Bunion Surgery Before and After
Bunion surgery (bunionectomy) is a type of reconstructive foot surgery to correct the alignment of the big toe. Bunions (hallux valgus) occur when your big toe strays from its normal alignment and starts to lean toward the second toe. Some people mistakenly believe that bunions happen when additional tissue grows on the outside edge of your big toe, creating a hump which points towards your other foot. This bulge situated at the joint is actually caused by the toe misalignment. It may feel like there’s more tissue and bone, but this may be because the area can get swollen and tender pretty easily. That is why bunions can be very painful.
Try and avoid getting this painful deformity in the first place by looking after your feet and wearing the right sized comfortable shoes. The condition is often caused by wearing shoes which are too tight for your foot. This is particularly a problem for women who like to wear high heels, whether peep-toe or not. If you absolutely must wear high-heeled footwear for work or whatever reason, then at least buy some proper ones. Those cheap and nasty stilettos will only make matters worse. You may also need attempt weight loss in order take some pressure off your feet. Also, you can purchase some silicone gel cushions to help reduce the rubbing on your bunion.
Before having an orthopedic surgeon or podiatrist operate on your foot, try some conservative treatments. Have shoes recommended by a podiatrist together with some orthotics (padding/splints). Also, regular massage to the area can help reduce the bunion size. You may not end up needing surgery at all.
Before and after photo
Cassandra from Markham had developed a very large bunion on her right foot. Prior to the surgery her big toe was pointed her right middle toe and she had a huge lump on the inside of her foot.
Maymar from Lyons had very deformed feet with a protrusive bunion. The deformity caused her pain while walking even in plain shoes. After her operation, the right foot has straightened out and she can now walk pain-free.
What causes bunions?
Bunions can be a hereditary defect passed on to children. It’s not unusual for kids and teenagers to have bunion surgery even without having worn a high-heel in their life. If the problem develops later in life, it’s more than likely triggered from wearing incorrect footwear. Women are particularly exposed to the problem by wearing skinny, high heeled shoes. Podiatrists all around the world squirm at the thought of women prancing around in high heels, blissfully unaware of the foot problems they’re creating for themselves. No one is immune from the condition. Victoria Bechkam has needed bunion surgery to restore the position of her big toe.
It doesn’t even need to be stilettos which cause the big toe to rotate. Even a minor instability in the bones of the big toe can bring about the growth of a bunion.
Before the procedure
Bunion surgery can put you out of action for a long period and is also very painful. There are different ways surgeons and podiatrists can go about correcting the deformity. Sometimes the problem can be fixed non-surgically using splints, orthotics and the right footwear. If this works, you’ve avoided a very painful operation indeed. If your toe doesn’t straighten itself out, then metatarsal bone usually needs to be straightened through surgery. Either way, you know you need to do something about your bunions early. If you leave the problem fester, it will not only cause you pain, you can also end up with other problems such as calluses on the bottom of the foot, hammertoes and arch pain. Your ability to walk can also be hindered. This means once the problem gets serious, you will have pain and discomfort no matter what type of shoe you wear. You won’t be able to play sports either, unless it’s something like swimming.
Prior to the operation, you will want to thoroughly clean your feet and under your nails and also trim back your toenails. It will be some time before you will be able to properly groom yourself down there. Also, getting a pedicure can be out of the question for 4 to 6 months following the operation because it will be painful to have someone scrub and fondle your feet, so have this done beforehand. Some surgeons may require you to remove your nail polish before you go into the operating room.
One of the main risks involved with bunion surgery is recurrence. In some patients, the bunion returns and the patient once again needs to take action to get rid of it. This can be largely prevented if you strictly follow your surgeon’s post-op instructions. For example, if you have the bunion removed and you go back to wearing 6 inch high heels, don’t expect to have perfect feet. The success of the operation doesn’t just depend on the skill of the surgeon, it’s how you treat your feet afterwards that’s just as crucial. You can also have a cosmetic complication where the big toe has an outward or upward bend. If enough bone needs to be removed, you toe can also end up being shorter. This shouldn’t cause you pain or disrupt your ability to walk, but if it’s too ugly for you to handle then you can have it operated on again.
The surgery can also cause functionality side-effects by damaging the tendons which enable the big toe to be pulled up or down. This means you won’t be able to move your toe and this can have an affect on your walking. In some types of bunion surgeries, there is an inherent risk of losing the movement in the joint of the big toe. You could also end up with calluses under your feet, arthritis or avascular necrosis. If there’s nerve damage you may not be able to feel your big toe or, on the other end of the spectrum, you may feel a burning sensation. There’s also a risk you could end up with ongoing pain and swelling. Infection and reaction to anesthesia are also risks to consider, as with all types of surgery.
Depending on the operation you need, the recovery time for bunion surgery can range between 6 weeks and 6 months. This will depend on how much bone and tissue needs to be disturbed. You may need a whole year to completely recover. Stitches are removed about a week to three weeks following the operation. Until this happens, you’ll need to keep your foot dry. This means you need to either hang it over the bath tub edge or cover it during a shower. If you had pins inserted into the foot, these are usually taken out within 3-4 weeks but in some cases you could end up being stuck with them for six weeks.
You will need to wear special shoes for up to 8 weeks after your operation. In some cases, patients can go back to wearing normal shoes in as short as 4-5 weeks. In the more invasive procedures, it will be 6-8 weeks before you will be able to put any weight on your foot. In the meantime, you will may need to use splints, walking casts or even wooden shoes, depending on your surgeon’s recommendations. After that you can gradually start to walk using special shoes which help to support your bones and soft tissues while they heal.
After the procedure
Bunion surgery is not very pleasant. There’s pain and discomfort involved. Some people find the after effects very painful, not wanting to even touch their foot for weeks afterwards. Getting around the house, or anywhere for that matter, will be difficult. You will need crutches to help you walk. Some patients even rely on knee pads to crawl around the house. Just make sure you avoid banging your foot or toe on anything. The pain can be excruciating.
Once the foot does heal, you will be able to use and appreciate your feet once again. They will fit into shoes a lot easier and their aesthetic appearance will also be greatly improved. As a woman, you will just love pedicures and applying your own nail polish again. Regardless of your gender, feet are a very important part of our bodies and you’ll realize this whilst you’re not able to use them. After the healing process, you will be able to jog, run, play sports and even kick the football again. Hopefully the surgery will give you an incentive to look after your feet including buying comfortable purpose built shoes and maybe even a foot massage here and there.
The cost of bunion surgery ranges between $3,000 and $5,000. Insurance plans will only typically pay toward the cost if you’ve tried a non-invasive means of repairing your foot first and only if you’re experiencing pain or trouble walking. For your own benefit, you should try correcting the problem with orthotics or bunion splints to try and avoid surgery. Usually, these will only help if the bunion is still in the mild to moderate stages of development. The splints and orthotic devices can cost between $8 and $250.
I’m a 49 year old male, so quite obviously I’ve never worn ladies shoes before. I’ve always worn comfortable sneakers and workman’s boots for by construction business. I started developing bunions on both of my feet a few years ago. The one on my left foot was bigger and I started to get pain there. My wife found these bunion massages on the internet so she would massage my feet every night. This helped for a little while but eventually the bunions got the better of me and I went to see my doc. He suggested these special shoes and splints as well so I tried using those for several months. It just wasn’t making the pain go away so I opted for surgery. I couldn’t prolong this any further because it was affecting my work. The surgery put me out of action for four months. It’s been five years since the operation and I’m starting to get pain there again.
Submitted by Bryan on May 12, 2012.
This YouTube video was created by a patient who went through bunion surgery. It’s a slideshow of pictures and text_image which illustrate her bunion before the operation and the healing process. It offers advice on what to consider before, during and after a bunionectomy.
More before and after photos
Dagmar from Cleveland started to develop moderately sized bunions. Whilst not very prominent, the position of her toes and the outward arch made did create pain for her. She’s now back to wearing high heels, the main culprit for causing bunions.
After years of neglect, Tanya from Ferndale decided to get bunion surgery. You can imaging the amount of pain she experienced just by looking at the before shot. Her toe is now straight again.
Angela from Stafford had her big toes straightened out with surgery. She’s now proud to showcase her feet in thongs (not high heels) and loves applying nail polish to show off her new feet.
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