Bunion Surgery 6 weeks away

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I have my bunion surgery in just over 6 weeks time (not too severe).

Just got three questions if anyone can help:

1) The surgeon said I may get to choose Local or General.  He said he normally does Local but at the hospital I am having it done at, they tend to like people to have a general.  If I do get to choose, what are the pros and cons?  I am thinking I want a Local.

2) Is there any point continuing running between now and then?  Will I just lose the fitness gains during the recover?

3) I am hoping to be playing tennis again in 8 -10 weeks.  Is that realistic?

Thanks in advance :-)

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21 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi David

    1) I had ankle blocks and it was really fine. The anethetist seemed set against it bit I had already discussed it with my surgeon and he had agreed. You can of course hear everything that's going on but they also give you a hefty tranquilizer so it's rather like hearing things happening to someone else!! Stick with the local option if you can as you will recover more quickly and feel much better afterwards. 

    2) Not sure about running but I continued to do my long, long walks up to the due date but you may have to be prepared to work on your fitness level all over again once you are back on your feet! 

    3) Think you my be a bit ambitious about playing tennis so soon but we all vary in our recovery rates and maybe you will feel you can. I would check with your surgeon when you have your 6 week check as it's best to follow orders and not push too fast too soon. 


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    • Posted

      Hi Krinny. No I definitely had ankle blocks with a tranquilizer beforehand so I was fully awake throughout the proceedure with someone talking to me all the time about the world, life and the universe,  but in a rather "relaxed" state!  


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    • Posted

      Wow....well that's okay then. I could cope with that as long as I did not hear the drill and the saw be all good lol. How many weeks post op are you? 
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    • Posted

      I could hear it all, drill, screws, chatting and everything, bit like being in a carpenters workshop, but was quite relaxed and it didn't seem as if it was me!! I'm just 6 weeks on and now able to walk around the block wearing my Fitflops, very comfy! 
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  • Posted

    Hi David smile

    I was brave enough to have both feet done and my first operation ever!

    1. I went under General and found it fantastic. I woke up starving and felt good all day until it wore off and I was been too brave. Suffered till two am in the morning until I took the strong meds. I wanted general because I could not cope knowing what's going on and the noise. Nice to wake up and felt like 'suddenly' it was done. My surgeon never offered me a choice there....which I am glad but personal choice

    2. I am a fitness fanatic love my gym at home and walking plus Pilates . I continued with all this until my operation as I think it helps you recover quicker.

    3. I am going on 8 wks this week and recovering a lot quicker than most people with what I am seeing. Depends on your operation, you will be pushing it too play tennis with all the bouncing around...ow. Saying that I can actually stand on my toes though. I am walking and started my gym on the 7th week. Especially on the bike, weights and  x-trainer but not quiet building up to a sweat yet but will give it ago in the 9th week.

    wish you all the best and you having both feet done? Glad I have it all out of the way. Hope this information helps smile Oh big advice I can give you been a fitness freak....just try to eat foods that help you recover and be easy on yourself when you put on weight and out of condition. Never push yourself and be prepared to do nothing for 4-6wks.

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    • Posted

      Thanks krinny.  My left bunion doesn't really bother me unless I do long mileage and even then it is very mild so the Consultant didn't suggest anything for that.  My right one hurts after a few minutes of running, when walking in work shoes and even when driving for a while so its got to be done.  

      How did you manage without be able to put weight on either foot?


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    • Posted

      Yes I got on too my bunions as soon as my big toes started going over to the 'other toes'. Otherwise bigger the operation. One was worse than the other but thought best to just get it over and done with and the recovery is the same. Lots of opinions about getting bunions done or not. Whether just one or both. I am just glad it's all done and can get back into work (on my feet all day..Physio and lifestyle assistant) started this week and get fit again. 

      For the first two weeks, I had feet wrapped in bandages. Then casts with those sexy shoes (not!) for four weeks. I heeled walked... No problems. Plaster casts I could do a lot more cause my feet were stable and no fear of knocking them. I had no fancy gadgets to help me walk. I had crutches but just too dangerous and only used them once. The plasterer said not to rely on them too much as it will be harder to walk...funnily enough he was right. 

      I hardly went anywhere...the first week was in bed and only got up to go to the toilet. Otherwise I sat on the couch with feet up.

      When the casts were on... I did floor exercises and weights. This helps with blood flow and recovery. My shoulders and neck ached sitting most of the day... Not used to it been so active lol. I could do more around the house too. It's not all bad just have to be very careful. I also spent good money on cast protector... My other cheap ones leaked and spent three hrs during my cast one night... Not fun :-(

      Wow I rambled on here...but hopefully I answered your question and more. Feel free and yes join that face book page it's awesome and great support system there 

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  • Posted

    i had a general two weeks ago. I had the bunion done and three of my smaller toes shortened. The general was great as i had no idea what went on. I am a bit of a baby so would not like to hear what they were doing. As i was on strong painkillers for just over a week i did not feel that having the general was bad as i was laid up anyway so plenty of time to sleep it off. 

    I am going to be in the surgical shoe for six weeks and walking very tentativly after that. My surgeon said that i needed eight weeks off work and that the foot would be swollen for several months. I dont expect to be very active for a while. 

    I know everyone is different and your proceedure is maybe not as much as i had done but tennis might be a bit too much after only eight weeks. 

    Good luck with your surgery!

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    • Posted

      Thanks Michelle.  Were you in overnight or was it same day?

      No point in rushing back to tennis i guess, it is not like I will miss the Australian Open or anything!


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    • Posted

      I had my surgery on the evening list. I was put under at 7 pm and the next i knew it was 9.30 and i was in the recovery ward. I have no idea how long the operation actually took though. I had a local put in my foot while i was in the surgery under the general. That wore off about 24 hours later. 

      I was discharged at 11.30 the next day. I still had no feeling in my foot but other than feeling drowsy i was fine. I was advised to start the painkillers as soon as i got home and to take them as soon as they were due so that i got the best from them. 

      I had my bandages removed after two weeks and was able to bathe my foot today for the first time. Lovely!  

      My toes are a bit stiff still and a bit numb also. Dr said they would be like this for a while yet. I can weight bear on my heel a bit but have to use the crutches to get around. 

      Hope all this helps you decide what you want to do. 

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  • Posted

    Hi David,

    Well good luck in advance.. I was told I would have general anaesthesia but I was able to discuss the pros and cons of just having a local with the Anaesthetic Dr and decided on the general. He said they do a local as well. I only had 1 bunionectomy and I dont think I had any ill effects of the general, though once the local wore off my foot hurt. I thought it was bearable so didnt take the pain killers though as I couldnt get to sleep eventually succumbed to paracetamol. Didnt need painkillers during the day, and only needed them for 3 nights in all, but only took 1 painkiller per night. They encourage you to take a lot more.

    I am now at week 8, and started cycling again about 2 weeks ago, first on an exercise bike and then on the road. Cycling is much easier than walking, so I rather think tennis is going to be pretty optimistic, but we are all different.

    Definitely keep up your exercise regime until the last minute, why would you not? The fitter you are, I think the better your post operative outcome.

    I think you do lose some of your fitness, but I did exercises sitting on a stool  until I felt my foot could bear my weight. You can do floor exercises, and keep trying to bend your toes while you are keeping your foot elevated, because the big toe will be pretty rigid.

    Have just started being able to wear my trainers again, but I think getting back into shoes will depend a lot on whether your foot has much swelling. You will notice little niggly twinges in your toe, sometimes little sharp shooting pains, but really I thought it would much worse than it actually was. When you get up in the first few weeks, your foot will feel uncomfortable because all the blood rushes there and it feels engorged, but that passes.

    The best advice though is to rest up as much as possible and dont rush things.

    I didnt think I would survive being idle for so long, but somehow your body seems to go into a different zone, hopefully and you will accept the enforced rest, which in fact can be enjoyable.

    Good luck

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  • Posted

    Local is healthier with fewer complications. General anesthesthia they put a tube down your throat to breathe for you and you can aspirated fluid into your lungs, putting you at risk for pneumonia. General and all the attendant risks is the reason they tell you NPO (nothing by mouth after midnight) before any surgery but now it's turned into a bit of medical superstition and they order NPO for all procedures regardless of anesthesia. There is a third option called Monitored Sedation using Propofol or "twilight" which causes you to forget what is happening and makes you feel like it never happened. It's cheap and easy. Some docs are a bit confused about the difference between General and Monitored Sedation ( at least mine was). I had both the Monitored Sedation and the nerve block which was good because my nerve block wore off during surgery but I have no memory of it. 

    As far as activity, I'm so grateful I was as fit as I was because it's made coping with the mobility limitations so much easier than it would have been if Inhadnt had good muscle tone to start.

    as far as being up playing tennis in 8-10 weeks, that really depends on the procedure, how your medical support handles post-op care, and whether you fall, how you eat and a host of other factors that I think are quantifiable if the foot surgeons of the world actually bothered to run a longitudinal study of all these cases and took note of what was best in terms of recovery time for each type of bunion procedure. As it is, there are a few elite podiatry centers in the US that seem to have been working on their own "best practices" but I don't get the sense these are being shared in the medical community at large so much as being handled as proprietary trade secrets. So use boards like this and the Facebook page "I Survived a Bunionectomy" for the really practical advice.  

    Good luck David.

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  • Posted

    Good luck with your operation David! Yes, keep up exercise right up to the day! I had the nerve block anaesthetic but it wore off and I felt the start of the second foot but it was as if it was happening to someone else! However I did tell them that I could feel it and so the mask was put over my face and that was all I remembered until I was in recovery! As you are just having one foot done I'd go for the local. I am week 8 now and wouldn't be able to play tennis but I did have both feet done together and we are all different when it comes to healing! Good luck!
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