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

Ouch. Even celebrities get bunions. And it’s not pretty. The UK’s Daily Mail has identified several famous women who suffer with bunions. Tilda Swinton, Gwenneth Paltrow, and Victoria Beckham all have bunions, along with Oprah, and Nigella Lawson. Be good to your feet this summer. Read more…

The Oscar-winning actress may be wearing flat shoes, but they showcase a medial exostosis - an overgrowth of bone which comes with a deformity

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.

Have you had or do you have any back pain along with your bunions? Please comment below if you have.

I’ve wondered if the occasional lower back pain and sciatica that became chronic a few months after bunion surgery on my right foot and continues today is connected to the misalignment of my feet. All the doctors I’ve seen say it’s not but I’m not so sure.

A friend shared the book Healing Back Pain by John Sarno, MD, which I started reading today. Sarno says that most back pain (and many other muscular, organ, and immune system issues) can be attributed to TMS (Tension Myositis Syndrome), which he defines as a psychosomatic issue that becomes physical as a way to hide negative emotions from your conscious mind, in particular repressed anger, because you’re not ready to or think you can’t handle the pain.

Interesting idea and even more interesting when I consider the possibility that maybe I’m subconsciously angry that I have bunions and felt I had no option but to have surgery to get rid of the pain (that and every other transgression from childhood :-). Hmmm…and the solution, Dr. Sarno? Recognize the anger, find a healthy way to express repressed emotions, keep moving your body, and in 98% of situations the pain will subside.

What’s your experience with bunions and back pain? Have you read Dr. Sarno’s book yet?

Click on the photo to learn more about the book Healing Back Pain by Dr. John Sarno

Perfect timing! It’s the end of the day and now you can try on new shoes.

This morning’s post reminded me of a great article on finding good shoes written by a world champion disc golfer who is also a speaker and trainer on her feet all day and who has bunions.

Along with a great sense of humor Leslie Charles also has a great sense of the practical. We’ve been friends for a long time and I find her wisdom and energy a real gift. I know you will too. Enjoy her article and after you’re done reading, check out her website.

AVOIDING THE AGONY OF DE FEET
by Leslie Charles

Cache or comfort? Style or sensibility? Bunions, hammertoes, and calluses are just a few of the insults we women suffer for the sake of fashion. Study a typical high heel shoe and there seems to be an assumption that women’s feet are not only unnaturally narrow, but our feet are symmetrical, with our middle toes being the longest. Give me a break!

As an orthotics wearer for thirty years, I long ago gave up the idea of sexy shoes and opted instead for sensible ones. When I met Terri Lammers, an excellent orthotist and prosthetist in East Lansing, Michigan, she told me I had the “best” collection of shoes of any of her clients. Terri helped me take the next steps in knowing exactly what to look for in a shoe.

Here’s what Terri says about shoes: “Look for a straight mid line.” Hold the shoe upside down (sole facing you) and put a ruler or thread in the middle of the heel. Now extend that line through the toe section of the shoe. Does the line pretty much divide the shoe in half or does the front of the shoe lean off toward the toe side? If the line is straight, your feet will be happier. If there’s a noticeable curve, don’t buy it.

As Terri would say, “Don’t buy a shoe that’s shaped like a banana! The best shoes all have a straight mid line, firm soles and low heels.”

For everyday comfort, here are some good brands to consider:

Birkenstock (your best bet is to buy the traditional foot bed).

Finn Comfort (these are handmade and expensive but they will last forever and you can send them back for resoling. If you like clogs, compare the straightness of the Finn Comfort sole with a Dansko and you might be surprised).

Keen – (a popular shoe for younger women, these make for great sport shoes with a wide toe bed and great lateral support. I own several pairs of Keens).

Naot (this brand works well for narrow feet).

Merrells (from sport shoe to a slightly dressy look, some of their styles look great with slacks).

For a dressier look, try Aravon (made by New Balance, another good shoe manufacturer). I own two nice looking pairs of Aravon sandals and I really like them.

For the dressiest look and surprising comfort, check out Beautifeel. This is a stylish AND comfortable shoe I introduced to Terri and she loved them! They are dressy, trendy, and some are even a little sexy; Beautifeel shoes come in a variety of styles and heel heights.

The prices are reasonable and they have such a realistic width, I can wear my orthotics in these heels. What a find! If your local quality shoe store doesn’t carry Beautifeel look for them on the Internet. I can wear my Beautifeel heels all day and my feet stay happy.

Good web sites for view shoes include:
zappos.com (multi view)
comfortableshoes.com
keenfootwear.com
trackntrail.com
aravonshoes.com
footwise.com

As a professional speaker, facilitator and trainer, I spend a lot of time on my feet. Finding a comfortable, good-looking work shoe has taken a lot time, energy, and sometimes wasted money. I hope my discoveries will help you make better choices so you can prevent the agony of de feet.

Leslie Charles
is the author of seven books, including the fun, light hearted and practical “Bless Your Stress: It Means You’re Still Alive!” As an active, vital woman in her mid sixties, Leslie’s book offers some excellent anti-aging advice. In fact, Leslie just broke a world distance record for women in her age group in a popular but little known international sport, disc golf. She is listed on the world flying disc federation site, wfdf.org, along with other world record holders from ages 1 to 101. Read more about Leslie…

 

If you’re worried about having bunion surgery, what about experimenting beforehand with a fish-eating pedicure? No, not eating fish while having a pedicure; having a pedicure where fish actually eat away the dead skin on your feet. Maybe they’ll eat away the bunion too. It can’t be any worse than trying honey and turmeric to dissolve bunions I’ve heard mention of, can it?

Before you think I’ve gone off the deep end (haha, into a pool of dead-skin eating fish — not!), just know that as you look for answers and treatment regarding your bunions, two of your most important daily treatments are feeding your sense of humor and taking stress-relief actions.

It’s so easy to feel frustrated, depressed, and hopeless when you’re feeling bunion pain and exploring bunion treatment options or recovering from bunion surgery. It’s also easy, when you train your mind, to gift yourself with moments of humor and stress relief on the journey.

Read this story and watch the short video and it’s guaranteed to make you laugh, and if you’re game and visit this Alexandria, Virginia foot spa, a few fish to your feet.

Read more on Fish Pedicures in USA Today.

2016 Update: Fish pedicures have been banned in California and other areas. Buyer beware. Read more.

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!