Friday, March 13, 2009

Totally unrelated other health problem

I went to the podiatrist after a particularly painful ballet class. I've had bunions for about 20 years now with varying degrees of pain. They've given me plenty of trouble even during the 15 years I didn't dance, but there's no denying that the concentrated focus put on them by barre work has made them a prominent fixture in my thoughts. This week, the joint of my big right toe was locking, plus I had some other pain that was lingering, so I thought making the acquaintance of a local podiatrist was not a bad idea.

Surgery has been suggested to me in the past. The main reason for waiting had been my age--there was the concern that the bunion would inevitably return if I had the surgery done in my 20s. I think some of this was based on the expectation that I would continue my slight duck walk, which places pressure on the bunion area.

But I corrected that walk in the past few years and have much better alignment now.

This podiatrist thinks that he can get my toes back to 100% alignment with very little likelihood of recurrence. But... only if I have the surgery done before my joints get too stiff. To him that means in the next couple years.

The wrinkle, of course, is my plan to get pregnant. This surgery and pregnancy are incompatible, so I have to decide which comes first.

Due to the severity of one foot in particular, I would have to do each foot separately and be on crutches for 6-8 weeks (back to dance and general activities in 12 weeks) after each surgery.

I'm toying with the idea of getting my worse foot done soon, after my conference, then getting pregnant, then waiting to do the second foot until after the baby is weaned. The biggest downside is that it means putting off attempting a pregnancy by another two months. On the other hand, I worry that the foot-spreading that tends to occur during pregnancy might exacerbate my current problem, potentially keeping me from activity until I would be able to go through the surgery.

What would you do?


Dr. Andrew Schneider said...

Another thought on the surgery and the bunion returning: The bunion is just the result of unstable biomechanics mixed with your serious dancing. To say that the bunion is corrected, is not to say that the underlying mechanics that had caused the bunion is corrected. After any bunion surgery, control in custom orthotics to neutralize the deforming forces are a necessity. Make sure you discuss this with your podiatrist prior to the surgery.

Lisa b said...

am v glad someone else has ideas .... I am just crossing my fingers for you.
Chronic pain sucks so my first thought was to do the surgery but your comment that pregnancy might negate the I'm just sad.