For Mark Davies, Matthew Solan & James Davis at St John & St Elizabeth Hospital and OneWelbeck

For Martin Klinke at London Bridge, Cromwell Hospital, Chiswick Outpatients, New Victoria Hospital & One Welbeck

Dasha Kazakova

Dasha Kazakova, a 30-year-old lawyer from London, had Bunion Surgery in March 2008, performed by Mark Davies, Clinical Director of the London Foot and Ankle Centre.

When did you develop bunions?

My bunions must have started to develop about four years ago, but at first I didn’t know what they were. Around two years ago, they started to get quite painful. I had bunions on both feet and little toe and the toe next to my big toe started to curl inwards.

Why did you choose to have bunion surgery?

I got to the stage when I wouldn’t go out with friends if I thought I might have to stand up for any length of time. Whenever I went into any room, the first thing I would do was look for a chair. It was having a real impact on my quality of life.

I started to do my own research online about bunion surgery and realised it was something I needed to go through. The London Foot and Ankle Centre was recommended to me as the best specialist clinic in London.

How did you feel straight after surgery?

I felt better than I expected. I had a painkilling injection in my feet immediately after surgery and that certainly helped. The pain level was practically zero – it was very well controlled.

I did exactly as the ward staff told me, keeping my feet elevated and taking my medication exactly when instructed. I was really impressed with how attentive and professional the staff at the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth were – it made a big difference.

The first two weeks

I spent two nights in hospital then returned home. I had arranged to have some help at home for the first two weeks so I would be able to completely rest.

If you follow the instructions properly, keep your feet elevated and free from infection, you will be best placed to avoid pain and swelling in the longer term.

Weeks two to four

I went back into hospital to have my feet checked and was given special stiff post-operative shoes. I started a little weight bearing, but no more than ten or 15 minutes at a time. For the first four weeks, I did as little moving as possible, only leaving my flat to go to hospital.

At times, I did feel like I was going up the wall, but I had no pain and no swelling, so it was worthwhile.

Weeks four to eight

I started working from home initially, then went back to work after six weeks. While I was at work, I kept my feet raised on a box and would lie down with my feet up after I came home.

I really liked the physiotherapist at the Hospital of St John’s and St Elizabeth. She pushed me to do as much as I could.

It is so important to regularly do your exercises otherwise stiffness will set in. Fortunately, I’m a fidgeter and so I would do my exercises all day without really thinking about it. I was also taught how to massage my feet to prevent swelling.

Two months to six months

I found it very hard finding shoes which were comfortable. Your toes cannot tolerate any form of pressure. I found Timberland sandals were excellent because they gave me a lot of support in the soles – far more than trainers – but were adjustable and comfortable.

It was three months after surgery before I felt comfortable going out to a restaurant. But once I started going out, it was wonderful being able to meet friends without having to look for a chair as soon as I arrived.

Four months after surgery I was able to start hiking again, which is something I really enjoy. It was just phenomenal being able to walk all day without any pain or stiffness. I can easily do walks of 11 miles a day and have recently had a wonderful holiday hiking in the Alps.

What would your advice be to anyone considering bunion surgery?

I’d say be realistic. At first, you will feel tired and you must make sure that for the first two weeks after surgery, you do nothing but rest with your feet up. Buy lots of books to keep yourself occupied.

Do everything as you are instructed by your doctors and nurses and be prepared to take it easy for the first three months.

For me, it has been unbelievable – very much worthwhile.

Dasha Kazakova - Bunion testimonial