SPECIAL BUNION HEALTH REPORT

Consider these 5 Recommendations to Follow Before Your First Appointment with a Bunion Surgeon

After meeting with my podiatrist and interviewing several readers about their experience, here are five of the most important rules to follow before your first appointment.

1.  Make decisions for the right reasons. Long-term health first. Then best time. Then money. I realized that I was letting my financial/time constraints make my decision and keep me from seeking a 2nd and 3rd opinion. I had reservations about moving forward so quickly within just a few weeks with only one doctor’s perspective, but I told myself I had to do it “now” because the pain in my foot was getting worse, I had a limited window of time, and spending extra money on 2nd and 3rd opinions wasn’t necessary. Live and learn. But now you don’t have to because you can learn from my mistakes and lessons learned as well as my good choices.

It’s your health and your feet that you’ll live with for the rest of your life, not a car or a house that you can trade up or sell. When I make the decision again, I will choose for my long-term health first, then time, then money.

Rather than stress yourself out by waiting until the last minute, work backwards from your best outcome (healthy feet as you grow older and time to enjoy your life). Plan ahead for how much time off and how much money you will need for surgery and recovery time and create a savings account just for that “project” so you make your decisions for the right reasons.

2.  Give yourself extra preparation time. How much time have you allowed yourself to do your research and make a decision? The last thing you want to do is feel like you’re making a rushed decision (like I did) and then end up wishing you done things differently after your surgery.

Take your time researching. I recommend the following:

  • Month 1:

o   Research and read about bunion surgery and doctors. Ask for referrals from friends.

o   Plan the best time for your surgery

  • Month 2:

o   Interview three doctors. Include a podiatrist and an orthopedic surgeon.

o   Be sure that each one isn’t recommended by the previous doctors you’ve seen.

o   Ask them how far ahead you need to schedule surgery so that it fits in your best time window.

  • Month 3:

o   Choose your doctor based on how confident and safe you felt with their answers to the questions you’ve asked.

o   Call the doctor’s office and give the scheduling team your best surgery date options. Remember it’s your life you’re working around first, then your doctor’s schedule.

3.  Do your homework. Answer these questions before you make your first appointment:

  • Who have you gotten your referrals from? If you used the Internet or Yellow Pages, promise me that you will not schedule surgery with that surgeon until you have talked with at least 3, preferably 5 of his clients. I know it’s an inconvenience to ask but this is your body, your mobility, and the rest of your life you’re making a decision about. Be conscious and protective of yourself.
  • How much research have you done online watching videos and looking at different doctor’s websites?
  • What do you know about your doctor’s success rate? If the doctor you’re considering doesn’t have a website, can you “drop by” to get a feel for their office environment? Are you keeping notes on each doctor you’ve been referred to?
  • Ask questions. Write out your questions and ask other bunion survivors what questions they wished they’d asked their doctor before surgery. Take your list of questions with you to each appointment and check off each question as you ask it and get an answer.
  • If your doctor pressures you into making a quick decision or makes you feel uneasy, take a deep breath, and sleep on it. You want to make your decision based on your needs and schedule, as much as when the surgery suite is available or when your doctor is taking a vacation.

 4.  Take the time to look for a doctor in your immediate area before you sign on with one from out of town. I found my surgeon by doing what you and a lot of people are doing now – searching the internet for information. His online infomercial followed by his high tech in-person presentation, his obvious perfectionism and the testimony from three women in the waiting room who said he’d been their 2nd or 3rd opinion was so compelling.

I wasn’t motivated to do more research than make two last-minute calls to other doctors, both of whom I was told by their receptionists couldn’t see me until after my surgery date was scheduled for this doctor, hence why I suggest starting your research 3-6 months in advance of your surgery window. Having options builds confidence.

I drove 90 minutes one way to go to my surgeon because of his excellent reputation and because I had two time windows I was working with – my business slow time which is summer and my insurance deductible for the year – I chose his reputation for excellence over more research to find someone comparable in my city because I hadn’t planned enough ahead of time. As I learned after the fact, there are several competent doctors in my city and had I used any one of them, I would have saved hundreds of dollars in gas, hours of stressful driving time, and had more people to help me in my immediate community.

If you live in a rural area and/or can’t find a doctor you resonate with in your city, by all means, if you can afford the time and extra expense, and have a caregiver who can support you, it doesn’t matter where they are located. But if time, money and/or support are key factors, give yourself 3-6 months of planning time for your surgery so you can make the decision from strength rather than stress.

5.  Always have a Plan B for everything, especially your 24-hours-after-surgery-person, especially if you’re single. As soon as I knew my surgery date, I contacted a friend who confirmed she was available to take me to the surgical center and could be my caregiver for 24 hours after. We locked in the dates on our calendars and I relaxed, grateful for her and to have plans taken care of. Four days before surgery I called to reconfirm the details of my plans with her. She said that a day earlier she was offered consulting work (she’s self-employed)and  that she wouldn’t be able to help me. Panic set in. I scrambled, called other people and no one was available. I assumed I’d have to cancel my surgery. This is not what you want a few days before surgery. Have a Plan B strategy and person.

Fortunately, because my friend is incredibly creative and caring, she heard my concern, called me back and came up with a new plan. She’d pick me up, drop me off at the surgical center, get her nails done while waiting, return to pick me up and we go a day early to the hotel she was staying at during her consulting project. I would stay in her room, with room service and housekeepers to check on me. It turned out amazingly well, however, if that hadn’t worked out I would have had to cancel my surgery because as a single self-employed person with no children or family in town and working from a home office, I had no one else to care for me at the last minute.

If I had it to do over again, I would have done more research, and more importantly, I would have gone to a podiatrist at the first sign of pain and twisting toes, not waited the two years I did to take action. It would have saved me surgery on my second toe and all the complications that have come with that. Take care of your feet. You’re worth it.

ATTENTION

These 5 key actions are just the beginning.
If you found this report helpful, keep reading, keep asking questions,
and take action before you experience more pain.

Plan ahead and get the answers you need and deserve before you need them. 
I’ve done the footwork for you.

Order the 160-page ebook  today
Bunion Survivor’s Guide to Successful Bunion Surgery and Recovery
and receive the following additional checklists and reports for free:

  • Weekly and Monthly Bunion Surgery and Recovery Planning Checklist for steps to take before and after your surgery to keep you stress-free, relaxed, and comfortable. (This checklist alone is worth the price of your first doctor’s appointment.)
  • 25 Critical Questions to Ask Your Podiatrist or Orthopedic Surgeon Before You Schedule Bunion Surgery
  • 10 Powerful Tips for a Successful  First Meeting with Your Bunion Doctor

Reg $27    $9.95

Mary, your book is a life saver.
Can’t imagine how I would have had courage
to go forward with surgery without your book.”
~ Virginia R. ~

Bunion Survivor's Guide to Bunion Surgery & Recovery

Bunion Survivor’s Guide to Successful Bunion Surgery and Recovery ebook includes:

* Preparation checklists for before and after bunion surgery to reduce stress and make life easier for you

* Guidelines to select the right surgeon for you

* 3 critical questions to ask your doctor that most people won’t think to ask or are too afraid to ask, but make all the difference in a successful surgeon and surgery (this alone is worth the price of the book and your insurance premium and deductible combined!)

* Over 100 recovery tips, shoes brands and styles, and bunion relief resources with website links

* An instantly downloadable ebook that you can read online or print out and read at your convenience on the couch, in bed, while you’re waiting at your doctor’s office.

Learn more at Bunion Survivor’s Guide to Successful Bunion Surgery and Recovery.

Mary

PS. If you’re still living with bunion pain and are still afraid of surgery, this ebook can help you make the right decision for you at the right time with the right doctor. Be good to yourself. You and your feet are worth it.

“Oh, Mary, thanks for being such a delight.
I have passed word around to others to purchase your ebook before surgery. My new left foot is a miracle. Sept. 24 was surgery, and having such a successful surgery is a dream that came true.”
~ Virginia R. ~

Bunion Survivor’s Guide to Successful Bunion Surgery and Recovery

This site does not offer personal medical advice and is solely informational in nature.

As part of my commitment to you as a subscriber of BunionSurvivor.com, I am always researching different forums and websites to stay current with the best ways to help you free your feet and inspire your spirit.

This week I learned that the doctor who did my bunion surgery, whom I reported in my blog and ebook to be an excellent surgeon but arrogant and disrespectful back in 2006, and bordering on negligent in the way he responded to me during consultations, had his license suspended in 2007 and was put on probation for 8 years for negligence. I hadn’t reported him, nor did it occur to me to do so. But someone else did and it was serious enough to be taken seriously.


MEDICAL BOARD REVIEW   If you need to check out your doctor and you live in California, you can do a search on the California Medical Board website with your doctor’s name and if there’s been a medical review issue, you will find it. (Thank goodness for all the high-integrity physicians serving us, but it is shocking to see how many doctors are listed for medical suspensions and reprimands.) This service is also available in other states.ACTION STEPS   I don’t know about you, but if I learned about this kind of documented information about a physician I has previously considered but hadn’t used yet, I would not use him no matter how great of a surgeon s/he was. If I was in dire straits and had no other option for a surgeon due to location or insurance or finances, I would not move forward unless I had a one-on-one face-to-face conversation about the situation with the surgeon and talked to at least three of his most current clients and felt in my gut that this person had changed their ways. (I do believe people can change given enough reason and support socially and spiritually.)

This is why having a list of questions is so important! In my special report “25 Questions To Ask Your Bunion Surgeon Before Scheduling Bunion Surgery,” there are three questions (#23-25) that address this issue and were added because of my concerns even prior to learning about my doctor’s medical suspension. I urge you to ACT NOW if you’re considering having surgery and ASK THE QUESTIONS to get the best results for yourself. Your health and your life could depend on it. 

These last three questions are not for the faint of heart, however, they will ensure that you have as much information as possible before you make your decision and they will give you a sense of your surgeon’s professionalism. Take a deep breath and remember this is your feet and life we’re talking about keeping healthy. You are worth it!

23.    What is the safety record in the past year of the facility where I will have my surgery?

    24.    Have you had any malpractice suits against you or medical reprimands? How long ago? What were the issues? What were the outcomes?

    25.    When things haven’t worked out or you’ve had an unhappy patient, how have you handled it?

If you’d like this special report with all “25 Questions to Ask Your Bunion Surgeon  for free as well as 2 other important bunion health reports, check out my “Bunion Survivor’s Guide to Successful Bunion Surgery and Recovery.”
As always, I welcome your comments. Here’s to your happy, healthy feet! Mary
PS. In addition to the 25 Questions List, get my ebook and you’ll also receive a Bunion Surgery and Recovery Planning Month-by-Month Checklist  so you don’t end up stressing about what you should have done and can relax and heal successfully after surgery. You can get all this with my ebook “Bunion Survivor’s Guide to Successful Bunion Surgery and Recovery.” There’s no risk – if you don’t find at least one helpful idea, return it within 30 days for a full refund. Guaranteed.

If you’ve ever wondered about whether your bunion might be causing other physical problems, here’s why it’s so important to not ignore your bunion pain: The Metro UK and  The Daily Mail Online reports that British marathon runner Paula Radcliffe, an Olympic hopeful for 2012, had bunion surgery because of the injuries she incurred by pushing through her bunion pain.

After suffering from a series of injuries including a hernia in 2004 and neuroma in 2005, culminating in a fractured toe and the stress fracture of her femur (thigh bone) in 2008, Paula finally decided to consult podiatric surgeon Dr Amol Saxena, who works at California’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Sports Medicine Department. Dr Saxena concluded that the bunion caused Paula’s injuries, and that her style of running had changed to accommodate it. This in turn affected her gait and put additional strain on her body. >>

This story really resonated with me because of the lower back pain I’ve dealt with since my surgery.

Take care of your feet. See a podiatrist before you need surgery. Don’t wait like Paula and I did and pay the price we have with other complications.  And while you’re at it, find out everything you need to know about bunion surgery before you need it by reading my new ebook, “Bunion Survivor’s Guide to Successful Bunion Surgery.” Thanks for reading.

Did you know there are over 100 types of bunion surgery?! Now, maybe you’ll understand why I’ve hedged about defining different surgeries on the Bunion Relief Blog — the possibility of error in description is better left to your surgeon. However, I just ran across a good overview of the general types of bunion surgery in an article on bunion surgery published by Blue Shield of California.

“There are over 100 surgeries for bunions. Research does not indicate which type of surgery is best—surgery needs to be specific to your condition. More than one procedure may be done at the same time.

“The general types of bunion surgery are:

  • Removal of part of the metatarsal head (the part of the foot that is bulging out). This procedure is called exostectomy or bunionectomy.
  • Realignment of the soft tissues (ligaments) around the big toe joint.
  • Removal of a small wedge of bone from the foot (metatarsal osteotomy) or from the toe (phalangeal osteotomy).
  • Removal of bone from the end of the first metatarsal bone, which joins with the base of the big toe (metatarsophalangeal joint). At the metatarsophalangeal joint, both the big toe and metatarsal bones are reshaped (resection arthroplasty).
  • Fusion (arthrodesis) of the big toe joint.
  • Fusion of the joint where the metatarsal bone joins the mid-foot (Lapidus procedure).
  • Implant insertion of all or part of an artificial joint.”
  • Read more

Whatever type of surgery you and your surgeon determine is best for you, you want a surgeon who has experience in a variety of procedures, which ensures you’ll get the best option from a surgeon who is selecting from several choices rather than one-procedure-fits-all.

Be sure to ask:

1. What different types of bunion surgery procedures have you done in the past six months?

2. How many of the procedure you’re recommending for me have you done in the past month? Past six months?

I don’t know about you, but I want a surgeon who has performed the surgery they’re suggesting dozens of times with excellent results before experimenting or perfecting their skill on me.

If you’ve had this conversation with your doctor, I’m curious to know what you discovered. Please share your comments below and if you know the specific procedure they’re recommending or that you’ve had done, please let us know.

A survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association, reported by The Clarion-Ledger, found that 73 percent of women have a shoe-related foot problem. Forty-two percent of women admitted they would wear a shoe that was uncomfortable. Okay, so the report was done by people in the business of fixing feet, but that’s still a lot of women!

It’s been nine months since my bunion surgery and I just bought three new pairs of shoes – all sandals, two pair with 1 1/2 inch heels and one pair with 2 1/2 inch heels, a heel height I haven’t worn in over a decade.

All the shoes have slight annoyances that border on almost uncomfortable enough to take back, but I’m hoping that a few more wearings will break them in and the leather will stretch enough to accommodate my feet, not the other way around.

Thank goodness I was smart enough to look for 1/4 inch rubber bottomed soles, which Naturalizer and Lifestride make, and add an adhesive gel padding to the insole for more comfort.

The extra padding is better than nothing, but the gel rolls up at the edges and becomes sticky on your feet, which requires reflattening every time you wear the shoes, and which my toes try to adjust when I’m sitting in meetings. Ten dollars at Famous Footwear.

Save your money and buy thicker soled shoes or use the gel-rolling as exercise for nervous toes that are hoping you’ll choose shoes with arch support, a lower heel, and a wide toe box.

I just found an excellent overview of the major reasons for bunion surgery, the risks of bunion surgery (I have experienced all of them but an infection) and what to expect before, during, and after bunion surgery from the Anne Arundel Medical Center. Based on my personal experience, this information is the most accurate I have run across.

Here’s a list of the risks of bunion surgery:

As with any surgical procedure, complications can occur. Some possible complications may include, but are not limited to:

  • stiffness
  • numbness
  • swelling
  • delayed healing
  • infection

Other complications may include recurrence of the bunion, nerve damage, and continued pain. The surgery may also result in over-correction of the problem, in which the big toe extends away from the other toes.

There may be other risks depending upon your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your physician prior to the procedure.

I just got next week’s issue of U.S. News and World Report. There’s a great article on “50 Ways to Improve Your Life.” I couldn’t help but notice #3: Lose the shoes.

Everywhere I go now that I’ve come out of the shoe closet about my bunion and hammertoe surgery, I meet women who share their bunion stories, and are still wearing shoes “to die for.”

Cameron Diaz was on “Ellen” and came out wearing heels that were were as tall as the ten story buildings she jumped over in Charlie’s Angels. Six-inch heels! It doesn’t look like Cameron has bunions, and I’m not sure if Ellen does, but I can tell you that no matter how cute those shoes were, there is no way anyone who has had bunion surgery (at least my kind of bunion surgery) would ever get near those shoes for more than a minute.

Ellen asked to try the shoes on, shuffled precariously a few inches and said, “Um, tell me why you want to wear these again?” Cameron laughed and said, “Because they’re fun.” “Yeah, right,” Ellen said, “Fun for who?”

Oprah shared one of her most painful secrets (I posted on this November 1, 2006) — she wears her beautifully stylish high heeled shoes only on the set because they hurt so much. She takes the elevator down to the studio in bare feet, put on the shoes just before she walks out, and then takes them off again immediately after.

I’ve “been there, done that,” but now after B.S. (bunion surgery), my body actually begins to shudder, my teeth clench, and my eyes wince when I even think about wearing anything other than my athletic shoes. I accidentally left my dress shoes at a Christmas party last Saturday night. Fifteen minutes into the party I switched from the Donald Pliner stretchy-fabric, low-heeled pumps, which are as comfortable as they come, at least pre-surgery, into my sturdy leather J. Crew sandals I brought along “just in case.”

Ahhhhh. How do you spell relief? “Lose the shoes.”

“The good news” Dr. Robin Ross, a podiatrist in NY is quoted as saying, “is that the pointy shoe is heading more toward the rounded toe box.”For a list of bunion shoe brands and styles, check out:

Bunion Survivor’s Ebook Guide to
Successful Bunion Surgery & Recovery

This is a fascinating opinion report conducted by the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society:

  • What height heels do you wear most often?
    • 10% 3-inch
    • 20% 2-inch
    • 23% 1-inch
    • 46% Flat
  • Do you ever experience foot pain while wearing high heels?
    • 19% No
    • 25% Yes, with pain after
    • 52% Yes, but only while wearing them
  • If your doctor told you that wearing ANY high heel would lead you to foot surgery in the future would you give up high heels?
    • 41% No
    • 59% Yes
  • Would you have foot surgery if it were the only way you could wear high heels?
    • 9% Yes, for heels
    • 20% Yes, for appearances
    • 71% No

Read more.
______________

Well, it appears orthopedic surgeons and podiatrists will always have a job based on this research.

With the exception now of one pair of 2-inch heels for dressy occasions, all my shoes are flat, and the stretchier and more padded they are, the better. But even at 5’10” with a size 12 foot, I wore 2 1/2-3 inch heels (whenever I could find them) in my late teens and did so until my feet just hurt too much to walk in high heels in my late 30’s. I am paying the price today.

Be smart. Take care of your feet. If the shoe hurts, stop wearing it.

Trust me. Unless you inherited bunions and are in pain, you don’t want bunion surgery.

Bunion Survivor’s Ebook Guide to
Successful Bunion Surgery & Recovery

Questions to ask your orthopedic physician [or podiatrist]:

  • What are my treatment options? What are the pros and cons of each option?
  • How long will the treatment take? How will it affect my daily activities?
  • What will my recovery involve? How long will recovery take?
  • Are there any brochures I can read or web sites I can visit for more information?

If your orthopedist [or podiatrist] recommends surgery:

  • What is involved in the surgery? * How long will I be in the hospital?
  • (If not your orthopedist) Who will perform the surgery?
  • Can I meet him/her? * What can I expect after the surgery?
  • Will I need further treatment (such as physical therapy, splints, medications)?
  • What will happen if I don’t have the surgery now?
  • What are my alternatives? * If I want a second opinion, whom can I consult?
  • How many similar procedures has the surgeon performed? What are the outcomes?
*Adapted from UCSD Medical Center: Orthopedics: What To Ask Your Orthopedist

Use the above list when you’re interviewing doctors. If you’re not getting answers you like, get a 2nd or 3rd or 4th opinion. Trust your fact and your intuition.

I wish I’d found this site before my surgery.  There are several questions I didn’t think to ask. It’s so important to bring a list of questions to each appointment and check them off as you get your answers.

25 Critical Questions to Ask Your Bunion Surgeon