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I am 36 and have bunions on both feet. In my case, they are mostly genetic, as I've always taken really good care of my feet, I don't wear (and never have worn) dress shoes of any sort, and I've had these bunions since I was a teenager.
 
The left one is more pronounced but doesn't give me any troubles. However, more recently the right one has been giving me issues, and now has a painful spur on the top of it. I am very limited in what activities I can do, and what shoes I can wear. I've tried wrapping it, I've tried, different shoes, I've tried bunions pads, padded socks, all sorts of things. Short of wearing flip flops all the time, nothing helps.
 
The problem is I live in Minnesota, so I need to be able to put on my winter boots, and normal shoes. I know that often doctors want you to try all sorts of things, but after dealing with this for 20 years, I really just want to get the surgery and be done with it, at least on the right foot. I am not working, I am a stay at home mom (3 boys, 15, 10 and 4) and my husband has a good job with good insurance and he can take sick time to stay home for the first several days. Now really is the optimal time to have surgery done.
 
When I walk more than a short distance, the joint under the bunion, on the bottom of my big toe, aches and hurts for days afterwards. This was before the bone spur. I can't ski, I can't hike, rollerblade, do yoga, go jogging, or even play tennis because it's not worth it to be in pain for days after. Now I have this spur on top if it and can't even put on normal shoes.
 
Do I have to go through with getting orthotics and everything before they'll consider surgery? I see my family doctor on the 30th of August(because I'll need a referral). My options are kind of limited because of where I live, I will probably have to travel 120 miles (one way) to get the surgery done as it is. Assuming I see a podiatrist, what kinds of questions should I be asking? Are they going to require me to spend extra money on special orthotics (which insurance barely covers any amount of) before they'll do surgery? Or does that depend on what the xrays show?
 
If I'm going to do it, I want to do it before winter. I can't go through winter being unable to wear shoes or boots, and I'm down to about 8 weeks before I'll have to be able to wear normal shoes. of course I realize I'd be in a walking boot or whatever, and that is fine. But I'd rather not have to go through months of trying other stuff, much of which I've tried already, and then end up having surgery in the winter and have to deal with a boot and/or crutches on the ice and snow.

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A bunion is when your big toe points toward the second toe. It often creates a bulging bump on the outside of the base of your big toe. It causes swelling, redness or soreness around the big toe. It can be very painful when walking or wearing tight-fitting shoes. Bunions generally occur when the bones and joints of the feet are not properly aligned. When bunions become painful it is important to relieve pressure on the ball of the foot under the big toe. Ideal Feet products are designed to help bunions by balancing the bones, joints and the arches of the feet. By balancing the feet, it takes the excess pressure off of the ball of the foot and balances it among the whole foot.

SOURCE
WWW.OKCWELLNESS.COM
WWW.IDEALFEET.COM
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I have the same symptoms and am in the same situation but with 4 kids. Flip flops are the worst for me since my toes have to hug them. I'm very active but suddenly couldn't even walk due to pain. 2 docs said surgery. Cortisone shot helped for a while. Best thing I found was the skechers runners which rock front to back only and not side to side (or a similar sneaker.) Actually got the mens & I went up a size for roominess in toe box. The pressure is taken off ball of foot. Basically wearing these all the time but can wear a wedge heel now for short times, I walk about 3 miles a day and even play tennis with the kids. But if I try on a pair or the wrong heels I see stars. Another thing that helps me is to gently move the toe in various directions while holding onto the joint.

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Thanks for the tips on the shoes. For me, most of the pain is coming from the bone spur, which is like a stabbing, stinging, sharp pain anytime the spot is touched, so wearing any shoes that touch that par tof my foot is unbearable. That's been going on all summer, so I avoid wearing shoes that touch my feet. I've tried pads and other things to cushion that sore part, but they don't help at all. The bunion itself I've dealt with for a long time, by icing and taking advil after I've been on my feet for a long time, but it's starting to greatly impede my ability to do acitivites that I enjoy, like hiking. Next summer we're supposed to take a 10 day backpacking trip and right now, there is now way I'd make it. One day of hiking 5 miles means 2 days of having to put my foot up on ice and with advil.

On the right foot, the painful one, when I relax my foot in an elevated position, my big toe rest underneath my second toe, and my second toe is now starting to point the same direction, so now I have 2 sideways pointing toes! I really want to get it actually fixed, or try to, rather than spend another 20 years dealing with the symptoms.
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