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Foot & Ankle Problems Message Board

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Sorry this is so long.
I hope I can get some advice from those who have had a similar problem.
About four years ago a bunion near my big toe on my right foot that I had since a kid but it was very small then, started to grow much bigger causing the big toe to lean over toward the second toe. Now the bunion is very pronounced and very painful when it rubs my shoes. Even with a thick bunion pad/bandage.Then the second toe begin to move toward the big toe and lay right up against it ,and lifts up, crosses over and lays on top of the big toe when I begin to walk. The second toe that is lifted and overlapping rubs the top of my shoes and a hard bump is forming on top of the joint of it it. Also my third toe is now leaning way over toward the 2nd toe.
I went to a Podiatrist who wanted to remove the bunion and straighten the big toe and then cut wedges of bone out of the overlapping toes and put pins in them . I was set to have the surgery done ( no insurance but taking it out of our savings. When on the last visit to discuss details, the Dr surprised me by saying he was going to do a fusion on all the toes. He hadn't told me that on my two previous visits.
So, I went home and looked into fusion articles online and read it was kind of a last resort mostly reserved for patients with arthritis .Not done that often by DR.
I'm 49 and don't think I have arthritis in my toes. If I do it doesn't hurt much. What hurts is that the bunion sticks way out and rubs on all but two pair of super wide stretchy shoes I own, that are ugly but I can wear them without pain. Not pretty to wear with my church dresses. At home I must go barefoot or wear slippers or flip flops due to the pain from the bunion.
I had read with toe fusion you must wear orthopedic shoes or flats. No kind of heels at all. Be careful about standing up on your toes and that you can have trouble walking up hill. That toes can get very stiff after fusion and even develop arthritis due to not being able to wiggle your toes anymore to keep them flexible.
I like being able to wiggle my toes and I would like to, once in a great while wear at least 1 1/2" heels (with a wide toe box or open toed).
This problem is hereditary as my dads side had a lot of foot problems and I only wore heels to church ( for 2 hours, 1 day a week) and immediately took them off to go barefoot when I got home. And they were never over 2" heels at the most. At the store or other places I always wore flip flops or comfy sandals.

I would still like to get surgery as I love sandals and thong shoes and my bunion and toes look so bad now on my right foot that I don't dare wear shoes that can show it. But I am NOT crazy about fusion. An elderly lady in my church with my exact same problem recommended me to this DR and he did her bunion removal and crooked toe surgery without fusion, and she came out fine.
She even wears pointed toe shoes with heels and goes dancing a year later, which I wouldn't do,( wear pointed toe shoes.)
When I asked him why he wanted to do fusion on me, he said so the toes could never go back to being crooked or overlapping.
I've been on various foot forums and it seems most of the people posting about similar surgery have not had good outcomes. They complain of severe pain even up to a year after surgery. Toes that now point straight up instead of overlapping. And they can't even wear shoes with wide toe boxes now due to the toe sticking straight up. Even some with fused toes going back crooked or sticking straight up.
A friend at my church said maybe a lot of people have successful surgery for my kind of problem, but only the ones with problems are posting. Still, it's enough to make me worry, as once it's done, it's hard to undo the damage is the outcome isn't good.
I had read an article by a Podiatrist that said the feet don't really take that well to surgery, being tampered with etc, like the rest of the body might tolerate and he recommends it for people with severe pain only.
I'm sorry this is so long. Can anyone who had my kind of problem tell me if they had a good or not good outcome and if they could do it all over again, would they? We'd be using our savings for the surgery $ 10.000 and I was told in a few years my left foot will need the same done to it as the bunion is getting bigger and the toes are starting to lean into one another on that one too.
If it gets screwed up, we won't have the money for a re-do.

Any advice would be appreciated. I try not to be vain but when I look at my deformed looking foot in the mirror I get depressed.
I used to wear sandals and paint my toes and like them being in the open air. Now they are ugly and I have pain.

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