View Full Version : Post-surgery curve?

04-26-2005, 01:01 PM
Hey all....

As you may know, I had a posterior fusion from T3-L3, so the last couple vertebrae are unfused. Problem is, they are crooked! And one of my hips is still higher up than the other one! My doctor told me that one of my legs was higher than the other, but he didn't measure it, it was more like he was guessing.

Do any of you have a curve in your lower lumbar are and/or hip unevenness after the fusion surgery? Does this mean that I am going to continue to have pain?

I am so depressed. If it means that I'll have to have another surgery, then I will do it!

Kat :(

Click here for my scoliosis blog complete with pictures... (http://scolioticnerve.blogspot.com/)

04-26-2005, 02:03 PM
Hi Kat...

If you're concerned about it, make an issue of it when you see your surgeon. I've found that surgeons are often reluctant to take any action for the first year after surgery, probably because many issues resolve on their own.

Good luck.


04-26-2005, 07:22 PM
Hi Kat,

I have one hip higher than the other, probably did before my surgeries as well. Either way, after having my second fusion, I started seeing a physical therapist who detected the difference in my hips (I think it's caused by something called a pelvic obliquity because my legs themselves are essentially the same length). She gave me a lift in my shoe for my lower hip. It has made a world of difference in my pain level, how I look, and even how my clothes fit. My surgeon (who did not originally suggest the lift) does approve of it. In fact, he thinks it helps keep my fusion more stable because there is less stress on it when my hips are level. You may want to find yourself a really good physical therapist as well as ask your doctor about a heel lift. By the way, the physical therapist I go to does a lot of hands-on manipulation which has helped me tremendously. She studied an approach called "strain-counterstrain" through the Jones Instititue in California. They may have a practitioner in your area. I don't know. Here is their website if you're interested. http://www.jiscs.com/Article.aspx?a=0

Any way, yes, there are other people with one hip higher than the other and it doesn't necessarily mean you will need more surgery. Definitely follow Linda's advice and consult your doctor and maybe find a good PT who can help you with the difference in your hips.

Wishing you the best,

04-26-2005, 08:36 PM
so...my hips are still uneven after the surgery, too, although you can't tell from looking at my hems anymore. am i correct in assuming that since i am fused to the sacrum i cannot correct my hips? i'm doing my pilates classes again and nothing seems to move from my shoulder blades down!

04-26-2005, 10:10 PM
Thanks for all the great responses. My orthopod did recommend a heel lift, but I didn't follow up on it because I had one before the surgery and it didn't work. Maybe now it will work with my fusion. I'll ask the nurse about it. How do you wear it with summer shoes? The pain went away? That's encouraging!


04-26-2005, 11:38 PM
Summer shoes are a bit challenging. I'm still working that one out myself. However, what I have done so far is find a shoemaker who specializes in corrective shoes. He has been able to build up the soles of my shoes, even my spikey high heels (as often as I may wear them). Some of my slip-on sandals work okay with the lift built right on to the back of the shoe, but on the inside (less obvious that way). Others have still needed the full sole built up. And some work with a combination -- part full-sole and part lift on the inside. He even does sneakers and running shoes. My lift totals a full inch in height so when the sole is built up it does look a bit like I'm wearing one platform shoe and one regular one, but it is SO WORTH IT! Hardly anybody ever notices. From the top looking down the two shoes look the same.

There are also some neat heel lifts you can order on line. I found ones that are clear, so they work well with sandals, etc. The website I used is www.gwheellift.com You can even call them and ask questions. They're very helpful. In addition, because my doctor wrote me a prescription for the heel lift, my insurance covered part of the expense of correcting my shoes.

The only other thing I would say about this is that when I first started wearing the lift I started to develop other problems, like my knee hurt as well as some new parts of my back. It was because my muscles were accustomed to being used one way with my hip lower, and now they were being used another with my hips level. This was combined with the fact that all of the muscles in my back (and therefor my hips, legs, neck, and just about everything else) had to find new ways to relate to my back muscles since they were in a new place after my surgery. That is what brought me to the physical therapist. She has been working with me to re-educate my muscles as well as strenthen them. For me, PT was probably the best thing I did to help alleviate pain and regain strength. My orthopod said I didn't need PT, but for me it was very important. I know everybody is different, so you are going to have to find what works best for you. I am clear that I consist of more than bones and rods on an x-ray; I have muscles, and tendons, and ligaments, (and emotions) too. I needed to work on all of me. This was one thing that helped me feel better.

I hope this reply helps you some. If you come up with any new ways to handle the lifts, please let me know too.

Best of luck,

04-27-2005, 03:22 PM
There are two ways to wear a lift in a summer sanda ,or any backless shoe;
1. Buy a lift for each pair of shoes for which it is needed, if needed
spray paint the lift the color of the shoes. Use the heavy duty hook and
loop tape. The soft side goes on the shoe, the prickly side goes on the
bottom of the lift. Buy these loops at Walmart or Hancocks.

2. Buy one lift and use the hook and loop mentioned above. You
buy enough of the soft part of the hook and loop tape to place a small
amount in the bottom of each shoe which needs it. Then you simply apply
the prickly part to one lift and exchange the lift from shoe to shoe. They
will not come out easily.

I have used both 1 and 2 solutions. But I'm vain enough to spray paint the
lift to match a snazzy pair of green or red shoes with beads. Its really
easy and it makes me feel better. Kathleens rose

04-27-2005, 04:56 PM
Thanks Kathleens rose!! This is brilliant!!! I can't believe I didn't think of it myself, but that's what makes this site so valuable -- a chance to get input and wisdom from others. I can't wait to give these two solutions a try. I did try a special double-faced tape to hold my lifts in place. It was okay, but not great, and I couldn't just take the lifts in and out and exchange them if I wanted to. This sounds PERFECT!

Two quick questions:

1. Is this "hook & loop" stuff the same as the stuff we call "velcro"?

2. Does any kind of spray paint work on the lifts or should I buy something special? Most of my lifts are rubber. I'm wondering if just any spray paint will stick on them.

Many thanks again,

04-27-2005, 04:58 PM
Hey you guys,
I am very interested in this thread because I have pain on the scrunched up side of my low curve, the "high hip" side, and I am wondering if it will ease a bit if I get my hips a bit more even (I often feel better stretching out that scrunched up side).

My question is, is there a difference between a "heel lift" and any other type of lift - maybe one that goes under the whole foot? Where do you recommend getting these?


04-27-2005, 05:51 PM
Hi Laura,

I don't know if a lift will do the trick for you or not. Either way, you should probably check with a physical therapist or doctor before prescribing one for yourself. I know my PT did a lot of trial and error work with me before she determined the exact size lift I need. You certainly do not want to overcompensate by using a lift that is too large. Also, you may need some therapy or exercises to help your body adjust to the change. Muscles have a strange way of always trying to go back to where they are used to being, and so a little bit of re-education may be appropriate, especially when you introduce a change like a lift.

Because my lift is large (1 inch), I have always been told that it is better for me to get my whole shoe lifted from "heel to toe". That way I would not be putting as much strain on my leg and other muscles. Just doing the heel alone is like walking around with one high-heeled shoe all day. (Although I have to admit, I've gotten pretty comfortable doing just that and I don't seem to be having any problems from it.)

However, I can't put heel lifts "inside" all of my shoes. Most of my boots work out fine, I just make certain when I buy them that they have enough room in the vamp to accomodate my arch when I add a one-inch lift inside the heel of the shoe. (I always take an extra lift with me when I go shoe shopping so that I can try it out before I buy the shoe.)

Other shoes I have are not deep enough inside the heel to fit my foot AND a 1-inch lift. These shoes need to be built up on the bottom. When I do this, I need to do the whole shoe from heel to toe, just because that is how shoes work.

I hope this helps you some. I know I still get discomfit on my "scrunched up" side. Sometimes my ribs on that side are very close to touching my hip and my insides feel "squished" (if that is a word). Stretching, getting physical therapy, laying down flat, and strengthening the appropriate muscles seem to be the only things that help me with this particular issue.

I wish you the best of luck. Let me know what you end up doing.


04-27-2005, 10:45 PM
Hi Bonnie,

Thanks for all the info, I understand better now what various possibilities are. Wow, one inch, that must have been a big shock to the system! But I'm glad it improves your situation.

Yes, I was thinking after I posted that I'd better see somebody before experimenting with any of this! :) But thanks for reminding me... sometimes it is all too tempting to go ahead and try and implement changes alone. Even if from experience you know it can go wrong!! Anyway, I am moving state soon, so hopefully I can get to see a new PT or pain management person and bring it up with them as well as a surgeon maybe.

Thanks again! Take care ~Laura