Sunday, 17 February 2013

Wobbles and worries

Something I know from previous times I've had surgery that alters my appearance, is that at various points along the road to recovery I end up having moments of severe anxiety.

I'm sure this is just a normal part of the process. Having surgery is a major thing in itself, but add in the fact that you want certain results from it, both functional and aesthetic, and there is huge potential for worry.

My main aim with having my bunions done was to end the pain, but I also wanted to get rid of the unsightly bumps on the sides of my feet, and have pretty feet that I wasn't ashamed of people seeing.

I've had a couple of moments of worry, one of which is happening now, and they are both about the same thing - are my big toes really fixed or are they bending back over?

Now, you've seen the pictures, so you know that in reality the toes are much straighter than before. But I have times when I think they are shifting back over again. And there are times when it really does look like that, but then I wonder what other people's feet look like, and I reckon mine, now, probably look like most people's.

Or at least, most people who habitually wear shoes. It wouldn't be helpful to compare my feet to unshod peoples', which look very different (and presumably much more like all feet should naturally look).

As you can see, the shod foot looks like what we would call a 'normal'foot, whereas the shoe that hasn't worn shoes (quite possibly, ever) has more spread-out toes. I'm going to revisit this in a blog post at some point; I find the whole barefoot movement facinating and very appealing.

Anyway, what's been happening is that occasionally I look at my feet (first thing in the morning and in the bath are particular flashpoints) and think "oh my goodness! Look at my toes!! the big toes have gone back to where they were before! They're touching my second toes! It's all gone wrong!" and I feel like crying.

I'm sharing this only so other people who have this surgery will know that this reaction is normal and to be expected. It is also not rooted in reality.

Here's some pictures to show you what I mean.

When my feet have been resting for a while without the spacers, such as overnight, or in the bath, they tend to look like this.

Which does look horribly like the big toes have moved back toward the other toes. However, this picture is of the feet in mid air, not on the ground, plus some of what is happening is that the other toes have moved into a straighter position now the big toe is not constantly shoving them over to the side, so filling the space I've grown accustomed to seeing next to my big toe, especially when I have the spacers in.

Here is the foot placed on the ground.

I don't think the actual toe placement is any different, although the right one may have moved slightly, but being on the ground somehow makes the big toe look straighter, so my theory is that the pressure from the floor alters the shape of the rest of the foot. (And yes, I do seem to be holding my left foot at a funny angle, it's probably because it hurts, thanks to Emma of orthotics.)

And here are my feet after I walked (well, limped) around the living room, then stood still.

It's a subtle difference between this picture and the first one, but the toes have spread out slightly from the weight on them and the action of walking, and they look much more how I would want them to look (although never as straight as with the spacers, sadly).

So, I hope this shows how wobbles and worries are just that, and shouldn't be taken too seriously.

And if all else fails, I just have another look at my before picture.

Yep. Surgery definitely worked!


  1. Hi still following your blog with interest and this one hit home as I have been having the very same worries about my big toe turning inwards again....I suppose mainly because unlike you I was not told to wear a toe spacer when my bandage was removed after the first 10 days.
    It's 5 weeks today since my surgery and I can't wait to go back to hospital next week (25th) to see my surgeon.....I have soooo many questions to ask him.....thanks to your blog! I have a picture of my feet but haven't quite managed to work out how to post
    Anyway Emma take care & take it easy
    Karen x

    1. Hi Karen, it is a worry isn't it? I too go back this week, but on the 26th. I'd be interested to hear what your surgeon says. I hope I'm going to see Mr Nugent again this time as I do have some questions for him, and especially as I expect to be discharged from his clinic as it has been 12 weeks since the op.

      I'll have to set up an email you can use to send me the picture - I'll post it on the comments here when I manage to do it.

      Let me know how you get on tomorrow.

    2. Hi Emma and Karen

      Emma, I'm due to have bilateral surgery in December and came across your blog when looking for info about what to expect. It's been really useful, thanks.

      I noticed in an earlier posting that Karen (who's replied above) had surgery at Ninewells hospital and that's where I'm due to go. So, if Karen happens to read this reply, it'd be great to hear more from you about your experience...)


  2. Hi Emma and Karen, Sella Vee here. I, too, share exactly the same worries. I also find that my big toe seems to be bending over again, BUT, when I put my foot on the floor it straightens up. My surgeon showed me on the Xray that the angle of the bone was what it should be after I mentioned it to him at the 6 week appointment.

    I had a small success on Tuesday. The weather was lovely in the afternoon and I took a turn around the garden in my oldest, scruffiest and therefore most stretched trainers. That's the nearest I've come to getting back into my own shoes. I still haven't tackled driving but I'm doing a bit of barefoot walking in the bedroom everyday since the carpet there is "comfy".

    1. Hi Sella Vee

      That's the same for me. When I stand and walk around it looks much straighter. I wonder if it's to do with the muscles? I'm going to ask on Tuesday. I too have seen my X-rays and been told that they are fine.

      Well done for Tuesday! It's great to wear shoes again! Take it slowly and don't rush yourself.

  3. Hi,

    i have my first appointment to see the foot and ankle specialist in three weeks, i need to get a bunion removed in my right foot. it causes me a lot of pain but i am scared of the surgical procedure.
    i am 19 and at university. i need to have it done during my break and need to fully recover before i go back as it will be my final year and i catch a train and bus daily.
    how long will it take for me to fully recover and be able to walk normal again?
    and is the procedure worth getting done?

    Many thanks

    1. Hi Meysi. Welcome to the blog and thank you for taking the time to comment.

      I can't really answer your questions, I'm afraid. I mean, I could, but I'm not a surgeon or a doctor!

      However, the recovery process takes a long time. Full healing takes a year. You'll be able to walk after a few months, but will still need to take it easy and look after it.

      Having one foot done is easier, as you still have one good foot, but the recovery is the same length of time for one as for two, because the foot just has to follow the healing process.

      You'll be able to use a crutch or walking stick, so if you are in any way able to schedule your surgery for the beginning of your break, then you may well feel able to go back to uni at the start of term.

      But only you can work that out. It might be worth chatting to a surgeon about it, and then thinking about whether you could have it done after you graduate?

      Sometimes operations have to be delayed or rescheduled, and if you are working to a tight timescale that could cause problems, also you don't want to rush your recovery because it's really important to let your foot heal properly.

      I hope you can get the answers you need from your surgeon - call his office and arrange a chat. And do keep reading and posting, I will help if I can.

      Oh, and you asked if it's worth having it done? YES, YES, YES!! It totally is!

      Hugs xx

    2. thank you fro your reply.

      i am getting my surgery done under the nhs and they have to operate 3 months after your first consultation. i went to my first appointment and as i am still young a healthy i will not need a pre op appointment, i will be sent a letter and just need to turn up for my surgery.

      i am scared of the recovery and the pain. also im very active and drive so im worried if my recovery does not go to plan and i won't be able to walk or drive again ;(

      i really want it done at the same time as it causes me great pain, being a teenager i want to be able to wear heels without the pain and i always hide my feet and wish i could wear cute sandals in the summer.

      another question i have is that i only have a bunion on my right foot but i am starting to get pain in my left even though i do not have a bunion on it. could this be the start of a bunion?

  4. Hi Meysi, I'm so sorry not to have replied and I hope your operation went well. Yes, the pain you feel will be the start of another bunion. I hope your doctor has been able to advise you about it. Please do let me know how you're doing. xx