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Hi all,

I am now four months out of a Modified Chevron bunionectomy on my right foot (4/23) and wanted to share my experience for anyone looking for information. They removed the bunion and a part of my big toe joint and secured the joint with two Titanium fasteners (I'm allergic to metal). One thing I will say, if you are like me and the pain from the bunion drives you crazy every time you walk more than a quarter mile, then you will benefit from this surgery. After the first week, my pain was less than it was before the surgery, but it was CONSTANT. This surgery is much tougher to recover from than you might think. I have just now (8/25) stopped taking anti-inflammatories to control the swelling.

Also, I work as a technical writer so I sit at a desk all day. This means I was able to go back to work after two weeks. This may not be the case for you if your job keeps you on your feet all day.

For those of you contemplating this surgery, here's what you need to know:

1- You need to keep your foot above your heart for a minimum of 10 days after your surgery. If not, you can develop an infection the way I did. For sleeping at night, I slept on the couch for SIX WEEKS with my foot up on the back of the couch to keep the swelling down. Ice really helps with this, as does an NSAID like Aleve twice a day.

2- Your doctor should take Xrays after the first week and show you the comparison between before and after the surgery.

3- The second week is when your stitches will be removed. It will itch horribly at this point, but that is healthy--it means it's healing. I tried soaking it in hot water to relieve the itching, which helped immensely.

4- If you are even slightly overweight, plan for prolonged healing and additional swelling. I regretted every extra piece of cake I'd ever eaten before this surgery!

5- I had a boot after the surgery and it was never comfortable. It was either too tight or not tight enough. After my stitches were removed, I switched to a socked foot in a sandal with velcro so I could adjust it accordingly. But this means you have to be careful. I remember one instance in particular where I jammed the big toe into the corner of my desk. Pain!!!!!

6- After four weeks, I switched to a 4E width shoe, and that was barely wide enough, and had to be left really loose due to swelling on top of the foot. Get fitted for shoes at a special place, cheap shoes from department stores are NOT sufficient. The special shoe stores can also provide you with adjustable laces that will expand if your foot needs it. My 4E New Balances cost $150, well worth it to protect your $3,000+ bunionectomy surgery.

7- My doctor told me not to drive for six weeks, but I needed to drive after five. I live on a main road in a bigger city so there is a lot of people cutting in and out and I had a couple of panic braking episodes that left me convinced I had messed something up badly due to increased redness and pain at the incision site. It was at least eight weeks after the surgery before I felt 100% comfortable braking, and this was using my heel for the majority of the braking.

8- I couldn't walk more than two blocks comfortably for at least eight weeks after the surgery. I also experienced alot of redness and burning at the site. I stopped icing at this point.

9- I stopped the Aleve after four months.

A few other suggestions:

I took pictures of the foot each week so I could compare my progress and my doctor could tell if something looked off. It was also a reminder of how far I'd come when I became depressed about the turtle's-pace healing.

My toe still sticks up when it becomes too swollen, and I have a big gap where my big toe had pushed my second and third toe over, so it's not the prettiest thing (especially when coupled with a four-inch scar) but it feels much better than before the surgery.

If you are a bleeder, like me, you will be a sweller, too. Have reasonable expectations for this surgery. It's not quick, and it's not pretty. it takes a LONG time to heal.

Don't plan the second surgery until you are completely healed. For me, this means probably a year, since I still have residual swelling.

I see a massage therapist for my back, and she did a couple of lymphatic drainage massages on my feet. They hurt like hell because your lymph glands are working overtime to heal your foot.

Also, do the stretching exercises your doctor gives you, they really help! They don't seem like they are working anything, but every movement you make has purpose.

Stick with it, and the results are well worth the temporary pain and inconvenience of the surgery.


Was your surgery on your right foot or left?