Advice about bunion surgery

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Hi, I am 61 and I am contemplating bunion and hammer toe surgery in the next few months. I struggle to find shoes that are comfortable and would love to hear from anyone who has undergone similar surgery. I also have a crooked toe which needs to be straightened. Please let me know about your experiences.

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  • Posted

    Hi Christine

    I had surgery on both my feet to remove the bunions and straighten my big toes, on 7 January this year, so I am now 10 weeks post-op. I decided to have both feet done together although my surgeon explained that the recovery would be (to use her words) "worse than twice as bad". I thought it would be better for me to have one recovery period.

    I prepared as much as possible before having the op by filling the freezer with pre-cooked meals and stocked up on as many groceries etc as I could. My husband is self-employed, working long hours and I wanted to make sure life carried on as easily as possible for both of us with me out of action! I also decided to sleep downstairs for a while as I didn't fancy trying to get upstairs without any good foot to stand on!

    I stayed one night in hospital after having the op under general anaesthetic. I was given some special shoes to wear which had a built up heel with a sort of platform for my toes to rest on.... I had to get out of bed and try and weight-bear just a couple of hours after coming round from the op which wasn't very nice but the next day was a bit easier.

    I was advised by the surgeon to rest on the sofa with my feet up for the first 2 weeks, only moving around to go to the toilet - apprently the more you can rest those first 2 weeks the better recovery in the long term.

    Now I am 10 weeks down the line and life is much more normal. After 2 weeks of hardly moving about I gradually was able to do a little more each day, though it wasn't easy and I had to have long spells with my feet up throughout each day. I have just started to drive again which I am so excited about as I was just starting to become frustrated at my lack of independence! My feet still swell from time to time and I can't yet wear any shoes in my normal size. I have bought a pair of trainer style soft leather shoes for getting around outside, and a pair of clog-type shoes for wearing around the house - both are in a size bigger than normal as my big toes are still stiff and a bit swollen.

    If you go ahead with surgery (especially if you have both feet done) make sure you are prepared beforehand as much as you can be.... also accept any help that's offered to you! I was so grateful to my friends who came each day for the first week or so with lunches, magazines, dvds and just kept me cheerful. My little grandsons have also kept me cheerful along the way and were very careful of my feet in the special shoes. When at last I managed to walk upstairs properly my 3 year old grandson clapped!

    Best wishes and good luck.

    Anne

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  • Posted

    This is my 35th day postoperative. I believe my bunion/hammertoe job looks like it is healing properly, but I was faithful to keep my foot up for those first two weeks & still do lots. I am still in a Velcro surgical shoe & sometimes wonder when my right foot will ever be ok to wear normal shoes again, but I must be patient. Anne gave you great advice. I, too, filled the freezer & cupboard pre-op. the other best thing we did was rent a knee walker/scooter for me to get around when I had to. I still use it for long distances, as we decided I needed to pay the rent for a second month. It is well worth it. My husband took the doors off our bedroom & small bathroom so I could more easily get in and out. It is good to have some extra support lined up for help as husbands do tire being there for one's every need. Right now I wish I had a kitchen genie! Get some prunes, as pain meds and inactivity can cause constipation. I wasn't expecting that. Movies, books, friends all help. Best to you. We are all looking for the day we can walk without hurting and even wear pretty shoes too. Blessings as you proceed.
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  • Posted

    Hello Christine, I just want to echo what Anne has said. My surgery was not as extensive, just scarf osteotomy and soft tissue release on one foot. I am now coming up for my 12wk check this week (x-rays and photos I think). I csn confirm that resting and elevating the foot helps enormously. Despite all sorts of aches, odd sensations and colour changes I think all is healing well. I can bend my toes but still have swelling at the end of the day. Am looking forward to pretty shoes but at the moment am alternating between old trsiners, FitFlops and Skechers GoWalk.

    My stitches were out and bsndages changed at 2 weeks, no cast or crutches just the bandages and velcro shoe for heel walking for the first 6 weeks, then back into my old trainers (laces very loose to accommodate the swelling that makes the foot thicker from top to bottom). I used a Limbo to cover the dressing so that I could shower during the six weeks and since the bandages were removed I have found a foot spa very soothing and I moisturise as much as possible. I am still wide fit but no more bunion pain so hoping to get into the habit of walking more (I spend a lot of time at my desk)! I am 63 and my grandson (age 4) has also been very thoughtful, helping me up from the sofa and holding my hand to help me walk!

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  • Posted

    I am in total agony from a neuroma pain in my foot. They are doing a scarf osteotomy at the same time as excising the neuroma. Oh and they are doing something to the 2nd and 3rd digit too. The neuroma is preventin need walking normally .... my surgery has now been delayed 2 weeks to the 31st March as I was on a long haul flight so I'm higher risk of a dvt. I am absolutely petrified but all I know is I can't carry on walking in so much pain. I'm 44 going on 94..... any positive comments welcome about the pending surgery
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    • Posted

      I had a huge neuroma removed many years ago. It was so painful before surgery it was to the point I could hardly stand on that foot. The doctor showed it to my mother when he removed it and she said it was the size of one of the large glass marbles we had as kids. Not the normal marble but you know, the big one. I remember recovery being a lengthy process but I worked and couldn't stay off my feet 2 weeks. I did wear the special shoe a long time. My foot was less painful once the neuroma was gone but the pain from surgery was uncomfortable but not as bad as the neuroma pain. I lost feeling in 3rd toe where neuroma had grown into the nerve. It's been over 25 years and no trouble till now. It grew back. I guess that's common. But I had a good 25 years of it pain free.

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  • Posted

    Hi Christine - I will ditto what the others have said. I am 62 and had pain and not being able to get into proper shoes, It was while I was on one of my shoe shopping trips that there was a woman approx 80 year old with an enormous bunion. The shop assistant told her that there was nothing in the shop that would accommodate her foot. I was not going to get to that stage.

    Elaine - I am 5 weeks post op today after having my bunion, hammer toe with pin, 3rd toe corrected and a neuroma removed, all from my right foot. I had local anaesthetic with ear phones on to detract from the noise.

    First 4 days worse pain, after that it gets easier. I stopped strong meds after 5 days. Everything is on track. Pin to be taken out next week then hopefully get into some sort of shoe. Yet to find out.

    You just need to get organised and do as you or your foot tell you. Elevate, bed rest and ice.

    I don't regret having it done. I am excited to be 'normal' again.

    Good luck.

    Other discussion "bunion worst pain" discussion is where most of us communicate. Lots of info there.

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  • Posted

    I had bunion and hammertoe surgery 27 November 2013. Was amazed how well it went . I had none of the severe pain I was told to expect. I did have discomfort but with keeping the foot very well elevated and not weight bearing unless I really had to I can't say it was too bad. Once you do put your foot down you will get a great rush of pressure and this will make it throb and feel very tight. But don't worry as soon as you sit down again and raise your foot this will pass. There will be discomfort. I found the Tramadol they gave me in hospital was awful and whilst it cured any pain/discomfort it made me feel very sick and ( I actually vomited )and dizzy. So I stopped it and just took paracetamol and ibuprofen which did a good job. My GP endorsed the side effects of Tramadol and told me he prescribed it with absolute caution owing to its side effects and assured me that me stopping taking it was the correct thing to do. So, to shoes. You won't need these for a few weeks. However, being of the flat/sensible shoe brigade, most of mine as ballet pump and loafer style. I tend to buy a lot of Gabor shoes and have done so for many years. On the day I removed my bandages I was very wary about trying to see what shoes would fit. I did manage with the help of my trusty long shoe horn to get 3 of my Gabor pairs on. It was a bit of a struggle getting the operated foot to bend enough to get the toes into the shoes but once this was achieved my toes had pleanty of room and were not constricted and I was quite comfortable. The foot is also still swollen at this stage and so don't try to force any shoes on. I certainly advise that you don't rush with the shoes. I only wore mine for a short time at first and continued to use my flat soled post-op shoe for several weeks gradually managing to wean myself off it as my foot became less swollen and my walking became more comfortable. I have now moved on and practically all of my shoes fit comfortably ( it's 16 weeks today since my operation). I still treat my foot with care and it does still swell if I'm on my feet for a long time but I know to have a little rest which does cure things. It's very much a day-by-day process and you will need to be patient. My scar site is still quite tender in one place but I'm so glad I had the operation done and look in amazement at this previously distorted foot which is now lovely and straight. My hammertoe is still swollen a little but does not give me any discomfort. The ball under my big/bunion toe gets a bit sore and tender if I'm on my feet for too long but again with gentle massage and elevation this is remedied. Please get in touch if you require any further information. Good luck!

    Gillian.

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    • Posted

      Hi Gilliam, I had bunion surgery 11/6/14. I had my bunion shaved on the top, however he also did a incision on the bottom of my foot. I am up and about, not to long though. Foot is still very swollen and painful. Still have to wear my velcro shoe. Is the burning your foot normal, as well as the sharp pains?

      Nice to see I'm not alone.

      Thanks for your previous experience. 

      Tee

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    • Posted

      I had bunion and hammer toe surgery 9 weeks ago I also had a torn ligament. I have a screw that I think is permenant, the doctor has not said anything about taking it out. I was am walking and seem ok, except that my toes do not bend down like they should. I am in physical therapy to try to get more motion in the toes. I still have a good bit of swelling. Is this normal? Do your toes bend as they should?
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  • Posted

    Jan, I am concerned about your pin coming out! I didn't have a pin at all, but one's coming out doesn't sound good to me. I, too, am confused about the different blogs running, & I know i missed a message from you somehow. I am not able to keep up with this every day now that I am trying to get around more & play catchup with all that was neglected for 4 weeks here. I am still swelling and feeling discomfort, but I think the most of it is on the opposite side of my foot from the bunion, where the too-tight bandage tore my skin and folded it over onto the bottom of my foot. I walk awhile in my Velcro surgical shoe (2 white sox with a magnetic insole inside to speed healing). Then I sit with my foot up for twice as long, so I am not getting things done very fast. We are making a long road trip to AR tomorrow in a new small RV. I should be able to keep my foot up the whoe way. We are bringing a grandson to our farm for a week., so you can see I am impatient with ths slow-healing process. I am thinking the fact I waited until I am almost 69 for this surgery is making the healing go slower too. If anyone younger needs a bunion or hammertoe removed, do it while you are young! Also, if you can rent a scooter, do it. I am worried about the stiffness in my big toe still. I can't move it at all. I may call podiatrist with that question today. Take care All, and Jan, call about that pin! Carol
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  • Posted

    Thanks for all of the replies which I have received so far. It sounds as though most people are pleased that they made the decision to have the operation. I am finding it difficult to decide which surgeon to have for the operation. I have already seen 3 surgeons and for various reasons do not feel confident with the ones I

    have seen so far as they seem to have given me conflicting information. I live in the West Midlands and if

    anyone could recommend a surgeon in that area I would love to hear from them.

    Thanks,

    Christine

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  • Posted

    Hi again

    ,I am still very unsure about whether to go ahead with this surgery. If I am not wearing shoes I do not have much pain from my bunion or hammer toe but shoes cause a lot of discomfort and rub on my bunion and hammer toe. Sometimes the bunion stings or throbs slightly. I seem to spend my life in shoe shops looking for extra wide shoes or searching on the internet for extra wide shoes. Also my foot looks badly deformed as I also have a bent toe and my toes feel

    scrunched up inside a hoe. I have good mobility in my big toe and I have been advised against surgery as I may

    lose this or end up with a stiff second toe as they would probably fuse the joint in the hammer toe. I am finding it so difficult to make a decision. Also, I am not sure whether to use an orthopaedic surgeon or a

    podiatric surgeon.

    Any advice would be welcome,

    Christine

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    • Posted

      Hi Christine, I was having the same thoughts as you for many years whether I should get bunion surgery or not. My bunion didn't really hurt until I put on shoes. I was very limited on what I could wear, and i wouldn't wear any open toe shoes because my feet looked so deformed. I had many podiatrist consultations throughout the years, and they all advised me not to have surgery if it doesn't hurt. Well now I'm 59 years old, and my bunion is getting bigger and more deformed. I now have to have a lapidus bunion fusion because i waited so long. The last podiatrist said the other bunion surgery is not even an option for me. I think you should go for the bunion surgery. It's not going to get better. I wish i would have mine done before they got as bad as they are now.

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  • Posted

    Hi Christine. I understand your dilemma as I pretty much felt the same. Living with my bunions for many years was just normal to me.... but the factor that finally decided me was seeing my Mum's feet. She has had bunions ever since I can remember (she is now 92!) but as the years have gone by her feet have got worse and worse and now her big toe overlaps her second toe and all her toes are scrunched sideways... her bunions look red and inflamed all the time and she really struggles to walk and has done for many years.

    After talking to my GP about the possible op, I was initially referred to my local biomechanics service who made some orthotics which were no help at all. Then I saw a podiatrist who was very vague and dismissive and didn't actually offer surgery at all, let alone doing both feet together. After several more months of soul-searching I went the private route - slightly against my principles as I worked for the NHS for over 20 years and always championed them. The surgeon I saw privately immediately confirmed the problem I was having with one of my ankles, due to my foot turning over too much when I walked (this had been dismissed on the NHS journey). She told me that she was willing to operate on both feet although the recovery would be "worse than twice as bad". I felt she gave me an honest and realistic appraisal of my problems and the possible benefits from surgery.

    Now at 11 weeks post-op I am still having some aches and pains related to how much I am on my feet each day/driving etc. but generally I am glad I made the decision to have surgery. It is a long recovery and I've had "down" days along the way but the forums like this are a definite help as there is always someone who understand the problems you may encounter at each given point.

    Its hard to advise someone else what to do but I hope you are able to make a decision which is right for you in the long-term.

    Best wishes

    Anne

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