Experiences with bunion surgery & podiatrist recs

Hello! I've had bunions all my life (I'm 43) and have been thinking about removal surgery. They don't bother me too much, but I think they're getting bigger and will probably become more painful/annoying with time. I've looked into surgery in the past, but didn't get far because I was worried about possible negative effects and the long recovery period. Now I'm weighing pros and cons again and would love to hear about others' experiences with surgery, recovery and post-surgery. I'd also appreciate podiatrist recommendations as the archives are at least 10 years old. Thanks so much!

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My daughter saw Jennifer Strausser.  She has offices in both Alameda and El Cerrito/Albany.  Her senior partner is Anthony Poggio, who we said hello to but he did not treat us.  Dr. Strausser was caring and engaged, experienced.  She was terrific (the issue was a foot injury that did not require surgery).  Dr. Poggio had various service awards on the wall of the office we were treated in.  You could google or yelp them for other reviews.

If you have kaiser go to Dr. Mitzi Williams in Oakland. Phenomenal 

Catherine Cheung is phenomenal.  I had a severe bunion on my right foot, and it got to the point I couldn't even walk 1 mile without throbbing pain keeping me up all night afterward, and I was only 29, so I knew I had to do something. I met with foot and ankle surgeons for over a year across SF and the East Bay and endured a ton of pain and limitation as I just couldn't find anyone great - I knew Dr. Cheung was the one at our first consult.  The surgery was flawless, and then...I fell during my recovery, doing an activity I should not have been doing 10 days post surgery (going down stairs, alone).  The Physical Therapist I worked with said she had never seen anyone have such a good outcome, and couldn't believe that was the case consider I had a fall that delayed PT and caused more swelling/scar tissue.  Friends who saw other people for the same foot surgery I had done did not have anywhere near the outcomes I have.  Many had botched surgeries based on surgeons who used wires or minimal cuts - they did have fast recoveries, but often have more pain and in some cases had a bunion reform worse than before!  Dr. Cheung uses full cuts and titanium screws, and the first week of recovery was agonizingly painful, but the outcomes are ABSOLUTELY worth it.  She promised me a week of significant pain, and 6 weeks off my feet, but also promised I would not have any recurrence and would be able to do all the physical things on my bucket list.  She was right!  I have biked thousands of miles, climbed Mt. Whitney as a day hike (tallest peak in the lower 48 - 23 miles RT in 14 hours), and done 2 weeks of backpacking in Patagonia.  None of it would be possible without the expert technique and skill Dr. Cheung exhibited, and her tight collaboration with my chosen physical therapist (I used SOL PT in Rockridge).  She was absolutely worth the drive to SF or Marin (I saw her both places).  Marin is easy to access if you go mid-day to avoid Richmond bridge traffic, and the SF office is close to BART.  Good luck!   https://www.goldengatesportsmedicine.com/meet-our-team  or Phone: 415-757-0509

I had a bunions removed on both feet almost 30 years ago and have no regrets.    Had both feet done at the same time and had a few days of bed rest followed by a week or two of limited mobility.   So relieved to be rid of the daily pain!   And 30 years  later still pain free. The podiatrist I used ( who I am certain has long retired) did not use any pins or metal in the procedure, and I did not need any follow up procedures.  

I would just mention that you should look at seeing an orthopaedic surgeon or two as well as a podiatrist. Orthopaedic surgeons train for longer, and I personally found I had more confidence with that speciality than a podiatrist. Even for severe bunions, you don’t necessarily need a pin put through, it depends on the surgeon. It depends on your preferences and situation but a pin can reduce flexibility in the foot, limiting your footwear options. 

Good luck!