Carole Maskell is a 63-year-old legal consultant who lives in Essex. When she needed bunion correction and toe straightening, Carole chose minimally invasive surgery by David Redfern. She explains how she got on.
My toes have never been particularly straight and then about ten years ago, I started to develop bunions on both feet. They weren’t painful at first but after a while, when I took my dog for a nice long walk, my feet would ache.
At first, I accepted the bunions as a part of getting older
The thing with bunions is they develop gradually and usually during your fifties and sixties. You tend to put up with it – if I had been on my feet for a long time, they would ache. You feel it is a just a part of getting older. But actually, having a lump on the side of your foot is a very ageing thing. It became increasingly difficult to choose shoes and all my shoes had bubbles in, where the bunions were located.
The Thought of Surgery seemed to be an inconvenience
I put off surgery for a year because I couldn’t bear the idea of having to just sit with my feet up for two weeks. The turning point finally came when I was on holiday with my husband. I was lying on the sun-lounger and he said: ‘What’s that on your foot?’ He had never really noticed or commented on my bunions before, but seemed shocked by how bad they had become. The right foot was worse than the left and they had started to push on the next toe; those toes were starting to hurt too.
A friend of mine had minimally invasive bunion surgery with David Redfern and recommended him. On the day of my surgery in April 2013, I went into the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth at 7am. My husband picked me up on the same day at 3:30pm and I was home in time for dinner. I slept perfectly that night, without any pain or discomfort at all.
Surprisingly little pain after
I was given painkillers but I didn’t take a single one because I didn’t need them. My recovery was so easy and straightforward – more than I had ever imagined. For the first two weeks, you need to keep your feet raised for 50 minutes every hour and generally stay off your feet as much as possible. It wasn’t as bad as I imagined – a few good box sets of DVDs helped and in the greater scheme of things, it is not very long.
I saw Mr Redern and had my bandages removed after two weeks. My first reaction was amazement to see my toes looking so straight. There were no scars because the incisions used in minimally invasive surgery are so small. If you look very closely, there are tiny pink-pricks marks, but no-one would ever be able to see or notice them.
After the bandages come off, you need to wear special post-operative shoes which have a wide open toe and protect your forefoot. You need to be careful not to do too much, otherwise your feet do swell a little, but I took that as a sign that I needed to put my feet up. There was no pain at all. I really hated those shoes though and was very happy to throw them into the bin at my six week check-up.
I didn’t need any physiotherapy
Even at my two week post-op appointment, I was able to move my big toes without any problems. There was no stiffness at all. I think minimally invasive surgery helps a lot because there is less trauma to the tissues and muscles so you are able to move and use your foot more quickly after surgery.
I am so delighted with the results of my surgery that my friends joke about how often I admire my own feet. It is just wonderful to have straight toes after all these years – I am still getting used to it. Choosing shoes is a real joy.
On reflection, I think I should have got on and had surgery earlier, but with bunions, it is tempting to put off your decision. Personally,
I found the recovery far easier than I imagined and the results are absolutely wonderful