You’ve had two bunionectomies? What’s it like?
I always find it amusing when my bunion surgeries end up being a topic in a conversation; all of a sudden, like bees to a flower, everyone within hearing distance wants to know all about it.
What’s it like? Did it hurt? How are your feet now? Did your bunions grow back? Do you have scars? I’ve always wanted to do it, but I’m afraid!
Bunions develop when the big toe starts to lean towards the little toes and throws the bones out of alignment. As a result, the toes move off to the side as the bone gets bigger and protrudes.
As you can see from the photos below, my bunions were pronounced. I took these photos before my surgeries, when I was already in my early 40s. Those black toenails were from half-marathon training.
My bunions were an inherited trait (thanks, grandpa!) and were exacerbated by my 25+ years of dancing (thanks, toe shoes!) and wearing pointy stilettos (thanks, 1980s/early 90s fashion!). Then, I decided to do long-distance running. My lifestyle was certainly not helping my bunion situation.
By the time I reached high school, I had bouts of stabbing pain in the bone that would last a few minutes and disappear suddenly.
I became immune to it because, as a dancer, I knew how to suck up pain.
This went on for years… Advil and I were best friends.
I was an expert on hiding my feet. I never wore open-toed shoes or sandals, and I never got a pedicure. Are you kidding me? How embarrassing!
I finally reached a breaking point when training for a half-marathon, I came down with the most debilitating pain in my bunions that literally took my breath away.
And this time, it didn’t go away.
I called my husband to come pick me up because I could barely walk.
That was my breaking point. As soon as I got home, I immediately made an appointment for a consultation and never looked back.
I had two surgeries in a span of six months, and didn’t have the surgeries at the same time, or else I wouldn’t be able to walk at all.
For the surgeries, I received intravenous twilight anesthesia that has none of the yucky side effects of general anesthesia.
When I woke up, my foot was all bandaged and you could see the bruising on my toes. See below.
Miraculously, I had no pain. The bunion was removed, my toes were straightened, and there was a pin where the bunion was.
The worst part of the ordeal was the physical therapy. In order to ensure mobility, the PT broke down scar tissue and put me through a ton of exercises to increase the flexibility in my feet. It wasn’t always fun, but I would do it all over again.
I have a little scar on each foot, but you would need a magnifying glass to see it.
Also, I can now wear shoes like this! Those are my feet!
I have to give a huge shout-out and thanks to Dr. Robert Sheinberg at the South Florida Institute of Sports Medicine. He is without a doubt the best foot surgeon out there. Not only is he skilled and smart, but he really cares for his patients.