Hallux Valgus (Bunion) & 2nd (Hammer)Toe Surgery

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I had hallux valgus and 2nd toe correction surgery 27 Nov 2013. All went very well. The severe pain I was warned to expect following the op was not severe. I can best describe it as discomfort and there was throbbing when the foot was down. My advice to anyone considering this surgery is to go ahead. I had a severe bunion and hammer 2nd toe and was in no doubt that without surgery things wouldn't improve. I did all I was instructed to do. Kept the foot elevated above groin level with only minimal mobility when I needed to go to the loo, make a cup of tea etc. I managed the stairs well once I got into a routine managing my crutches. The heel wedge shoe given for me to wear whilst unglamourous was an absolute must and gave excellent support. I also invested in a bed cradle to lift the weight of the duvet off my feet and this has been an invaluable purchase. I expected my feet to be cold during the night but as I draped a folded cellular wool blanket over the duvet and tucked it into the bed foot I was very cosy and had no cold feet or draught. It's now 10 weeks today since my op and I removed all my bandage on 20 Jan. The K-wire was removed on 6 Jan and my bandages were replaced twice - at 2 weeks on 12 Dec and on 6 Jan. My toes are stiff but each day I feel an improvement. I have 3 pairs of flat Gabor G fitting shoes which I can wear comfortably but only wear them if I'm going outdoors. I have tried a few other pairs of my shoes and I can also get on some of the ballet flats I own so at least I have something else a little smarter if I want to have a change/get dressed up. I do not own or wear heeled shoes! I don't think it's wise to overdo the shoes thus allowing my foot to have freedom as much as possible. I tend to wear the new flat soled shoe given to me by my consultant which has now replaced the heel wedge around the house or just wear a thick woollen hiking sock. I have to wear a gel toe separator between the big and 2nd toe until 17 Feb. The golden rule as far as I'm concerned following this surgery is to take notice of the advice you're given and adhere to it. I enjoy hillwalking and am looking forward to being able to resume this activity. However, I know that this can only be achieved if I don't expect too much too soon. I did manage to get my Brasher boots on yesterday and with my husband had a level circular walk of about a mile and a half. This was more than enough and I was glad to get back to the car. Today I realise that I perhaps overstretched myself and should have returned to the car earlier. The hips and tops of my legs ache even though I always use a stick when on walks. That said, I got the boots on and they were comfortable once I got my foot eased in. The bending of the foot has to be done with care due to the stiffness in the toes and I am determined to not force this. I am so far very pleased I had the surgery. I managed to alleviate the discomfort after the surgery using only paracetamol and codeine. But only took these for about 10 days as I really didn't need any pain relief. Also, I have an intolerance to the Tramadol I was prescribed by the hospital. It made me very sick. I soon stopped taking that! My GP was adamant that it is not a good drug because of the side effects and he supported my decision to dispose of the remaining (23 out of the 30) tablets prescribed. I hope my experience will help anyone contemplating surgery. But, it is a slow recovery period and whilst even I get a bit fed up I know that without it my condition would only have worsened and in time I will hopefully resume the normal things I enjoy. Namely hillwalking.

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  • Posted

    Hi Gillian Good to hear about your experience, I had a severe bunion operated on on 21 November, like you not too much pain but I have been confined to an airboot whilst up and about ever since as it is taking some time for the bone to heal.

    This is my second op, had the other one done last year and, although it was a similar op, I was out of the airboot and walking about 1.5 miles around week 8. Have been told to start leaving the boot off and move into normal shoes next week so will be going very gently like you.

    I also enjoy walking and want to get back to this during the summer months.

    Good luck

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  • Posted

    Hello judy4. Many thanks for your response. I'm pleased that you're making satisfactory progress. I didn't mention my age - but I'm 63 - and I get the impression from some of the discussion contributors that some patients of this operation are maybe of the younger age range. Also, I have read of many who have this procedure carried out for appearances rather than a medical reason. Mine is the latter. I also omitted to say that I had my operation carried on the NHS at my local hospital and can't praise highly enough the care I received from the initial consultation in September right up to being discharged the day following my operation. I was booked in as a day case but I was unwell and very sick after the anaesthetic and the surgeon decided that I should remain under his care overnight. I'm glad of this as it gave me a little time to come round and also the physiotherapist was able to see me when I was over the anaesthetic and more receptive.

    From your comments I have deduced that I'm 'on track' with my mobility. And I will continue to pace myself which will hopefully give me a good eventual outcome. I just do not understand some people who are impatient and want to squeeze their swollen feet into their usual shoes early. It just isn't worth it. I recently heard of someone who did this only to have the operation re-done which prolonged the recovery further.

    One thing that nobody seems to mention is the amount of dry and dead skin which develops whilst the bandages are on. My foot looked horrendous and I couldn't wait for all the dead skin to come off. It was a real mess. Now, two weeks after removing the bandages, my foot has a lovely soft and silky appearance. I recommend the use of Aqueous cream applied very liberally once the bandages are off. It does wonders!

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  • Posted

    Hi there

    I had the same procedure on 20th Dec at Royal National Orthopaedic in Stanmore.

    The nursing care was excellent and so far everything going to plan. Stitches on large toe out at 2 weeks post operative and I had pin removed on 3rd Feb.

    Just started physio today. I've been advised to get out of the heel wedge shoe asap, so bought a soft

    trainer 2 sizes bigger than normal from Tesco this morning.

    I came back to work part time in week 4, and now in week 7 am full time. Thankfully, I have my own office so I can put my foot on the desk when I need to!!

    I had the procedure due to pain, rather than cosmetics. As a school Facilities manager, I am walking for most of my day, so the procedure was a must. I have a mild bunion on my other foot, but no pain and the consultants didn't recommend surgery at this time.

    yes, skin is very flaky and yes, swelling still there, but I do think it will be worth it in the end. Amazing how many people say that they have a bunion and are too scared to do something about it!

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  • Posted

    Hi. I had the same done 4 weeks ago on 8th January. It's done really well and healed perfectly. However the k wire is to remain in until 10th march which I think is far too long. Last year when the other foot was done it was 6 weeks. Yesterday the toe started with bad stabbing pains and I m sure the k wire is wanting to come out. Anyone else experienced this?
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  • Posted

    My k wire was an inconvenience more than anything. also, quite sore under the plaster.

    So pleased it's out!

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  • Posted

    Hi Gillian

    Glad to hear you had a good experience! I also did all the things I was told. Put my foot up kept walking to a minimum. I had three casts on in all (one was put on too tight). When I had the last cast off I could see it wasn't right. still looked like I had a bunion and second toe looked and felt like a false toe overlapping my third toe. Mentioned my concerns but was told to wait and see! Wasn't given any instructions/exercises and given an appointment for 2 months later! Couldn't get any of my pre op shoes on only some old slippers and pair of sandals. Foot kept swelling up every day -by evening it was double size. Managed to get another appointment after 1 month was told it will be 6 months (post op) before swelling goes and that I might need my big toe fusing! Thought I would be back at work by now but can't stand on it too long. Have had to buy EEEE fitting shoes from a specialist and it still aches like mad. Am back tomorrow to see consultant and hope I get somewhere at last. I do think I may need another op and am not looking forward to it at all. I am determined I will not leave the hospital this time without a lot of questioned answered. Will let you know what happens!

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  • Posted

    Hi Gillian, I am 66 also had my op done by the NHS but in a private hospital as I requested a particular surgeon. Also had dreadful skin on my foot at first but much better now, also used aqueous cream and now using the scar repair oil twice a day. Lucky with the amount of swelling this time, it/s not excessive and I know I can get into my soft trainer style shoes next week.

    Good luck

    Judy

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  • Posted

    Hello Clarissabelle, Re your K-wire. My consultant/surgeon told me that my K-wire MUST be removed by 6 weeks. My op was 27 November and the wire was removed on 6 January. I understand the reason for this is to avoid any infection. A very dear friend of mine who happens to be a recently retired orthopaedic nurse with lots of outpatient experience endorsed what the consultant told me. My friend has removed many a K-wire and redressed many bunion wounds post op and so knows what she's talking about. You've been given a 9 week post op date for having you're K-wire removed. I think I would be questioning why you've been told the wire will come out at 9 weeks. Also, you mention stabbing pains at the site of the K-wire. I experienced stabbing pains at about 4 weeks and became alarmed that maybe something was amiss. The pains were due I think to the healing process within the toe. I can't say the pain caused me any lasting discomfort and each episode passed after a few moments. Everyone is different and we experience variations of discomfort etc. Again, if it's causing you to worry I'd be contacting the surgeon's secretary to ask for clarification of the problem. That's what they're there for. You don't have to suffer in silence. My K-wire seemed to loosen slightly towards the 6 weeks but it was in fact quite secure. I was very careful to avoid knocking or catching it on anything although my surgeon affixed it so that it was bent over the top of my toe nail and part way along the top of the toe so the risk of it getting knocked further inside the toe wouldn't happen if I did catch it. It's not a pleasant thing to have protruding from the end of the toe but it does seem to be effective. I wasn't looking forward to having the K-wire removed but whilst it did sting as it was being drawn out I can't say it was actually painful. And it was over relatively swiftly. I hope my comments may have helped you. My other foot needs doing and at this point in time I have no hesitation about making plans to have it done and hope I shall be able to do this in early autumn. The consultant told me a bunion toe bent at a 30% angle is considered 'substantial'. Mine was bent at a 37% angle. So it needed doing. The 'good' foot is bent at just over 30% - so that too is 'substantial'.

    Gillian

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    • Posted

      hi gillian i know what you going through my yoes and bunion is course by rheumatiod arthritsitis and they was operated  and didnt work  was pined and bunion still get severe pain in tendons and toes are fused all my toes are fused here are pictures of my otes before and after NO.1 before they operation both feet like this 2-3 pictures are after the pins came out for 2 weeks later they went back worst than they were
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  • Posted

    Hi Gillian and thanks for your advice. I have contacted the consultants secretary and am waiting for her to get back to me when she has spoken to him. It does seem to be loosening a bit. The one I had in last year I managed to pull out at 5 weeks when it caught on the duvet. Keeping this one well covered!!!!
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  • Posted

    Hello, Clarissabelle. That's good. Keep me posted. Just as an aside, the physiotherapist gave me a larger heel wedge shoe than I needed to protect the K-wire. They are quite vulnerable. Great care is needed.
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  • Posted

    Hi again GIllian. No response from secretary after 24 hours so i called her again. Surgeon says I should have been given an earlier appt and is seeing me on Monday morning. Probably as well as wire is still coming out.

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  • Posted

    Hi Gillian,

    Just a question, from the discussion, did the surgeon use screw to straighten your first toe? I have the op 4 months ago and with 3 titanium screws fixed in the first toe. I have been back to normal work but sometime my leg still pain especially at the ankle area and knee. Any idea or is it more on arthritis? I am 51. My next appt with the surgeon is 23 March. Glad to gain any experience from you.

    Thanks in advance.

    CT

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  • Posted

    Good morning Clarissabelle,. I'm glad you've got an apt for Monday. It was perhaps an oversight(!) that you were given a later appt. Hope everything goes well for you.

    Gillian

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  • Posted

    Hi Gillian. So glad I got the appt for today. The toe is now huge, swollen, red and throbbing. He removed the k wire and I m on antibiotics for a week til I see him again. Actually would have liked it to stay in another week but it had to be removed because of the infection. I m now wondering if that was the cause of the stabbing pains I was having last week
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