Long term, has your bunion surgery been successful?

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Hi everyone. I live in the UK and am contemplating "left foot Scarfe osteotomy of 1st metatarsal with Akin osteotomy of hallux." 

I am concerned that long term, the operation may not be successful. My bunion is stopping me walking longer than 15 minutes without pain and limping as the second toe has become very painful but it seems there can be long term problems after an operation, particularly with metal screw irritation and nerve damage?

What I would love to know is whether most people are pleased long term with the results of surgery or is it likely that I am just going to swap one set of problems for another?

I would love to know what people's experiences are long term?

Thank you.

Jean 78556

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14 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Jean

    I had a left-foot Scarfe and Akin ostemtomy on 10 July. In late August, an x-ray showed that the head of my first metatarsal had snapped off and is now floating in the ball of my foot. It is not painful, but the joint and big toe are very swollen, making walking difficult. I am scheduled to have corrective surgery in December. My understanding is that this type of complication is rare—my surgeon tells me that he as never seen anything like this before.

    Would I have the surgery again? Probably. Like you, I was experienced considerable pain when walking. I am 29, so this surgery was intended to give me greater, pain-free mobility for what was (until July) a very active life. 

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    • Posted

      Hi Anner,

      Thank you for answering my question about the long-term effects of this type of surgery.

      I am sorry hear you have had this complication and do hope all goes well with the surgery in December. 

      I am 62 and have managed to cope with a very large bunion for the past 30 years by wearing orthotics (and by having narrow feet!) but I like to walk 25 mins several times a week and this is now a painful exercise! Although pain underneath the second toe often keeps me awake for an hour or two when trying to get to sleep at night, it is relatively pain free at other times. I feel reluctant to start a process that may result in further surgery down the line or discomfit of another type. However my podiatry surgeon suggests it will only get worse!

      Once again, thank you for your experiences and I wish you every success for the coming operation and subsequent healing.

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  • Posted

    Hi Jean, I had bunion surgery on my left foot 3 years ago because all conservative measures had been exhausted. The outcome of this surgery depends to a great extent on the surgeon's technical skill and experience. My surgery was performed by a very experienced orthopaedic surgeon (MD) specialized in foot and ankle surgery. He choose a technique called "Distal soft tissue realignement + basal osteotomy of the first metatarsal". Surgery went fine. I had to wear a surgical shoe for about 2 months. After 6 months I was ninety nine percent back to normal mobility: I could play tennis, started jogging  and cycling. It took me 1 whole year to return to play soccer and, despite a minor loss of dorsiflexion of the big toe, my athletic performance was not significantly  impaired by the surgery. Everything considered, I am very pleased with the outcome. Greetings and best wishes !

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    • Posted

      Thanks for this, Robie. It's good to hear of such a positive outcome.

      Your reply touches on another of my concerns. My surgery would be performed by a "consultant podiatric surgeon" and  not an orthopaedic surgeon. Try as I might, I have been unable to find any reviews of his work here in Surrey, UK. 

      Thank you for telling me of your positive experience. By the way, did you have metal screws or wires inserted?

      All the best

      Jean78556

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    • Posted

      You are welcome, Jean. Many people think that bunion surgery is minor surgery, but my surgeon's 'motto' for this kind of surgery was: <<small bone, big surgery>>. And yes, I have a metallic staple at the site of the osteotomy.

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    • Posted

      Thanks, Robie. Its good to know of your successful bunion surgery. Your comments have been very helpful to me.
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  • Posted

     Hello Jean

    Like you I had a bunion for a long time and managed it with orthotics and occasionally steroid injections but then in the past couple of years I couldn't walk very far at all without pain,so decided to have it fixed. I had my op 11th January this year and can honestly say it was the best thing I ever did. Had a scarf/akin bunionectomy and tendonotomy on my 2nd toe. Was in a heel walker boot for 7 weeks,should have only been 6 but there was a mix up with my appointment and then gradually transitioned back into boots,then fit flops and now trainers and shoes. Maybe I have a very high pain threshold but never took any painkillers after I left hospital. If you do decide to go ahead I wish you the very best and hope you have as good an outcome as I did. I'm 63,so just a little bit older than you

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    • Posted

      Hello Moonwitch,

      Thank you for your comment and it's good to know you, too, have had a very positive experience. May I ask whether your surgeon was a podiatric surgeon or an orthopaedic surgeon? 

      Also, did you have metal screws and wires?

      My podiatric surgeon now thinks it likely that I have some degree of osteoporosis and will not operate until this is investigated so I guess I am back to coping with the painful foot until that can be ironed out!

      I do really appreciate everyone's comments and they are helping me to become informed about the whole issue.

      Many thanks.

      Jean78556

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Jean, just thought I'd let you know that I had bunion on right foot operated on two and half weeks ago by a Podiatrist surgeon.  He would'nt do mine without me having a bone density scan first. Because my bone density was not wonderful, he decided against inserting a screw and instead he shaved my bunion and did a tendon release. Because my foot is still swollen cannot tell yet how successful the op will be.  It looks to me like I'll have a big improvement and a lot narrower foot than before, which I'm happy with as my recovery is going well and a lot quicker than if I'd had screws and bone cutting. The procedure I had is called a McBride bunionectomy.  My toe still has a curve over to the right a bit but it's looking so much better, probably not as perfect if you get the bone cut and screw inserted.    As I say he preferred not to touch the bone because of my bone density.  Let us know how you go on with yours.

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    • Posted

      Mine was an orthopaedic surgeon. I have 2 screws and a staple in my big toe. Hope you get your foot sorted out very soon,it's miserable being in pain

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    • Posted

      Hi Pamela

      This is really interesting and gives me hope that something can be done for my bunion.

      My podiatric surgeon was negative about putting in screws, saying that if my bones were not dense enough the screws could come out or drift. Your experience sounds positive but did you have problems with the second toe and was this corrected? My second toe is where I'm having all the pain, underneath in what the surgeon calls the toe capsule.

      Perhaps I can discuss the McBride procedure with him.

      Thanks so much for the info.

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    • Posted

      Hi Jean, no I didn't really have a problem with the second toe but was worried about it as my bunion toe was pushing the second toe over and starting to overlap it and thought that if I left it any longer I would have to get the second toe straightened too.But it looks ok, just leaning very slightly to the right after all the pressure from my bunion toe over the years.  Week 4 for me now after the McBride procedure. Walking more now and doing exercises every day. Looks as though it won't be too long before I can drive.   Still having swelling around bunion area which I know will take awhile to settle yet but not really in any pain. Sounds as though you are going to have to get some work done on your second toe as well if you are in pain.   Which country do you live in, I am English but live in Western Australia where I had the op.

       

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  • Posted

    I had a bunionectomy to my right 5th toe back in July. The bump was only shaved off and no bone cutting. The toe does have a slight angle to it, but the orthopedic surgeon felt it was not necessary to break it an straighten it. So far though I think it was successful. The pain that I use to have it is gone. Also the planar callus is just about 95% gone too. Recovery was very fast and I was out of the boot in 4 weeks. I am having my left bunionette done on 10/16/17. It is going to be the same type of surgery. The bump on this foot is much larger. The planar callus is much larger too. I broken this toe a few times when I was a kid, so there always has been an slight angle to it. Hopefully this one goes well as the right foot.
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    • Posted

      Hi Michael

      Thanks for this, Michael. I'm glad this type of surgery has worked well for you and hope all goes well for the second foot.

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