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

Bunions aren’t the only sign that something may be amiss in your body’s alignment or overall health.

If you have any of these nine foot symptoms, be sure to get them checked out with your podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon. Thank you to HealthCentral.com for the original article.

1.  No hair on your feet or toes (who knew!): possible poor circulation

2.  A persistent sore on your foot: risk of diabetes

3.  Cold feet: potential thyroid issue or poor circulation

4.  Thick yellow toenails: fungus

5.  An enlarged big toe: gout

6.  Numbness in both feet: peripheral neuropathy (most common causes are diabetes and alcohol)

7.  Pitted toenails: psoriasis

8.  Shooting pain in the heel: plantar fasciitis

They left out one very important sign. BUNIONS

9.  Bunions: postural alignment and back problems

If bunions are your main concern and you’re considering surgery or worried about the recovery process, or you’re looking for the best bunion doctor, you can learn more by reading Bunion Survivor’s Guide to Successful Bunion Surgery and Recovery.

Take care and remember to take care of your feet.

 

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

 

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.

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.

Six months ago today I had bunion surgery on my first and second toes. I can walk again. I can do yoga again (except for jumping backwards or forwards in downward dog).

I cannot walk barefoot or dance without pain on the sole of my foot because the bone of the third toe is pushing through the bottom, just like the second toe used to. The surgeon said that sometimes secondary problems that have always been there but have gone unnoticed, show up after surgery because they’re no longer masked by the bigger problem (bunion) that is now resolved. (Hmmm…is there any chance that maybe he just didn’t look deeply enough at the issue because he only spent five minutes with me before surgery looking at my x-rays and foot to give me a diagnosis?)

And my second toe is still elevated by 1/4 inch from the floor because of the scar tissue tightening it up. To wear shoes I have to rearrange that second toe so it lays down straight and doesn’t sit on top of my third toe in order to get my shoes on. (God love YogaToes)

Oh, and now I have additional pain in my heel when I bend over and my lower back constantly aches for the first few hours of the day after waking up or sitting too long.

It wasn’t supposed to turn out that way. So I won’t be going back to the surgeon for corrective surgery. I will be asking him for copies of all my x-rays and records so I can take them with me to the 2nd Opinion doctor for a review.

TIP: Get copies of your x-rays each time you visit your doctor. Keep them for your own records. You never know when you might need them, and the longer you wait, the more difficult it could be to get them.

In the meantime, I’m visualizing my foot returning to it’s healthy state. I heard a great affirmation to help with that:

“Infinite intelligence lives within me and created
all that I am – my bones, my muscles, my tissues,
my organs, all of me, and it knows how to heal me.
I am perfectly healthy now.”

Now if my foot would just figure that out. Or is it my brain?

I am grateful to my surgeon for helping me to resolve my foot pain. I’m grateful to the 2nd opinion doctor for helping me recover successfully. I am grateful to my body for knowing how to heal itself. I am grateful to my foot for enduring the pain and allowing me to walk again. I am grateful for the New Balance 825 shoes and the orthotics that allow me to walk comfortably in the canyons and along the beach. I am grateful to be alive.

Long live feet!

Question from Diane: I’m told I’ll be off work for a 1 week, then sitting at work for 2 weeks. What is the actual recovery time? My job is marketing at a hospital for a nursing home. A lot of walking. I’m very active.

Answer from Smiling Walker: Recovery time, from everyone I’ve talked with, as cliché as it sounds, is different for everyone, but within a range. My surgeon said 4-6 weeks before you’re walking without effort, and my 2nd opinion doctor said 6-8 weeks before full pressure on your foot and up to 1 year before the foot resolves into its new pattern.

I can tell you this, I pushed the envelope with walking, and I’m paying the price. My doctor said if I followed his rules exactly, I’d have no problems. I’ve had problems with slow healing and more swelling than normal, which they’re attributing to too much time on my feet too soon. I gradually built up from the 10 minutes per hour the first week to 20 minutes the second week, and in the third week, I felt so good I went out for a one hour walk (very slowly) and I think that’s when I may have created more inflammation and slowed the bone growth.

Inflammation is a big concern with healing, and that can show up as redness, swelling, but more curiously to me, as heat on the foot. The idea is to keep the foot cool and quiet. If I were to do it over, I’d have spent less time walking around and more time with my foot elevated those first three weeks. My concern was losing cardiovascular strength while laying around. Now I know that I could have done upper body and core exercises while keeping my feet quiet (but part of me was relieved not to feel compelled to exercise during that time. Rest is good.

It’s challenging because you’ll feel fine and your foot is so tightly bound and the screw is holding things in place that you think you can run a marathon (well, not quite, but you’ll understand once you’re in recovery).

When I went back for my 2 month checkup, I compared feet with women in the waiting room. One woman had no pain, was in a tennis shoe and was walking normally at six weeks. I was still very swollen and experiencing pain, but again, had two procedures, while she had only one. Another woman was back in for a second surgery on the same foot from three years earlier with a different doctor because the bunion had grown back and she was still feeling pain.

I’ve learned a lot since deciding on bunion surgery and one thing I can tell you for sure is that the foot is an amazing gift that I overlooked for too long and a much more complex living organism than I ever anticipated that affects EVERYTHING you do.

If this insight was helpful to you, I’d love to know how it helped you. And do let me know what you decide, how the surgery goes, and if you have more questions, be sure to email me.

Bunion Survivor’s Ebook Guide to
Successful Bunion Surgery Recovery

Question from Diane: I will have bunion surgery on Friday on my left foot. It’s had problems of blisters and pain. The right is not as bad. So I planned on just repairing the left first. Please give me some tips on preventing the next surgery or should I just have it done at the same time?

Smiling Walker: I wish I had all the answers for you. Here’s my experience and what I learned:

Both my surgeon and 2nd opinion doctor advised against both feet at the same time. Both have done surgeries on people who had both feet done. I have spoken to four women who had both feet done at the same time.

Woman #1, a good friend, said it wasn’t a problem physically. She just shuffled on crutches at her job (she’s a teacher) for several weeks. She was married at the time with two preteens and said she got little help from the family, which made it difficult. She also only had problems with the big toe bunions.

Woman #2 said she was a busy, active woman with two teenage children and a husband and couldn’t waste the time off her feet doing one foot at a time. She demanded her doctor do both or she’d find another doctor. He did it. She said she slid on her butt in the house for a month and crawled with her feet up for a few weeks after that, but then it was over and she was back on her feet running (literally – she is a runner). She said it helped that her children waited on her or she would have been left to the dogs. It’s been two years and she says her feet are not “big boob” pretty, but they work.

Woman #3 (#2’s sister) is also a busy woman, but single. Her experience was very painful and difficult. She attributes this to not having the support system to help her while she was recovering. She recommends one foot at time to anyone who asks.

Woman #4 is a mom of three boys now, but was single at the time she had her bunions removed. She said her fiancé did everything for her for a month. She didn’t walk on her feet the entire time except to go the bathroom, and like #2, she crawled with feet up. She said it was really hard to follow instructions, but she did. It’s been 20 years and she has had no problems. She, like Woman #2, is very active – a fitness trainer.
She also said that she did weekly physical therapy recommended by her doctor (mine didn’t recommend this, which I found odd) and felt that helped her tremendously.

I considered doing both feet because of the time factor, but talked myself out of double foot surgery for several reasons and only did my right foot, which was causing a lot of pain.

  1. I am single and a self-employed professional speaker who is on my feet for hours at a time, I didn’t have the financial or social support to be off my feet for 4-6 weeks or the extra downtime if I had complications.
  2. Because both docs were so against double foot surgery, I decided there must be something to that. They both said I needed the other foot for balance and walking and without it if there were problems, I’d have more complications. After the cynic in me thought they might just want more business, I decided I’d rather have a happy surgeon cutting on my foot than someone who was energetically stressing because I might not follow post-recovery protocol and end up with complications that could affect their business.
  3. I didn’t have pain in my left foot and the docs had said to use surgery as a last resort. This made sense to me because technology is changing so quickly so who knows what new techniques they could have in the next decade.
  4. I met several alternative healers who said that with exercise and focused visualization I could at the very least prevent the left foot from getting worse and at best, perhaps even reverse the bunion. (That fell in the miracle category for me, but I’m open. <smiling>

In retrospect, post surgery, I made the right decision for me to do one foot at a time. I should also mention that I had two “procedures” on my right foot – bunion surgery and hammertoe surgery on the 2nd toe, because I let things go too long (I didn’t know I should have seen a podiatrist in my teens. I’ve had complications with my right foot that I’ve addressed on my blog.

Regarding preventing the next surgery, what I’ve learned is that podiatrist-fitted orthotics (range $250-$600) can, in some cases, prevent bunions from getting worse, so that could be a good option. I’m guessing your doctor will recommend them. I have them now and while I’m noticing slightly less pain on the pad of my right foot, there is still pain. Also, I’m flat footed and do notice arch support and that my ankles are not caving inside (called pronating) as much when I walk.

I’m not sure what you should do, nor would I tell you since I’m not a doctor, however, I do believe you already know the answer for yourself.

One of the ideas I’m working with when I don’t know what to do is to choose conscious non-action and ask for a clear answer in my meditations, which eventually comes, sometimes only at the moment when I’m forced to make a choice. I also ask my foot (or whatever body part is in pain) what it wants. May sound crazy, but that dialogue has connected me more with my body and healing.

Best wishes on a successful surgery!