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Old 09-10-2007, 12:20 PM   #1
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Question Bunion Advice and Orthopaedic Appointment

Hi!

I thought I would introduce myself after reading the forums for so long. It has been very informative and of course quite scary!

Iím 24 years old and have had bunions since I was about 13 years old. I believe I caught them from ballet dancing-very unfortunate, my grandmother also had bunions but always wore comfortable shoes.

My left bunion is slightly worse than my right foot; I have problems wearing most flat shoes, even if they are wide, and they poke through and hurt. I tend to get blisters on the bunions and my little toes suffer too! They take a maximum of two weeks to recover from the trauma!

When I was 16 years old I visited my doctor to request for surgery, but he refused to refer me point blank with my best interests at heart. He stated that I was too young and that I wouldnít be able to walk properly nor bend my foot, so I would be walking on my heels, he said to wait until I get older! However, they are getting worse. I finally said enough was enough when I was on holiday, I was wearing flat wide Rocketdog shoes and I was in so much pain, my bunions and little toes were red and had to put plasters and socks on, even that still didnít help. I have about five pairs of flat wide shoes that all hurt and I am fed up!

I am worried that I will be refused surgery because they do not look that bad and the NHS (National Health Service) tend to prioritise worse case scenarios! But I am suffering. I am also worried that if I do have the surgery they may mess up my feet and I wonít be able to walk properly, as I travel a lot and must be able to move freely, and still be able to rock climb (I donít do Ballet or dance anymore)! Of course, I will allow myself time to heel before I pursue anything arduous.

I have an appointment to see the Orthopaedics and was wondering if you can give me advice, such as what to expect, I am nervous, Iím not even sure what to ask.

I am worried about the screws (internal and external) and having to have them out thereafter if they cause any problems, I am absolutely petrified of hospitals, pain and needles, and opting for surgery proves just how desperate I am.

I you have any advice to offer, it would be greatly appreciated. I am based in London.

Many thanks in advance.

 
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Old 09-10-2007, 03:30 PM   #2
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Re: Bunion Advice and Orthopaedic Appointment

Hi, Dark Light~ Don't know anything about the English Health Care System, but it's gotta be better than the care the 46,000,000 uninsured Americans get! Because I know nothing of your system, I have no idea how much freedom you have to choose your doctors. There are some tragic stories on this board of failed surgeries (As in anything, remember that it's people who have complications who are most likely to seek out a board like this), and there are no guarantees, but you're likely to get good results with a skilled and experienced podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon. No one should have surgery for cosmetic reasons, so I don't think the fact that your feet don't look severely deformed should be relevant-- Perhaps X-rays would be a better measure of your condition? I would think that pain should be the most important factor. I had a double bunionectomy last year-- I'm in my 50's and should have had it when I was in my 30's, maybe even 20's. By waiting too long, I suffered needlessly and my feet were harder to correct. If you hate doctors, hospitals, needles, etc., I do recommend trying to get both feet done at the same time-- You get all of that over with at once instead of having to get tests, anesthesia, etc. two times. If you check out my old posts, I've written a lot about my experience and offered lots of tips-- many of which I found on this board. BTW, my feet are totally fine now-- I can do anything I want including running, jumping, walking or standing for long periods of time, etc. Best wishes--Let us know what happens.

 
Old 09-10-2007, 05:48 PM   #3
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Re: Bunion Advice and Orthopaedic Appointment

it does not matter how your feet look, but how much pain you are in. if you are in that much pain when you walk, surgery is needed. go to the best dr possible.

 
Old 09-10-2007, 08:34 PM   #4
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Re: Bunion Advice and Orthopaedic Appointment

Hey since your seeing an ortho soon you are probably getting x-rays and if the bone where the bunion in (1st metatarsal i think that's what its called) is straight then you probably only need the bunion shaved. If its at a different angle (uneven), like mines , there may be screws involved and the recovery is longer. (MUCCCCCCCH LONGER!!!) I hope the x-rays show that your 1st met is straight though because the healing period will be shorter and you will be able to bear weight much sooner. Well, ask the doc a lot of questions, make sure he's very experienced in these cases, etc. The life after surgery can be hell so make sure you won't regret it. Some people on here have and some are pleased that they get it done. Have you tried orthodics or more comfortable footwear? Goood Luck & ask more questions anytime! =)

 
Old 09-10-2007, 09:56 PM   #5
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Re: Bunion Advice and Orthopaedic Appointment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Light View Post
Hi!
I am worried about the screws (internal and external) and having to have them out thereafter if they cause any problems
My doctor told me that about 25% of people eventually have to have their internal screws taken out. (I think they can actually loosen and work their way up; then they can irritate.) It's not ANYWHERE as near a big deal to have them taken out as getting them put in! Most people have reported it to be a simple procedure with only a day or two off their feet afterward. I still have my screws and do not feel them 16 months after surgery. External hardware is usually in the form of pins. I did not have to have any. And BTW, having a more extensive form of surgery does not necessarily mean long term non-weight bearing (NWB)-- I only had to be off my feet for two weeks and even during that time I could walk to the bathroom. Of course that does NOT mean that after two weeks you could be up all the time or walking long distances; at whatever point it is that you are allowed to start bearing weight, you have to gradually spend less time elevating and icing and more time standing and walking. I was pretty much "normal" in 2-3 months. (Some might say I'm still not normal; but that's another story )

 
Old 09-11-2007, 09:30 AM   #6
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Re: Bunion Advice and Orthopaedic Appointment

"When I was 16 years old I visited my doctor to request for surgery, but he refused to refer me point blank with my best interests at heart. He stated that I was too young and that I wouldn’t be able to walk properly nor bend my foot, so I would be walking on my heels, he said to wait until I get older! "

I can't believe the doctor told you that!! I had my first surgery at 16 and was up running around fine 3 months later with no problems...
Anyways, can't speak for your health system as to how they will prioritize when you get your surgery, but they will go by pain not looks. My mom had a bunion that was very painful but yet if you looked at her foot it looked like there was almost nothing wrong!

"I am also worried that if I do have the surgery they may mess up my feet and I won’t be able to walk properly, as I travel a lot and must be able to move freely, and still be able to rock climb (I don’t do Ballet or dance anymore)! Of course, I will allow myself time to heel before I pursue anything arduous."

or just think about the opposite.. if you DON'T take the chance your feet will get worse and you won't be able to walk well either way, if you're in that much pain surgery is the way to go. Good luck!

 
Old 09-11-2007, 11:13 AM   #7
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Re: Bunion Advice and Orthopaedic Appointment

Hi!

Thank you all so much for replying and providing me with helpful advice.

With the NHS, we aren’t able to choose our surgeons and so we never know if we have the best, which can be very unfortunate.

The pain is what finally pushed me, some shoes are ok, especially trainers or skate shoes, but its not always ideal on certain occasions, plus it may sound trivial, but I don’t want to be restricted to trainers and skate shoes for the rest of my life, though I am lucky I can wear them to work. However, I couldn’t believe how much pain I was in from wearing simple flat shoes when I was on holiday. I was literally limping and had to cover my feet in plasters and wear socks, which doesn’t look very good with a dress I have to say!

I realise I didn’t describe what my feet look like! Both big toes go inwards and rest under my second toe that is slightly raised. The bone on the right foot sticks out more than the left (they both always rub against the shoes and my little toes get squashed even though I always wear wide shoes) and if I am to be a little more graphics, I have corns on my big toes and under the bunions as well as hard skin under the palm of my right foot. Sorry!

Out of all the shoes I have (about 8 pairs), only two pairs are comfortable and the rest of them hurt me like hell! I want to have the surgery while I am young enough to heal well and before it gets anymore serve and the surgery more complex. I have noticed the bunions getting worse over the years and shoes becoming more difficult to buy, this year has been the worse despite the flat wide shoes being in fashion. I hope the Ortho will understand my situation, I do look after my feet and only ever wear flat shoes, plus I am useless in heels and haven’t worn them for more that eight years, and that was only on special occasions!

Kathjack, Thank you and I will check your old posts and I believe that if I do have the surgery, I will have them both at the same time! The screws will always scare me; I read on the boards that they can use dissolvable ones, which would be great! Do they take the screws out under general anaesthetic?

BunionPatient, I guess I won’t be having a shave then!!!! My first Metatarsal doesn’t appear to be straight at all and hasn’t been for the past ten years!

Wakkochic17, thank you! 16 years old is such a young age and running in 3 months sounds great, I guess you were quite lucky. My doctor, well it was more than eight years ago, so I guess the procedures weren’t so great then.

I was wondering what I am to expect when I so my ortho, apart from x-rays, will there be anything else?

Once again, thank you.

 
Old 09-11-2007, 01:40 PM   #8
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Re: Bunion Advice and Orthopaedic Appointment

"Kathjack, Thank you and I will check your old posts and I believe that if I do have the surgery, I will have them both at the same time! The screws will always scare me; I read on the boards that they can use dissolvable ones, which would be great! Do they take the screws out under general anaesthetic?"

I didn't have my screws removed, but I doubt if they would use general anesthesia as many (if not most) doctors don't even use it for the original surgery. I had what is often called "twilight" anesthesia where you are kind of in and out of it, but feel very relaxed-- A local pain block makes sure that you don't feel a thing during the procedure(s) or for several hours afterward.

My big toes also turned in so much that they went under the second toes, which caused them to bend up (Condition called hammertoes)-- Because of that, my doctor fixed them at the same time he did the bunionectomies.

Your symptoms sound very similar to mine. I too was not obsessed about shoes, but it sure was nice to be able to wear a pair of dainty sandal type heels to my son's wedding this summer! My scars are just about invisible now and the days of callouses and blisters are long over. It's great! Best wishes.

 
Old 09-11-2007, 04:45 PM   #9
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Re: Bunion Advice and Orthopaedic Appointment

Hey DarkLight, make sure you ask what procedure your's would be called and search it on the net so it will tell you the estimated recovery time, etc...

 
Old 09-11-2007, 05:15 PM   #10
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Re: Bunion Advice and Orthopaedic Appointment

darklight, it looks like you have no choice but to have the surgery. i think you will feel so much better afterward. recovery takes time, but the main thing is you are not in pain. even though flats are trendy it does not mean they are wide and comfortable. i agree, ask as many questions you can.

 
Old 09-12-2007, 02:08 PM   #11
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Re: Bunion Advice and Orthopaedic Appointment

Hi!

Thank you all again! You are very supportive :-)

It has been a nerve recking decision, each year I put it off and think no, I aa scared, etc. But enough is enough and hopefully the docotor will see sense! I will, if my ortho agrees the surgery, ask what procedure is ideal for me, although I have come across a few procidures but I am still a lil confused, I need to do some more research on this.

As for the screws, it sounds awful, almost as bad as the surgery itself, I do pray that they will use a dissolvable one and hope the bunions don't ever return! kathjack, I have no idea where you had the courage to opt for twilight anesthesia! you are so brave, if I regained conciousness and heard all that noise, etc, I'll sure pass out again!!!

Anyway, my appointment is next tuesday and I will post here on wednesday to let you know how it went. Fingers crossed!

Thank You
:-)

 
Old 09-14-2007, 08:46 AM   #12
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Re: Bunion Advice and Orthopaedic Appointment

"Wakkochic17, thank you! 16 years old is such a young age and running in 3 months sounds great, I guess you were quite lucky. My doctor, well it was more than eight years ago, so I guess the procedures weren’t so great then."

LOL.. I was 16 about 13 years ago (OMG Where does time go!!) But my foot was so bad that I had no option but get the surgery.. maybe your doctor was just being really cautious.. Hope your aptmnt goes well!!!

 
Old 09-22-2007, 03:13 PM   #13
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Re: Bunion Advice and Orthopaedic Appointment

Hi!

Wakkochic17, time flies, before you know it, you are looking back saying, in my time, we didn't do that! You know, I can even recall what I have done since I was 16, cos it's flown by so fast, but one thing I know is those damn bunions have been with me all this time and have made me miserable!

So, I went to my appointment this week, I was so nervous, I hate hospitals with passion because I am afraid of them, I was so afraid just to go to my appointment to see my consultant and take x-rays, that I got a bad headache! Such a friggin chicken!

Anyways, I saw my ortho, he looked at my feet, asked if it hurt when he touched the ball of my foot, and I said no, because it doesn't hurt there, it only hurts when I walk for long periods and wear shoes as opposed to trainers/skate shoes.

So I went for x-rays, when he saw them, he said they are not that bad, but I explained that it affects my job (which it does) and walking in normal shoes, and the fact that I get blisters on my bunions and little toes and swells up, etc. So he initially put me down for the bunion surgery on one foot, consequently, I asked if I will be having both feet done and he said it's better to have one at a time, but I asked to have them both at the same time because I can't take much time off work, I don’t even know if I can take a month off.

So he has put me down for a bilateral (Sp?) and that I now have to wait for an appointment to see the surgeon for test (what tests will I have to have?) and to talk about the surgery. My consultant said that they will have to break the bone and put a screw in it (OUCH!) and that there is a 70% success chance and it might not work for me. This has scared me a lot, I can't imagine having problems with my feet, walking or having to go in and out of hospitals, considering how I feel about them. I wasn’t able to ask any questions, as that’s how it works with consultants an why I have an appointment to see the surgeon, I don’t know how long I’ll have to wait for this.

Overall I am happy that I have the go ahead but I am now VERY nervous!

Thanks :-)

 
Old 09-22-2007, 04:41 PM   #14
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Re: Bunion Advice and Orthopaedic Appointment

Hi, Dark_Light~
Glad to hear things are progressing! As I told you before, I was very happy that I had a bilateral bunionectomy. However, I do strongly recommend that you have as much as possible prepared ahead of time and have support lined up. The tests I had were basically like a getting a physical-- blood work and an echocardiogram, if I remember correctly. Nothing big; all done in a short visit at my regular doctor's office. Since you hate hospitals and procedures so much, having the double surgery will make it so you only have to go through the things that scare you one time. Twilight anesthesia was really easyóEven if you were to wake up during the surgery, the drugs make you extremely relaxed, sleepy, and you canít feel anything thatís happening to your feet, but if you ask the anesthesiologist, he/she may be able to make sure you arenít awake. I was in and out of the hospital in about five hours.
During recovery, be sure to "Listen to your feet". I started walking after about two weeks (a little bit, like from the kitchen to the living room, during the second week)-- I think moving my toes early helped make them flexible, but do NOT overdo it! I think that many of the people I met or heard about who had complications with the surgery tried to do too much too soon. Often it's for good reasons-- getting back to work, taking care of small children, etc., but try to stay off your feet as much as you need to for the first couple of months. (Once you're past the initial pain from surgery, whenever your feet start to hurt or even feel very uncomfortable, try to get off of them immediately and elevate. I continued to elevate and ice my feet for weeks even after I was up and around quite a bit. Like Iíd walk for a mile, then come home and put them up for an hour. DONĒT fret about the screwsóI never felt or saw mine, except on an x-ray.
I walked at least five miles today and remarked to my sister how thrilled I was not to have foot pain. Getting my feet straightened even seemed to get the rest of my body in alignment. I had been waking up in the mornings feeling very stiff, but since the surgery on my feet, I havenít had that problem.
Best wishes. Try not to worry!

 
Old 10-14-2007, 09:59 AM   #15
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Re: Bunion Advice and Orthopaedic Appointment

Hi Kathjack,

I apologise for the late reply, I have been extremley busy and not to mentioned, stressed!

I have my pre-surgery assesment this week, and I was suprised to get such a quick response! They said the assement can take between 2-3hrs!! I am really stressed, I wish I didn't feel like this about hospitals, etc! I really hope they give me sedation on the day of the surgery, becuase I will be fretting and I know I will get a migraine!! If I feel this nervouse about a consultation, I don't even want to know how I will feel on the day of the srugery!

I believe he will tell me the surgery methods ideal for me, etc and also he will tell me the surgery date! :-O Could I ask you how long after surgery is it ok to fly? I just need a genral idea so that I know if the date he recommends will be ok!

I'm not even sure what questions to ask, but I have done a lot of research though!

Wish me luck
:-)

 
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