The Bunion Bugle: An Update

Playing Footsie

Shoes I Miss

Shoe Target for Next Summer

With this thankfully shorter post, I would just love to say that I am firmly registered for the 2013 London Marathon, have joined the local ramblers club and am taking part in a sponsored fun-run or two.

Yes, I would love to say that but the truth is not quite as impressive. I’ve signed up for nothing but aiming for some glorious longer walks with the dog and my OH. I’ve not even tried on a trainer. Prior to the bunion surgery, I was an utter coward when it came to fun-runs and the like, and there’s probably no reason on God’s good earth for me to change my predilections now.

Having overcome my initial hesitation over writing about the frankly unappealing subject of my bunion – I mean, I was under no illusions that people might think mmm-mmm-mmm, I simply must bookmark this bunion woman’s blog – I did write about it and have received some truly heartwarming feedback, some from bunion-sufferers and some from the uninitiated (as yet). Thank you so much to those who’ve commented and shared their own bunion pilgrimages.

Mind the Drop - Pic:

Mind the Drop – Pic:

A few recent comments reminded me that it might be worth updating my small but select crowd of readers with recent news.

First, I must say that I no longer see Mr. Fabulous, the surgeon (gutted – I may have to have the other foot done) and neither do I attend any physio sessions.

I’m pleased to report that, at 16 weeks post-op, I’m having no pain, unless I forget the distance from the foot-plate of a Chevy Suburban (pictured) to the ground. Forgetting that it’s at least half a metre higher than from an ordinary car and stepping swiftly out with the ‘bad’ foot leading, I suddenly heard a blood-curdling screech. The screech came from me. Swear? Passing troopers were saluting me.

Bone On Rug = Fine. Bone Under Rug = Agony and Trip Hazard.

Bone On Rug = Fine. Bone Under Rug = Agony.

It’s best to be alert. I have to keep watching the floor as walk. Otherwise I find I’m inclined to forget that the dog has a habit of burying his bones under the rug in the front room. Or that standing on a Bonio biscuit on the kitchen tiles can, for the post-op sensitive big toe, cause it to bend sharply and suddenly upwards thereby causing a slight screaming bout from said toe’s owner. Thankfully, these small but unforgettable events have been rare.

There is more ache than pain, more discomfort than the earlier agony, and usually that is because I’ve crammed my feet into, say, my narrower boots (on a shopping expedition) or walked further than usual. Dog-walks are becoming a joy again. Harry will feature further in this post, for all the wrong reasons.

Shoes? I must admit I’m still playing fairly safely here. It’s been cold, so I use the Ugg boots for dog-walks and Crocs indoors. However, I have tried out some other footwear and, as Di commented, for the most part they all make my own Bigfoot feel a tad squashed. I was delighted when I could wear my favourite old pumps with no unsightly bunion sticking up.

Look. No Unsightly Lump.

Look. No Unsightly Lump.

You will easily see that these are indeed my favourite pumps; the pictures illustrate how Harry the dog has bitten a chunk off the suede frill. He only ever chews up my favourite things: my favourite books; my favourite pen; my  favourite socks, etc. And so it was only natural that he should take his teeth to my favourite, ladylike pump shoes. It’s all right, though, I have an orange – yes, orange – un-chewed pair in the same design. Roll on summer.

Driving was, I found, easier than I’d thought and a sheer pleasure. Pleasing because, once I found I could achieve forward, left, right and back (the first time, I was with my OH) the chains that cabin fever had strewn around me dropped away. I was terrified that an emergency-brake would cause total toe dislocation, or the dislodging of a screw or staple. I can report that all ironmongery has stayed put, as far as I can tell – though don’t let’s mention the screws in my head. There was some slight discomfort but I drove in the Ugg boots, so was well padded against any sudden need for pressure.

Exercises were limited to pulling on the toes and trying to stand on the toes, as directed by my  surgeon, and walking as often as possible. Sitting here at my desk, I can do the pressing-down-on-tip-toes thing while typing. I gather it’s worth carrying on with this kind of exercise for a while and Di, who has commented on the Stage 7 post, kindly sent me this link for Exercising After Bunion Surgery.

Scars Not Too Awful

Scars Not Too Awful

As for the scars, they are fading fast. I do sometimes rub some Bio Oil in them and I doubt they will be a simple white line for another few months or more. However, as you can see, they are hardly noticeable in my lowest-cut pumps and, let’s face it, I was never going to be a foot model in any case.

I’ve joked above about possibly going for further surgery on the other foot. This was, I repeat, a joke; an understandable, imaginary ruse to catch just one more sighting of Mr. Fabulous, the surgeon.

But Weil, Akin and Scarf* procedures (and similar bunionectomies) are not surgery to be undertaken lightly or at all, I think, unless someone is suffering horribly from bunion pain. The cabin fever alone, I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Post-op pain was difficult to bear. My bunion was painless and didn’t grow much for years. But, like the deep skin cancer I had removed last year, it crept  up insidiously, becoming hideously bulbous. As it grew, it became more painful and the pain moved about from the bunion itself to the ball of my foot. I would find myself wincing with each step and looking out for handy benches on which to sit, feeling much older than I was.

Now that the surgery has settled, I may sometimes ache, or feel slight discomfort, after a longish traipse round Tesco or the nearby lanes, fields and woods, but it’s nothing like the pain that assaulted me on similar expeditions this time last year.

Where OH, Harry and I Walk...

Where OH, Harry and I Walk…

So, for me, it was surgery worth having. I still assert my right to affirm that none of this means I’m up for the latest fun-run, group-ramble or marathon. Never was – okay, apart from that school walk, 26 miles in 1974, and my vital current walking with the OH and Harry, the chomping dog – never will be. Just don’t ask. It’ll never be my latest news. From now on, I cross my fingers in the hopes that the left foot bunion stays small and painless.

I’d love to hear from all those who got in touch about their own experiences, those who are  considering the same surgery and any other interested party – I’ve befriended or discovered a few treasures in that way. That’s other than all the foot fetishists who’ve been in touch via blog or Twitter since I’ve been running these posts. Thanks for your comments and invitations but, no, I’m not interested in playing footsie.

* sounds like a city law firm


About Tessa Tangent

I write and I often go off at tangents. Tessa Tangent's my nickname and, at home, I'm called Tessa more than I am my real name, Heather. In the 90s, I had short stories published in magazines like Ludus and For Women. I also won a cherished second prize in a BBC travel writing competition, was the writer of a newsletter for a dry ski slope and had a newspaper article about the slope published. At the same time, I wrote half a first draft of a novel then, for reasons I may reveal, I stopped writing. After a long fallow period, I am writing again - and not a moment too soon...
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4 Responses to The Bunion Bugle: An Update

  1. Ellen says:

    Tessa, reading your blog was just what I needed when I was at a low point after my own surgery. I did both bunions plus a taylor bunion with only one day between the surgeries. I also corrected and shortened eight toes. So needless to say I have struggled with my feet for a long time. I have not showed my feet in 40 years, I am 52 today.
    The recovery has been very hard and I had an infection in week 5. Today its almost 7 weeks after surgeries and I can wear crocs that are four sizes bigger than usual.

    I have spent a lot of hours sitting still but finally I can move around bait, taking drives with my patient husband. Oh dear, I didnt know how this would be and neither did he…

    However reading what you have written has been as taken out of my own head,,,the frustrations , the laughter and the accurate description of all the problems and issues that comes with this whole ordeal. I know I will be happy with my feet soon. Its just a bit of infection left now in the outer skin and between my toes. The swelling is the challenge and will be I suspect for some time ahead.


    • Hey Elisa, Thanks so much for your comments and I’m glad you could relate to much of my bunion writings! I’m sorry for this very late reply but here I am now. You are doing well by the sound of it.

      I’m down the road a little way now (nearly 4 months) but the only bother I get these days is from too much walking. Then the ball of the foot swells and I have toes-in-the-air syndrome again. It was the worst after traipsing about Romford Christmas-shopping. Other than that, I’m doing the stand-on-tiptoes thing that others have mentioned as the first two toes are very stiff.

      Hopefully, by now you are over the infection and trotting about nicely! 🙂

      Heather x

  2. ann kay says:

    Thank you so much for your blog. I am 7 weeks post op left foot Scarf bunionectomy. Reading the various stages of your recovery has kept me both amused and reassured! Like you, despite the first 72 hours pain ( thank heaven for the medication ), the cabin fever and the general “will I ever walk again?” feeling, I can honestly say I have no regrets.

    • Thanks very much for your comments, Ann. Glad to have been of some use! Looks as though you are on the home stretch. We’ve had freezing weather, so I’m looking forward to less Uggs and more pumps. Am now painfree and only have the odd swelling after very long walks/going up to town. Roll on summer. 🙂

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