Time to discuss a clinical topic Section

Recovery from bunion surgery – avoid comparing times with friends

It is not in the least unrealistic to enquire as to how long your recovery will take after surgery for your humble bunion deformity. In our 1997 book ‘Clinical Skills in treating the Foot’, we considered three types of bunion. That is mild, moderate and severe. It therefore stands to reason that each type requires different approaches to correction. The skilled foot surgeon however will balance patient need, medical health, risk, occupation and impact of the foot problem as key factors in making a surgical decision. In the past the idea of one surgery fits all has been left behind as we now understand far more about foot surgery and longer term expectations.

This week in clinic a patient came to see me who I had operated on back on 2004. She had a sizeable bunion but all went well enough and she added that she had experienced little post operative pain. Today her concern was her other foot. She had been provided with a bump (hard bone) removal by another surgeon at a different centre. We call this an exostectomy. For the surgeon, as my grandchildren would say this was ‘pimps’ – that is to say quick and easy to do. Of course there is a case for this in some patients to avoid complicated surgery. My patient, who was far from old, was concerned that she is in worse pain than ever. Far from recovering quickly, her June 2004 ‘pimps foot surgery’ is anything but successful. What is the cause? Well – it is more than likely that while her surgeon executed his surgery ably, his pre-surgical assessment was not as ideal and that joint damage is the real cause of her foot pain. This means she could have an inflamed joint lining (synovitis), a loose body, sesamoid damage or split cartilage defects. The message here is to be wise before the event and ensure you know as much as you can about your foot problem. This is why there are now dedicated surgical foot specialists in the United Kingdom. Select from a College of Podiatry Fellow (FCPodS) [Podiatric Surgeon] or BoFAS registered Orthopaedic (foot) Surgeon (FRCS).

Look at the website www.consultingfootpain.co.uk based at Spire Little Aston Hospital, Sutton Coldfield

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