Hallux Valgus, Hallux Rigidus, Hallux Limitus

I'm about to have true bunion (sometimes people call corns bunions, but corns are no big deal; bunions can become a very big deal) on side of big toe removed with internal fixation using orthopro implant. I'm scared because I have pain between first two toes, not too much on the actual joint. My arthritis isn't that bad and the joint doesn't hurt that much because bone isn't rubbing on bone. So I'm wondering if they're doing the right thing.

I can walk a little bit okay without much pain, but can't even do household chores, barely run errands, normal every day activities become so painful and throbbing that I end up limping and having to sit down because I can't walk on it.

I'm only in my 30's and was bummed when I had to stop running because of a knee problem and now would be grateful just to walk again for more than a few minutes.

Have you had this surgery? Has it helped? Could it be something else? (Side note: I have a lot of other pain: electric shocks in the webspaces of the foot, cramping of the foot, back pain from tailbone and scoliosis).

10 Replies

  • I have have had bunion surgery with two cuts one the bunion and then the toe bone straightened. I am recovered and I still the operation mark is on my feet. Sometimes the toe bone relapse and it hurts and it is on the leg I have operated not the other. I am not aware whether it is the type of surgery making it or how it was done. As my one was serious and I could not even use that leg it was difficult. some can use the heel for walking with the special shoe. I would lose weight before I do the other as I could not stand with one leg. No pain wearing shoes walking or running on that side. But as they say over time it could develop again can be seen although not near future.

    As surgeons do these every day they don't say much unless you ask lot of questions.

  • Thank you. I don't like how the surgeons spend only a few minutes with you and make huge decisions that impact your ability to do normal activities of daily living. It's been two years where simple vacuuming is super painful, let alone working etc.

  • I had similar surgery to rhythem28 and had another toe joint removed when I was 13 (a looooooong time ago) - so not as rinky-dink as yours. My Dad said having seen me go through it, he wasn't having it done... and he's still walking and running into his 80s with terrible looking feet that do hurt sometimes. I have the impression that the older you are when you have it done the less likely you are to feel it was worthwhile.

    But I think it was the right thing for me and I was done within a couple of months back in the days when orthopaedic waits were way longer than they are no - you can imagine what my feet must have been like to warrant that. Some of the care I received was another matter altogether... but I guess it sowed a seed because eventually I did a nursing degree on the basis that I'd have to be better than those miserable excuses!

    I suspect this is something that needs some serious slaving over a hot internet and perhaps seeing someone who might take an independent overview of everything that is going on with you. And someone (who may or may not be the same person) who can make a decent stab at some good pain relief in the here and now so that you can think straight about what you want to do next.

  • Thank you, yes, it's been 2 1/2 years where even vacuuming, running simple errands, and mild walks required for a desk job are super painful. I've gotten so many opinions from Orthopedic Surgeons and Podiatrists and none of them match. Eesh! I'm studying for a Master's in Occupational Therapy and if I can ever walk again, this will have been a very enlightening experience and I think I will be a much more compassionate health care professional similar to your going into nursing. The doctors spend so little time with you and make these huge decisions that impact your ability to function. So far they have taken it so lightly (prescribing orthotic foot pads) even though I tell them basic straightening around the apartment causes extreme pain for over two years and I'm only in my 30's!

  • Yup I had a bunion removed in 2010. Crutches for 7 weeks and I still have the scars. I found out when I damaged a ligament in the same foot two years later that I still have a metal pin in there - they didn't tell me that when they discharged me - which would explain why I can't bend the foot at the toe joint any more.

    The bunion is gone, but the toes have now moved sideways again almost to the angle they were before, so I have not ended up with a beautiful foot. On the plus side, the foot doesn't hurt any more, I can wear shoes without having blisters on both sides of the foot, and I can wear flip flops without getting rude comments from ignorant people.

    I have a bunion on the other foot which is smaller than the one which was removed, and after the experience of having the first one removed I am NOT having the other one done. Too much time out of action, and I'm a runner now!

    Since you are suffering pain I would get it done, but I would have said don't bother if you were only doing it for cosmetic reasons.

  • Thank you, yes, it's definitely not cosmetic. I haven't been able to even straighten around my little apartment without extreme pain for over 2 years and I'm in my 30's. Debilitating in every aspect of life! I'll be happy to walk again, let alone run.

  • As a Podiatrist first, as you say bunions and corns are completely different, a bunion is a bone which has displaced causing the hallux joint to stick out and some degree of 1st toe overlapping the others. Corns are compact hard skin, it is possible however to have a corn on a bunion !! My advice to anyone with a bunion is to only have the operation if the problem is spoiling your life never for cosmetic reasons. AlohaDelRey it sounds as though yours is spoiling your life. The pain between your 1st and 2nd toe is very likely directly related to the displacement of your hallux joint but the other pains you describe could well be something else there is a chance the 'electric shock' you describe is referred pain from your back or pain caused by other bones in your foot moving and causing nerves to become trapped or inflamed. Obviously I cannot be sure as I am only going by what you have written and have not examined you but I would recommend you let your surgeon know exactly which pain is spoiling your life and make sure the operation will help that pain !

  • Thank you, yes. This is a long response, but because you're a Podiatrist I really need help and advice. My recent Podiatrist plans to do surgery for hallux valgus but the hallux valgus is mild. There's hallux limitus also but not too much arthritis. There's a lot of pain in the first webspace they say possibly from sesamoid slightly moved (based on x ray) from mild hallux limitus. There's a lot of pain under second toe where it attaches to the foot and where the metatarsals and tarsals meet and second toe is lifting up. They think the bunionectomy and correction of hallux valgus will do the trick, but I never get a matching second opinion. I can't even straighten up my small apartment without extreme pain. Errands cause limping and I can't make it back to my car sometimes. Have to sit down in between doing anything. It's been 2 1/2 years. i just want to make sure to have the right surgery. I can't wear gym shoes, Merrell trail shoes, or comfort shoes; can only wear FitFlops because they have a rigid sole with soft bottom and tons of cushion (more than any other comfort shoe brand). It is so bad, but mostly only after walking, standing, or anything that gets the blood flowing even just recumbent bike. I don't go limping in to the office so it seems like they don't believe how bad it is. The MRI, X ray, and ultrasound don't seem to show the severity. I'm only in my 30's and everything requires some walking. It's extremely debilitating - like having a serious injury for over 2 years, but having to work, go to school, park far away, have friends drop me off at the door without even so much as a boot, cast, or crutches. The physical therapist stretched my toes; I told him not to do the second toe. He didn't listen, thought it would help, and now I'm WAY worse. The cortisone shot in the first webspace where there's lots of pain and swelling made it WAY worse also. Orthotics for metatarsalgia make pain and numbness in first webspace worse. Calf stretches for metatarsalgia make pain in first webspace worse. I'm really scared because I'm pretty young and need to be able to do activities of daily living. Now I've had to use crutches if I have to go from one side of my work building to the other and have my roommate push me to the washroom in a wheelchair when it's really bad since having physical therapy and cortisone. It's been over a week since the cortisone shot and it made it feel like there's something at the tip of the first webspace and for the first time the 1st MTP joint itself hurts. That joint also hurt recently when the PT used ultrasound on it. I know you can't see my foot, but my Podiatrists and Orthopedic Surgeons aren't taking this seriously and it has been very serious for a very long time. I had to change jobs and barely do anything for years! Thank you for responding

  • You could always ask for a second opinion... or is this not an option anymore on the NHS?

    Having said that, my sister had the operation a few years ago (in her late 50's) as like you she found it painful to walk. She made a full recovery and went on to resume walking, mountain climbing and skiing. She is now 67.

    Best wishes for whatever you decide.

  • Oh wow, thank you, I would be happy to even be able to do errands again in my late 30's. I've had many opinions and diagnostic tests and they don't show the severity so the opinions never match (Podiatrists and Orthopedic Surgeons). I love hiking and outdoors activities so not being able to straighten my apartment without severe pain for over two years is extremely depressing!

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