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Old 04-29-2007, 10:44 AM   #1
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Judy22 HB User
double bunion surgery or one at a time?

I am scheduling bunion surgery and the podiatrist say he can do both feet - but no weight on them for at least 2 weeks.... I am not sure if I can stand being down and out completely and think I may need to do one at a time. I have someone to take good care of me - and most friends say get it over with.....what do some of you think that have had this surgery?

My bunions are pretty bad, I am 53 and have had them 30 years - would need to have 2 breaks to re-align each foot. Honestly, the bunion itself does not hurt, but I get blisters, cracks on my heels and sides of the foot that hang over shoes and mostly the ball of my foot hurts if I wear any type of heel at all.

I like to walk and bike and be out and about with friends. I can work from my desk at the office, but only have 2 weeks paid leave - is this enough to be able to go back at least 5 hours a day?

One or two? Or should I back out until the pain is much worse - I am not sure the results will be worth it.

 
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Old 04-29-2007, 01:09 PM   #2
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Re: double bunion surgery or one at a time?

thats a tough one! you have to be in a lot of pain to have surgery in my opinion. i had 1 done and not 2 because i only had pain in 1 foot. its hard to spend vacation laid up. maybe i foot is more painful. then again it would be nice to get it over with. dont do it for cosmetic reasons.

 
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Old 04-29-2007, 01:09 PM   #3
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Re: double bunion surgery or one at a time?

Last spring I had bunionectomies & hammertoe surgery on both of my feet at the same time. I have absolutely no regrets about having it all done at once. I chose to do it that way for several reasons—even though it might be more time away from work initially, I felt that it would be less total time off than with two surgeries. Secondly, I knew that a huge part of recovery is to keep one's foot elevated and iced—It’s pretty hard to get around while your foot is being elevated, so I figured why not elevate both feet at the same time? Same with pre-surgery exams & check-ups, dealing with side effects from anesthesia, pain drugs, etc.—Two for the price of one.

I highly recommend that you look in the Healthboards archives to find the two threads called “Double Bunionectomy Questions” from last spring (a second started after the first one got too long). You can read about many different experiences and almost any issue you could imagine got discussed on those threads.

I was able to start getting around fairly well after two weeks. (I wore surgical sandals until the beginning of the third week at which time I switched to big gym shoes. Never needed casts or crutches.) I was between jobs so I didn’t try to go back to work at that time, although my doctor said I could have if I had door-to-door transportation and could elevate my feet at work. I know people who did return immediately and it wasn’t real easy for most of them, but if you can work it out so it’s no more than five hours a day you will probably do fine. One of my biggest issues was fatigue. I wasn’t an invalid, but I didn’t have very much energy for a while—Life got pretty much back to normal me by about eight weeks. BTW, I am 57 and in fairly good shape—used to being active and doing a lot of walking. I also had my bunions for about 30 years and had many of the same issues as you, although I did have pain at the site of the bunions. I considered putting off the surgery until I “really” needed it, but realized that my feet were steadily getting worse and the surgery would only be more complicated and potentially less successful the more things got twisted up. (Also, arthritis begins to be a factor as we age.) I finally decided that since surgery at some point was inevitable, I might as well have it sooner and be able to enjoy more years of pain-free (and better looking!) feet—not to mention hours and hours and hours of shoe shopping for dumb looking shoes that didn’t make the bunions hurt more.

One thing that helped me be more independent during the two weeks of little or no weight-bearing was my son’s college dorm fridge—it is one of the larger ones that has a freezer section. I put it right next to my bed—Having drinks, snacks, and icepacks at my fingertips was not only great for me, but saved my family a lot of wear-and-tear. I made sure that I had EVERYTHING I could thing of within reach—laptop computer (with wireless internet), tons of books, TV remote, iPod, phone, toiletries, meds, cereal, crackers, cookies, etc. I had friends visit frequently and got outside when I could. One friend lent me a motorized wheel chair that I used as transportation to get around— went out for "walks" to the park, etc., with it. It was kinda fun!

Re other preparation... A beanbag was great for propping my feet on and a wedge pillow helped support my legs from the knees to the feet. Good pillows for leaning back on were also a necessity. I also appreciated using one of those lap desks—sort of like a TV tray with a little beanbag thing under the flat surface—for eating as well, as working on things. I did not have to buy all of the above. Once I told friends what I needed, someone always knew someone who had the items and was happy to lend them. One of the best purchases I did make was a $1. plastic blow up inner tube to sit in—Elevating your feet is essential, but sitting with your legs up puts a lot of pressure on the tailbone. Before I got the inner tube, my butt was hurting more than my feet!

I hope that you make the best decision for your situation, and if you decide on surgery, that it goes really well. Keep in touch! Kathy

 
Old 04-29-2007, 06:55 PM   #4
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jenevepas HB User
Re: double bunion surgery or one at a time?

Another thing to consider is the risk of having two feet done improperly. I was convinced both at once was better in order to make them symmetrical in function but this was not done and now I have two feet that are severely damaged. I'd say do one at a time that way if there is a problem you don't lose both feet.

 
Old 04-30-2007, 02:22 PM   #5
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myjo HB User
Re: double bunion surgery or one at a time?

Hi. One foot or two...either way, two weeks is cutting it really close. It generally takes 6-7 weeks for the bones to mesh together. Even if you're full weight bearing after two weeks(?), you'll still have some pain and likely, a considerable amount of swelling. I was still on narcotics and crutches after two weeks.
It really depends on your line of work. After two weeks you're still in the very preliminary stages of healing. Of course everyone heals differently but, you should have a seriously realistic talk with your surgeon.
Maybe you can pool your sick time and vacation time together.
Good luck, and let us know what you decide. J

 
Old 04-30-2007, 04:16 PM   #6
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KathJack HB User
Re: double bunion surgery or one at a time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by myjo View Post
Hi. One foot or two...either way, two weeks is cutting it really close... Even if you're full weight bearing after two weeks, you'll still have some pain and likely, a considerable amount of swelling.
I agree with myjo-- Whether you do one foot or two, I'd see if you could at least go in for only 2 or 3 short days for the first week or two back at work. I was very glad that I didn't have to go back so soon! If you have no vacation or personal days, is it possible to work from home at all?

 
Old 04-30-2007, 07:47 PM   #7
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misfish90 HB User
Re: double bunion surgery or one at a time?

I have to agree that 2 weeks is really close. It seems that most people who opted to have both done at once are glad they did. I'm really glad that I only did one as I relied so heavy on the "good" non-surgery foot. I was back to work (desk job) in 2 weeks but there is absolutely no way I could have done that had I had both feet done.

You really don't know how you will heal afterwards. You could be up and about in a flash or you could be down and out for weeks/months. In my opinion, one at a time is the safer way to go.

 
Old 05-01-2007, 10:17 AM   #8
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joyka HB User
Re: double bunion surgery or one at a time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Judy22 View Post
I am scheduling bunion surgery and the podiatrist say he can do both feet - but no weight on them for at least 2 weeks.... I am not sure if I can stand being down and out completely and think I may need to do one at a time. I have someone to take good care of me - and most friends say get it over with.....what do some of you think that have had this surgery?

My bunions are pretty bad, I am 53 and have had them 30 years - would need to have 2 breaks to re-align each foot. Honestly, the bunion itself does not hurt, but I get blisters, cracks on my heels and sides of the foot that hang over shoes and mostly the ball of my foot hurts if I wear any type of heel at all.

I like to walk and bike and be out and about with friends. I can work from my desk at the office, but only have 2 weeks paid leave - is this enough to be able to go back at least 5 hours a day?

One or two? Or should I back out until the pain is much worse - I am not sure the results will be worth it.

 
Old 05-01-2007, 10:20 AM   #9
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joyka HB User
Re: double bunion surgery or one at a time?

I would find another doctor. You should get one done at a time. Also, 8 weeks of non-weight bearing is necessary for a bunion. I have had it done twice. The first time she let me put weight on it after a month. That's because she didn't know what she was doing. The second time it was 8 weeks in a hard cast with NO weight bearing. Do you have someone to carry you to the bathroom? That is what would be required to have both done.

 
Old 05-01-2007, 05:12 PM   #10
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KathJack HB User
Re: double bunion surgery or one at a time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by joyka View Post
I would find another doctor. You should get one done at a time. Also, 8 weeks of non-weight bearing is necessary for a bunion. I have had it done twice. The first time she let me put weight on it after a month. That's because she didn't know what she was doing. The second time it was 8 weeks in a hard cast with NO weight bearing. Do you have someone to carry you to the bathroom? That is what would be required to have both done.
That is a debatable issue. I was able to do MINIMAL weight bearing (in other words, from hospital to car to house and then to bathroom when needed) from Day One of a double bunionectomy for severe bunions (and hammertoes), but only wearing the surgical shoes which did not allow my toes to bend. If your doctor okays it and your bathroom is nearby, you may not need to be carried. Some people used wheeling desk chairs to get around; I didn't try to go to the kitchen or living room for the first week, but by keeping a small fridge and a lot of snacks next to my bed, I was able to be fairly independent. (I was fortunate to have a bathroom very close by.) I only had two weeks of non-weight bearing. almost all of which time was spent with my feet elevated. I was able to walk to other rooms in the house a little bit the second week-- then started walking as much as my feet "approved" after that. I am a year post-surgery, fully healed, no complications. I have noticed that sometimes people who are in casts and non weight-bearing for many weeks have problems with stiffness, atrophy, etc. so there are pros and cons for both sides. It depends a lot on the doctor's philosophy and of course the type of surgery you have, etc. Most people I have heard about who had repercussions from doing too much too early didn't stay off their feet for even two weeks, and when they did start walking, kept going even when in pain. (Had to care for small children, had no one to assist them, etc.) I agree that if you don't have enough help to be able to take it easy for at least a few weeks, you should not have the surgery until your cirucmstances change.

Last edited by KathJack; 05-01-2007 at 05:16 PM.

 
Old 05-04-2007, 06:13 PM   #11
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Judy22 HB User
Re: double bunion surgery or one at a time?

Did one and also corrected two little toes that were turning in kind of like the beginning of a matching bunion on the little side.
Things went well -just icing and taking med and keeping it up.
Thanks for the advice, it helped me ask all the right questions.
My podiatrist is super, with lots of experience. I am fortunate so far.

 
Old 09-24-2007, 06:49 AM   #12
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carole allen HB User
Re: double bunion surgery or one at a time?

hi there i also have very servere bunions both need removing i have 2 children and my husband works long hours how will i cope please reply im scared

 
Old 09-24-2007, 08:54 AM   #13
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KathJack HB User
Re: double bunion surgery or one at a time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by carole allen View Post
hi there i also have very servere bunions both need removing i have 2 children and my husband works long hours how will i cope please reply im scared
Hi, Carole~ As I stated in an earlier post, I don't think anyone should have surgery on even one foot if they don't have sufficient support. Because of the need to care for your children, I would wait until you could have a family member or friend come to stay with you for at LEAST a week and/or you could get help with the children during the hours your husband is at work. (How old/independent are they?) If your doctor will allow it, having a bilateral bunionectomy would mean that you would only need to arrange this support one time. Any chance your husband can take some vacation or Family Leave time? Pay a health aid? (It would not need to be a nurse.) Maybe wait to do it during the summer when you could hire a 12-18 yr. old as Mother's Helper? I was able to start being active soon after my surgery and hopefully you would too, but being able to let your feet, not your family, determine how much you have to stand and walk is very important for a good recovery. Best wishes!

 
Old 09-24-2007, 02:34 PM   #14
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Re: double bunion surgery or one at a time?

How does one get about with no weightbearing for two weeks?
One can't walk on crutches only do wheelchair transfers.
If the bunions are in the severe category, wow, I do not think it a good decision.
I had both feet done (severe bunions) but at different times.
I walked into my POD's office to consult about having them done (the first one).
I wanted both of them done. He would not do two at the sametime anymore.
He stated "Too much complaining from the patients in the past.".
Once I went throught the first one, I felt so dumb about even asking the question.
THERE IS NO WAY THAT I COULD HAVE DONE IT!!!
That is IF ONE TAKES all of the precautions and rules seriously.

 
Old 09-24-2007, 02:36 PM   #15
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cosmic1 HB User
Re: double bunion surgery or one at a time?

I waited until the children were no longer in the house.
It can be a long journey.
Soooo much easier when there are no children to look after.
My dog was even too much!!!!!

 
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