Sunday, May 26, 2013

Bunion Surgery and Recovery 2013 (Part 1)

A bunion is a debilitating and painful deformity in the foot, as seen above

At the end of January 2013 I had an elective bunion surgery on my left foot; the right one had been satisfactorily fixed just over 3 years previously, and it had taken me this long to store up the guts to do the other foot.  Surgery is always risky and I debated back and forth about the wisdom of doing it.   After all, I could walk and run and ride my bike the way my foot was.  The old adage, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" came to mind.  But it was "broke."   I hike and x-c ski regularly, and I call it "broke" when I have to pad my foot with layer upon layer of foam and moleskin and duct tape every single time I set off on an adventure.  And still suffer unpleasant pain.

This operation was less painful and healed faster than the previous one.  The internal hardware had improved since my last surgery, according to Doc T, and the pin in my second toe was internal, rather than external.  The stitching was underneath the skin which was more pleasant and attractive.  I went off the pain medicine after just a few weeks this time.  Even though Doc T said to wait 6 weeks before putting weight on the foot, I began at about the 4 week point putting my foot on the floor to get it used to a little bit of weight.  It was exciting to anticipate a return to normal fairly quickly.

I should mention the scooter here.  After my first bunion surgery I was on crutches for 11 weeks; what an uncomfortable dangerous time (I fell twice).  This time we rented a knee-scooter and what a joyous life-saver that was.  I could get around fast and have a little fun while doing it!   Best of all it's much safer than crutches.

[NOTE: these first 4 photos are innocuous.  Below them is more text.   Then there will be a 4" blank area to  protect those who don't want to see an unpleasant photo.  That will follow after the space]

The hardware in my newly repaired foot

All bandaged up

This is the life!  NOT

Me, my scooter, and Lil' Buddy, 3 weeks after surgery

On the down side, I got what the doc calls a fracture blister on my foot, which is basically a hematoma.  During my recovery that thing was always weepy and messy.  As my foot healed an ugly black scab formed on the top on both sides of the incision.  Doc T didn't seem worried about it.  Just over 6 weeks after the surgery we left town for a family reunion.   At my doc appointment the day before the trip he thought everything looked ok, though the surface healing was slow.  The bones had knit together as they should.

During our trip I kept my foot under wraps, because that black scab was very ugly.  And it began to smell off.  And then the incision seemed to be pulling apart, yes, my foot was unhealing.  Yikes.   I thought about going to the ER, but instead made an appointment w/ Doc T for the morning after our arrival home.

He took a look and alarmed the heck out of me when he said that I may need to see a plastic surgeon.  He carefully removed the black scab and we were all appalled to see the tissue beneath had deteriorated, and I was looking at the inside of my foot; the tendon was exposed.  A surgical-site infection had severely damaged the tissue in my foot. So by the time I left the office that day the plastic surgeon's office had been alerted and Doc T's notes had been faxed over.  I knew then I was facing a mammoth problem.  Even more so when the plastic surgeon's office got me right in that afternoon.   How often does that happen?  Surgery was scheduled for a few days hence, with a followup surgery 2 days after that; all in all the plastic surgeon expected me to be in hospital for 5 days.

My head was spinning.  And I was in shock.  And afraid.  I called my friend S for consolation; she was rationally optimistic which helped immensely.

Part 2 tomorrow: My Pound of Flesh

[BLANK SPACE, then 1 more photo]

4 weeks after the surgery; the bones were healing well, the incision was not


  1. I am really impressed with the attitude expressed on this site for being simple, open, honest, caring, hardworking and sincere, qualities that go together in activities

  2. I just found out that I have bunions in Elmhurst IL but I am so scared to get surgery! Are their any other options??

  3. You really must have a strong faith that it won't hurt and will get better soon. We are glad you shared this part of your life. We might get lessons from it.

  4. I am not much into reading, but somehow I got to read nice information on your site. Simple to understand and helpful. We will look forward for your future updates.Thanks!

  5. I am looking for bunion removal in Naples, FL. Does anyone know of a good clinic that can help me with this?

  6. A bunion or hallux valgus Surgery in india is a swelling on the inner border of the foot affecting the base of big toe.

  7. Oh I am sorry you had to go through that! My wife needs bunion removal in Naples FL. She's not looking forward to going through that but I know it will help her out a lot.

  8. Oh my goodness. That does not look good. I hope you get feeling better.

    Molly | bunion removal in Naples FL

  9. You will go home with a surgical dressing on your foot. Do not remove the dressing, even if it has become loose, dirty, or wet. It is normal to see your dressing soak up discharge from your surgical incision. However, if the dressing rapidly becomes bloodied, soiled, or wet, call the office immediately.
    Foot Doctors Colorado Springs

  10. O I am so sorry to hear what you have gone through. How are you now?

    1. My foot is so well-recovered that I can do anything!!

  11. Ouch, that has got to hurt. I hope you're recovering well from this. I didn't know that bunions were related to bones at all. That's interesting to know. Thiago |

  12. That looks really painful. I've never heard of a bunion surgery ending like that. I hope everything is better now! That must have been terrifying for you.
    Claudia Rosenburg |

  13. I am 6 weeks post op lapidusfusion bunion surgery. I'm kinda freaked out about the scab on mine right now it to is black. I went to doc 2 days ago my bones have healed but my wound is far from healed. Doctor said I need more protein and vitamins I'm pretty much malnourished is the way I took it. I don't smoke so there is no reason I shouldn't be healed at this point.

  14. I had the same ordeal after bunion surg in Jan. 2016. Fracture blisters, non healing wound and graft and wound flap. 5 surgeries ! Suzanne your foot is a twin of mine. I had an attached flap and skin graft from hip. I have
    Vera crevice above bump.Gives me hope for future healing.

  15. Been reading this site for awhile now, always has really good posts and topics please keep it up! loads of blogs are going under lately from lack of new posts etc!
    Disc Herniation Frankfort

  16. Thank you for sharing this experience. I dealt with some pretty bad bunions on both feet myself. I visited multiple doctors who all gave different solutions on how to remedy, but the end result would be a long recovery and uncertainty as to whether or not I would run again. I put it off thinking there had to be a better way - and there was.

    For anyone dealing with bunions, I encourage you to look into a minimally invasive procedure. Dr. Khosroabadi in LA is one of the best and I have seen him twice now in dealing with both feet. With my first surgery, I had zero complications and was running again at 3 months. I'm currently two weeks post-op on my second procedure and am walking in a surgical shoe (only) without any pain.

    Check out his Yelp reviews and videos. I flew in from out of town. The 4-5 days I spent there was absolutely worth the trade off of a speedy and painless recovery.