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Bunion Operation - Surgery, Special Boots, Pros and Cons, Advice + Recovery Update

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Ann likes to pass on information relating to her own life experiences, maybe quirky, especially for the benefit and/or interest of others

The Ups and Downs of Bunions!

What am I doing? I'm staring at two heel-block, black, plastic surgical shoes which are plastered to my feet with velcro because I had an operation (yes, for bunions) a few weeks ago. I only have 5 days (and counting!) until I can be 'normal' again, though many think I never was, until I can wear my favourite shoes once more. How we take things for granted!

Yes, I know, they told me I would have to walk on my heels in block shoes for 6 weeks.

Yes, they told me it would be painful, that I'd have to put my feet up at first and use crutches to hobble to the loo.

Yes, they told me I couldn't do housework, wash up, cook, for a week at least (nothing new there then). Great! I'd have to take it easy, catch up on all my reading and emails, enjoy writing all the Christmas cards, work on my laptop, on my hubpage.

I was so looking forward to it, despite the advice to wear the shoes in bed and to keep my feet dry in the shower! I persuaded the surgeon to do both feet at the same time to get it over with. What a big brave soldier I was!

Thinking of having it done? Apart from forgetting how much I loved my shoes, I found there was more to it than expected. Read on if you dare.......

heel block shoes

heel block shoes

A Few Points to Remember

  • the pain can be exhausting to start with, even though expected and controlled; this is, after all, an invasive operation and a shock to the system, so just doze and shovel down the drugs as merely putting your feet up takes all your energy,
  • if you are aka Imelda Marcos, it's torture not to be able to wear pretty, coordinated shoes,
  • walking round on your heels pulls muscles you didn't know you had and balancing requires basic circus skills - oh, and beware of crutches slipping on wet tiles,
  • going up and down stairs is akin to climbing Everest, one crutch to save you falling into the ravine; thank goodness for the back-up, bless him!
  • your partner telling everyone he's a slave to the house and sink, at your beck and call, waiting on you hand and foot (or in my case, feet), doing all the Christmas shopping and cooking, is worse than doing it all yourself,
  • and just look at those shoes !
  • not being able to shop means no new clothes for nearly two months (wringing of hands); what shall I wear? Well actually, you're only lazing about, getting a numb bum, so why bother changing out of your nightwear at all?
  • and the shoes!
  • you think you've got all you need around you (specs, phone, books, laptop, handbag….) then you realise your lipstick and toothbrush are still upstairs and he's gone out shopping again; where is he in an emergency?
  • you can't even disguise those shoes, everyone wants to peer at them, examine them, make jokes about Geisha girls,
  • you can't easily get clothes over those shoes, so… you take off the shoes, slide on knickers, trousers, socks, then heave on shoes, the velcro catches on your socks, on your trousers, on the bath mat, in fact reaches out and grabs at will like an octopus. Then you balance to stand up, pull everything up and finish dressing. Trouble is, you're so exhausted you want to go back to bed, so you sit down, take off shoes………….
  • if you get cold, you pull the blanket over your legs, get too hot, push off the blanket, blanket gets caught on velcro; that jars your foot, you yelp in pain,
  • wearing the shoes in bed makes you a lethal weapon and drags the whole duvet over to your side - not all bad then!
  • the trendy, see-through, over-the-knee galoshes which you need to wear in the shower involve really careful planning to put on and are so fetching I think I'll start a new fashion, in a variety of colours and with heels, don't you think? They do serve the purpose though.
  • and worst of all? You can't pick up your grandchildren!!

Leg protectors

Leg protectors

Don't let me put you off!

All that aside, if you have painful bunions then, in my opinion, it's a good idea to have them corrected sooner rather than later. I decided to have both done at the same time because someone told me that if I didn't I wouldn't want to go back for the second! I also wanted to correct the problem before I got older when operations are more of a shock to the body. It is painful but only for a few days. Waiting for six weeks to remove the shoes can be frustrating but is nothing compared to some people's problems. This operation improves comfort, health and appearance. The surgeons are kind, knowledgeable, courteous and very reassuring. My thanks to those at Shepton Mallett.

Whether or not you love shoes, it's worth facing life in the very slow lane for a while.

Then, finally, you can bin those shoes, reject them, chuck them away, never see them again - hooray! Except, deep down, a little part of you might say 'Thank you' to them for their rôle in giving you more comfortable, prettier feet!

Long live heels, trainers, ballerinas, platforms, pumps, wedges, flip-flops, jellies, ankle boots, knee boots, thigh boots, booties……. in all the colours of the rainbow!!

I'll let you know how I get on!


Much the same as the bunions I had

Much the same as the bunions I had


Well, I promised I'd let you know how I got on.

Scroll to Continue

It didn't take too long to recover, having had my x-ray at the hospital and binned those shoes - HOORAY!

After the long six weeks it was such freedom to be walking properly again. My feet were still a little swollen but not noticeably so, there was some soreness but that subsided and the scars healed well, so it's great.

I had a choice between trainers or comfortable sandals until the swelling went down a little more; then back to lovely shoes without going mad. When summer arrived, I was able to paint my toe-nails and wear pretty sandals - oh joy! Best of all, I can now pick up my grandchildren and play with them again without worrying about little feet treading on mine - and they no longer give my feet funny looks!

Bon courage and Good Luck to any of you going through it, or about to do so. All in all, worth the pain, the strange shoes and the long, long wait.

For me, as for some others, there is some minor nerve damage to the big toes. It doesn't give me pain and doesn't affect my walking, however there is some resultant numbness and tingling. I thought this might wear off with time but it remains five years on. Be sure to tell the surgeon of any numbness you feel directly after the operation. It might be significant, it might not.

Since the procedure.... it's been back to the washing up, ironing, dusting, vacuuming, changing sheets, gardening... Happy Days! All in all, only a small price to pay for regained comfort and healthy feet.

Shoes Glorious Shoes!

Heels, Wedges, Flip-Flops & Flats!

Heels, Wedges, Flip-Flops & Flats!

Final Words

I am much more aware of the benefits of shoes which offer support, are a proper fit and of hardly ever wearing high heels. 'Sensible shoes' is a phrase associated with those of us at a 'certain age'; do not think that way! Be sensible!

There are many good gel insets to provide comfort in your shoes, to cushion your feet, to provide instep or heel support. Cushioned insoles soften any jarring on your knees and spine.

Just remember that your whole body, when standing, is supported on those two small areas. Your knees, spine, neck, body posture are all affected by the way you walk. Hold your head high, be aware of your inner core, respect your feet!

So take care of your feet! You'll be pleased that you can then walk your way, hopefully, into a ripe old age.

Definition of Bunion and Causes

A bunion is the result of a deformity in the joint of your big toe. The exact cause isn't clear. However, possible causes may include:

  • genetics(family history)
  • arthritis
  • other conditions & syndromes, such as cerebral palsy & Marfan syndrome
  • poorly fitting shoes


If other members of your family have bunions, your risk of developing them is increased. However, this doesn't mean you'll definitely develop bunions.


The types of arthritis thought to cause bunions are:

  • rheumatoid arthritis – inflammation and pain in the joints because of the immune system attacking the joint lining
  • gout - a type of arthritis that commonly affects the big toe
  • psoriatic arthritis – a type of arthritis associated with the skin condition psoriasis

Arthritis in the toe may also develop as a result of a bunion.

Other conditions:

A number of other conditions are also thought to increase your chances of developing bunions. For example

  • conditions associated with loose ligaments, flexible joints and low muscle tone could increase the likelihood of bunions developing.

These include

  • neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy,
  • and connective tissue disorders, such as Marfan syndrome.

Poorly fitting shoes:

  • can contribute to the development of bunions. Bunions are rare in populations that don't wear shoes.
  • Wearing shoes that are too tight and don't fit properly is likely to make an existing bunion worse.
  • Shoes that are too tight may rub against your big toe joint. High-heeled shoes that are too tight will squeeze your feet, causing your big toe to remain in a bent position. This can stretch the toe, put pressure on the nerves around it and lead to pain.
  • High heels also push most of your body weight forwards onto the front of your foot, which places considerable strain on your toe joints.


Has this happened to you?

© 2012 Ann Carr


Ann Carr (author) from SW England on August 18, 2020:

Hello Peggy! I'm so sorry I missed your comment. I've just come to this to see if I could update it a bit and there was your comment!

I've never heard of Morton's Neuroma but I'll look it up. Sensible shoes are indeed more comfortable and more healthy. I'm not so worried about fashion any more!

Thanks for reading and commenting, and again I apologise for my oversight.


PS: Just had a quick look and that looks nasty - pain in the ball of your foot is difficult to alleviate, I'm sure.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 25, 2020:

Your bunion surgery story may aid people who are deciding whether or not to have it performed. Thankfully, I have not had that problem. I did, however, have Morton's Neuroma surgery done on both feet. Those surgeries were not done at the same time. I wear very sensible shoes these days!

ptosis from Arizona on December 17, 2017:

How much did your operation cost?

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on October 02, 2017:

Claire: So sorry, I appear to have missed your comment entirely. It must be something to do with this hub as several of my comments show that I'd missed others.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Yes, it's quite a major thing but worth it.


Claire-louise on June 02, 2017:

Wow, they are a lot more complicated and require more recovery than I thought!

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on April 01, 2016:

Patricia: I'm so sorry I missed your comment here - no idea how! Thank you so much for reading.

I get the odd tingle in my big toe as the nerves weren't entirely unaffected but if that's all there is to put up with, that's fine!

My apologies again. I always value your comments.


Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on March 20, 2015:

O my....quite a lot to take in. But those who may have to have this done have more insight because of your article. Hearing about this procedure from someone who has actually had it is much more helpful than even hearing it from the medical team.

thanks for sharing Ann. Hope all goes well with your feet ....gotta' wear the amazing footwear

Angels are on the way this morning ps

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on January 29, 2015:

Loretta: thanks for stopping by and commenting. Sorry to be late replying but I didn't get notification of your comment.

It does take some determination. My tip to you would be to do as much exercising as you can when allowed as then the nerve endings have a better chance of completely recovering. I still have a few tingles but my feet are so much better than before and I can wear my shoes again (though I don't wear high heels so often now!).

Good Luck!

Loretta on December 14, 2014:

thank you I loved that your a grandmother, I'm going in to have it done in two days time both feet, so have been reading up as much as I can, I am expecting it to be painful, but I think if you are realistic, and prepared as much as you can you can accomplish a speedy recovery. the grandmother comment is a compliment...when I first started reading I thought this is someone very very young.....young at heart helps recovery..thanks again..and I love shoes too......

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on August 02, 2014:

FlourishAnyway: Sorry it's taken me a while to respond; I missed this one!

It is painful for a while but it depends how you look at it. I wanted to get it done while I could still cope rather than wait until I was older when I knew my feet would be painful anyway.

I still have feint scars and a little numbness (more like tingles) but my feet are much better and I can wear far more of my shoes again!

Thanks for the visit.


FlourishAnyway from USA on July 27, 2014:

My mother had surgery scheduled but my sister-in-law told her she heard how painful and awful it was, so my mom actually cancelled her surgery based on that. Both of them need it done. Thanks for a realistic look. I'm not sure if two at one time is what I would do, but you certainly have my respect.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on October 29, 2013:

Exactly Dolores! I still have feint scars but my shoes are so much more comfortable and high heels are possible once again, though not too often! Thanks for dropping by.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on October 28, 2013:

Ann, you've got a lot of guys to have both feet done at once. But I can see making that choice. Once done is done you don't have another to look forward to.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on March 28, 2013:

Thanks Ebonny. Sorry for the delay but I've been away for a couple of weeks. I appreciate your comment and glad you enjoyed it. It's been just over a year now and all is well, except I still don't have 100% nerve feeling in my big toe! I have been wearing lovely red patent high-heeled shoes though!

Ebonny from UK on March 13, 2013:

Love your witty slant on this topic, particularly the bit about the duvet. Also I’m sure your positive attitude has speeded your recovery and I'm glad you'll soon be able to vary your footware again.

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