Why I Decided to Have Bunion Surgery


My life as an image consultant and style blogger is all glamour. Absolutely, I’m sure that’s what you think. The reality, not so.  Really it’s lot of time spent thinking and writing about style and colour topics and seeing clients and helping them sort out their wardrobes.

Now I’ve always loved a fabulous pair of shoes, but over the past 6 years, wearing fabulous shoes has been getting harder and harder.  So much so, that I’ve just gone under the knife for bunion surgery on my right foot.

How did it get to this point you may ask?  Well, you may not be, but I have been, and I see the start of my foot issues back in 2012 during my trip to Hawaii for the AICI Conference.

It was my first experience of walking around (not in bizarre shoes, just regular sandals for about an hour) and ending up with blisters on the balls of my feet.  It was the first sign that my bunions were more than just a little unsightly, but they were impacting on how my foot behaved, and no longer was the pressure being evenly distributed by the bones under my big toe, little toe and heel, as it should be,  instead, the pressure was being taken in every step by my 2nd, 3rd and 4th toes, which are the smaller boned and weaker ones.

Fast forward to 2014 when I started running and was happily pounding the pavements  3-4 times a  week for a 5km run.  This then started to aggravate an old ballet injury from my teen years (one that I had forgotten about) to the point that after 2 years of running I started getting lots of pain in the joint of my 2nd toe, the toe I had injured doing a jete and landing poorly, all those years ago.

My doctor just told me to rest up and not run for a few months, I did this, but a few months turned into a year and more, and still, the pain was there when I wanted to walk (not even run).  Most of the time I tried to ignore it but eventually, I returned to my doctor and he referred me to an orthopaedic surgeon.

After x-rays and a consultation, he noted that I had inflammation of the 2nd toe joint, as well as my bunion, and we tried the orthotic route.  These orthotics did reduce my level of pain somewhat and did stop the balls of my feet blistering, but I was still getting blisters on my 4th toe when walking less than half of the recommended 10 000 daily steps and that dastardly 2nd toe pain was still there.

Spending time in the UK summer, and it was a hot one, also made me realise that orthotics are all fine and good in winter shoes and boots, but just are not great for a hot Melbourne summer where the temperature is regularly over 30C and open shoes are the only way to travel. Summer doesn’t last a few weeks, but a few months.  Plus they hadn’t actually fixed my feet in the way we had hoped.

After chatting with a friend who had had her bunions removed, I decided to take the plunge and go for the bunion surgery, no guarantees that it would fix my issues, but I figure I’ve got a large shoe collection and a lot of years left to wear them all and the chance of reducing my pain was very good.

So here I lie, with my foot up above my heart on a stack of cushions for the next 2 weeks waiting for the bones to heal and the swelling to ease, wearing a beautiful moon shoe!

I found this video to give you an idea of what they may do in a bunion surgery operation.

The surgeon found that my 2nd toe had arthritis, caused from that impact injury all those years ago, then exacerbated by the running.  He has cleaned out the joint so we hope that this will improve my walking situation markedly.  Now with pins in 3 toes and some tendons that have been snipped as there were pulling my toes under too far, I am awaiting the results to see just how successful this surgery has been.


Before and after – dark dots on the image on the right are the screws and staples now permanently embedded in the bones of my foot.
This is my before shot – the foot I’m having the surgery on is my right foot – the one without the glamorous surgical stocking.


My Bunion Surgery Recovery Experience So Far

So I’m 5 days postoperative.  My foot and leg have been quite swollen, but that is starting to ease, I can no put a couple of fingers between the bandage and my leg.

I’ve been told to walk as little as possible for the first couple of weeks and keep my foot above my heart, this helps reduce the swelling and to let the bones heal as fast as possible.  So I’m assuming this position either in bed or on the couch  (not sitting at my desk in front of my computer), under doctors orders.  In fact, my doctor’s orders were to spend 2 weeks watching Netflix (please give me your recommendations!).

I’m using crutches to get around most of the time, though today I’ve not needed them as much as it’s the throbbing, swelling of my foot that causes much of the pain when standing, more than the bones, and as the swelling is reducing so is the pain.  It won’t be long before I’m ready for a walking stick instead of the crutches.

I’ve been taking serious painkillers (you know the addictive narcotic kind) for the past few days, but not today, now just on the paracetamol.

As it’s my right foot, I can’t drive for 6 weeks (the time that it takes the bones to heal) which makes life a little hard, and I’ll be in this glam shoe for this time too  (sleeping in it as well), then moving onto soft sneaker shoes for the next few months, so I’ve been told.

I’ll be taking a break from working and blogging (blogging is work) as I’m finding that I need to sleep a lot too, most days I’ve been having 3-4 hours of naps as well as my overnight sleep.

I figure that I work hard most of the time (my daughter has noted recently that I tend to work 10 hours days most days of the week, and I do that just to try and stay on top of emails and blog posts and the like), so a few weeks of enforced rest is not a bad thing to take to let my foot heal as best it can.

Have you had bunion surgery?  How was it for you?



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  • I admire you so much for sharing this with us. I too have bunions, although they are not causing me problems – yet. The video of the surgery is an eye-opener. It’s far more involved than I could have imagined. Best of luck to you in your recovery. As far as Netflix suggestions – look for British crime dramas. Some of them have dozens of episodes.

  • Hi Imogen,
    All the best for a speedy recovery with the best result possible. I’ve just had a surgical procedure today, ironically.



  • Yes, have had bunion surgery and it worked well though eventually my right big toe bunion came back, but without pain. It was those tendon snips for turned under toes that were not so successful–my middle toe is more turned under than ever and results in pain when I do not have the podiatrist trim the nail frequently. As for the sandals and open shoes issue–the orthotics technician that I use is my hero and works so hard to try to resolve foot pain issues. He has a real understanding since he is an amputee. We start with Wolky sandals (after approval from my foot trauma orthopedist) and then he cements in what he calls “aggressive metatarsal spreaders” which are shaped lumps of memory foam like material. These spreaders take all the pressure off the ball of my foot and spread the middle three toes outward so they are less crowded and less curled. They also remove pressure from the external (little toe) bunion on my left foot. When your recovery is complete, ask your orthopedist and your orthotics maker if any of your open shoes and sandals can be adapted so you can enjoy more years of enjoying the rest of your fabulous shoes.

  • Wish you quick recovery! I did both my feet in two summers 5 and 6 yrs ago and SO very happy I did! The last two years before that I only could wear Sketchers shape ups (these with curved rounded soles that seem to be stolen.. ok, borrowed from MBT brand) to walk without pain, not to mention ugly look of my feet. I had much more obvious bunions, but luckily the deformation was rather simple to fix with screws only there (one per big toe) and in both cases I could wear sneakers and drive a car already after 4 weeks (6 weeks is an average, so if you’ll be gentle to your feet first three weeks honestly doing nearly nothing you may also be back on wheels earlier). I do not wear stilettos often, but just some heels of 6-7cm are not a problem at all and I can wear some thongs-flipflops without discomfort of thinking of being ugly. And no pain! And no ruined (too stretched) soft leather shoes! 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing. I had foot surgery on my right foot in June 2018 for many of the same reasons, but it was on the pinkie joint. Pain became intolerable the last few months. However the surgery and recovery was nothing compared to the previous years. The pain is completely gone. A little ache if i walk too much but that’s bc the bone is still healing. Well worth the decision for surgery. I hope your decision will be the best as you recover and begin to get back into your routine. God bless.

  • Dear Imogen,
    I’ve read your blog posts for years, but seldom made comments. I want you to know that I really appreciate your great advice on colours and style and have recommended this site to many others.
    I am sorry to hear what you are going through and am sending you my best wishes for your recovery. Try to get all the rest you can.
    Warm thoughts

  • Praying for a speedy recovery for you, Imogen! Rest is a good thing! When all is healed, you’ll have to find some fab shoes as a reward for being a good patient! Lol!

  • Hey Imogen, my sympathies. I had this done maybe about four years ago. It was painful and took AGES for the swelling to stop, but I now can wear any shoes and they don’t get that ghastly bulge. It is a hard decision to make, isn’t it, because you can literally limp along without it. There were times when I wondered if it had been the right decision, but now I am so glad to be free of the problem.
    Just don’t expect to be able to leap into those shoes quickly, or to be able to walk long distances. It took a year before my foot stopped swelling up on the slightest provocation (it’s common for that to take two years) – so I couldn’t wear heels and restricting shoes for a year. I understand the longer you put off the operation, the harder it is to recover because the whole foot and leg get forced out of alignment.
    I found aqua jogging helped a lot – I think because you can exercise the foot and the water massages it and all that happens without any pressure on the foot.
    All the best with it. I can’t imagine my life without the help of Inside Out Style Blog, so very positive healing thoughts are coming your way from Whanganui-a-tara – Wellington

  • Thank you for sharing all this Imogen…I’ve been wondering how you’re getting along. Try to rest and heal….maybe easier said than done 🙂
    What a procedure! good to have it behind you.

  • Imogen, I have had extensive foot surgery and I found a knee scooter so helpful no need for crutches.. Here in the states they can be rented. I also had a type of boot that I could put ice in.wishing you the best for a speedy recovery.

  • Dear Imogen,

    I was worried about you, as there were no new blogposts. Rest as much as you can, wish you a speedy recovery. Bojack Horseman is good, but I guess you already watched it.

    Take care,
    Jelena ?

  • Dear Imogen,

    Sending up prayers for your quick, complete recovery with an outstanding outcome. On Netflix, I recommend “Anne with an E,” a new adaptation of Anne of Green Gables; and lots of things that I watch on PBS here in the US like “Victoria” and “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.” Those two have beautiful costumes to drool over. 🙂


    Dina C.

  • I’m 6 weeks and a day post op from bunion surgery. I am now in my converse again but can’t get any other shoes on. My big toe is a bit still a bit stiff but I’m back to walking to pick the kids up from school. I found the boredom to be the worst part but my husband got me Netflix. Try to rest as much as you can and try not to overdo it because it will swell up very quickly. Hope you recover as quickly as I have.
    Adele x

    • Thanks Adele- glad that you’re recovering well. Yes boredom is a thing and there is only so much Netflix I can watch. Starting to feel more human this week, has been quite painful at times (particularly overnight). I’ve been told that the swelling takes ages to go down! When did you find that not having your foot up most of the time was Ok?

  • I am sending you get well wishes dear Imogen. I have had foot surgery and several knee surgeries so my sympathies are with you during your recovery. All the best for a speedy recovery?

  • sorry to hear you are laid up, I was looking for inspiration for “intriguing” colouring and saw this post
    Watch The Crown on netflix (you probably already have) and -get a free month to Stan and watch “Transparent” very offbeat about a father who decides to transition to a woman – its very funny, and Gavin and Stacey- British series – will warm your heart

  • Hi Imogen,

    I hope you are feeling better and your recovery is uneventful. Thank you for sharing your story and for all of the information you provide on your blog.

    Finally, enjoy your time off!


  • Congratulations. You are brave. I have yet to follow the journey of foot repair and I’ll remember to reread this post when I face up to it. I loved Ghost House on Netflix. Stranger Things is engaging and I love Miss Fisher. There is also a Sherlock Holmes type series that follows Victorian English crime. Good stuff?.

  • I just watched the video. The surgery looks very scary. It must be very painful. Glad you are doing well. They should make beautiful shoes that are also comfy and good for our feet. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    • Thanks Sara – There are some nice shoes that aren’t bad for feet – I just need to have feet that don’t hurt (I’ve spent much of my life barefoot whenever I’m home – even then I had issues.

  • I had surgery in 2003 on my left foot. Been pain free since. Shoes are still hard for me as my left foot is close to a full size larger than my right. Fitting will always be a problem but at least I no longer suffer the burning pain of the bunion.
    Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    • That’s great that you’re pain free. Am hoping that my swelling goes down so I can fit into my old shoes in time. I have always had narrow feet so most of my shoes have a bit of room in them already.

  • Have been reading your posts after I was draped as a bright winter (sciart). I love your grasp on color, it seems you are more flexible than other systems.

    Wishing you a quick and successful recovery! Small story here…about 25 years ago it occurred to me that I wanted to be able to walk when I was 80, I changed my shoes from pointed toe (and heels) to mostly Birkenstocks and other shoes with a wider toe box. I have been able to run, walk, and work out at the gym all these years without issues. We women need to look for comfort first and style second. If we do that designers will have to follow if they want to sell us shoes. We can have style and comfort, it is possible.

    • I barely wear heels – haven’t for at least 10 years or so – sadly not enough of a change to not need the surgery. And haven’t worn pointed shoes in a long time!

  • Hi Imogen
    You may already know that 9 years ago I had bunion surgery – actually, they were spurs had grown on top of large toe joints but the effect was the same. I had both feet done as the same time and, since I was taking a year off to travel around Australia in the Winnebago – I thought that was a great time to ‘put my feet up’ especially in the first 2 months of that trip. Actually the moon-boots were off by the time we set off on the trip.
    My problem was caused by years of ballet, tap and national dancing in my young years – followed by at least 3 decades of wearing ridiculously high heels – even on weekend.
    I felt I was being brave thinking of having the two feet done as same time – then discovered I was HUGELY brave after the op.
    Well done in taking the plunge and getting it done Imogen. As they say in the classics…. “Time heals all wounds”. 🙂

    • Yes – ballet did my toes in – pointe is not good for feet! I barely wear heels in recent years (unless I’m about to sit down), just want to be able to wear non-sneaker shoes most of the time!

  • Hi Imogen
    So brave to share your story! I hope your recovery goes well. When I had my breast surgery I loved watching Terrace House on Netflix. So interesting to see how these Japanese people interact with each other! Get well soon
    Xx Kelly

  • Best wishes for your recovery 🙂 Resting is key, and not rushing it. I’ve had both feet done, the left when I was 22 and the right when I was 30, maybe31. I’m 40 now and very happy with the results. I still have to wear orthotics due to other problems and I probably always will, but t least I don’t have to contend with orthotics AND bunions when choosing shoes now!
    I enjoy your blogs and your advice and keenly awaiting your return to work once you are firing on all cylinders again.

  • I don’t have minions but I suffered a similar injury to my second toe, although mine was the result of leaping over a horse ( the gym sort) during a P E lesson. Years later I had to have a pin fitted as arthritis caused severe crumbling! I mention this because I now have bouts of cramp…..very painful…..in this region. Glad I had it done, though I have to be careful in my choice of heels. Too flat or too high and I get cramp.
    All the best with your recovery.

    ( Have always had difficulty finding pretty comfortable shoes as I take a size 35)

  • Very best wishes for your recovery Imogen. Hope you can get back into those gorgeous shoes very soon. I haven‘t had bunion surgery, but currently awaiting orthotics to deal with a tendon problem. The castings were fun! Take care of yourself.

  • Hi Imogen,

    I’m contemplating bunion surgery too so am watching your recovery. Right foot for me too. I truly believe mine is hereditary…my mom & maternal grandmother both had right foot bunions…looking exactly like mine! I never wore high heels or tight shoes.

    Everyone on this post has been so encouraging & kind; it helps to hear about others’ experiences with the condition & surgery. I hope you are doing well & soon to be pain free. Isn’t it true that we often take “no pain” for granted? We have much to be thankful for if we are pain free most of the time!


    Barbara in Texas

  • (Watching the video, mentally going ‘AAAAAAAAAARGH!’)
    I have bunions too – also a dancer, they’re not painful though. I had watched other videos before, but it looks like you have really gone through the mill with the addition of other toe problems 🙁
    The rest NOW is key, because you need the bones to heal before they do weight bearing. And we women will insist on doing too much too early as long as the pain isn’t horrific. Never mind the pain bit, let your body settle down from the trauma of the op -those naps are telling you something! – and mend those bones nicely. Apart from Netflix you could get back into reading …
    Wishing you a prompt and full recovery, lovely Imogen!!

  • Best of luck with recovery. I recommend Outlander and Younger series also (my secret shame?!) The Good Place and Jane the Virgin (for the ridiculous melodrama and many many episodes).
    Also knitting something simple in garter stitch. And listening to audiobooks.

  • Wishing you a speedy recovery….I need the surgery, but am reluctant cause a friend
    Of mine went through this and the bunion came back. Of course, every case is different.
    Hopefully you will not have this happen to you.

  • I had bunion surgery on my right foot in May of 2007. I have to say that I was pleased with how my right foot looks. I was 23 at the time.

  • Hi! I had right foot bunionectomy with osteotomy and tendon repair on December 3rd 2018. I’m 9.5 weeks out. Absolutely the WORST decision I’ve ever made. And I’ve made ALOT. HA! The pain wasn’t even the worst part (and there was plenty). The not walking was pretty bad. The not driving was horrible. I’m in physical therapy even though my doctor said I didn’t need it!?!?!? I’m 48 and I think it’s my age that is slowing my healing, plus I’ve had a bunion since I was 15. I certainly don’t want to discourage anyone from having necessary surgery, but this was NOT for me. And believe it or not, I STILL have an incision scab that refuses to come off. Ugh. I’m glad all you guys are doing well and hope you continue to heal quickly and get back in those gorgeous shoes!!!! ?

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