Your thoughts on bunion surgery?

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by emily13, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. emily13

    emily13 New Member

    I'm sorry if this doesn't fit in this board. I'm new, and I didn't see a health board anywhere.

    On to my main post! I have a "bunion" on my left foot, big toe. It's an issue that goes up and down. It can get really swolen for about a month and it kill me. I can't wear tight shoes, releve, pointe of feet because of the pain. It swells up, gets tender, and very sore. Then it goes away, and it's all fine. Still big, but doesn't hurt.

    I went to several doctors for this, and got transfered many times until I met up with a neurologist, who decided to do Botox injects to relax the muscles. that worked...for about 3 months, but now my toe is worse than ever. And I'm not sure that I want to deal with it anymore. So my first though...get the bunion removed via surgery.

    Has anoyone gone through this? Is it worth it? Or would I be better off just dealing with it? I'm not the biggest fan of surgery...but I would like to get the bunion removed. Would this end my dance dreams? What are your thoughts?

    Thanks!
    -Emily
  2. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    I have never known anyone that had the surgery that was happy afterwards.
  3. wooh

    wooh Well-Known Member

    I get acute bunions (the kind that will go away) and have been ohhhh so happy using Yoga Toes (a quick Google will find them). Anytime my feet start acting up, I use them for a week or so, and I'm good to go again. I'd bet that they would be helpful since the botox injections worked (the yoga toes help stretch and relax the muscles, the botox "relaxes" the muscles.)
  4. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    I am by means no expert, but I have been told that bunion surgery weakens the joint and dancers should avoid it if at all possible. However, if you do have to have the surgery, go to a surgeon who treats professional dancers and do make sure you know what you're getting in to.
  5. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl New Member

    I'd agree with trying everything else possible before going for surgery.

    The Yoga Toes sounds like a great idea. There are also splints you can wear at night that gently straighten the toe and toe separators to put between your big and second toes to help keep the big one straight. You can find these online at sites like supportplus and footsmart.

    A big key is being very careful about the shoes you wear, both dance shoes and everyday. Make sure that your toes can lie straight in the shoes and the big toe is not mashed over toward the others. And probably try to save heels for dancing and special occasions and give your feet a break at other times.

    When I first started dancing, I started developing a bunion because my shoes were too small. They did mash my big toe to the side and then, trying to put a lot of pressure on that distorted joint was agonzing and began to damage the joint. I then went up a size in dance shoes, so that my toes could lie straight. Voila! No more pain, no more bunion. And the dancing itself helps to strengthen your feet, as long as you aren't damaging them in the process.

    Have you seen a podiatrist? If there are biomechanical problems with your feet that contribute to the formation of bunions, maybe an orthotic (a specially molded arch support) would help. I know people who even use them for dancing and they report that their dancing even got better with them.
  6. FatBaldGuy60

    FatBaldGuy60 New Member

    My wife has one and surgery was recommended. However, she talked to so many people that had been unsatisfied with the results of surgery that she decided not to do it.

    One thing that has helped is an "Ultra" shoe that she got from Avon. She says that helps a bit.

    Hers is pretty small though, and the nurse for the doctor that recommended surgery said it was very minor and that the doctor often recommended surgery over other techniques because it gave him more income. Like others have said, a doctor who has experience with dancers would be the best place for advice.

    FBG
  7. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    I now routinely dance with toe spacers. At first I resisted because I didn't want to be "dependent" on something, but I found that the fear of developing a bunion was causing me to favor the big toe by overusing the outside edge of the forward part of my foot, with a quite negative impact on my dancing. I don't know if I have an actual physical potential problem or not, but treating the concern has meant a substantial improvement in technique.
  8. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    My mother had the surgery and had no problems at all...although she is not one to complain and I'm sure that given her history of problematic back/neck surgeries she has had, it might just be that the bunionectomy was the least of her problems. You can probably scope out on google to see more "reviews" and feedback of this type of surgery from people who have actually had it. Good luck to you!
  9. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    I have bunions on both feet, but I can't see taking the time off dancing or skating that would be required. I'm too worried about what I've heard people say about afterwards. The Yoga Toes sounds like a great idea, and for me, while spacers are more trouble than they're worth, the overnight splint things can help.
  10. noobster

    noobster New Member

    I'm not an orthopedist or podiatrist, but I do have some information on bunions that you might find useful.

    A bunion is not simply a growth on the side of the foot. It is actually a dislocation of the first metatarsophalangeal joint of the foot. That is, the bump you see is the head of the metatarsal bone slipping sideways out of its normal position. See the X-rays in this link (add www):

    .lvh.org/lvh/Your_LVH/Health_Care_Services/Care_for_Your_Feet%7C970

    So bunion surgery doesn't just involve 'cutting off' the bunion (you can't, because it's part of the metatarsal bone), but breaking the bone and then reforming it so the head fits back in the joint properly (notice the fracture line in the 'after' X-ray in the link provided).

    In answer to your question, I do know someone who is very happy with her bunion surgery, but she is not a dancer. Also it takes a long time to heal (think months), since the bone has been fractured and reset. I would consider carefully whether you really want to put a permanent line of weakness into the bones of your foot. If you do decide to do it, I echo the good advice you have already gotten to find a doctor who deals frequently with dancers.

    What about corticosteroid injections? It sounds like the problem is not the fact of the bunion's existence but the fact that it gets inflamed. Steroids will decrease the inflammation and make the bunion less painful; and AFAIK they are much more commonly used in joint inflammation than Botox. (Botox is a paralytic, not an anti-inflammatory; it paralyzes the muscles and prevents them from contracting. I'm surprised it didn't weaken the intrinsic musculature of your foot.)

    Ask your doctor. (Btw why are you seeing a neurologist for this? Does he think the pain is neuropathic for some reason? Bunions and bunion surgery are usually more of an orthopedist's domain.)
  11. quixotedlm

    quixotedlm New Member

    IIRC, noobster you are in med-school - right?
  12. noobster

    noobster New Member

    Nope, graduated last year. I'm a resident. You can call me Doctah. ;)

    In the interests of full disclosure, we had a week of orthopedics in med school and that's the extent of my expertise. But I saw a whoooole lot of bunion surgeries that week! :D
  13. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    Well Doctah noobster, we appreciate your thoughts on this subject!
  14. noobster

    noobster New Member

    Meh. Thanks for the vote of confidence, but like I said I'm not an orthopedist.

    Actually I think the Yoga Toes look like the best advice. There are some bunion splints and braces out there that are supposed to work in a similar way but the Yoga Toes look way better. I actually went and bought some after reading this thread, as I'm getting the beginnings of tiny nonpainful bunions myself. I didn't think there was anything I could do to nip them in the bud but I googled a bunch of positive testimonials for the YogaToes so decided they were worth a try. :)

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