Experienced Bunion Survivors!

Updated on July 08, 2008
L.G. asks from Lincoln, NE
15 answers

I'm looking for anyone who has had bunion surgery. We are considering surgery for my
16 year old son. Just curious if anyone else has gone through it. How did it go?
Did you feel it helped and for how long? We were told it should last his life time.
We really feel he should correct it now before it gets worse.
Would love to hear some stories.

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K.R.

answers from Omaha on

My only advice is to do it now! Bunion's run in my family and my parents kept trying to get me to have mine removed when I was younger, but I played sports so I didn't want to deal with the recovery time...now I'm older, have kids and a job and really really wish that I had mine removed back then because now it's pretty much impossible to find the time!

By the way - all of my family members who have had them removed have been fine ever since - even my mom and she had hers removed almost 40 years ago...my aunt had hers removed a few years ago and said the technology has only gotten better since then....

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T.T.

answers from Cedar Rapids on

I had bunion surgery on my left food a few years back (at 27). It wasn't too bad, make sure he keeps off it as much as possible afterwards (awesome excuse for a teenager to sit around and watch tv and/or play video games, lol). AND make sure he wears the thing to keep his toe straight...TRUST ME.
I had a 4 yr old at the time and had to tend to him and the housework, but if I could've had it done sooner, I would have.
As far as pain goes, it does cut down after it heals. I feel it helped alot.

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T.J.

answers from Minneapolis on

I had bunion surgery on one foot when I was 18 and the other when I was 19. It's been 10 years and I'm still glad I had it done. I've had no real problems and the recovery time wasn't too bad. They still hurt occasionally if I do a lot of walking or running or sometimes when the pressure changes outside, but nothing I'd even take Tylenol for. I'd recommend getting it done at a young age as the recovery time is so much faster. My father had it done last year and it took him much longer to get back on his feet and he had issues with swelling. Good luck!

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L.E.

answers from Minneapolis on

If he is in sports it really is the best thing for him. I was a soccer player, had my first one done at 13. Seemed a bit early but at the time it was great.
I stayed off it only unsing crutches for the frist few weeks (however now it's different).
Second foot was done at 16 and at 17 the first foot was redone! Well live and learn.
My mother just recently had it done and they wanted her walking on it the day she left from the hospital. It was a quicker recovery for her.

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C.M.

answers from Eau Claire on

I am 34 years old and had bunion surgery when I was 17. I had a good experience: I was only on crutches a week or two, don't remember having terrible amounts of pain and was able to get back to playing sports relatively quickly. I played softball and I had the surgery in February and was able to play in our first game in April. It used to hurt so bad, especially when wearing cleats. Now I'm able to do whatever activity without any troubles. I did wear the orthotic inserts for many years, mostly to prevent having to have surgery on the other foot. I'm glad that I had the surgery and would definitely recommend that he have it done when he's young. I know a few other people that had it in the 40s and 50s and they really struggled. Good luck!

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A.M.

answers from Minneapolis on

I'm a survivor!

I had my surgery 12 years ago. It still feels great. the only thing is that I don't have the same flexibility in my toe as I did before. (I used to be able to curl my toes tightly like if you are going to crack your toes against the floor and walk on them like that. not really a "skill that I need or anything)

my bunion wasn't terribly bad and there really is not known reason why I had them in the first place because I rarely wear shoes that would cause the problem in the first place, but it hurt SO much when I would walk. Now I don't ever think about it unless I am looking at my scar and very straightened toe.

I have a bunion on my other foot, but have not needed surgery on that one. it's never bothered me and doesn't seem to be getting any worse.

I would recommend it

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A.K.

answers from La Crosse on

Hey Lyn, this is firsthand from my sister in Duluth, gosh, she took time to write you!!!
Greetings,

My name is Bonnie, and I'm the sister of a Sparta mother on this blog. I've been through bunion surgery on both feet so I'm happy to chime in with my feedback to the mother inquiring about surgery for her son.

I had bunions that got progressively worse through my early teens into my adult years. I had to have a orthopedic doctor's approval for surgery before it could be done to prove it wasn't just for aesthetics but true need for improving my foot structure. They were doozies - - the doctor had never seen them that size on anyone 35 years old. They didn't ache all the time, and I was a very active excercise walker, but my big toe was essentially working it's way toward growing underneath my second toe. And finding shoes that fit was a challenge for as long as I could recall.

I chose to do one foot at a time (separated one year apart), because dealing with crutches is a lot easier than having both done and being in a wheelchair and fully dependent on others. After surgery, I needed to stay in bed for nearly two weeks each time keeping my foot fully elevated on two big king-size pillows, including sleeping that way for weeks to keep swelling down and assist with healing. I was able to work at home from bed with a laptop, but for your student you might want to look at doing this once school gets out in summer to avoid missing classes. I had my surgery in November one year and October the next, and dealing with winter weather was not fun and not advised. It was just how timing worked out for me (luckily I did at least get out of shoveling!)

My bunions were serious, so with each surgery I was on crutches for a full 8 weeks putting no pressure on my foot (foot off the ground 100%), followed by one week walking with crutches in the big surgical boot to acclimate to putting pressure on it again, and then a week of walking just in the boot with no crutches. After those 10 weeks was I crutch free and out of the surgical boot, but needed to see a physical therapist for about 5 sessions to work on muscle strength, flexibility, and balance. It took daily dedication to continue the physical therapy excercises at home and work slowly towards full recovery, including weeks of very slow walks in the neighborhood to slowly get my walking strength back. All in all, I would say from surgery to feeling like 100% again it was about 5-6 months each. I had an excellent doctor (Dr. Stacey Nipp, Northern Foot and Ankle in Duluth, MN - - maybe they have a similar office in the Sparta / LaCrosse area). I had appointments with her reguarly for foot x-rays and bandage changes.

Depending on the surgery your son would have, it might be less time on crutches and for recovery.

There are the difficulties of managing stairs on crutches if you have them, and bathing is a bit of a trial too. But a person catches on and gets through learning new tricks along the way.

Pain wise, foot surgery was not all that bad. I cannot stomach painkillers and exclusively used an alternation of Advil and Extra Strength Tylenol. Keeping your foot up to relieve swelling is the #1 thing to do, and also treating it like a time-bomb so as not to bump it or fall on it.

With a great surgeon and following doctor's orders my feet are healthy and hopefully will stay this way. My bunions are hereditary, and do pose the risk of maybe one day coming back, although the chances are small. I was prescribed orthopedic inserts to wear in my shoes to support my arch, which is supposed to be a preventative measure.

Good luck!!

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A.K.

answers from La Crosse on

Hey Lyn, my twin sister had terrible bunions and recently had both of them fixed at age 35. One at a time. I've seen the pictures of surgury and it didn't look so bad. It's the recovery period that iseemed the hardest foe her. Crutches, not being able to drive. Luckilly she has a wonderful husband who brought a television and radio into the bedroom, plus a small fridge. I take it that your son will be couch or bed bound about 3 weeks per foot, but not sure. Hers got worse over the years, very slowly. Do it now while his youthfulness will allow him to recover quickly.You will really need to pamper him! Alas, this year I bought my sister an expensive pair of preppy flip flops and toenail polish. The surgury made a world of difference in her self confidence. Hope this helps & good luck to your son.

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S.P.

answers from Milwaukee on

I didn't have the surgery, but my sister did. It is amazing the difference it makes. It went well for her and definitely made a huge improvement!

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L.D.

answers from Milwaukee on

I have had a bunionectomy on both of my feet, and I am very glad that I did!! I had my first one done when I was a senior in high school, and had a cast on my leg up to my knee, and had to use crutches, but it was nice because my teachers let me out of class early so I could beat the crowd in between classes. I had my second one done about 5 or 6 years later, and once again had the cast on my leg, but I was able to get a wheel chair to use around the house when needed (I could never really get the hang of crutches!!). I was very happy to get the surgeries done, as I was in a lot of pain from the bunions, and they had actually managed to push my toes together, and on an angle, instead of being straight like they should be. I had what I felt was the best Ortho doc doing the surgeries, and now, other than having a scar on both feet, it was the best thing I could have ever done!

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K.N.

answers from Madison on

Hi,
My Daughter whom is 17 just had the surgery and it went well. She is two weeks out from surgery healing well and now in a walking boot. Her Dr. said she shouldn't need the surgery again, but the chance is very minimal. As she is mainly done growing. Hope it goes well. let us know what you decide to do.

K.

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C.M.

answers from Lincoln on

Sorry so slow to respond! I had bunion surgery bout 7 years ago, and it is still not a problem at all. I no longer have to deal with the pain and pressure from the bunion in that foot and with the trouble of finding a shoe that is wide enuf for that foot while still fitting the other. It is a rather painful surgery at first, but i was in a walking shoe right after and only on crutches for 2-3 weeks so that wasn't too bad. If you have any other questions, my email is [email protected]____.com. C.

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J.L.

answers from Davenport on

I had surgery when I was 19, I believe. It went really well. My feet haven't really progressed since, and it's been ~11yrs. Main thing is to wear the insoles they make him in all his shoes. No more sandals, but it's an easy price to pay. Also make sure he flexes the big toes a lot when the doc says it's time to move them a lot to rebuild the tendons/muscles. I slacked on that because it hurt, and have had to really work at getting them back in shape to have the full movement. But definitely do it now, before it gets any worse! Good luck!

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L.Y.

answers from Wausau on

Hi L.,
My sister had surgery for her bunion right after she turned 18. She had it for most of her life and it was to the point that she could really only wear sandels due to the pain it caused. She scheduled it for Christmas break (she was HS senior but took classes at the community college) when they had about 4 weeks off school. It's been 10 years and she hasn't had any problems. The recovery wasn't too bad...the first few days were rough and she was on pain pills but the pain began to subside. It would probably be best to have it done in the summer if his high school is older and he would have to climb stairs with crutches. Good luck.

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L.I.

answers from St. Cloud on

L.,

I had bunion surgery on both feet at the age of 18- over 20 years ago! It was so worth it! No more leg or foot cramps, no more lower back spasms! My Mother in law had bunion surgery last summer. Our experiences were so different. My surgery was inpatient and required fiberglass casts up to my knees for 6 weeks. Her surgery was out-patient and required ace bandage binding for 2 weeks and she was wearing flip flop style shoes before graduating to real shoes. I still have 2 scars on each foot one from the incision and one from the pins. She only has a small incision scar on each foot. However, she and I both agree that my feet look more aligned than hers do. We are both looking forward to see who's feet last longest. She isn't experiencing any ill affects from her surgery and my feet are still going strong 21 years post surgery! Good luck with your decision!

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