Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bunionectomy, 2-1/2 years later

Every once in awhile someone will search my blog to read about bunionectomy surgery. It's been 2-1/2 years since I had my right bunionectomy surgery and so I thought I would write an update in case anyone is curious about the longer term consequences of the surgery.

It was a good 3 months before I could get back into normal street shoes, and then, not all of them. I am also now up another shoe size, partly because of the surgery, partly because of just putting on weight and my feet widening up. In 6 months my foot was probably as good as it is going to get; it was still swelling daily up till about 5 months or so. It still gets tired and swollen if I am on it very long. In a normal workday it's fine, but on a day when I'm doing housework more than transcribing, or days like yesterday when I was running around from garage sale to garage sale, it gets pretty sore. I am not able to run for exercise. Maybe I could with the right shoes but I have not bothered to hunt down the perfect pair.  Walking for exercise is okay as long as I wear good supportive shoes, and then get off my feet soon thereafter.  When the weather is cold and I don't wear adequate footwear, I can feel something in that joint; I picture the screw that I have in there getting cold and making the joint feel cold, but that may just be my imagination.  There is still a jagged scar across the top of the joint that is very noticeable to me, though probably nobody cares about how my feet look anywhere near as much as I think they do. 

On the plus side, the stabbing, electric, keep-you-awake-at-night bunion pain is completely gone from that foot.  I am still, over all, glad I did it. But I am determined now not to get the other side done if at all possible.   I have given up on all my narrow-toe-box shoes (except one pair of boots that I just cannot bear to give up - also cannot bear to wear them so all I can do is take them out of their box every once in awhile and stroke and admire them, then put them away again), so I am not going to make my left foot worse or redo the damage to the right foot. I'm a little bit too tall, old and fat to be wearing 4-inch spike heels anyway. And I recently invested in a professional grade shoe stretcher with little buttons you can add to accommodate bunions or corns and am working on making extra space in all my left shoes so as not to pinch that bunion and make it worse (or more painful in the short term). It's working out quite well.

So: Short version. If you have a bunion and it hurts bad enough to wake you up in the night, or keeps you from exercising or enjoying time with your family and friends, have the surgery, but preventing the whole thing in the first place would be much preferable. Of course what sweet young thing is going to listen to my advice not to wear sexy high-heeled shoes? I didn't listen to MY mom, either.


Irene said...

Dear Maria,
Reading your story was as if I were reading a chapter in my own life. Everything you have described, I have experienced myself. I had a bunionectomy to my Rt. foot 3 years ago in August. It has bothered my in all the same ways yours bothers you. Recently, I have seen another podiatrist to determine if she could help me relieve some of the pain and stiffness I have. She has suggested I try an orthotic device but also talked about another surgery to correct some of the soft tissue problems I am having. It scares me greatly to consider another surgery as I do not know if it will make it better, stay the same or perhaps make it worse.
Have you ever considered another surgery or wondered about the success of the first surgery? I look forward to hearing from you.


Maria Stahl said...

Irene, I wish I had your e-mail! I hope you see this. Anyway the plot thickens: I now have plantar fasciitis in that same foot, probably due to favoring it too much. I never wanted to bend the big toe up too much and so never worked the stiffness out of it and then started feeling like I had stepped on a rock with my heel and bruised the bone. I found out it's plantar fasciitis as a direct result of not bending that toe back and stretching the plantar fascia! So now I'm really stretching that big toe back, and the bunionectomy pain is really much better than when I wrote this post. The fasciitis is another story. Surgery is not much of an option for that. I'm trying an orthotic for that (not the toe) and doing a lot of stretching and icing and I think I am making progress.