot now looks completely normal and every week I am experiencing less pain. I’m 24 and I had lived in pain for ten years before the surgery.
When I was about eleven, my mom noticed that I had a flat left foot. My right foot wasn’t affected. My foot didn’t give me very much discomfort, at least not nearly as much as I would experience as I got older. I went to see an orthopedic surgeon around this time and he suggested that I could go through a very complex, irreversible procedure involving months of healing and a high possibility of arthritis when I’m older. I wasn’t experiencing that much pain, so we decided to wait until I was older to decide to get surgery. Instead, we got an orthotic made for my left foot (which, by the way, was a horrible orthotic- please shop around for them!). Not getting this complex surgery done will probably be one of best decisions of my life.
(At this time I should mention that I live in Canada. As you may know, Canadians don’t have to pay to visit regular doctors or for operations. They do, however, have to pay to visit podiatrists and for any operations they perform. The cost of complex orthopedic procedure was never an issue but the long term side effects and the high rejection rates were.)
As my left foot became progressively worse, I went to visit another orthopedic surgeon who said I should wait one more year to see if I wanted the surgery. I felt really defeated and wondered if this surgery would help me at all. Throughout senior high school I tried to forget about my foot and didn’t visit any more doctors.
By the time I started university my foot had gotten much worse. If I thought it hurt before, it was nothing compared to what it was like now. I couldn’t walk around my large campus without pain. Every flight of stairs was an obstacle and I would plan ways to avoid them. Often when I had to walk to another library I couldn’t because of the pain. I felt like my daily life was being controlled by my foot. On the other hand, I didn’t want to complain too much. When I saw people in wheelchairs it made me think how lucky I was to even be able to walk. Still, I compared myself to everyone else. I watched how other students could walk around campus with friends, something I could never do because it would exhaust me. I felt extremely frustrated.
In addition, it also began to control my plans for the future. I had always wanted to be a journalist, but I knew I had to be realistic. If I couldn’t stand on my feet then, I definitely wouldn’t be able to in the future. I knew I needed a desk job for when my foot got worse and that made most kinds of journalism out of the picture. But at the same time I knew a desk job wasn’t for me at all. I had so much energy that I wanted to let loose!
I had been trying to get an appointment with a orthopedic surgeon for several months. Every single surgeon who could do the surgery in my area wasn’t taking new patients or had a long waiting list. My previous doctor had a four year long waiting list!! It was very frustrating, especially considering the surgery they suggested might not even help.
My left foot continued to get worse. It was at the point where it was noticeably flat. I went to see a podiatrist and she said she had never seen one so severe, but she couldn’t do anything about it. I had always worn runner and orthotics, but now I was replacing my orthotics often because my foot was collapsing more and more. I began to lose hope that I would ever be able to help my foot. I was thankful to have a good right foot but worried that it too would begin to flatten.
One night I began to look up ways to stop feet from pronation on the internet. I thought if I couldn’t cure it, I mine as well try to stop it from progressing. This was the first time I ever truly felt defeated. As I lay on my bed browsing the internet on my lap top, I came across the Hyprocure website. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The operation looked too simple, quick, and easy to do. I stayed up literally all night looking at the website and trying to find other websites or articles about the surgery. After I finished looking at all the information, I still couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
There was a number from Michigan on the website to call for more information. I didn’t call for a few days because I thought that everything was too good to be true and I wanted to enjoy the feeling of hope. When I did call, they told me that there was a Hyprocure surgeon within an hour from my house.
(In Canada, only podiatrists do Hyprocure surgery. Funding for podiatrists, even by private insurers, is extremely limited. On the other hand, orthopedic surgeons are completely funded. The totall cost of Hyprocure surgery was $2500).
I called the podiatrist and I got an appointment within a week. I still thought I was dreaming on my way to his office. When I got there I was so happy to see posters advertising Hyprocure- at least now I knew that it was true! I was ecstatic to hear that I was a perfect candidate for the sinus tarsi implant after my x-rays came back. I decided to get the procedure done a couple of weeks later during a reading break at my school. I didn’t want to wait to finish the school year because I thought the surgery might somehow disappear. (After all, I still thought I was dreaming!)
I had been trying to get an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon for over three years to get very invasive surgery that had many negative side effects. I had been suffering from pain almost as long as I could remember. Now, within two weeks, I was set up to get the Hyprocure surgery! It seemed so simple- the surgery was only fifteen minutes long and required only one bolt. Surely you can see why I thought I was dreaming!
Taking the side of precaution, I decided to look in academic journals to see any negative side effects of the procedure. I wanted to find any horror stories or any less dramatic cases of infection or cases where the implant had to be removed. Well, there weren’t any horror stories to be heard of. The success rate is extremely high and negative side effects are extremely rare. In any case, the implant can be removed as if it wasn’t even there if it’s uncomfortable. This is rare as well.
The day of the surgery I was very nervous. I had watched a video of it being performed (available on the Hyprocure website) the night before that was reassuring, but I was still scared. In the video, I saw that the doctor made a small incision in the foot and then tried the different sizes of implants. I arrived about half an hour before the operation was to begin. I was awake during the whole thing. He gave me a local anaesthetic which, of course, made my foot completely numb. About an hour before, I rubbed on a numbing cream that would make the initial poke of the freezing needle less painful. The needle hurt a little going in, but wasn’t too bad at all.
During the operation, the surgeon suggested that I listen to my iPod or read a book. I tried to do both but I wasn’t able to do either one. I sat upright and there was a screen shielding my view of my foot. I knew generally what was happening because I watched the video online of the operation (even though the video isn’t very graphic at all, I don’t recommend everyone watch it because for some people it might be better to not know exactly what’s happening). My main fear was that the local anaesthetic wouldn’t work in some areas in my foot and he would cut into tissue that wasn’t numb. Of course this didn’t happen though. The surgeon was really nice and made me relax as much as he could although I was still scared.. His receptionist came in and told me stories about her son that made me more happy and comfortable. I got through about one sentence of my book and I just couldn’t lay back and relax music. Also, I had to tell the surgeon if the placement of the implant was comfortable when he moved my foot.
When the surgery was over he bandaged my foot. The bandage didn’t cover my whole foot- it was only wrapped around where the incision was. He then wrapped my foot in an open ended sock to keep the bandage clean and my foot warm. I had to wear a black sandal/boot and I could walk out of the office. My foot didn’t hurt at all at this time because it was completely numb. On the way home, I sat in the passenger seat and elevated my foot. My mom and I even went through drive-through at Burger King to get veggie burgers!
That night it wasn’t painful at all. My room is on the second floor of our house so I had to hop down the stairs every time I wanted to go to the first floor. My mom made all my meals for about the first week and I just lay in bed. I had to lay the whole day with my foot elevated. At night I was also supposed to. I did but found it very uncomfortable and hard to sleep. I took a couple of showers which were so hard to do! I had to keep the bandage dry the whole time. I put my foot in a grocery store bag and duct taped it to my leg so no water would get in. I then had a shower while sitting on the floor (I have a separate shower- not one in a bath tub) with my leg out of the shower. It was such an ordeal and made me exhausted but was definitely worth it! I recommend having a bath while elevating your leg. I would of had a bath, but our house was under construction and the bathtub wasn’t installed yet.
After the second day, my foot started to hurt more. If I moved it while I slept I would wake up in pain. The pain wasn’t too unbearable though. I took a couple of ibuprofen a couple of times a day. I also took inflammatory medicine to ease the swelling. I highly recommend these because they can be just as helpful, if not more, than pain medication. Try to get ones that are non-drowsy and that don’t have anything in them that will make you feel dizzy. Later on, I used a rub on anti-inflammatory that also worked well but wasn’t as strong.
At the end of the week I went back to the podiatrist to get my bandages removed. All that was left was an ordinary band aide that covered the the stitches. I couldn’t get the area wet for another week. After that, I went to get the stitches removed (I had a combination of degradeable stitches and ones that needed to be taken out- there were two that needed to be taken out).
After the first week, I could put as much pressure as I wanted on my foot. I could walk to tolerance but I wasn’t supposed to do anything strenuous like run or exercise. Later that week I decided to go back to school. I was allowed to wear my normal shoes now but felt that the swelling was too much so I continued to wear the black shoe they gave me. I also decided to get crutches because walking was still painful. Sometimes while I was sitting in class, I felt shoots of pain going up my leg that were very painful. I tried to keep it elevated because this decreased the swelling and pain.
I hated the crutches so much that I only used them a couple of times to go to school. When I didn’t take them, I just hobbled around campus using elevators whenever I possibly could. People must of been thinking why I wasn’t using crutches!! Looking back, I am even a little embarrassed because I must have looked kind of silly! I was very slow going everywhere, but I still preferred this to crutches.
The pain continued but gradually decreased every week. I think it’s important to write a log of your progress each week because the heeling can be very gradual and it can be hard to see how far you’ve come in a few months. I didn’t do this but wish I had. By the second month I would get very frustrated because it still hurt quite a bit to walk. I would also still get shooting pains up my leg if I had walked to and from classes. I had to keep reminding myself that the pain I was experiencing was much less than it was a month earlier. I fell a bit behind in my school work but was able to catch up quite quickly later in the semester. Luckily, my teachers were understanding and gave me extensions.
Every couple of weeks the pain gets less and less. Three months after the surgery I went to Disney World. I was able to walk around the whole park in runners. It was painful, but not that much more painful than it would have been if I had done this much walking before my surgery. My foot swelled quite a bit but I rubbed anti-inflammatory medicine on it throughout the day. This was the first time in my life that I was able to walk around in sandals without feeling self conscious. Before, I hated it when people walked behind me because I thought they were looking at my foot. I know they sometimes where because I even had a couple of people ask me if I realized my foot was that way! At the time it really upset me, but looking back I just wonder what those people were thinking?! The scar on my foot is about an inch long and 1/4 an inch wide (about 3cm long and 1/2cm wide). It’s barely even noticeable- it looks like a bruise or a scar from a cut. It’s not puffy and doesn’t stick out- it feels the same as my foot.
Today, it’s been about five months since I’ve gotten the surgery. I work full time at a job where I’m on my feet about six hours a day. I have been friends with the people in charge for a while, so I feel comfortable asking them for a break when I need it or to shorten my shifts from eight to six hours. I wouldn’t have taken a job this summer that involved this much standing otherwise. Also, I stopped working for a couple of months during the school year. It would have been hard to work at this time, even at a desk job. It’s still a bit sore during the day but I walk on it anyways. It’s not unbearable at all. Every couple of weeks I can feel an improvement. I think that by the end of the summer I should be able to run on it comfortably.
After the surgery, I had to learn how to walk on my foot again. It’s wasn’t very difficult. Since I only have one foot done, I’m walking differently on each foot. I walk on the outside of the foot that I had surgery on- all the pressure goes to the outside of my left foot. My right foot still walks normally. At first this took a bit getting used to, but now I barely notice it. I think the hardest thing to get used to is walking so straight! I feel like my spine is straight now and I’m not hunched over or leaning to one side! I feel a big difference when I walk. I love the feeling of my whole body being so straight and in-line.
Hyprocure has completely changed my life. I know that the remaining pain will subside soon and that someday I will only have vague notions of what my old foot used to feel like. Now I’m planning on going to journalism grad school! This might sound corny, but in some way I still feel like I’m in a dream. After all I went through trying to get surgery from an orthopdic surgeon, it was a podiatrist who helped me. In Canada, podiatrists usually do relatively small surgeries like fixing hammer toes. In a way Hyprocure is a small surgery- it’s not very invasive and takes only fifteen minutes- but it has enormous benefits to people like me with flat feet.
No one ever mentioned Hyprocure to me; I had to find out about it by myself on the internet. Hyprocure is a knew surgery but sinus tarsi implants have been around for years. I don’t know why this surgery isn’t as widely known as it should be. No orthopedic surgeon every suggested that I should get it done. I know that they don’t do sinus tarsi implants, but they knew the numerous problems with the surgery that they wanted to perform. Their major kind of surgery might be good for some people, but if definitely wasn’t for me. How could they not know about Hyprocure or similar kinds of surgery? Even if they weren’t sure if I was a good candidate, why didn’t they at least mention that it could have been an option? Isn’t it their responsibility to be informed about the different surgery options and isn’t it ethically good to tell me about different kinds of surgeries that are available, especially if I was a perfect candidate for one?
I don’t know the answers to these questions and they still trouble me. If they would have mentioned this surgery before, I possibly could have spent years without as much pain. If I hadn’t gone on the internet and researched it myself, I might not have known for a long time, if ever, about this surgery. Now I tell everyone I know about Hyprocure in case someone know someone who might want to get it done.
I’m incredibly appreciative to have been able to get it done. I’m also very appreciative that my foot wasn’t worse than it was. This time last year I would never had dreamed that my foot would be better. I wake up about once a week to the same nightmare. I dream that my foot has gone flat again when I stand up. It’s the worst feeling ever, but I’m so happy when I realize it’s not true. Now that I’m able to walk normally I can’t ever go back to the way my foot was. I have a bunch of orthotics laying around the house. I’ve been throwing them out whenever I see them.
As you can tell, I highly recommend Hyprocure. If you have any questions or comments please write below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you’ve had the surgery done please tell me how it went for you because I haven’t been able to find very many people who’ve had it done.
Thank you for reading and I hoped this helped 🙂