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Foot & Ankle Problems Message Board

Foot & Ankle Problems Board Index

I think I may have made a big mistake. I may have allowed my podiatrist do simple bunion surgery on my feet when I should have had Decompression Osteotomy surgery. I would like to hear what people here have to say. Here's the story:

My two Big toes have been hurting for several years. It has gotten to be nearly constant. The pain increased as I spent more time on my feet and especially if I did a lot of walking on rough terrain, or up and down stairs. So I saw a Podiatrist and he recommended Decompression Osteotomies on both Big Toes to "increase the motion of the joint and alleviate the pain". I agreed and we scheduled my left foot surgery for the following Monday morning.

BUT, when Monday morning arrived, and I was in Pre-Op with the IV in my arm I was informed by the Nurse that I was having a "bunionectomy" according to the chart. I said, "No, it's wrong, it's suppose to be a "Decompression Osteotomy" to the Nurse. When the Doctor came in I told him there was a mistake and he said that he "had been to a seminar on exactly your problem over the weekend and decided that you don't need the Osteotomy." A Bunionectomy was what I needed. And he said the healing time would be greatly reduced. Trusting his expertise, and being there on the table in my hospital gown, I went along with it. I'm not a doctor or toe surgery expert after all.

Now, its 5 weeks later and I'm having my doubts that the bunionectomies did me ANY good at all. I still have the EXACT same pain when I flex my big toes up or down to it's limit. I met someone at my kid's preschool that had the Decompression Osteotomy 3 months ago and she said she had practically no pain within a week and NONE now. She showed me her toes and that they were able to flex upwards 90 degrees or more.

My own toe gained zero flexibility. The Doctor said that "according to the seminar you don't need more flexibility to alleviate pain. Many people have their toes fused straight and don't suffer any pain. So it's not the lack of flexibility that is causing the pain." Which is contrary to my original understanding of what caused my pain and my understanding of why surgery was necessary.

My toe does not hurt when it's straight, even if I hold it down and strain as hard as I can to flex it up or down. It only hurts when it reaches it's limit, which is about 15 degrees or so. When I walk and push-off it hurts as it has for years. I'm suppose to return to work, where I'll be on my feet all day, and I fear that I'll have to go right back to taking 3000mg of ibuprofin a day to make it through.

So that's where I'm at right now.

My question HERE is, has anyone had STIFF JOINT PAIN in their big toes that was alleviated by bunionectomy surgery alone?

And, from your experience, the pain I am now having, exactly the same as before the surgery, will it go away in time as the foot heals from the procedure? Right now I can't understand HOW or WHY it would.

Or am I worrying about nothing? Do I just need to be more patient and let it fully heal?

I don't understand how cutting off bunions can be substituted for completely seperating a joint in decompression osteotomy surgery. When he said he decided to change the planned procedure (because of a single seminar) at the last minute on me I just wasn't "brave" enough to say "hold it!" and ask a bunch of smart, well informed questions. I was already on the table, IV in arm, surrounded by medical personnel, minutes from anesthesia. I went along like a sheep, hoping for the best.

It just seems like there has to be some kind of law or rule against a doctor doing that. If we would have had a WRITTEN contract he woudln't have been able to change the details of the procedure so easily. But I feel like we did have what amounts to a verbal contract. And then, under pressure, when I was nervous about what is going to happen in a few minutes, put mentally prepared to go through with it, the agreement was changed, switched on me.

Right now I am wondering if I would have some legal rights here to make him do the originally planned procedure without charging me the full monty price again? That's if my fears turn out to be correct. I worry that I'll be laid off, lose my insurance and not even be able to get it done again, the decompression osteotomies. I will have gone through two surgical procedures, months of recovery, spent a lot of my own money, missed a lot of work, and gained no improvement because the doctor didn't perforn the right procedure on me.

As you can tell, I'm pretty distraught. I'm sad. I'm hoping that time will prove my fears unjustified. But in the meantime, if anyone here can give me some feedback from their own experience I'd appreciate it.

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