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Has anyone had bunion surgery? How did it go?

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Has anyone had bunion surgery? How did it go?

Old 02-21-21, 11:07 PM
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johngwheeler
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Has anyone had bunion surgery? How did it go?

I've had a significant bunion on my right foot for about 15 years, and it's become more painful when riding over the last couple of years. After about 1.5-2 hours, it's painful enough for me to need to remove my shoe and massage the joint to get some relief - I'm not sure if it's nerve pain or limited blood circulation that is causing the pain. I'm normally OK after about 5 minutes and can carry on for another hour before repeating the process.

I bought the widest shoes in my LBS - Northwave Extreme, and had them use a shoe-stretcher to try to make a bit more room for the bunion.

I have thought about finding wider shoes, or even have a custom shoe made, but wonder whether the bunion will change/grow with age and render this worthless.

I've started looking into surgical options, but there does appear to be a pretty long recovery period and considerable discomfort. I would put up for a few weeks of limited mobility and a few months of recovery time if the end result was pain-free cycling for the remainder of my active years.

Has anyone had bunion surgery, and has it solved your problems with foot pain while cycling? Did it improve day to day mobility or walking extended distances?

Thanks for any feedback!
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Old 02-22-21, 01:50 AM
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Following up on my earlier post, I've done some research into bunion surgery, and it does sound like quite a big deal, with up to a 3-6 month recovery period.

Given the fact that I am only really in pain while cycling (with some discomfort after a long walk), I think I should explore a change of cycling shoes before going down the more drastic (and no doubt considerably more expensive) route of surgery.

Lake or Bont shoes seem to have wide-fitting options, although availability in stores, where I live in Australia, seems to be limited. Mail order would be OK if the shoes can be returned (unused on the bike of course).

Has anyone with wide feet or bunions tried Lake or Bont? Any thoughts?
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Old 02-22-21, 05:50 AM
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My SO had it. It helps a lot. But one has to take care during the recovery. If anything is dropped on it before it it fully heals it can dislocate the repair. If you donít have time to let it heal, you are young and can live with the pain when riding put it off until you have time. I believe it was 8 weeks before she could get around. Need one of those kneeling scooters. It can take a year to fully recover. Our neighbour is a runner and had it. She had to wait a year before she could run again. She was limited to walking before then Iím not sure if the time.

Try changing shoes first. The. Wait until you are in your sixties or the pain is too much.

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Old 02-22-21, 07:46 AM
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SO has done research and reached the decision to wait. So far, besides being limited in shoe selection, it has not resulted in problems she feels is worth the physical cost of surgery
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Old 02-22-21, 11:49 AM
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Not a bunion surgery but I had my big toe fused a little over a year ago. This was due to horrible arthritis from tight climbing shoes. It's similar in the sense of removing bone with a saw then screwing the pieces between back together.

I took 6 weeks off work. The first month or two back were kinda rough (RN on my feet all day).

I rode once while I was still in a walking boot. I just put my regular clipless shoes on and hopped over to the bike and rode. Didn't unclip until back at the car. Probably was a bad idea.

At 2-3-4 months out, cycling was all I could do. Wasn't ready to hike or go climbing. Whether road, gravel, or mtn, my shoes don't flex so it was okay.

Somewhere around 8-9 months I could wear climbing shoes again. Pretty much unlimited in hiking or running or whatever too.

I had a little less bone to regrow than you will but a slightly more sensitive spot. Probably similar results.
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Old 02-22-21, 12:24 PM
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anything that requires slicing & dicing of the feet area will necessitate many months for a 90% recovery. Better to plan for the realistic outcome of a year to recover. Only once have I had a foot recover under the expected time estimated to heal. Keep the entry area clean, properly conditioned, & free from trauma after the surgery is important.
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Old 02-22-21, 12:43 PM
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Custom-fitted insoles can be helpful for some people with some bunion issues.
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Old 02-22-21, 04:08 PM
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Thanks for all the great answers and for sharing your experiences! It looks like the complete recovery time is even longer than I imagined...

I don't think I'm ready for that kind of commitment, given the fact that I'm only troubled by this on long rides, and I can generally just stop and stretch my foot every hour. However, it has to be said that my current work-from-home situation is the ideal time to do this.

I think surgery is something that I would now consider if (a) the pain or deformity gets worse, (b) I have an extended period where I can be immobile.

I'll look at changing my cycling shoes first.

Great answers!
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Old 02-22-21, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by johngwheeler View Post
my current work-from-home situation is the ideal time to do this.
Great answers!
I'd really consider this.
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Old 02-22-21, 04:52 PM
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My dad did in his 60s to bring his feet from EEE to D. I wasn't around so I don't know any details but my dad said it was a huge change for the better both soon after and years later.
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Old 02-22-21, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
I'd really consider this.
Yes, I am considering it, but there are a number of factors:

1) Surgery is expensive - no idea how much this would cost in Australia....but it's elective surgery and not covered by insurance.
2) "unnecessary" surgery is something I would tend to avoid...there is some risk associated with it...and the possibility that the result will be worse than my current state.
3) I live alone currently so being even partially immobile without assistance would be a chore - I'd need to hire some help probably.
4) The prospect of being stuck at home without going out for 6-8 weeks or being able to properly exercise (even on a static bike) is not attractive. Our work-from-home mandate already involves a degree of mental fatigue - not being able to escape on my bike would worsen that.
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Old 02-22-21, 07:33 PM
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imo, you're thinking too much into it that the quality of life is suffering from being better.

There has been a few times I overcame the living alone after some intense life events. Sometimes those that want to get involved to help, just make it worse.
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Old 02-22-21, 08:15 PM
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I have a large bunion (bone spur) myself and my podiatrist recommended living with it as the recovery time is miserably long. So I've lived with it for 7yrs now. I'm not being funny here but I simply cut a half moon slit into my cycling shoe right at that wide point and the pressure is relieved and gone. I do this with brand new MTB clipless shoes every time and I promise you will never think about that slit again. It literally doesn't matter. Rain? Who cares? They're all plastic anyway. Looks? Pfft, its on the inside and not even noticable. I no longer have to search for and return multiple pairs of new shoes. Try it on an old pair. I log long days on the bicycle all summer long with no issues.
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Old 02-22-21, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by zweitesmal2 View Post
I have a large bunion (bone spur) myself and my podiatrist recommended living with it as the recovery time is miserably long. So I've lived with it for 7yrs now. I'm not being funny here but I simply cut a half moon slit into my cycling shoe right at that wide point and the pressure is relieved and gone. I do this with brand new MTB clipless shoes every time and I promise you will never think about that slit again. It literally doesn't matter. Rain? Who cares? They're all plastic anyway. Looks? Pfft, its on the inside and not even noticable. I no longer have to search for and return multiple pairs of new shoes. Try it on an old pair. I log long days on the bicycle all summer long with no issues.
I have a Tailor's Bunion I do this for. It works great. Never had any issues
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Old 02-22-21, 09:56 PM
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The surgery is trivial.
It is the recovery that sucks; Like a month of living flat on your back.
Every time you stand up, the hydraulic head pressure builds up in your foot, making it swell like a puffer fish.
It takes minutes to swell, but many hours to deflate to normal size.

In retrospect, it seems like some kind of compression boot should exist to prevent the swelling.
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Old 02-22-21, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by zweitesmal2 View Post
I have a large bunion (bone spur) myself and my podiatrist recommended living with it as the recovery time is miserably long. So I've lived with it for 7yrs now. I'm not being funny here but I simply cut a half moon slit into my cycling shoe right at that wide point and the pressure is relieved and gone. I do this with brand new MTB clipless shoes every time and I promise you will never think about that slit again. It literally doesn't matter. Rain? Who cares? They're all plastic anyway. Looks? Pfft, its on the inside and not even noticable. I no longer have to search for and return multiple pairs of new shoes. Try it on an old pair. I log long days on the bicycle all summer long with no issues.
What do you mean the cut "is on the inside and not even noticeable"? It sounds like you've cut a hole in the shoe to let the bunion protrude outside the shoe. I can't see how that wouldn't be noticeable. Could you post a photo? Presumably, if there's a hole and it rains, you're going to get a wet foot unless you use over-shoe coverings (which I do use when wet).
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Old 02-23-21, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by johngwheeler View Post
What do you mean the cut "is on the inside and not even noticeable"? It sounds like you've cut a hole in the shoe to let the bunion protrude outside the shoe. I can't see how that wouldn't be noticeable. Could you post a photo? Presumably, if there's a hole and it rains, you're going to get a wet foot unless you use over-shoe coverings (which I do use when wet).
No pic. But yrs ago I did the same. Cut the shoe from the inside. Except my cut is/was visible from the outside. Didn't care. It relieved the soreness.

Not sure if what I had was really a bunion or not. Little toe was always rubbed sore on hikes. Cycling was no problem. Eventually I tried a larger shoe, 10 from a 9 1/2. That helped a lot.
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Old 02-23-21, 11:12 AM
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I've had a large bunion on my left foot for as long as I can remember, but it has never caused me problems. I've ridden in Converse "Chucks" much of the time with flat pedals, only using bike shoes/clips when I had to keep up with a fast (to me) group. If it's otherwise feasible you might try "fabric" shoes or "sandals" which Shimano (I think) makes with the availability to use clips. Good thing about socal is I wear flip-flop-type shoes most of the rest of the time.
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Old 02-25-21, 09:26 AM
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Rather than an insole, you could consider bunion splints or pads. It spreads the pressure over a larger area, particularly the donut-shaped ones.
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Old 02-26-21, 08:25 PM
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johngwheeler: I developed a bunion too on my left foot. I was an avid rock climber as well and I think the tight climbing shoes did it but I can't be sure. I also walked 500 miles on the Camino de Santiago with Trail Runners instead of a hiking boot so I may have acerbated the issues when the stability of Trail Runners weakened.

In any case, have you tried wearing silicone spacers in between your toes? And do you wear appropriate Arch Supports? For running, I use to get a lot of foot pain and the area around my bunion would be inflamed and red. Now, I wear a full silicone spacer that goes in between each toe AND a solid arch support. Just make sure the cycling has a wide toe box to accommodate this so that you are not adding pressure on the bunion. Initially, it felt sort of odd but after a few times, I don't even notice it anymore. It has helped me a lot and no longer do I feel any pain on the bunion and there is no inflammation there anymore. You definitely want to do something about protecting or minimizing inflammation to the bunion. Otherwise, the situation will only get worse and then you may not have any other option but surgery.

There are a lot of different types of spacers. It will depend on your situation. I use full spacer but there are spacers for just the big toe.






I've been told by reputable doctors to try ALL other options if possible before going the route of invasive surgery.

Good luck!

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Old 02-26-21, 08:57 PM
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In the old days when shoes were made with leather, you could shape it to gain some additional space by inserting some block in the shoe and wetting it... I have this bulge on the right foot, big toe joint bulging up and a bit to the left but I am ok with shoes that are wider in the front area, right where the shoelaces typically end.

At 60+ and reading here how onerous the surgery is, I can definitely live with it, put up with some discomfort at times. It is not even something people would notice right away when walking barefoot in summer. I think I got it from the days of cross country skiing shoes when 15-30 yrs old. But why it should affect just the right foot and not the other one, probably because as a typical right handed person, I ten to put more load on my right leg more than the left one.
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Old 02-26-21, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by vane171 View Post
. But why it should affect just the right foot and not the other one, probably because as a typical right handed person, I ten to put more load on my right leg more than the left one.
Interesting. I am the exception then to your theory because I'm right handed but my bunion is only on the left foot. My right foot is absolutely normal.
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Old 02-26-21, 11:09 PM
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I have a bunion on my right big toe that pushed into the toe next to it and caused a corn to build up. Super painful to walk on. I was thinking amputation of the second toe might be needed! I went to a podiatrist who was a jerk. He insisted bunion surgery was the only solution or live with it. No mention of other treatments. I did the research on the surgery and learned about the long recovery and complications mentioned above. Plus a patient satisfaction rate of only about 60 percent, iirc. I looked online and got simple toe tubes from Amazon. I cut a section off and slide it over my second toe. Poof! Pain totally gone. I’ve continued to wear the toe tube almost every day and use spacers in the evening similar to those shown above. I feel like my big toe has straightened a bit and it isn’t putting nearly as much pressure on the second toe compared to before. My 2 cents.
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Old 02-27-21, 05:43 AM
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My wife had the surgery. Delayed for years but the bunyon progressed, became painful and started affecting other toes. The first couple weeks of recovery were the hardest. As others have said, it was close to a year till back to normal.

Now she uses the silicon spacers. She is glad to have done it overall.
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Old 02-27-21, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by dmeans2anend View Post
Interesting. I am the exception then to your theory because I'm right handed but my bunion is only on the left foot. My right foot is absolutely normal.
I looked up on wiki if what I have is really a bunion and found I have (outgrowth on the big toe joint), only mine doesn't change the way the big toe is pointing, or more precisely, both my big toes are oriented the same way - inward towards the next toe to them. Just like in the picture I copied from wiki, the left example, except I am male, so high heels are not the cause.



Besides riding bicycle, I used to do technical rock climbing in my teens but in those days we didn't use those extremely tight shoes like it is the norm, I think the relatively tight shoes in cross country skiing (classic style skiing) in combination with frequent toes freezing in them might be the culprit. I think it crept on me in the second third of my life when I didn't do those activities (I returned to bicycles at the age of 50 and at 60+ I can live with it reasonably well. After reading about it here and on wiki, I consider myself lucky that I don't suffer some significant pain that would make me consider doing something about the condition. My ignorance so far not even knowing what I have is a testament to that.
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