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Old 09-16-2011, 03:34 AM   #1
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Bunion Surgery gone horribly wrong

Hi All

I couldn't find the correct thread to put this. But i need to make everyone that may go through this surgery aware of what may happen.
First of all do not attend to Podiatric Surgeon. They have no clue what they are doing. If you have a problem with your feet please visit an Orthopedic Foot and Ankle surgeon.
Secondly, i had surgery with a "podiatric surgeon" in Sydney Australia, who has been around for a while. Claims that the surgery is like a walk in the park. Which is a load of B.S. I am 24 years old, went in feeling healthy came out with Osteoarthritis due to the fact my toe was broken to be straightened. I did NOT need surgery. He practically sold it to me. I was so trusting and believed him. He really scared me and told me if i don't do it now it is going to get bigger. Mind you my bunion wasn't even visible, he also said that i will have major problems with my feet. After exercising and doing all that he told me for 4 months i was in excruciating pain. He said that i have had a bone overgrowth. I trusted him again because i just wanted the pain to go away. He shaved the top of my toe joint, it was a mini cheilectomy.
Things did not get better, i made an appointment with an Orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon and after examining me, he found i no longer have a normal joint and my cartilage has been ruined. I am unable to move my toe, it is stiff and i am in constant pain. The orthopaedic surgeon just went in and cleaned out my joint because there were loose fragments in between my joints. He has not cured me as it can't be reversed.
No one understands how distressing it is, to go in feeling normal with an active lifestyle to wearing any shoes i want, coming out constantly in pain and having ugly painful feet.
Please people, please don't visit a podiatrist for surgery. It always brings me to tears, i wish to have my lifestyle back to the way it was 6 months ago. If your feet are feeling normal and no pain, please don't listen to anyone that tells you they will get worse later, they wont. When they do you can deal with them and see a specialist orthopedic foot and ankle. Now i am $20k out of pocket with pain that i just pray every day to go away. I can not stress it enough. Think a million times before doing it.

If you have further questions please ask.

 
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Old 09-16-2011, 12:11 PM   #2
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Re: Bunion Surgery gone horribly wrong

How sad to hear this has happened to you. I can relate to foot pain and needing orthotics, not being able to wear any shoes I want and bunion...although I haven't had any surgery, the thought of what you went through would be cause for anyone to realise second opinions with a guaranteed specialist is important.

I hope you're able to regain more mobility eventually.

Thanks for sharing your experience.
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Old 05-23-2012, 06:05 AM   #3
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Re: Bunion Surgery gone horribly wrong

Hi Bones,

first of all, I want to thank you for taking the time to share your experience. I really feel that letting each other know in this way of things that worked and things that went horribly wrong is extremely important. When we are patients with a specialist, they have so much authority. At the end of the day, you can often feel shafted. Especially if their reputation is supposed to be good and essentially you are scared of things getting worse, and inclined to trust what seems like the only person who can help you!

I also wanted to validate your grief at this unfolding of events. In particular the irreversible nature. I have degenerative flat feet and PTTD (posterior tibial tendon dysfunction). I am getting to the point where I can't really walk properly after having had a bunch of fairly useless orthotics for years. However, I am very conscious, from browsing Healthboards >_< that actually surgery could make things WORSE. It's really difficult when you're young, too - I'm 32 - you want to improve your quailty of life. Not irreversibly damage it. I was suggested to have a tenotomy when I was about your age or younger. This involves cutting the tendon in my second toe, which is a claw toe, and inserting a steel post. In the end, I just couldn't go through with it. (It would have been in the public system also.) I will never really know if it was the right or wrong decision. The claw toes are uncomfortable and part of my overall lame gait (in the literal sense!) - but I can live with them.

I just wanted to say I'm so sorry that you have had to go through this - that you have had to pay for it and to that amount - and that you have experienced great and ongoing loss which is invisible to others. I know how important that last part is.

Are things any better now, or are they the same?

I am in pain now - but I worry that the pain can absolutely get a lot worse. The operation indicated for my condition involves tendon transfer and cutting of the bone and I find it a terrifying concept.

Surgery seems like such a gamble in many ways - things could get a lot better - or they could get a lot worse. I really don't know what to think. I would avoid it if I could but like you I am being told that it will get worse. And unlike you, I can feel my underlying condition getting worse ... so I don't even know if I'll have much of a choice.

I wish you so much healing. What happened to you is not fair. You deserve relief from pain. Don't we all? It's the irreversible aspects of things that can be very hard to accept. I struggle with this myself and it's what I struggle with when it comes to the idea of surgery. I wish you all the best.

 
Old 05-24-2012, 04:20 PM   #4
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Re: Bunion Surgery gone horribly wrong

Totally agree, had a bunionectomy in 2008 - will still in pain. Had little cartilage left and sesamoid pain; ended up doing a 1st MTP fusion. Still pain, so the fibial sesamoid was removed in October 2011. I have burning and tingling and difficulty walking and standing. Now seeing a foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon who told me foot surgery is tricky. I worry about my other foot - he took an x-ray and told me not to do surgery. I wish I could go back in time and not had foot surgery. It literally ruined my life. I was so active. Very depressing and as you say; feel no one understands. If I did not have a desk job I could not work. I live alone and can no longer mow my yard even. My quality of life is poor. A trama surgeon told me foot surgery is not an "easy surgery." I wish I could go back, I feel like a crippled at 51.

 
Old 05-24-2012, 05:11 PM   #5
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Re: Bunion Surgery gone horribly wrong

Am so sorry you have had this happen. Not knowing more details, is a fusion possible? What about resurfacing - is that even available there?

 
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Old 05-25-2012, 09:47 PM   #6
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Re: Bunion Surgery gone horribly wrong

Oh, so sorry to hear that you are suffering too, Chubstercat.

I completely understand about the full impact when mobility goes out the window. I am 32 and so much seems impossible. There is no recognition, so constantly I feel like a social pariah whose incapacities are due to personal rather than medical failings. People don't know what my feet are like unless I take my shoes off and show them. Then they get it to an extent. But still not really. I was finally diagnosed with PTTD the day before yesterday, had to wait for months to see a surgeon in the public system for a couple of minutes, and could get hardly any info out of him, it's like a circus there. I don't want to have any surgery done in the public system, not this kind of surgery, it will be done by a trainee, but I don't have insurance. I want to get some basic hospital cover in case I have no choice but to have this operation - but am on disability benefits and can't even cover the cost of a single specialist appointment or appropriate new shoes. I live in a place with stairs. Have no real support. Can't stand the fact I just can't do things. So many things.

Doctors themelves are mildly sympathetic, but not really that supportive.

There's an operation they can do called tendon transfer which will probably involve osteotomy. It really scares me. All the Healthboard posts I read about it seem to indicate that it is a really difficult operation to come back from. It's difficult to see how my life could be more compromised, but when people share their experiences of worsened pain, it starts to look like a potentially inevitable side effect of foot surgery. >_< I feel like I'm staring into an abyss here but the world behind me is collapsing and that I might have no option but to jump... into a place that might be worse.

Chubstercat, my best wishes to you too. Again, you were trying to improve your quality of life, and an outcome of severe pain is cruel. I feel very concerned about the seeming tons of people who has had musculoskeletal intervention with poor outcomes but all just wanted to feel like they could begin to do the things they enjoy/need to do again.

I feel sick at the idea of surgery on my feet, but it's difficult when it's a degenerative condition, the foot is actually collapsing and orthotics do nothing.

I get very frustrated that we can make all sorts of stuff happen out of tiny little screens and circuitboards, we can fly to the moon, but when it comes to relief for conditions which cause chronic pain in humans, the options are so limited. I'm getting really sad and frustrated (for all of us) - I try and think constructively about what can be done, but sometimes pain is horrendous and limitations are very difficult to accept. I always get told to meditate but ironically when I did a course in mindfulness recently the instructor had few suggestions for me when I explained that pain constantly interfered. Therefore I find the suggestion annoying and yet it's constantly spruiked because there's idea that if the pain is chronic, well.. :S

I did hear about a specific new painkiller that was free of addictive side profile and did not depress the central nervous system like opiates, nor cause the side-effects of neuropathic pain meds like gabapentin. It was developed by Science Daily, I'm not sure yet if it's legit to post a link. I saw articles on this in 2011 that suggested it would be available within a year, however, when I checked most recently I could not find out much more about it. It is supposed to directly stop nerve signals to the brain along the "sodium channel", I believe, and is purported to be revolutionary as a pain treatment. However, who knows if it will even get approved in the end, etc. I admit I have depended somewhat on the idea that that WILL be developed. I feel that the available methods of trying to cope with these conditions kinda suck.

I hope my post does not is not too negative. I just feel really bad that it seems surgery was indicated in my case and I don't even have an opportunity even have a conversation about what that might mean until the MRI comes back. Which will not be until October. The clinic itself is an alarming experience, to have so little conversation about something so pivotal. He just said they can "fix it". I feel like, well, sure, they can try and fix it, but am I going to be up one level in the world of pain? I just have this hunch that I will be. And in the meantime, I cannot live life, am not working and struggling to get by.

It would be nice for there to be some kind of other option... >_>

My best wishes to all of you, I hope that by mentioning my own situation I haven't seemed to depart from your own specific experience. I just am really feeling this intense ambivalence for foot surgery and have great feelings of empathy to anyone who has had or is facing something like it! And as you say no one understands. No one I come into contact with anyway, which is not many people these days because I can't get around. It is cathartic to at least vent about it.

Chubstercat, your concerns about your other foot - is it also a bunion?

I really hope that some options unfold for all of us which improve our quality of life and reduce level of pain at least to a degree. I depend on the idea of this in medicine. Often the idea has failed, but sometimes, all it takes is for something to suddenly emerge. Only then does it seem to be acknowledged that a particular field of treatment resulted in many patients not receiving adequate treatment, or treatment even worsening a condition. But it's time that we need on our side there, and I think what everyone can appreciate is the sense of loss of time. Chubstercat, beyond wishing you recovery, and relief for your other foot, I wish my feet were okay and that I could mow the lawn for you. But from my kind of experience, I know it would not be the same as doing it yourself, and I bet you are frustrated when you see overgrown grass. Overgrown grass seems like a metaphor for my life right now! -_- Ugh.

Best wishes to all.

 
Old 05-26-2012, 08:31 AM   #7
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Re: Bunion Surgery gone horribly wrong

Thank you for the kind words. I love your avatar. Well the foot and ankle ortho surgeon took x-ray of other foot (yes buntion as well) and advised me not to have surgery. I do wear a gel spacer between the big toe and second and have orthotics. The podiatirst who took my sesamoid out looked at that foot (did not take x-ray ) and told me it will need surgery. I fear of ending up in a wheelchair. Yes, I would love to mow the yard. Here it is a holiday weekend and I am spending it sitting as much as I can. I haven't been up on my foot long and it is already burning and tingling. Had nerve study (EMG) and that was normal. Foot and ankle ortho ordered CT scan and I see him next week for results. I know people will find this hard to believe, but foot surgery literally ruined my life. Best of luck to you and to those with pain.

 
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Old 05-27-2012, 08:13 AM   #8
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Re: Bunion Surgery gone horribly wrong

Hi Chubstercat,

oh, you're more than welcome. here's a *hug*, as for some reason it won't let me do it. (Computers..) Thank you for the compliment on my avatar! It is a Japanese artist, I'm trying to remember his name.

I completely understand about the fear of ending up in a chair permanently... I find it to be a very lonely fear.. It doesn't help that it can come on while you are sitting down, but wishing you can get moving and do the things that need to be done..! In the end, it comes down to the fact that it is actually a way to get around when you can't otherwise.. frightening to feel that one's ability to walk might never improve.

I can't believe the podiatrist did not even take an x-ray. >_< He should be hung out to dry. Did you try to make a formal complaint? It seems that maybe with surgery one has to sign a great big waiver? I find that it can be difficult with specialists as well as they can be very authoritarian and it is not always possible to know arcane medical things when you are putting your trust in someone who is supposed to be an expert. I'm so sorry it happened to you, Chubstercat, sincerely. I also believe that even when rogue surgeons aren't involve, foot surgery can potentially worsen someone's pain significantly. When nerves and bones are being cut through, damage can be done. It is risky. That is why I feel so hesitant about surgery that people who have no trouble walking tell me to just go ahead and have, because it hurts so much to walk now. I just don't want it to get worse. o.o

I really hope that the burning and tingling subside soon and you can obtain some relief, also that the new ortho can help you even though surgery is not indicated on the other foot. I have been reading about the various medications which are supposed to assist with nerve pain - gabapentin, pregabalin and duloxetine, but these come with some pretty heavy side-effects, including sedation, but also weight gain. Amitryptaline is another one - I have been on that, and never found it useful. I did gain a lot of weight on it but no one told me that was a side effect! -_- In our case, the more weight on the foot, the more pain >_< ... and exercise is obviously difficult. But I have nonetheless been wondering about these.. Have you heard of or tried any of them? I understand they are not an answer to the problem but they appear to help some people with nerve pain including burning and tingling.. I'm trying to wait out for the one with no side effects..

I hope that the CT scan results are of assistance and wish you all the best with managing the pain - I would love to know how you are doing, and I really hope that you will get to experience improvement x

 
Old 05-27-2012, 11:00 AM   #9
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Re: Bunion Surgery gone horribly wrong

Yes CactusOwl I was prescribed Gabapentin (neurontin) for the nerve pain. I am concerned about weight gain since I am not as active. I try to do what I can and sometimes grin and bear the pain. I ride a stationary bike and try to do seated weight work and watch my diet. I just don't understand why I am suffering like this and get very angry. I am cursed with these stupid feet. Every single step I take hurts and I don't remember the last time I stood without pain. It is like being tortured just trying to walk. I get very depressed. My family is not supportive at all. In fact, I never hear from them. They are enjoying summer, life and getting around without pain. My cat is my best friend. Welll, I am going to do what I can, I have my foot in water with Epsom salts now. I lucky to have a desk job or I could not work. Have a nice day!

 
Old 05-30-2012, 03:34 AM   #10
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Re: Bunion Surgery gone horribly wrong

Great to hear back from you, Chubstercat. Well, even though you don't feel like it, I actually think you're courageous. You are working, trying to do whatever you can to exercise, trying medication. You are seeing a new ortho-surgeon. You are obviously trying your absolute best in extremely trying circumstances.

My family are also disinterested, as well as physically distant. No doubt, even when you are trying your best, when you are in pain and without support, it can be very, very depressing. I'm also having a lot of trouble emerging with my hips, which is really getting me down. I was sure this was connected to my feet, but it seems there is now joint degeneration. In the last week or so at least?, it doesn't just kill to walk on my feet, but I'm limping cos of my hip. Deeply unimpressed!

I had to try and get to the doctor today. I don't have a car and have to take the bus. Ah, *the tyranny of even the shortest distances*. It's like the world has morphed and you see something (pain) where others see nothing. I have to be honest, as I was limping down the main street and struggling with the smallest things, I just felt like a complete alien! Unfortunately Actually, in the last several weeks, I have been in so much pain, I'm starting to think "whatever". If I receive too many weird looks, in the end I just limp and stare at the ground. I'm not sure I'm dealing with it very well. I'm angry too. And I just feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone. I woke up in pain last night and couldn't get back to sleep, and after several hours, yet *again*, in the dark and cold, I was so demoralised I just started to cry. I find it VERY depressing that pain can interfere so much with life, and I find it very lonely. I'm just waiting for something to change.

I know some people deal with this kind of thing well and retain a positive outlook, but - I mean, if I felt understood, it would maybe be a little different. In my case, either people think there is nothing wrong with me or if there is any visible sign of difficulty being on my feet, seem to give me the weirdest looks. I find that almost as tiring as the pain. I just wish there was comprehension. Some strangers are unexpectedly kind though, but it can be very confusing and hurtful that one's own family don't seem that invested.

All we can do is hang in there and try and do the things that help. Good on you for getting out the Epsom salts! Again, I mean that seriously. Sometimes when I am in the worst pain, I am just... paralysed. At those times, it's too much to do simple things that might help myself. But this is partly a state of mind. Even though your situation is rough, everything you're doing is wise. I managed to get a new heating pack which is currently applied to my SI joint (I have had a hot water bottle burst on my back once before and it wasn't good.. this is some wheat pack thing) and it's helping a little. Meanwhile I will fantasise about a magic flying carpet. Or bionic feet. Trying to get around today, the shortest distances - ugh, so rough. I have NO idea what will happen with my foot surgery at this point either.

Chubstercat, I don't know if it's naive of me but I really hope they come up with something for us all here that will help with pain. Is the gabapentin helping you at all? In Australia, a generic will be coming out in July and I have been wondering if I should try it. The side effects do concern me. x

 
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