Thursday, October 3, 2013

Bunions?! WTH!

Bunions.  Meh.  Such a silly word.  Sort of a cross between Bunnies and Onions.  And who has those things anyway?  I was pretty sure it only happened to 80-somethings, along with their lumbago and other antiquated grandmotherly illnesses.

Then reality slapped me the face.  And it slapped hard.  Yes, there is a medical condition called bunions and you can have get them in your TEENS and 20's.  And although I tend to keep my medical travails private, because that's just how I am,  I will tell you about this one because I hate the thought of others not knowing what these bumps are and not seeking medical attention early enough to avoid pain.

I had gone to a podiatrist for a sports-related injury, tendonitis on the side of my right foot.  In the course of x-raying my foot and taping it, he mentioned that I had a rather serious bunion.  It was a bump that stuck out the left side, just under my big toe. I had had a slight bump there for years and didn't think it was important.  I had gone from wearing a B width shoe to a C width shoe and thought maybe that slight bump had something to do with it.  But I never dreamed I would ever need surgery for it.   In fact, I didn't have pain from it at first and later learned the reason for this is because I had somehow learned to walk in such a way that I spared my feet the discomfort.  But in doing so, I was causing ankle pain and other weirdness.

I have since learned a few things about bunions.  For example, wearing high heels or being inclined to exercise heavily despite a mild deformity can turn said deformity into a major one.  I continued to bike ride vigorously and aggressively after being diagnosed with the bunions--there was one on the left foot, too--and I will confess, they both became more serious within a year.  I could see them getting larger and they were beginning to hurt more. 

The photo above shows how the bunions looked a few days before finally having surgery.  Notice how my toes all sort of slant to the side.  The big toe on each foot is so dislocated that all the other toes are pushed away.  The left foot has a severe bunion, plus a lot of cartilage has worn away in the big toe joint.  But the right foot, which looks relatively harmless to me, also has a fairly severe bunion.

So I had bunion surgery this week.  There are dozens of different types of surgery, and many types of casts/bandages, etc. and every recovery is different.  But once you have a diagnosis, I recommend skimming the Foot and Ankle section of this health board forum.  Scroll half-way down the page and you will find a couple hundred topics specifically about bunions.  Sift through many topics, because sometimes you will find the same issue under a slightly different phrase.  Just please find out from your doctor how severe your bunions are, what procedure s/he recommends (and get a 2nd opinion from another doctor) and be sure to compare apples to apples.  In other words, if you are having a minor procedure, don't pore over the notes of someone having bone replacement, cuz you'll just freak out.  And if your bunions are severe, don't expect to go back to work in two days just because someone else did.  Also, if you post a message in a forum and get some feedback, that's great, but remember, they don't know you and haven't seen your x-rays.  Still, it's okay to ask your physician something like, "Hey, I was wondering why I have a bandage instead of a cast."  Or "is there a less invasive procedure that will work for me?"  They're your feet and you have the right to ask lots of questions.  

Good luck and avoid high heels.  And remember, men can get bunions, too.  But it's less common.

dj runnels
Life's an Expedition on Etsy.  None of our merchandise has been on my feet.  Ever.




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