For you, how incapacitating is/was the pain and lack of mobility?

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Hello all!

I am scheduled to have a pre-op meeting with my surgeon tomorrow, with the expectation that I will have a double bunionectomy within 4 weeks.

I am 22, female, and have had bunions of increasing severeity since I was a child of around 9 or 10. They cause me pain after exercise (fitness classes and running) and after walking for 1 mile +, which happens quite frequently. It's not terrible pain though, which is why I am wondering whether now is the right time for surgery, as it feels like more of a preventative measure rather than an absolute necessary right now.

I am currently preparing for university exams I will be taking in August which are crucial for beginning a Masters in Science course in September. Therefore, it's really important that the surgery does not cause so much pain that studying is a real challenge. After all, focusing for long periods of time on great seas of text is difficult at the best of times!

What are your opinions?

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13 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi there, 

    Not sure there is ever a good time ,I suppose its just about weighing up the pain you have compared to the major inconvenience this will create .

    it is by no means a small undertaking but perhaps youth and physical fitness will aide your recovery.

    I am almost four weeks post lefts scarf osteotomy and did far too much yesterday and suffering today but aside from that recovery pretty straight forward.  There is lots of useful information on these pages which might also assist you in making your decision. 

    All the best, 

    Lou

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  • Posted

    I'm 32 and had bunions done on both feet. Within 48 hrs I was tapping away on my laptop finishing off a report for work and then left them to it whilst I recouperated in peace.

    I didn't believe all the reports of no pain and was surprised to experience just that. Very uncomfortable yes, ouchy yes but miserable pain no. Very grateful for that. I had a bit of a shock to the system at the two week bandage change mark as it took getting used to not having big bandages and changing my own dressings, I felt very vulnerable.

    That's a year ago exactly - last May. I would do it again in a heartbeat, best thing I ever did. I will send you the link to my foot surgery blog FYI, it made for a good distraction whilst I was off work!

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  • Posted

    Hi 

    I had 1 bunion done in February I really didnt allow for the physcological aspect of the operation and the length of recovery.

    I saw the surgeon last Friday who said that on a scale of 1-10 of deformity my feet were in before the op was 10,Which meant I needed it done.

    Just make sure you are ready for the op I wish I had prepared myself more.

    I am back at work on light duties after 3 months I still feel that my life is on hold as I still cant do the jogging/power walking I love Things will get better I know, BUT it takes along time  

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  • Posted

    There is never a best time only a least worst time. Presuming you do not need to go to any lectures or seminars, now is probably as good as any. The first 2 days post op are the worst but can be managed with painkillers. After that you will find keeping your foot elevated as much as possible for the first 2 weeks will be advisable. You will have to revise with your feet up. Walking for the first 6 weeks will be arduous, so if your exams are the beginning of August and your op is the end of June the timing will be very tight. Walking longish distances may still cause the foot to throb which is not ideal for sitting an exam. Until you know your op date it is difficult to say.You will have to push the doc for an early op. A time gap of less than 6 weeks would make me very wary. Hope this helps     
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  • Posted

    Thank you all for your helpful replies.

    It is very likely that the operation will be at the end of June. I spoke to the surgeon's administrator and he is very booked up until then but I will do my best tomorrow. That means will be about 7 weeks between surgery and the beginning of exam week.

    Of course, the problem with gaging how disruptive it will be is that pain is all perception and therefore is subjective.

    @fabulousfeet (great name, by the way), I would really like to see your blog, I don't think I have recieved a message from you, yet.

    @be69188 That's a good point, I am worried about becoming a couch potato as I am very prone to weight gain when unable to exercise, even when eating less than I usually would. Did you try to use an exercise bike or other lower impact cardio exercises within 8 weeks following the op?

     I feel like right now it is a big risk, especially as I have already delayed completion of my current qualification due to illness of a different kind last year. I am considering whether it would be a better idea to have the operation next September, when [hopefully] I will have completed the Masters and have nothing lined up just yet, then again I thought the same thing a year ago about how it would be now. Obviously, life doesn't stop... Sorry, I'm just thinking out loud now!

    Thanks again!

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  • Posted

    Hi RhubarbCrumble,

    I had a double bunionectomy last February  and wish that I would have had it sooner. (Mine was simple versus some of the other contributors to this forum, who have had much more invasive surgery).  I was able to work from home by the end of week 2, and was back at work 4 weeks post-surgery.

    Good luck with your decision. -all the best with your surgery, should you decide to have it.

    Best regards,

    Wendyannna 

     

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  • Posted

    Hi,go on FACE BOOK  I survived Bunionectomy its a closed group but press and it will add you . Theres lots of advice in there
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  • Posted

    Hi Sweet Rhubarb!! 

    I too am finishing my degree and was going to do a Masters but with all that I've read I know one has to elevate the foot most of the time and only get it down for bathroom visits and this is crucial for the first 3 weeks after surgery, but I thought I'd wait unil I'm done and dusted with my feet as it takes a lot of concentration to start off with your Masters and it's not easy like a degree. So think about it carefully and remember we don't know HOW we will feel until it happens. Good luck and let us all know the outcome!

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  • Posted

    Hello rhubarbcrumble.

    Have just read your message and to be honest with you I'd wait to have the surgery.

    Firstly you mention that whilst you've had bunions of increasing severity since the age of 9/10 you go on to say that you're not sure whther your surgery is a prevnetative measure. Why haven't you discussed this point with your surgeon/consultant? He/she will tell you whether it's for preventative reasons.Also, you mention that you're about to take some important exams. Why don't you get the exams out of the way first? You will get a lot of swelling after your surgery and wil be literally off your feet for a long time. Youwill need to keep the feet elevated because if you don't you will add to the selling and you will definitely get throbbing the moment your feet are down. You need to read the following website and guidelines. Go to 'Royal National Ortopaedic Hospital' and read their 'A Patient's Guide to Hallux Valgus ( Bunions) and Lesser Toe Deformities' information. It's a big document but I'm sure you will find it helpful as I have done. 

    At 22 years of age you do seem very young to be in need of this surgery and I hope that you are not considering having it for cosmetic reasons because if you are ( even though I note you mention you havesome pain) I am afrad that you are in for a big shock. You will not be skipping around for several months after your surgery and you will not be able to wear your usual footwear for a long time. Even then, you will need to be very careful when you try to get any shoes on because your feet will be extremely stiff and unable to bend for quite some time. I'm 6 months post surgery and am only now beginning to feel anythjing like back to normal. I had a sever bunion and a hammertoe operated on in November and whilst it all went very well the recovery time following bunion surgery is very lengthy.So,having terrified the daylights out of you, you may now give everything lots of serious and careful consideration.

    In thescheme of things bunion surgery is quite straightforward and un like knee and hip replacement surgery not life threatening. BUT, and this is the thing THE RECOVERY TIME FOLLOWING BUNION SURGERY IS MUCH, MUCH LONGER THAN KNEE AND HIP SURGERY.

    I am glad I had my surgery  -  and I'm 64 years of age and very active  - but it has been a long and protracted recovery.

    Good Luck.

    Gillian

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    • Posted

      Gillian I am 3 months into recovery and still in soreness Does it really take up to 6 months to get really recovered. I am on light duties at work .... but long to be normal again
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  • Posted

    Hi Rhubarbcrumble i had my surgery 6 weeks ago and today i had my bandages removed, i hope to return to work in 2 weeks time although i think it will be a long time before i will be back walking properly again. I am due to commence physio tomorrow, my surgeon told me that my foot was very deformed and the surgery was very invasive. I foolishly thought that my foot would look way better after surgery but i'm afraid that i can hardly notice much difference and my big toe looks like it's just determined to make it's way back on top of my second toe. maybe [email]it@s[/email] just the fact that [email]it@s[/email] still swollen . Good luck with your operation whenever you choose to have it. 
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  • Posted

    Hi 

    I was in the same predicament as you 2 years ago. I was in the middle of my masters and was offered surgery in September, it ended up being the day of my final crit so I didn't go for it. That was the best decision for me because a couple of months later I moved to a different city so getting regular check ups etc would have been difficult. I am now booked in to have a meeting with a surgeon soon. Just like you when I initially went to the GP 2 years ago my pain wasn't that bad, but now it's got a lot worse so I am keen to get the surgery ASAP. It sounds like if mobility is restricted after the surgery, being at uni might be the best time as they're potentially more understanding than work. 

    Bex

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  • Posted

    Hello all, I really appreciate all of your input and suggestions. I thought I would give an update. I have decided to postpone the surgery. The earliest date I was offered in the end was the last week of July, leaving only 4 weeks before exams. Given the consensus on immobility and recovery time, it seemed impractical to operate now. The pain of my bunions has been getting noticeably worse, especially since making the decision (I wonder if this is psychological?), but I anticipate that the pain of operating would cause a bigger problem in the short term than leaving it be.

    In response to Gillian, my needing surgery has always been for pain and mobility reasons, not for vanity. I've had noticeable bunions since I was 10 years old, I now see them as just a part of me and therefore don't care for the appearance. They have always negatively affected my balance, but over the last 4 years they have also become a considerable source of pain.

    I have bought a bike, which takes virtually all the pressure off the balls of my feet and bunions, I would highly recommend it to all with bunions! I have since hurt the base of my spine which makes cycling painful, but that's a different story altogether...

    Thanks again!

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