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Old 11-17-2008, 03:05 PM   #1
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fusion after bunion/hammertoe surgery

I had bunion/hammertoe surgery on my left foot 2 1/2 years ago. The bunion required two screws for the repair and the rigid hammertoe had a portion of the joint removed. I recovered from the surgery without complications except that the foot still has pain, swelling and inflamation. There is no infection or stress fracture. Current x-rays show that my big toe is now too short (although the joint space is good) and this has apparently shifted my weight bearing to the 2nd and 3rd toes. The 2nd toe (which had the hammertoe repair) is now out of alignment and is not attached properly at the base joint. (doc says it comes 30-40% out of the joint). The 2nd toe also has some bone degeneration.

There are two surgical options being offered. The first is to fuse the big toe to create length and the second is to add an artificial bone graft to create length without fusing the joint.

I'm a 52 year old female teacher. I have constant pain in my foot as well as muscle spasms and some "nerve" type pain.

I'm worried about how much function will I lose if I choose to have the fusion of the big toe. Does anyone have any advice?

 
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Old 11-18-2008, 04:44 PM   #2
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Re: fusion after bunion/hammertoe surgery

i so hope you go for at least 2 more opinions with an ortho foot specialist. toe fusion means you will never be able to bend the big toe-its final. your style of shoes will be different and its a long recovery. i had it done at 50 and thank goodness i am fine. no more pain and i can actually wear cute shoes. its been 2 years and the swelling keeps going down! i had it done because the bunionectomy i had did not work.

 
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Old 11-20-2008, 12:07 PM   #3
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Re: fusion after bunion/hammertoe surgery

I've taken your advice....I saw the ortho today. He doesn't recommend fusing the big toe (says the joint is fine so why mess with it. He says the tendon is too tight and needs something, I'm not sure what). He did say that my 2nd toe is dislocated and needs surgery to be fixed.

I'm going to the foot/ankle surgeon on Dec. 2.

Wish me luck...I'd like to walk like a normal person before I forget where I wanted to go!!!!

 
Old 11-20-2008, 03:06 PM   #4
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Re: fusion after bunion/hammertoe surgery

i am so glad you went for another opinion! yea to no fusion. just to let you know, 1 dr told me my 2nd toe was dislocated and had that surgery. it didnt work. i finally found a great dr and he said the tendon tore apart and performed a different surgery. it worked!!! please be careful.

 
Old 12-06-2008, 08:13 AM   #5
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Re: fusion after bunion/hammertoe surgery

Hello dai3symae and debbie g, I don't know if either of you can help me or not. Here is a little about my history. I had lapidus bunion surgery Aug 2007, well something was not done right. My big toe was too short, my second toe was too long. I was in horrible pain, could not walk right, could not were any type of shoes comfortably (even sneakers), and the swelling was uncontrollable. That surgery was performed by a POD.

So I then went for a second opinion, a foot and ankle orthro specialist. She recommend a lot of surgery. I felt I had no choice, I was in so much pain and depressed horribly, I just had to do something. So surgery was done on April 2, 2008. Well she lengthened my by big toe by doing a bone graft with bone from my hip, shortened the second toe, fixed a tailors bunion, did a heal osteotomy. The recovery was long, tooo long.

But the problem is I am still in uncontrollable pain. I am still having terrible pain at the ball of my foot. I am still not walking right. I can not wear any shoes comfortably. I feel like my heal is in the wrong place, I feel like my knees are bending inward, which of course is causing me knee pain now. NONE of my toes touch the floor now. I just can't take it anymore.

So I went for a third opinion to Philadelphia to a foot and ankle ortho doctor. He looked at my xrays and any dr should be able to tell that the fusion has not healed fully. So that now needs to be re-done. But he also suggested other things as well, possible fusion of the big toe, something with the second toe. He would not tell me a whole lot cause he said he needed a CT scan. Which I am having done on Monday and then go back to see him.

I never had pain or limitations before the first surgery, I am just stupid enough to listen to a rude and dishonest doctor. But I want my life back, somehow. I am very very depressed right now, I don't even want to get out of bed, I am not looking forward to the holidays. And I have a wonderful 4 year old daughter who has suffered through all of this. She has dealt with an angry mother too long.

So my questions are about the fusion. What will my life be like after that. I want to be able to wear heels again. I am not asking to wear 4 inch heals, but a nice pair of 2-2.5 inch would be great. A nice pair of loafers would be great also, anything except ugly sneakers. I want to get up in the morning and step out of bed and not think about my foot anymore. Is this possible? How long did it take you to wake up in morning and the first thing you think about is NOT your foot. All I think about is my feet anymore. Is your life pretty normal, pain free, can you walk normal, run if you need to, jump? All the normal thins in life. I want to feel normal.

How many surgeries did you have debbie g? I know you said your first surgery didn't work, how many until it did work? Are you pain free now, are you living a normal life? You also said you found a great doctor, could you share his name with me, I am willing to go anywhere to find a great doctor who could help me.

I would appreciate any help you could give. I am sorry this is so long, I just need to find some answers soon before I go off the deep end.

Thank you so much!!!

 
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Old 12-06-2008, 02:34 PM   #6
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Re: fusion after bunion/hammertoe surgery

hi, i dont know what kind of fusion you are talking about. is it big toe fusion? if so, i had that done and would be more than glad to tell you my experience. let me know. debbie

 
Old 12-06-2008, 07:43 PM   #7
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Re: fusion after bunion/hammertoe surgery

Hello debbie g. Yes it would be a big toe fusion. I already had the lapidus fusion which is the mid-foot fusion. That is the one that did not fully heal, and will need to be re-done at some point. I would love to hear about your experience with the fusion and whole foot saga. I am only 28 years old and need to find a way to live a normal life cause right now it is not working for me. And I am finding it hard to except my situation right now. Any advice you could give or share your experience would be wonderful. Thank you so much.

 
Old 12-07-2008, 03:36 PM   #8
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Re: fusion after bunion/hammertoe surgery

hi bunion, i had to have big toe fusion after a failed bunionectomy. i had the fusion when i was 50 and that was 2 years ago. i am such an active person even playing singles in tennis. this saga is about 3 years old. the pain and the surgeries were horrible. the fusion was the last option. i had to wear a cast for 9 weeks and then went into a walking boot for 4 more weeks. it has taken 2 years for the swelling to go all the way down. it was a very depressing time for me. the fusion at least worked. i now can wear cuter shoes with a 2 and a half in. heel. they cant be very pointy because my fused toe sticks up about 10 degrees. i am back to tennis playing doubles and i can ski. i work out all the time. the only hard thing from this surgery is summer shoes. my toe wont grasp so therefore i cant wear flip flops. winter shoes have more support. open toe sandals are hard to wear and the ones that fit are pretty ugly. we are going on a criuse soon and i have to see which shoes will fit. anyway, all fusions are different. if it will take away pain then do it, but it is the final solution. what i can say now after 2 years is-it wasnt as bad as i expected. you might be a different case and healing wont take as long. get all details from your dr and let me know. good luck.

 
Old 12-07-2008, 05:35 PM   #9
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Re: fusion after bunion/hammertoe surgery

Hi debbie g, thanks for your reponse. I don't go back to see the new doctor until Dec.22. I will let you know then. Can you walk normal with your toe fused? Do you have a limp or anything? You can wear heels that 2.5 inches high, can you walk normal in them? Can you walk long distance without pain? I am having a horrible horrible time dealing with this. I am so soo sooo depressed right now, I can not wear any shoes right, sneakers are uncomfortable also. I just want my life back or a somewhat normal life back. All I think about are feet, I wake up in the morning and think about my feet first thing, I look at other people's feet, watch the way they walk. I never thought about feet that much, it is just destroying my life.
I am having knee pain, I don't think my feet are aligned right. My toes don't touch the floor. I hate this, why do doctors tell you they can fix it, but only make it worse.
This doctor did tell me it is not fixable, but maybe improvable. Not exactly what I wanted to hear.
thanks for you response and I would appreciate any insight you can give.
Thanks.

 
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Old 12-08-2008, 02:51 PM   #10
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Re: fusion after bunion/hammertoe surgery

i was just like you. all i could think about were feet and shoes. i hope you are seeing a great specialist. i cant walk long distances in most of my shoes. i would say my gym shoes would be most comfortable for long distance or touring. i have a pair of cute slip on gyms shoes by ecco and that works fine. at least they dont look clunky. you have to calm yourself down if you can because if fusion is the answer it will only help. when you have it done i can tell you brand names of shoes that are cute and comfortable. in fact i just recieved a pair today(ordered on line) and i will walk in them all evening. they are open toe casual slides which will be great for my cruise and next summer. there is hope and you have to believe that. my only concern is that you are seeing the right dr. debbie

 
Old 12-09-2008, 06:17 PM   #11
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Re: fusion after bunion/hammertoe surgery

Thanks debbie, my concern is the same, AM I SEEING THE RIGHT SPECIALIST? How do you know? I thought my first two doctors were good. The long distance walking is a real concern for me, I work on my feet all day long. 8-10 hours and I am standing most of that time. So I am very worried about that, I can't lose my job. Also, I have a four year old daughter, I want to be able to do things with her. I don't know what to think anymore, this was to be a simple thing. But here I am over a year later, SOOO FRUSTRATING. I guess I will know more after the 22nd. I hope I can continue to ask you questions. Thanks alot.

 
Old 12-10-2008, 04:35 PM   #12
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Re: fusion after bunion/hammertoe surgery

you can ask me all the questions you want. after following advice from this board-1 person in particular- i went to a foot ortho specialist that works on the chicago bulls and i think cubs. what a difference i found-he was my third dr. maybe you can do the same. i so know how frustrated you are especially having a young child. research the doctors. by the way, the cute sandals that i ordered which are wide do not fit. i am so upset. i just cant find summer shoes and i am so frustrated that i actually screamed in my closet today. i hate ugly old lady shoes and i wont wear them.

 
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Old 12-11-2008, 04:47 PM   #13
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Re: fusion after bunion/hammertoe surgery

HI debbie, I am very sorry about your shoes. That is one thing that really really frustrates me. I am only 27 and I can not wear any shoes, not sneakers, not loafers, not flats, not heals, not boots. It just plain sucks. That is why I am really scared about another surgery. I will have to look around here and find a doctor that works on a local sports team. The closest would be the philadelphia eagles or baltimore ravens, they are both about two hours away. But I am willing to travel anywhere to find the right doctor. Can you tell me what your doctors name is? Maybe if it is not to far I would travel. Thank you so much for all your help. I am sure I will have more questions after my appointment on the 22nd. thanks again.

 
Old 12-11-2008, 06:55 PM   #14
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Re: fusion after bunion/hammertoe surgery

i am sure you wouldnt want to come to chicago. call the sports team office and ask who they use for ortho foot specialist. if you cant wear any shoes now, you have to have something done. but it has to be with the most quaified dr even if he is 2 hours away. mine is 1 hour away. you can also post another thread asking people on this board who they reccomend in your area. you are so young to be going thru all this crap. my feet started going bad in my lower 30's. i was always so active. the first bunion surgery i had was when my daughter was 2 years old due to tap dancing. he ruined my foot. i hate doctors, but when they help it is so good. i went to nordstoms today and bought 3 pairs of shoes and i am trying to stretch them. i wont bring them on the cruise with me most likely(they are sandals) unless i feel extreme comfort walking in them at home. they are returnable within a year. i know i will be having another surgery sometime next spring and the thought of it makes me want to vomit.

 
Old 12-16-2008, 06:20 PM   #15
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Re: fusion after bunion/hammertoe surgery

Hi debbie, at this point I will travel anywhere to get a good doctor who can help me. I am soooo depressed and frustrated through all of this. It just plain sucks. Why do you have to have another surgery in the spring? I am sure I will have a ton of questions after my appointment next monday. I hope he says he can help me. How do you know if you are going to a high qualified and experienced surgeon? I don't know how to tell, to me the first two seemed good, but well they were not. What type of questions should I ask him? Thanks debbie for all your help.

 
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