24 answers

Debating Bunion Surgery - Need Help!

Hi there. I am 36 yr old sahm of 2 boys, age 5 & 7. I went to a podiatrist yesterday & was told that the only solution for a large bunion on my right foot is surgery -It has progressed to the point where it hurts to wear any shoes other than flip flops. I am really into exercise (ran a marathon, love to do zumba) but now it just hurts when I lace up my shoes. I would have to be off my foot for around 6 wks - Obviously I drive with my right foot & am just scared at the thought of my kids needing my help & I'll be laid up! I am trying to decide if I should just bite the bullet & go for it to have it over in time for summer, or should I prolong it until the fall when my 5 yr old will start kindergarten?
Has anyone recently had this type of surgery? I would love to hear about recovery time, Dr you went to, suggestions, etc. Thanks!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Hi everyone - I had the surgery 3 weeks ago & am doing pretty good - I have a boot/cast for 2 more weeks & then I should be able to slowly return to exercising (YAY!) The pain has been tolerable, really only bad for first few days. I am already so glad that I went ahead & did it! Summer is right around the corner & I can't wait to wear some really cool flip flops without having a 6th toe sticking out! Thanks again for all of your suggestions/ideas. I couldn't have made the decision with it!

More Answers

Hi L.,
Both of my feet had arthritis nodules on the sides of my feet. I had special shoes made and everything for years. The pain just finally got so bad, it was causing me pain in my knees and hips both. These nodules are like bunions and look exactly like them, and had to be removed the same way according to what my dr. said. I finally had the worst foot done last year. I don't have little kids, but I have a daughter in college and believe me its still like having a little one,,LOL She has no time for anything but school. Before I had the surgery I prepared everything ahead. I was told I would be off my feet 4 - 6 weeks according to how it healed. I bought up everything I could to get in the house. I moved furniture to where a wheel chair would be easy to use in my home because with the arthritis I knew I couldn't use a walker or crutches. I bought a hand held shower head and put it on my shower, borrowed a shower chair and so on. I tried to think and prepare for any possibility. My biggest problem was stairs. I had to go up stairs either way I went to get into my house. I ended up getting out on the good knee from the wheel chair and scooting down the stairs on my butt, then scooting right back up when I needed to go the dr. Everything worked well and as I went I figured out ways to do things after the surgery. I had quite a bit of pain the first week, then it was just uncomfortable after that. I even pulled my vacuum cleaner behind my wheelchair with the power head in front to clean my house. I did have to get someone to take me to the dr and things because of the wheelchair, but other than that, I managed it all by myself and it really wasn't a problem with the preparation I had made ahead of time. I took really good care of the foot,,protected it from getting bumped and so forth, and mine healed in 3 weeks. That foot now is "beautiful" if you can say that, LOL compared to the other foot, and I wish I had done it years ago as far as the pain went. I am now ready to have the other one done. Pain for a few weeks is nothing compared to the pain of everyday and suffering with trying to walk and can't like I have. Actually I can say honestly, the pain wasn't near as bad as I was expecting and had been told. Still, 3 weeks compared to daily, I would do it again, and I will on the other foot, even if the other one takes longer to heal. I was prepared for 4-6 weeks and got by with 3. Get prepared, get a little outside help for your kids, and get it done is my advise. Don't suffer any more with it like I did for years. You will find out your kids can help you a lot too even at their ages. Good luck and hope it goes well if you decide to do it.


I have had the surgery and will eventually need it on my left foot as well. Go for it!!! I still can't wear dressy shoes or heels, but all I could wear before was those 'fisherman' sandals. Now I can wear some shoes and sneakers are great! I had a bone overgrowth at the big toe joint, which was removed. Recovery was fine.I had to wear a special boot a couple of weeks, but that was okay. I saved the boot for the next time, so the money was not wasted.

I have SO much less pain in my foot now! It is incredible. I would say definitely have it. It won't get better on its own.


I had bunion surgery about 10 years ago. I didn't have children but at the end of a day, I would sometimes be in tears because my feet hurt so bad. I didn't have family where I was living at the time and had a boyfriend who was supposed to help me a little and didn't. I bascially put a cooler beside my bed and filled it with drinks and snacks.
Things were difficult but I managed to take care of myself by myself and was actually walking unassisted by crutches in about 2 weeks. I wasn't sprinting and had a surgical shoe on for almost 6 weeks. I did have it during the summer so that I could wear sandals and flip flops and even then, there would be a little swelling. I tried to stay off my feet as much as possible but being someone who liked to go go go, that was a bit hard to do. If your husband can help you or if you have family or a close friend by to help with the kids, it is well worth doing it now than suffering thru to the fall. Good luck.

I recently had a bunionectomy this past November by Dr. McKinely in Elizabethtown. He's a wonderful doctor. I too was in pain wearing shoes of any kind. I recently attending a gathering that required me to wear dress shoes. What a difference! I was able to wear the shoes for several hours with no pain whatsoever! The only downside was the recovery time. I couldn't put any weight on my foot for six weeks, so I started out using crutches. Big mistake! I couldn't keep my balance on the stupid things. So I had the doctor prescribe a wheelchair for me. That worked fine unless I had to leave the house for anything. So the next step was one of those rolators (I think that's what they're called!). It's like a walker with wheels and a seat. That way I could get around without using my surgery foot, and when I got tired I could sit down. Anyway, the surgery was one of the best things I've had done. Good luck! Let me know how it goes.

I had the surgery about 3 or 4 years ago. It isn't as bad as it sounds. It is an outpatient procedure and you have to wear that funny shoe. I think you are on crutches for about a month. Just follow the Dr. advice. I tried to progress quicker than I should have and my toe shifted. You will be able to get around you just won't be able to carry the kids (it sounds like they are too old for that anyway) and when on crutches it is hard to carry anything...I had the surgery on Friday morning and was back to work on Monday. Mine was my left foot so I could still drive.

Good luck! I would definitely recommend you do it...you will be amazed at the difference. I would love to recommend my doctor. He was awesome and cute as can be, but he is in Florida.

I had this surgery in November of 06 and everything has been great. It was the best thing I ever did. My foot use to hurt everyday all the time and now I don't have any problems at all. It is really nice to be able to walk around and not be in pain.

Elizabeth Timmons
if you have any questions send me an email ____@____.com

I am now 26, but I had surgery on both my feet when I was 11, which included shaving my bunions. They said to do it at that time since it would be worse when I got older. It is not worth it to go around in pain, and it will only get worse. The recovery is not that bad and you will probably have to wear a corrective shoe for a while if it is only your bunions. I would do it in time for summer so that you will be able to play with your kids.

L., please get the help you need right away! Your health has to be a priority because it will only get worse if you delay surgery. The sooner the better is what mom always says. You'll be healed in time for wearing boots in the fall. Besides, I'm sure your kids will step up and help mommy get better. They can be your doctor and nurse and also learn a little more responsibility. If it's possible, you can enlist the help of family members and friends when needed. My mom flew out here and stayed for a few weeks while I recovered from surgery. It was a huge blessing, not to mention the kids loved having grandma here to spoil them! God bless.

Hi L.,

Have you tried any kind of chiropractic or structural body work? I know most people think chiropractors only work on backs and necks, but if you find one who works on extremities (arms, hands, legs, feet), you may find a much more gentle solution to your problem. Ask your chiro about soft, moldable orthotics, too. Having your feet in proper alignment can go a long way towards alleviating foot pain, not to mention knee, hip, low back pain. You might also considering finding someone who does Rolfing, a kind of deep massage technique that helps realign the body. But head's up: Rolfers usually want you to commit to a 10 treatment program for your whole body. Whether you see a chiro or a Rolfer or some other type of structural body worker, you will need multiple treatments. And the holistic road to recovery will probably involve some pain. But I can guarantee it would be less painful than surgery. Good luck!

Hey L.,

Are you ONLY having bunion surgery or is there a chance that you may also be having hammertoe surgery? If you are having hammertoe surgery too, I would definately wait as you might have hardware (srews or pins) in your toes. If pins, you have to becareful not to break them off or loosen them, as we have seen both incidents in our office. The best thing to do is to run your concerns past your podiatrist before you decide and then take his/her word for it as they are basing their decision on knowledge. Although I am not a doctor, and based on incidents witnessed in our office, you need a lot of time to let your foot rest. If that means waiting, I would suggest doing so. Good luck!

If you have people around to help you while your laid up, I would go for it. No need to continue being in pain, since we all know how that can affect the rest of our life (mood,excercise). I too suffer from severe bunions on both feet. Mine don't hurt all the time, just the left one after a long walk on the treadmill and after a long day at work. I am a mother of a 3 year old daughter and a massage therapist working part time. I am considering having the surgery on my left foot, but I haven't made that deision yet, due to my work situation. Please let me know if you do decide to go through with it and your recovery after the surgery.

Thanks and good luck,

Hi L.,

I had a "bunionectomy" about 2 years ago when I discovered the same thing - all my shoes hurt like crazy. I will not sugar coat this and tell you it's an easy process. It wasn't. But it WAS well worth it. The worst part is 3 weeks where you have the pin in your toe. It sets the bone back in place and it can become uncomfortable, even though it's necessary. It's a more involved process than I thought it would be, and the initial uncomfortability is bad (as with any surgery), but I was able to drive after about a 5 days or so and I just had to take it easy at home. You're not really laid up, per say, in the sense that you can't get up and move around - you're just a little slower at it. My stepsons were older, so I didn't have to chase them around or anything, but I think you'd be surprised at how well you'll be able to cope with your foot and manage the kids at the same time.

Now might be a good time, too, since warmer weather is approaching and you could get away with wearing flip-flops until the swelling goes down (your foot gets thick, not always painful, but thick). I had mine done in the fall and it was rough getting into sneakers. After you get the boot off, you will feel so much better and you'll be glad you went ahead and bit the bullet. It will ache periodically for the first year. I tell you that because I thought something was wrong, but it's just the healing process.

I hope that was a little helpful. You would have to be the one to gauge whether you think your kids will run you ragged during that time. Maybe a good time for some story reading or educational movie watching with Mom? I wish you the best. No matter when you do it, you'll be glad you did AFTER the first 6-8 weeks!

Good luck!
~Elizabeth H.

Hi L. -

I have to say that this surgery was one of the best things I've ever done. I had terrible pain in my right foot for years and I had this surgery done to correct that, about 3 1/2 years ago. I haven't had a problems since. Yes, the not driving part is tough - but my recovery was just at six weeks - and then you'll be back to your old self for the remaining part of the summer. I didn't have any kids at the time, I now do - but I think the sooner you get it behind you, the better. Good luck!

Good morning L.!

Usually when i have to be off of my feet or restricted to physical activity i schedule the surgery during school breaks, summer time and try to have a relative (grandmom, aunt, or mother-in-law) come by or come and stay and help. Even if you had a sitter to come over and help in the mornings and evenings to get the kids ready for school and to run errands. This gives you time to make arrangements and relax before surgery.

My mother had the surgery on both of her feet and she feels so much better. She really had a hard time before the surgery.

I am unmarried with four children - two boys 18 & 5 and two girls 15 & 13. We have alot of hormones raging in our house (smile)

I had this same surgery, let me tell you, you will have to be off your feet for at least 6 weeks, and if I were you I'd wait till you have time to be off your feet. I did house work by scooting on my butt, so you will need help at home, so think about this really hard.......Hugs and GOOD LUCK, L.

Hi L.,
This surgery is as painful as you've heard. No exageration there, but when my friend finally had it done she had wished she'd done it long before. She had pins envolved and had a longer recovery than usual. That being said, she still went ahead and had her other foot done later. She was elated that finally she could be pain free plus wear the latest sandle without embarrassment. She is glad she went through all of that simply because she's pain free. This summer with the kids at home, would be the best time to do it. Good luck and bite the bullet, it's worth it in the long run.

Hi L.,
i personally have never had bunion surgery but my mother has and she said it was the worst surgery she has ever gone through i know she was off of her feet for almost six weeks and still to this day she has problem with her feet my advice is not to go through it unless you can not take any more pain. My thoughts and prayers are with you P.

Hello, L.,
I have had bunion surgery - right toe, also. Girl, it hurts. Bad. As bad as labor! That really surprised me. They say that bone pain is the worse pain. So, you will be on codeine for a few weeks. You will need someone to help you for at least one week. For me, every time that foot was not above my heart, it throbbed, so I was on the couch with my foot on the back for the first week.

I had surgery in April, and I have photos of the following August where I was still wearing a bandage on that foot. I think it ached a little then, but not bad.

So, yes, it's a serious thing - I had postponed it because of the kids. However, what compelled me to get the surgery was that I began to notice that my right knee ached. It seemed I was walking a little off balance - trying not to put weight on the toe. Well, a messed up knee is not a good thing, so I opted to get the surgery.

Since then, no pain in the toe, no pain in the knee - so it was worth it.

I study natural medicine and I have not found anything that would help that as of yet.

Well, that's my 411 on it!


Hi I am in the Army and I have had this surgery. I have 2 kids and I am on number 3. My feet are always weathered. I would advise the surgery the healing time wasnt too bad. I think total it was about 1 month. The pain for the first week,well that sucked but It does help. I would ensure they do put the metal in there. They did not for me the first time and nowI have to go back because my toe is turning in. Sucks!! However,I am in the Army so that explains are care,half fast!! Go forit you will be fine. The scar isnt too bad.It will relieve your discomfort

I am also in the same place that you are. I am 48 and have a 12 year old son. The work that I do requires me to do alot of kneeling and squating which puts more pressure on my foot. The Dr. said that the only step now is to operate, something that I am not looking forward to. I can really not afford the time off of work right now. My dr. gave me some pain patches that really help when I am at work but all I can wear are wide width tennis shoes right now but to delay the sugery it is worth it. The patches do make it so that I can work and not have all the pain. Hope that this will help you. I know that I will have to have the sugery someday but for now it works.

Dear L., I have had the surgery done on both of my feet and like you the pain was getting so bad I could barely limp on my best foot. I had one done in Paintsville by Dr. Miller who I loved. That was about ll years ago and then I had the other one done two years ago in Huntington by Dr. Shook at St. Marys. It is painful for the first few days but the pain is worth it when you can finally walk with no pain and are able to wear something besides tennis shoes and flip flops. I had my surgeries done in the fall because I didn't want to miss out on summer activities. Couldn't stand the thoughts of being couped up for several weeks indoors. I am a pretty fast healer and followed the doctors instructions and was back in regular shoes in six weeks. I worked as a kindergarten assistant when I had the first one done and had it done over Christmas break so I wouldn't miss any work. You have to wear a protective boot for awhile but like I said it is all worth it. Good luck and if you have any questions let me know. L. Ann ____@____.com

hi. my mom just had this done, actually. she has had her bunion bothering her for a LONG time and she finally broke down and had surgery. she is a nurse and was on her feet ALL day. (she's 53) she had it done about 6 weeks ago. it went well. but she also had her toes straightened (i believe) or something like that. the dr said she is recovering well, but would be off at least until may. and then, i don't know.
she is now able to put pressure on it and put weight on it. at fist, no weight at all. now, she is definitely more mobile than 1-2 weeks after surgery.
but each person is different, and my mom is a lot older than you too.
good luck with whatever decision you make.
i can say this, she says it feels better! and now she will be able to weare WHATEVER shoes she wants!!! :-)

My cousin was in her 50's when we she had her bunions removed. She said worry over the procedure was the worst part. She couldn't understand why she waited so long! I say go for it, get it over with during the warm months, before closed toe season is back. The kids will be fine! And probably love showering you with a little extra TLC for a day or two!

I know you are in pain. I had surgery for a spur many years ago. They gave me a soft shoe afterwards. I wasn't totally off my feet. Sit down and write out how you will manage. Ant family that could come? If you wait till fall, can you manage getting the kids off to school, or would summer, and them in camp be better. You could hire a teen? You will probably have day surgery, and then go right home. Maybe planning real well, and cooking and freezing, getting help etc. Good luck.

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