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Foot & Ankle Problems Message Board

Foot & Ankle Problems Board Index

Hello Everyone -

I am new to this board and it looks like it offers a great wealth of information. I will be having my Austin & Akin bunionectomy & osteotomy next week on November 6. I will break this post into three sections of specific information: 1) My background, 2) the diagnosis & procedures, and 3) questions for recovery.


I am a 37-year-old healthy woman, and outdoor activities are a huge component of my life. Year-round, I spend every Saturday either hiking in the mountains (typical day is 20km with 700 - 1,000m elevation gains), backpacking, scrambling, cross country skiing, or alpine touring. To me getting out of the city if my weekly dose of 'nature therapy' as I like to call it. Sitting at home and watching TV or anything like that is just not me.

So, I have been actively partaking in these outdoor pursuits for years, and over the last three or so years have noticed that my bunions have been getting larger. I don't recall ever having feet without bunions. The last year-and-a-half in particular, my feet would be in more and more pain after the end of a day. After a day hike I would now be limping. I got custom orthotics, bunion pads, and bunion shoe stretchers, which worked a little, but no longer enough. Currently being in hiking boots is torture, and this summer I even started backpacking in my Keen sandals as they allowed more room for the bunion.


In early spring of 2014 I finally went to see a podiatrist, who confirmed that I have a moderate bunion and recommended surgery. I decided to go for it, and the date has been set for November 6, 2014. He will perform an Austin & Akin bunionectomy & osteotomy on my right foot. General information for recovery that I received from him is a bit of a blur. I've asked a couple of times, but never get answers as direct as I'd like, as I understand it'll depend on my own recovery as well. The insurance forms that had to be completed said crutches 4-5 weeks. He suggested that I'm off work for 5 weeks, but I can't pull that off with my job. We settled on 3 weeks, but I think I'll end up having to work remotely. But, will worry about work stuff later. Onto my important questions...


I had the surgery scheduled so that I could still enjoy a summer of hiking and backpacking, and hopefully get the recovery done with while ski season isn't good yet. As I get closer to the surgery day, I worry about the impact on my lifestyle more and more. I live alone, so have tried to prepare as best as I can. For anyone here who also leads an active lifestyle and/or has to cope alone after surgery, would you be able to shed some light on the following:

- How long after surgery did you feel you were totally out; i.e., in too much pain to really do anything, including it being a pain to go to the bathroom, wash, prepare food?
- What about swelling - how bad was it at first, and how quickly did it subside or linger?
- How long until you were able to put down your heal while being on crutches?
- How long until you could be weight-bearing and ditch the crutches? At what point were you able to do without the surgical shoe? Fit into runners and regular shoes again?
*** How long until you have been able to begin participating in a activities again? At what point were you able to walk around the block? Make quick runs to the grocery store? Walk somewhat 'normally'? Cross-country ski? Downhill ski? Hike?
- And most important of all, was the procedure worth it to you?

Looking forward to your replies, especially to the questions marked with the *** :-).

Thanks, and I look forward to learning more and sharing this experience as I go through my own recovery.


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