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Foot & Ankle Problems Message Board

Foot & Ankle Problems Board Index

Hi there. As someone who has gone through bunion surgery on both feet twice (the first surgery failed), my most important piece of advice is to get educated and to research and and interview your docs very carefully. My first doc was an orthopod who didn't have enough experience doing bunionectomies and though his basic approach to my problem was on target, his technique obviously wasn't, as I wound up worse afterward than before. I would highly recommend sticking with a podiatrist but one who is very experienced in surgical procecures of this nature. After my first mishap, I probably saw 3-4 other pods before making a final decision as to which doc to go with. Ask how many bunionectomies they do a year, their success rates, their typical recovery times, even if they can talk to patients who have already been through the procedure. I also went with a doc who was in charge of residency programs at teaching hospitals, as they obviously have significant experience.

As to timing your procedure, this is definitely critical. Since I was having both feet done, I had my in-laws come stay with me to help out with the kids and with me (bring meals, handle household chores, etc)--as i was really laid up for the first 4-6 weeks. Even with one foot, you will need help, so see if you can arrange for that, especially since you have young children. If you won't have any help, you might want to consider waiting another few years until your kids are a bit older. I know this sounds harsh, but with a 3 year old...For me, I waited a long time to take the plunge and do my bunions and I'm glad I did. You have to stay put and ice and elevate during those first few weeks. It's really important. As for pain, with a good surgeon, you might not find it's so bad. My first surgery was worse than my first and even then, only just the first few days required pain meds. I do not have a high threshold or anything but if you are staying elevated, you won't have the kind of excruciating pain you've heard about. Of course you will need meds, but it's amazing how much less you'll need if you keep that foot up and iced.

As for the procedure itself, most bunionectomies involve removing a wedge of bone from the big toe and then fixating the toe in a straight position, either with a pin or a screw. Also shaving off the bony, protuding portion that sticks out on the side of your foot. Generally they also release some of the ligaments that are pulling the big toe in toward your baby toe. The typical procedure is called an osteotomy.

I hope this is helpful. Best of luck!!

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