Before You Consider Bunion Surgery On Your Toes (…Been There, Done That!)

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I had a bunionectomy at the ripe old age of 24.

The reason for this surgery was to repair the damage I had done to my feet with high-heeled shoes.

Here’s what you should know about bunion surgery…

 Photo by Dr. Henri Lelievre

FootSmart says the following factors often lead to bunions:

  • An active lifestyle.
  • Improperly fitting shoes: A bunion causes pain when walking or form initially, if your shoes do not have enough room in the toe box.
  • Foot type: A foot that pronates, or rolls inward excessively when walking, has a higher tendency for causing a bunion.


My Experience With Bunion Surgery

Looking back, I know I had all of these issues that eventually led to my foot problems.  I wore 3- to 4-inch high heel shoes since the age of 14.  I walked in them, sometimes up to a mile.  I ran in them. And I could easily catch a bus in my high-heeled shoes.

In fact, I had quite an impressive collection of high-heeled shoes and wore them daily.  I couldn’t get enough of them.  My feet however, were unhappy and decided to rebel against the abuse.

When I realized that walking had become very painful (even after I traded out my heels for sneakers for my mile-long hike to work), I went to my doctor who referred me to a foot specialist.  He looked at my feet that seemed perfectly normal to me and announced that my feet had become horribly disfigured and that I needed surgery.

He wanted to operate on both feet, but I insisted on one foot at a time. So he performed a bunionectomy on my right foot and also straightened out my big toe and inserted pins in that foot.

The surgery went well, and my foot recovered in a reasonable amount of time.  With the exception of discomfort during the rainy months, there is little evidence that I ever even had the surgery on my right foot.

I never did have the surgery on my left foot though.  After the surgery, I gave away all of my beautiful high heeled shoes, and settled into lower 1-inche shoes with plenty of toe space.  Over the next year or so, the pain in my left foot subsided, the knot on the side of my foot went down, and my big toe straightened out.  My left foot that was obviously disfigured over 15 years ago looks just as good as my surgically improved right foot.


What You Can Do To Prevent A Bunionectomy

FootCare Central provides some excellent tips to help you avoid pain and prevent bunion surgery using toe braces, sleeves, spreaders, guards and more.

They say to prevent a bunionectomy, you should:

  • Select shoes based on how they fit your unique set of feet, not by the show size marking, since sizes can vary depending on brands.
  • Measure your feet regularly since the size of people’s feet change as they get older. Also be sure to measure both feet. Sometimes one foot may be larger than the other. Always purchase shoes to fit the largest foot.
  • Measure your feet and try on shoes at the end of the day when your feet are the largest.

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Check out The Bunion Experiment. It’s a website by a woman who’s in search of a natural remedy for bunions.  If you have bunions and would like to avoid surgery, you may want to follow her journey.

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