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Are you happy with your bunion/ crooked toe surgery?

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Old 09-05-2008, 07:13 PM   #1
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Are you happy with your bunion/ crooked toe surgery?


I hope it's okay to take a kind of poll on how those of you who had surgery for a problem similair to mine fared after surgery. About four years ago my right toe which always had a small bunion turned into a big bunion. The big toe then begin to move over toward the second toe.The second toe is lying up against the big toe and if barefoot or wearing flip flops. When I walk a few steps the second toe actually lift up and cross over the big toe. Which is why I don't wear sandals or flip flops in public. Which is sad as I always loved to wear them. The third toe also leans against the second toe.
I tried those pads that go under your foot with elastic strap to hold the lifting/cross over toe down. It still won't stay down.
I went to a podiatrist and he said I needed surgery. He wanted to cut the bunion off then remove a wedge of bone from the big toe , second and third toes, align them and put pins in them. Well, he wanted to fuse the toes along with it but I didn't want a fusion as I would still like to wear at least 2" and under heels. Not pointy high heels but heeled sandals. Even 1 1/2 " and under heels I would be happy if I could wear those sometimes.
I had read on another podiatrist website that fusion is usually reserved for older people who don't plan to be very active or someone with severe arthritis already, which I don't have.
My podiatrist said he wants to fuse the toes to prevent them going back crooked in the future.
Someone told me with fusion you can't bend your toes, nor wear any heeled shoes. Also I'm very active. I hike 3 miles a day and bike 4 miles a day. I dance and swim. I thought with a fusion it my impede some of the things I like to do. I'm a 50 year old female.
My Chiropractor friend said that he isn't crazy about fusing anything uless absolutely necesary as then the joint has reduced flexibility and arthritis can set into the fused joint .
So, If I had it done I would want it done without fusion. My friend had the same problem as me and she didn't get a fusion on her toes and she's a dancer who is dancing again.( and she does wear the pointy toed high heels).Which I wouldn't do.
Sorry this is so long. But can anyone who had the bunion /crooked toe alighment surgery tell me if they were happy with it? Did it heal properly? I heard horror stories about the big toe sticking straight up after surgery and pain lasting much longer then the Dr had predicted.
Are you sorry you had it or glad? Also my toes are long and I assume by taking out bone they will be shorter. Did you notice it being so much shorter then the other foot so as to not want people to see you in sandals?
When healed did you foot look attractive enough to want to wear sandals in public again? Did the left and right foot match up in looks? I hate to sound vain but my left foot is still fairly attractive although I see the bunion getting bigger on that one too and toes starting to lean slightly over. I don't think I'd want it done if I was going to have toes way shorter on the right foot then the left ,and also if my foot is scarred and unnatractive after the surgery healed.
Does the sugery just help align your toes only or do your feet look pretty in sandals again

Your feedback would be greatly appreciated
Thanks. dawn

Last edited by Cheryl6258; 09-05-2008 at 07:17 PM.

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Old 09-05-2008, 08:42 PM   #2
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Re: Are you happy with your bunion/ crooked toe surgery?

If I were you I'd get a second opinion, and unless the bunions are causing you alot of pain, don't have the surgery.
I'm 3 weeks post op from bunion surgery, and I'm not gonna lie, it's been very painful, mostly the first week and a half (child birth was easier lol!)
I had to have the surgery because of complications the bunions were causing me I have 3 stress fractures, 2 on my left first metatarsel and one on my right first metatarsel. I have no cartilige between my big toes and the bone below (bone rubbing on bone both feet)and very bad flat feet and was in severe pain wearing any kind of shoe. Being barefoot even hurt some days.
I now have one desolvable pin in side of my foot and one pin outside of my foot (that will be removed in about 3 more weeks) no bone fusion though. I go back in a few weeks and get to have the other foot done, which I'm not really looking forward to it though but I guess if it has to be done...
My toe is still the same lenght as it was before, as far as the scar, for me it's still to early to tell, I just got my stiches out today (yeah) my toes are still purple and swollen, and still have some pain, not much though. Am I sorry I had it done, yes and no, yes because of the pain and inconveince I'll be off work for about 12 weeks with no income which really sucks. But I'm hoping in the long run I'll have less pain than when I started. Healing time varies from person to person, but my doc said it could take up to a year for it to heal.
But be sure to get a second opinion, I got 3 they all said I needed it.
Hope this helps

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Old 09-06-2008, 06:46 AM   #3
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Re: Are you happy with your bunion/ crooked toe surgery?

I'm four months post-op double bunionectomy with osteotomies (cut bones) on the right foot. This means I had the bunion on the big toe and little toe removed. I did not need a fusion as the joints are in good shape. I will tell you that both toes are slightly shorter, but only I would notice. The big toe is still longer than the other toes. I still have some aches, but nothing severe like the original pain that brought me to have surgery. Don't worry about being vain about your feet. It is difficult to think about a part of your body looking different than it has in the past. I will eventually need the other foot done but am hoping to put that off a few years. I'm glad I did it. I do suggest you research your procedure. Take the forums with a grain of salt as many people who use them may be experiencing a difficult recovery (that is what brought me to the board initially). The board has been a great source of support and information to me. I haven't posted in many weeks because I'm doing better. Good Luck with whatever you choose to do.

Old 09-06-2008, 09:55 AM   #4
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Re: Are you happy with your bunion/ crooked toe surgery?

I had what sounds like the same problem, but I'd had my bunions for many years before I finally had surgery. I was 56 when I had a double bunionectomy/hammertoes surgery. (I'm 58 now.) I did not have fusion and am totally mobile. I've occasionally worn heels since the surgery, but only ones that are about 2" high. I think my feet look fine, although one of my second toes curves a bit. It isn't noticeable and since it doesn't hurt, I don't care. If my big toes are shorter, I can't tell. (They were pretty bent before.) My feet aren't perfect, but they're much better both in appearance, and most importantly, freedom from pain.

Old 09-06-2008, 07:57 PM   #5
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Re: Are you happy with your bunion/ crooked toe surgery?

Thank you to those who responded. My foot actually doesn't hurt when I am barefoot or if I wear extra wide shoes or shoes with a stretch etc. but it makes it hard to find any shoes that are half way attractive. I avoid open toeed shoes now which are my favorite for summer( I live in Florida). My husband thinks I should leave it alone because I might be sorry if I end up being in worse pain after I should have healed, then before I had it. I have a friend who had the surgery and she is now sorry she did. It's been three years and she said before the surgery it only hurt after a day on her feet at work. Now she said she wakes up in pain.
I had another friend who had it done and was back to her dancing classes within six weeks.
I'm tempted to leave it as is except second toe that lifts up sometimes rubs the top of my shoe. But when I walk barefoot or in flip flops, the second toe lifts up and crosses over the first one and with the other toes leaning over it makes it so my toes aren't lying on the floor properly, so I don't walk like I should. And then there's the vanity aspect. I always loved to wear sandals and flip flops and now feel self conscious about it. The toe crossing over really bothers me, actually more then the bunion does.
I'd get the surgery if I thought I wouldn't be in more pain after I healed then before and wishing I had never done it. I don't mind pain during recovery. But some people on some foot forums have posted about it being a year and they still hurt so bad they can't resume normal activities, or they had to severely curtail their activites they normally do.
Foot hurt too much to fit in nice shoes.
Some said they wish they never had it done. So, I wanted to kind of note how many people were really happy about their surgery
I spent a very sad spring & summer caring for my terminally ill mother . Then moving into Hospice with her the last 10 days of her life. While caring for her I couldn't even leave the house to walk. So, I'm making up for it now by walking and cycling which keeps me from being too depressed about the whole thing.
So, for now I am putting off surgery because I couldn't stand not being able to walk or ride my bike everyday for several weeks. At least not right now.
So this will be maybe something I would do later this year. I just don't want to be worse off after the surgery when I heal, then before.
Thanks again for the response.
Cheryl dawn

Old 09-07-2008, 09:24 AM   #6
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Re: Are you happy with your bunion/ crooked toe surgery?

Cheryl, I think the trick to getting a good outcome is to pick your doctor carefully and then to follow post-op instructions to to the letter. Ask around and see if you can find a doctor who has experience, a good reputation and who you can communicate with. Then get serious about being ready to stay off your feet for as long as he/she recommends. Too many people think accepting a long recovery time is "conservative" and that it somehow does not apply to them. I was on the couch for about 6 weeks with my foot up in the air and also slept that way. Now, 3 months later, I just took an advanced dance class with big jumps and turns and there was very little that I could not do yet. And I have no pain. But I let my foot be undisturbed for many weeks for both the blood vessels and bone to heal first. Good luck!

Old 09-08-2008, 07:33 AM   #7
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Re: Are you happy with your bunion/ crooked toe surgery?

dncergrl what kind of surgery did you have? Was it for a problem similiar to mine?
One friend who had a similiar surgery did say she exactly followed the Dr advice and maybe that is why she is doing well. But I have heard from people who claim they did follow his advice and aren't doing well at all. That's what scares me. I guess it also depends on what Dr you had to do the surgery. A woman who regularly posted on the forum who's husband used to be on a medical board at a major hospital said to remember that some doctors graduated at the very bottom of their class and might not be very good at what they're doing. She said her husband said even the worst medical student can eventually get his medical licese by taking the test over and over again until he finally passes it.
Maybe only the dissatisfied ones posted to the forum. Some were still posting to the forum 6 months and even one year later about being in worse pain then before. Some said they used to dance or run and hike and can't anymore, when before,e ven with screwed up feet they could. If I don't walk or bike I get depressed. And I can do that now if I wear bunion pads and very wide shoes. So, my compliant is partly due to some pain and 50 % due to vanity and the bad looks my feet have this way. I would love to be able to wear opened toed shoes again without being embarressed. As it is now I started forcing myself to wear some old sandals and when the toes crosses over I try to inconspiously lean down and push it back into alignment. That last about 10 mins before it lifts and crosses over again. I live in Florida and I always wore sandals and flip flops until about four years ago when my bunion got bigger and toes started leaning over and second toe overlapping the big one.
I'm not usually a vain person but this really bugs me. I see elderly ladies with nice pedicures trying on pretty sandals and fancy flip flops in the shoe stores and I feel envious. I would like to wear normal shoes also and not have a big bunion rubbing against them getting raw. Plus not have my second toe lifted up getting rubbed raw on the top of my shoe. So, it's also medical. But more vanity then medical.
I could hold off walking and hiking during recovery.Tellimg myself I will have straight toes and pretty feet again and plan on what comfy but cute sandals I will soon be wearing. But I would be kind of distressed if I did what I was told after surgery and several months later I am in great pain and unable to walk but one block without pain like some others said happened with them . Maybe the ones who are happy with the surgery leave the forum and go on with thier active lives and that's why I don't hear more from the ones who had happy outcomes.
I'm happy your worked out so well.
Were you able to go out at all those six weeks? Due to a bad car accident I had last year I go to the chiropractor 2 days a week for stretching and adjustment. I wonder if I would have to give that up during the whole recovery time? I'd hate my back and neck to get worse.
I would of course take a couple weeks off from going to the chiropractor due to pain from just having the surgery, but if it was more then that I think the good he's been doing straigtening my spine might be undone. He doesn't touch my foot, just has me lift it gently during the adjustment. When I get a once a month exam he has me bend it but he would totally leave my foot alone I'm sure, during recovery.
I'm sorry this is so long. I really , really want to be sure I'm doing the right thing. My hubby thinks I should leave it alone . We don't have insurance although we have a savings and he would pay for it out of that. It's not so much the money. He's scared I'll have a bad outcome and be crying about how I wish I never had it done. He thinks Dr often botch things more then they help due to some of our past experience with them. And we're the ones that will have to live with the outcome. On one foot forum a Podiatirst was honest enough to say that the bones and ligaments in the feet do not take kindly to being cut into. That other body parts often respond better to surgery then feet. Maybe that's why some people don't do too well after surgery . Plus like you said. not allowing time to heal and instead going out and doing activites. I would only go to my Chiropractor and back. I live in the Lakeland, FL area. Not far from Tampa, Orlando and Winterhaven. I wonder if anyone can recomend a good DRin those areas that they had a fantastic outcome with.( private email if they can't post it here. ) I can't go to the one my friend had the good outcome with. I did and he was nice but he's the one that wanted to do the fusion on me and got kind of perturbed at me when I cancelled the surgery a week before it was scheduled. I would have kept the surgery appointment but I started doing research that said fusion should be a last resort after other methods failed or if you had totally destroyed toe joints or arthritis , which I had neither. He was going to use it for a "first resort". So, I cancelled and he said I was just being a chicken and said "So, this is how it's going to be after all the paper work and calling I did for you to to get you a discount with the anesthesiologist and surgical center etc. " No, I was being cautious. I have to live with the results and he gets to take the money and go home.

Old 09-08-2008, 07:59 AM   #8
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Re: Are you happy with your bunion/ crooked toe surgery?


How long was it before the pain subsided enough where you could take a walk around the block without thinking much about it? Did you have to keep your foot up for several weeks and not allowed to go out of the house to even do a quick errand?
How long before you could wear sandals again with confidence?
Does it hurt anymore? I could take an occasional ache, like months after it's supposed to be healed. Like if I was on my feet too long or took to long of a walk. I could handle that being the reason they ached just a bit. I just wouldn't want to be one of those people who said it just hurt constantly, even when doing nothing, several months after the surgery. We don't have insurance and could come up wit the $$ for the first time around from our savings. But would not have the money to have it redone if it went wrong or there were complications.

Old 09-08-2008, 08:34 AM   #9
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Re: Are you happy with your bunion/ crooked toe surgery?

I was only totally off my feet for two weeks (and even then I was allowed to walk to the bathroom using my surgical sandals-- I walked like a robot). During that time I elevated (and iced) my feet constantly. The pain was very bearable except for about two days when a nerve was being pinched, presumably by swollen internal tissue. At the two-week point, I got into extra wide gym shoes and started walking a little at a time-- No pain, maybe a little aching. I think I went around the block at about a month and added about a block a week. Seems like I could walk about a mile at eight weeks, although more slowly than normal. "Listen to your feet" was my doctor's advice. When they started to hurt at all, I stopped and elevated them again. I was very fortunate to be able to borrow an electric wheelchair which I used as a little mini-car to get around town during the first month post-surgery-- went to the park, library, store, etc. so I didn't feel housebound. I had my surgery in mid-May and in late August started a job (teaching in an old school) that required walking up several flights of stairs and being on my feet for many hours at a time. I had no pain/no problem. For me, one issue was age. Bunions never get better. Mine were gettting bad enough that the deformity was starting to affect more parts of my feet, causing pain in new places, like the top of my instep. Arthritis was also beginning to be a factor. Eventual surgery was inevitable. I decided why wait until I was in my 60's and the procedure was even more complicated due to further deformity (and thus would have less chance of success) and I would have lost a decade of freedom from pain. I also love walking and biking-- I've even started doing some running. I know it's a hard decision to make. For me, it was a lot about timing. I would have liked to have done it years ago, but needed it to work out so that I could have the time off from work for recovery as well as insurance to pay. I hope you are able to make the right decision-- As I said, the bottom line for me was, "Will I eventually HAVE to have the surgery, and if so, is there any advantage to waiting?" If the answer to the first question is yes, I'd talk to a couple more doctors. Best wishes!

Old 09-08-2008, 08:39 AM   #10
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Re: Are you happy with your bunion/ crooked toe surgery?

Hi Cheryl,
From reading your posts, it sounds like you are thinking about having bunion surgery but aren't quite there yet in deciding to have the surgery. It sounds like you are not going to have surgery just yet and your feet aren't in so much pain that it really bugs you just yet. You talk about how your foot looks more than the pain it is causing you. Perhaps now is not the right time for you to have surgery. I don't want to sound pro-surgery because obviously I am biased and for me I had to have the surgery, but you should think about what is down the road. Unfortunately, bunion problems do not get better, they get worse and you can do things to slow down the rate at which they worsen like getting orthotics and proper footwear. If you do nothing and your foot worsens, you can possibly end up in a wheelchair and vanity has no bering at this point and you will be picking out the color of your wheelchair instead of toenail polish. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh but I want to impress upon you that when it comes to your feet, things can become very serious.

Old 09-08-2008, 10:47 AM   #11
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Re: Are you happy with your bunion/ crooked toe surgery?

i could have sworn i posted, but oh well. it sounds like you are not ready for surgery. first, you have to go to the best ortho foot specialist you can. i had my big toe fused almost 2 years ago due to a failed bunionectomy. i was 50 and so depressed. i knew it had to be done because of the terrible pain i was in. well, it worked and i can do everything with foot. playing singles in tennis is the hardest. i do not like the way my foot looks, but i guess i got used to it. i can wear over 2 in. heels and some are pointy. i will wear the blaniks when i dont have to do walking-when i go out to dinner. i ski, exercise and hike. i felt exactly as you did. recovery does take a long time. when you are ready-you will know. good luck

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Old 09-08-2008, 03:09 PM   #12
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Re: Are you happy with your bunion/ crooked toe surgery?

Hi debbie g, I was wondering about your big toe fusion. My doctor recommended that to me since my two bunion surgeries are still causing pain. But I was wondering how you are able to walk since you can't bend your toe anymore. How do you walk normal, do you have a limb? And you said you can where heels two inches high? Are you able to run? I am very curious to know about all of this, also what was your recovery like? thanks.

Old 09-08-2008, 03:28 PM   #13
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Re: Are you happy with your bunion/ crooked toe surgery?

Hi Cheryl6258 - I was like you. I was totally ashamed of the way my feet looked. I always buried them in the sand at the beach and never wore sandals that showed my toes. It got to the point where the big toe on my right foot was crossing over the second toe and pushing up through the top of my shoe. I asked my medical doctor who the best foot surgeon was in my county and he told me. That is who I went to. He did not push me for surgery (I can't really say I was in pain - although the bunion area was getting numb). He said I would know when I was ready.

I decided two years ago to have the right foot done. My bunion was big and the metatarsul bone had to be fused. Initially he told me I was going to be able to walk right away but I woke up with a cast on my leg and wound up being nonweightbearing for a total of 8 weeks. The pain was no where near as bad as I thought it would be. The recovery was long and slow (foot swelling for quite a while).

Now I'm very happy I had it done (while I was still able to maneuver around on crutches - I'm 59). I've actually scheduled to have my left foot done October 3rd. I can't wait till next summer when I'm not ashamed to show off my feet. They are not perfect but I can walk over 2 1/2 miles, bike ride and do whatever I want and they don't bother me.

As my doctor said "you will know when you are ready". Good luck and keep us posted on what you decide.

Mary in NY

Old 09-10-2008, 11:14 AM   #14
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Re: Are you happy with your bunion/ crooked toe surgery?

I a glad you are happy, I had a Austin/Akin bunionectomy and 2nd metatarsal shortening on April 4 and still am having pain. The bone has healed fine, MRI shows swelling in some muscles of the foot. I have a rather large staple where the bunion was because of a cystic area that did not show up on x-ray. I had a second opinion on the surgery and it was suggested that the hardware be removed along with scar tissue. I am in central New York and I went to a reputable doctor. Any advice what to do? I had the surgery and the 2nd metatarsal because the ball of the foot was painful (and still is) - not because of the bunion itself hurting. ANY comments/advice are appreciated.

Old 10-01-2008, 08:33 AM   #15
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Re: Are you happy with your bunion/ crooked toe surgery?

I had toes on my left foot straighten when I had bunion surgery in Jan. I wish I hadn't had them done. I can't bend the toes and yes they are shorter and don't match the other foot. I can wear my heels, at first it hurt, but it got better because I will wear heels, I love them. They do not hurt now, but it has been almost 9 months. Open toe shoes do not look good, so I have to wear tights or hose with them if at all possible. Flip flops look awful so they are out for me. But I know that everyone is different and yours may look good. That is just my experience.

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