Warning: This post is very long.
Warning: This post contains photos of my gruesome stitched up foot just days after surgery.
(If you react badly to photos of gore, then I suggest stopping at the last warning down below, for the photos will be towards the end at the bottom of the page.)
I’ve decided to go a little more in detail with my surgery for anyone who’s looking for information on what I’ve been experiencing. I’ll try to explain everything as best as I can.
So it’s almost been a week since I’ve had my bunionectomy and osteotomy, and earlier this morning I had an appointment to go back to my doctors office to change my dressings and see how my foot is doing. I’ve been so anxious and excited for today since I finally get to see my foot! Yes, I was aware that it would be all ugly, BUT I’ll be able to see how straight it is. Which I’m happy about.
My doctor talked to me about pain and she was shocked that I wasn’t in constant pain. Other than that one night when I woke up crying, I haven’t had any pain at all. (You’ll get to see why I was in such pain that night in one of the photos later on.) My doc said that that pain I was experiencing that night was from the splint rubbing against the side of my pinky toe joint and causing pressure, not from the actual surgery itself. But she was impressed that I’m not having any pain. So either everyone else that’s had a bunionectomy is just a wuss, or I have an EXTREMELY high pain tolerance. I know I have a high pain tolerance anyway, but she says anyone else would’ve been in excruciating pain all day for the first few days. I, on the other hand, was not phased.
(I find this kind of funny and ironic because if I happen to stub my toe into my dresser, I’ll be rolling around on the floor sobbing, but I can endure surgery and be cut open and not have any pain at all. Lol)
The first 24 hours, I didn’t feel a thing because of the numbing agent that was put into my foot. After the numbness wore off, all I experienced was slight throbbing. It’s not bad at all. I had people telling me that when they had the same surgery done or when their family member had it done, they were in so much pain and they had to be on top of their pain meds at all times and it was terrible and that they felt bad for me. And I’m here like .____. Thanks for those words of encouragement. Idk, I guess I’m the exception. I can honestly say I don’t have any pain. On a scale of 1-10, I would say my pain level is a 1 or 2. I’m smiling all the time and everything seems well.
Of course pain levels will be different for everyone because everyone is different. You could have really bad pain or you could be like me and barely experience anything.
I currently have one, long, straight incision in my right foot. Starting at the big toe joint where my doc went in and shaved off a portion of the bunion that was protruding outward and then realigned the bone; and ending at the start of the first metatarsal joint where she took out a piece of bone, realigned, and fused the joints together. I now have three screws in there that keep the metatarsals in place and parallel to each other. My doctor told me that my bunions are very large for someone of my age. (Which you’ll be able to see later.) She says there’s so much movement in my foot in the first metatarsal that a simple bunionectomy and just shaving the bunion growth itself would not put an end to it because it will easily come back. With all the movement in my bone, it’ll be easy for the first metatarsal to slowly swing over and cause a bunion again. This is why some people complain that their bunion came back after they had bunion surgery. Because they simply fixed what was wrong on the surface instead of going to the root of the problem INSIDE the foot.
This could all be gibberish to the people who don’t have bunions or have never inquired about it…
Anyway, this hasn’t really been much of a problem for me but I feel I should still address it. TWITCHING. My foot has twitched only twice since I’ve had surgery but when my foot twitches, man IT IS PAINFUL. It’ll come out of nowhere. I’ll just be sitting on the couch, relaxing, watching some television and then all of a sudden my foot will twitch. I’m pretty sure the twitch is generating from my big toe. Whenever this happens I always feel like the screws in my foot shift and move out of place or something. Which doesn’t actually happen, but that’s just the feeling I get. It goes away in about 20 seconds though.
Let me describe how it’s like getting to the bathroom. I have a knee walker that I use if I need to get around the house or go to the bathroom. My bathroom is fairly small and it had just enough space for me to fit myself and my knee walker in there. I park my walker right in front of the toilet, remembering to keep my foot properly placed on the walker’s cushion. Since I had my right foot done, and my shower tub is to the right of my toilet, I have to sit at an angle to make it work. And when I sit down, it gets awkward. I have to swing my foot around carefully but quickly so that it is in front of me, and gently rest it on the cushion as I begin to sit down so that it’s still elevated. I have to grip my toilet seat and lift myself so I’m positioned comfortable, then I do the same process again, just reversed. I’ll hoist myself up for a second, then swing my leg back and put it back to the normal resting position on my knee walker, and that’s it. It’s a hassle, but it has to be done. It definitely requires a lot of energy just to use the bathroom.
One thing I am not looking forward to is muscle atrophy. That’s where you lose muscle tissue in a part of your body because you haven’t been using that part of your body. So in my case, I will lose muscle in my calf. Of course it’s gonna happen because I can’t bear any weight on this foot for six weeks. I just hope I don’t lose too much muscle. My calf will look all weird. I’ll definitely have to do some exercises to get the muscle back. I honestly really love my calves. I always have. I think they’re perfect in size and shape and everything. I’ll have to work to get that back, but that’s alright. I’m a trooper and I can do this!
And now onto photos.
Warning: These photos are kinda gory and may gross some people out.
I think they’re awesome, others may think it’s disgusting. To each his own.
But because I want to show the progression throughout my surgery, I will post them to show the extreme difference in my foot(:
This is the main bloody bandage after all the other bandages and splint were removed.
Now earlier when I talked about how I woke up that one night crying because I was in so much pain and the pain was from my splint digging and rubbing up against my pinky joint, well this is what that side of my foot looked like and what caused that pain. THIS is more painful than the so called pain after the surgery.
And now for the actual gruesome stuff(:
Obvious bruising and swelling. And I have sausage toes… BUT LOOK HOW FREAKING STRAIGHT THAT BIG TOE AND THE FIRST METATARSAL IS! Woo!
And there’s my long incision and stitches.
Oh, and here’s a photo I took two weeks ago of my feet together with my ugly bunions.
You can see how my bunions are very large and protrudes outward, causing the big toes to deviate in the direction of the other toes.
And that’s it for photos.
Overall, I have to say my experience has been a very positive one. Even though my foot is swollen and stuff, I think it looks amazing! I don’t have a bunion on that foot anymore and the bones are straight. It’s honestly a little weird seeing my foot ‘normal’ and straight because having bunions is all I’ve ever known. Having bunions is my ‘normal’. I’ve had them for over ten years and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have them and they weren’t a problem. So it’s a big deal for me.
On a side note, I’ve stopped taking my pain meds. I don’t have any pain so I don’t need them. I haven’t taken any all day today. Since yesterday actually. This is a good thing. I don’t need to be dependent on meds for any reason. But I’m seriously not experiencing any pain at all. The slight pain I did happen to have throughout the past few days was just from the splint; and since that’s been removed there is absolutely no pain. Yaaay(:
On another side note, to avoid any confusion on the ‘days’, I do consider the day I had my surgery, Friday the 26th, Day 1. Instead of the day after my surgery being post op Day 1, I consider surgery day the first day because it was scheduled at 7am, and I came home well before noon. So I was home all day and basically had a long full day. Just to clear things up(: It still may be a little confusing to some people, but whatever.
May 1st, 2013 at 11:40 pm
I’m not sure I actually realized what a bunion was until I went and looked it up… but yea, now you’ve got one of them done…. will you do the other?
yea, that is crazy… realign, screws… goodness.
but glad to hear you are in good spirits and not on meds! woo hoo!
May 3rd, 2013 at 12:52 pm
After this foot recovers and I’m able to fully walk on it, I will do the other. It is crazy, but I think the description of it all sounds worse than it actually is. I feel like I’m going to heal so fast though!
March 26th, 2014 at 6:41 am
I am on day four after having a bunionectomy on my left foot. I came upon your blog and felt like I was reading my personal diary. I, too, have had bunions basically my whole life (I’m 32 and have had them since I was at least 15) and am so anxious to see what my foot will look like straight. It;s funny because I was telling my boyfriend the other day that I thought it would be emotional. I hate them, everything about them, but to see myself without them is just gonig to be weird! Glad I found your blog as I’m usually embarrassed to tell anyone I have the dreading ‘B’ word, with the stigma that this happens to old women.
I see you had your other foot done earlier this year. I’m planning on having my right foot done in November. Thanks for documenting the process! Good luck in your recovery.
March 26th, 2014 at 10:58 pm
I absolutely love when I get comments like yours on my blog regarding my bunion related posts. I wrote them in hopes that it would help others who also have them know what my experience was like during the healing process.
I’ve had large bunions since I was very young and I was always embarrassed to talk about them or show people cause even my family made fun of me. But I’m very glad I had the surgeries done. It was definitely weird for me seeing my foot for the first time after surgery and it was all straight. I was like WOAH! lol
Good luck with your recovery! I hope everything heals perfectly!
June 24th, 2015 at 12:56 pm
I’m so glad you documented your bunion experience from pre-op through post op recovery. I have bunions too, and you blog provides excellent insight into the whole process and experience (I think it is the best blog out there that describes the bunion surgery experience on a personal level). Thank you so much for sharing your experience with everyone.
July 27th, 2014 at 8:37 am
Im on day 4 of my bunionectomy as well and i agree with you on the pain deal, it hasn’t been that terrible. I get the other one removed 2 weeks from my first one because i am on a time crunch going into college. I’m an 18 year old guy and I’ve had bunions forever, throughout middle and high school I was nicknamed Paul “Bunion” which at first I hated but then I fully embraced it and began to feel more comfortable about my bunions. People always asked me what bunions were and i got a kick out of showing people my feet to see their reactions haha. But now it is senior summer and it is time for the bunions to go and paul bunion to go with it, though i couldn’t be happier they are getting removed because at times they were a real burden. Well i liked reading your blog and was interested to see what the bandages will look like coming off.
ps. i found this blog because i was looking for younger people with bunion which is kinda uncommon so it was cool to find someone else going through it.
December 14th, 2014 at 6:29 pm
wow, those are big bunions! I have one so I know what you’re talking about. I didn’t know you could get them wrenched from you, though!
January 22nd, 2015 at 5:30 pm
Thanks for following sciencesprings. I appreciate it very much.
January 23rd, 2015 at 4:00 pm
I had my right foot done 6 weeks ago. I was prepared for awful pain since that’s what everyone told me. The first 24 hours were the worst but after that, it wasn’t bad at all. I just started walking and driving 2 days ago and what I didn’t expect is that my calf hurts much more than my foot. I know it’s from the lack of using that muscle for 6 weeks and then suddenly using it on a regular basis but if it wasn’t for the pain in my calf, I would be able to walk without a limp. Did you experience that after walking for the first time? I can’t believe the way my foot looks though!! I hold it up next to my left foot all the time and just admire it. It’s like half the size of my other foot!! I love it! I was hoping to have my other one done right away so I can have matching feet for flip flop season, but my dr won’t do it for 3 months. He says my right foot won’t be strong enough to hold my body weight until then. So I will probably just wait until next winter now. The worst part of the whole thing was not being able to drive and having to depend on other people to bring me places. At least when the left foot is done, I can drive myself!
January 23rd, 2015 at 4:21 pm
Hi Lisa! Glad to hear you’re back on your feet again(: I actually did not experience any pain when I began to walk again. My calf wasn’t in any pain and neither was my foot when I started walking. The only thing that happened with my calf was the muscle atrophy where my calf lost all it’s muscle and literally turned into flab.
And glad to hear you’re admiring your new foot! Lol I did the same thing.
I had mine done almost a year apart because my doctor had told me the same thing.
That was also the worst part for me. I didn’t really go anywhere. I just decided to stay home for the whole recovery to avoid any accidents, but it sucked having to depend on people to get me things or take care of things I couldn’t.
Hope everything is well with your foot now that you’re back on it!(:
February 8th, 2015 at 1:02 pm
Hi I’m 21 and I just had my surgery done on the 3rd of February 2015. I was wondering if you could describe to me how your foot physically looked at the stage I’m in. I don’t have a whole lot of pain, I’m just curious on the color my foot has resided to which by the way I’d like a dark purple near the incision. But my toes are a normal color.
February 8th, 2015 at 9:54 pm
Hi Abigail! The photos in this post are what my foot looked like at the time, which is about the same time and stage your foot is currently in. My foot was normal colored with dried blood on parts. Everyone’s foot recovery will be different so the dark purple should be perfectly normal. When I had this surgery on my other foot, my big toe was purple and the rest of my foot was normal colored. And that freaked me out for awhile because the first foot wasn’t like that. But there will be different reactions for everybody.
I wish you a speedy recovery!
February 18th, 2015 at 8:58 pm
I have had these surgery on both feet as well. You will be so much happier now that you have had it. Quick healing to you Abigail!
March 22nd, 2015 at 6:45 pm
I just got my left foot done on Friday bunionectomy and my second toe which is a hammertoe was shortened and realign ed pain is minimal as long as my foot is elevated but the moment i put my foot down it ferls like its going to burst on fire. Did u experience any of these symptoms? If so how long did this last? May i add this splint is extremely heavy on my ankle
August 5th, 2015 at 4:52 pm
I have one and hate it!
August 5th, 2015 at 7:13 pm
They are THE WORST! 😮
September 26th, 2015 at 4:13 am
Thank you so much for your detail. I followed you before and after my op. I am 8 days post op. Most blogs I read gave horror stories of pain for days, and weeks and concoction of meds. Like you I have a very high pain threshold and never take anything if it can be avoided. My antethatist was very suprised when I told her I would probably be ok with minimal pain relieve . I never took the Tramadol prescribed, only took a paracetamol and anti inflam. Twice a day. I have my bandage removed next Saturday and can’t wait to see my new feet (yes I had both done at the same time) I know it will be some time before I can wear pretty shoes but am prepared to wait. It got to the point that I would have been most comfortable wearing the boxes shoes come in. I have waited almost 40 years to get rid of these dreadful lumps. Once again thank you so much
November 23rd, 2015 at 8:39 am
hi great blog Im in my 4th week and have not have had much pain – except for last night god it throbs ( feels like it is still there) seems ok today still a bit sore not as bad as last night – I presume this is normal. I am wearing a boot but came down on it heavly last week ( dog knocked me over) I just hope I have done nothing to it…..eeek when does the throbbing subside?
December 1st, 2015 at 1:10 am
Hi Lorraine! I hope everything is going well with your recovery! For me, the throbbing only lasted for a few days after the surgery. My main pain was the random twitching that would occur and my foot would flinch so I would feel like i moved something out of place every time it happened. Your throbbing is totally normal and just part of the healing process. Obviously, if you have any doubts, I would call your doctor just to make sure! I can’t tell you how many times I called my doctor in the middle of the night to make sure what I was feeling was normal lol
December 1st, 2015 at 2:07 am
yes I get the flinch thing as well I had a wound check on Friday it seems fine very swollen and quite red but the bunion seems gone which is good.
I have been walking around the house normally ( with the boot) but if I do
too much it does throb – now nothing to bad I’m just more aware of it then other times. Santa came to the village the other night and I walked a bit ( no kids just nosy) ha ha it was really throbbing last night. I have gone back to work every second day its at a desk and I have my foot up. I actually think my problem is that the pain was not too bad at all so you do more then you probably should and that’s what causes any throbs. I like your explanation of the op I actually had this done about 20 years ago and they did not remove the bunion I was distraught when I saw it and your right that type of op gives it a bad name. so if anyone is thinking of it please ask your surgeon for the full job!
its coming off me Thursday week – cant wait.
how long after your cast coming off did you feel “normal” were you nervous walking and were you able to walk normally or did you have a limp.
congrats on this blog its great to be able to ask and share with people suffering from the bloody things everywhere I’m from Dublin so it just shows they are everywhere (grin)
December 1st, 2015 at 2:19 am
That’s great to hear that you’ve been walking! The boot was always so awkward for me. To be honest, I took off my boot like a week sooner than I was supposed to, but I was completely fine and fit into a real shoe since my foot wasn’t double its normal size anymore. And I think I also had that same problem. There was a point where I just felt really good about my healing, like I could do anything again and felt invincible lol, so I would walk more and do more than I probably should have.
When I had the boot on, that was the only time I had a limp. As soon as I took the boot off and put my foot in a normal shoe, I was so scared and nervous that it would hurt taking my first real step again, but I was basically afraid for no reason. I immediately began walking again, perfectly normal with no problems at all! Which was a pleasant surprise.
And thank you so much for your kind words towards my blog(: I absolutely love when my readers comment and tell me that my posts have helped them out so much and helped them feel like they weren’t going through these things alone. I love being able to interact with my readers!
December 1st, 2015 at 2:32 am
not at all its great to be able to chat about it – i’ll let you and your readers know when I get the cast off ( my boot is removable at night) I have tried to post a picture but I cant.
December 23rd, 2015 at 1:33 am
sorry meant to update this got the cast off last Friday week so its off two weeks now – its still swollen a bit I can only get into uggs and canvas shoes nothing else it looks good but just below where it should be there is a little red/purple knob which I presume is the screw – that is at me a bit. I have 2 screws one on the toe and one below it he said he only has had to put 2 screws in me after 600 operations. does anyone else have any issue with the screws? it seems ali that you could get into shoes straight away – how long for other people ( when will I be normal) 🙂 hope you are doing well now
February 17th, 2016 at 3:42 am
Hi, I’m day 6 post op on right foot (Lapidus fusion)and the throbbing is more of a discomfort than pain thankfully, although not pleasant. Don’t need to take as many meds as advised. Thanks for a great informative blog. I’m concerned about my muscle atrophy too, can I ask what type of exercise did you do to regain the muscle and does you calf look/feel as good as before the op and how long after were you able to actually exercise?
February 17th, 2016 at 7:58 am
Hi Claire! At first I did a lot of stretches once I was given the okay to return to normal activities. I did a lot of calf raises and ankle rotations, but to be honest, i just went hiking a lot after I was completely healed. I went about twice a week with my dad. My calf is now the same size and strength it was before, which is such a relief.
Hope this helped you out and I wish you the best with your recovery!
February 17th, 2016 at 8:04 am
I’m not having a great time at the moment – to be honest I was looking at your pic and mine is def still there – not as bad but still there I was doing well no pain etc and went back to the gym ( op in nov) Gym in January and was doing everything except running, and heavy weights I was getting very little movement and got physio ( this killed me and my foot swelled up again) also my scar is so tender so for about the last week It has been throbbing at night even when I haven’t done anything I’m so pissed off with it now and it still is there which is the fecking killer. It is straighter but still with a lump and I’m still wearing a size bigger on my left foot. I saw the surgeon on Monday and to be honest he had nothing to say just I had soft bones after the first op ( 20 years ago) and the pain would settle down…… im fed up
February 17th, 2016 at 8:18 am
I’m sorry to hear you are still having discomfort with your surgery. Unfortunately the healing process is different for everybody 😦 sounds like you could be going to the gym or exercising too much if your scar is tender and your feel swelled up.
It took me a long time to get the strength and muscle back in my calves. Maybe like at 6 months I was back to full strength. And took me about 3 or 4 months to have full flexibility in my foot. Your recovery also differs based on your age I was told.
I hope your foot feels a lot better soon!
February 17th, 2016 at 8:21 am
thanks I know Ive stopped everything now – I would be ok if it was straight but it not that’s whats killing me
February 17th, 2016 at 10:44 am
That’s great news, thank you for getting back to me. I feel much more positive now and I hope I’m as fortunate as you with your recovery. Thanks for your kind wishes 😊
February 18th, 2016 at 11:40 pm
Clare you will be grand – don’t mind me moaning if you look at the thread you will see I had this done when I was 30 but unfortunately they did the scrapey thing not the full one, and the guy appears not to have been a specialist.. I’m 54 now so they had to put 2 pins in it cos of the first one, so its taking me a lot longer to get sorted. having said that from being in bits last week it seems much better this week – onwards and upwards. Do all your stretches and it will be fine – best of luck missus!!!
February 19th, 2016 at 3:01 am
Hi Lorraine, I didn’t realise they’re was a reply option until after I posted last time, oops 🙂
Thanks for your moral support. I’m so sorry that you’ve been suffering and it’s just so awful that the guy wasn’t even a specialist 😢
I’ve also had pins, on the day of the op the surgeon had said that he may put one or three in depending, so will find out more next Thursday when the cast comes off.
I have been a bit uncomfortable with foot the last couple of days, I am hoping that’s the fusing process! Also my second toe and the pad underneath it had been causing me excruciating pain daily for many months prior to op and I had to walk on the outside of my foot which was causing my knee, hip and back to hurt, oh the joys hey! Anyway, I still have slight pain in them now when I press on them and I just hope that it will clear eventually and it’s not unrelated, as that was the main reason I decided to go for the op.
Thank you for your vote of confidence and I wish you the very best of luck with your recovery!