Archived Q&A and Reviews

Bunion surgery w Dr. Mann or Dr. Wolpa?

Feb 2009

The time has come for me to have surgery to take care of a painful bunion. I have consulted with Dr. Roger Mann, MD and Dr. Mark Wolpa, DPM and am trying to decide who to have perform the surgery. Has anyone had bunion surgery with either of these doctors? I am interesed in both positive and negative feedback. I am also interested in any thoughts on wether it is better to have an MD or a podiatrist perform the surgery, or is the individual, not the degree, more important. Thank you Jennifer

In February of 1992, I had the bunions (both side of little toe & big toe) of my left foot removed by Dr. Roger Mann. Three months later, he did the same to my right foot. There has been no regrowth!! And, I had been in constant pain for years prior to surgery. I decided to do one foot at a time for recovery reasons. Only suggestion, is to make sure you have adequate pain relief following surgery. Dr. Mann broke & realigned both big toes, among other surgery methods. I am very satisfied with his treatment of my bunions. Flat Foot
I just saw a new podiatrist in Berkeley - Dr. Schmugler at ''For Feets Sake'' on Milvia, near Dwight. She was amazing - she spent nearly 40 minutes with me, explaining my issues (bunions, among others), treatment options, observed me walk, and also took some time to trim down some callouses that were problematic. I previously saw another podiatrist several times, who was extremely perfunctory, gave me a canned spiel about bunion treatment, and got me in and out in about 5 minutes. Not that I particuarly like to spend a lot of time with any medical person - but this was incredibly refreshing - Dr. Schmugler truly seemed to know her stuff and to focus on how she could best help me (rather than seeing me as a quick insurance payment, which would be understandable considering how little doctor receive from insurance companys for these routine visits). Anyway, I highly, highly recommend this office if your are looking for bunion surgery or any podiatric treatment. Also - very easy to get in for an appointment. Parking right there. And a website to boot: www.forfeetsake.com. I'm really not associated with them in anyway ...just a very enthusiastic first time patient! anonynmous

Bunion - what to do about it

Nov 2008

I am not seeking medical advice, but wondered if any of you with bunions have had any success keeping them from getting worse over time. My situation: Age late forties. Over the past few years, a worsening bunion on just one foot (for now). I NEVER wear/wore high heels, so this isn't an issue. I almost always wear shoes, and try to stick to those that fit well most of the time, so probably not the cause, either. I am starting to get a fair amount of pain, especially when I walk or exercise (weight-bearing) a lot; also some cramping/numbness in my middle toes at the same time.

I have previously seen two podiatrists (both recommended by others here) - about other issues - and was not terribly impressed (one hardly looked at my foot, made a quick diagnosis, and at the follow-up visit, declared a function improved when he had never looked at it, and it was never a problem; the other wanted to take tons of x-rays, using what looked like an ancient x-ray machine, and offered just a tiny lead shield. I decided to forgo the x-rays, and the problem resolved itself).

So my questions: Is there a great, holistic podiatrist who can really help me figure this out? Do other professionals deal with bunions (chiropractors? PT? Other?) Have you used other products or techniques that helped? Thanks for your help. painful foot

Dr. Rodger Mann, oakland google him you can rest easy, he is the Man, I have done all the research! 4 years later and I couldn't be happier with my foot! annf
Learn to love your feet... After having children I researched bunions to see what, if anything, I could do to prevent them from developing bunions. The various studies of night-time foot aids and custom-molded daytime footbeds all concluded that you can't stop nature. At least not bunion nature. bumpy
After going to a doctor at Kaiser Richmond to get options for a very painful bunion and hearing only surgery as a solution, I opted for an outside doctor. Steven Subotnick was great. He is a podiatrist and also a homeopathic doctor. He shot cortisone into my foot and I was instantly pain-free. The cortisone lasted about six months. Over about two years he gave me shots every six months then said that was all I could have without endangering my health in other ways. He referred me to a great podiatrist in Kaiser Walnut Creek--Dr. Silvani. I did end up with the surgery. Apparently bunions are hereditary. My foot is not perfect now, but is pain free and maybe 85% normal. My youngest sister is now up for her bunion surgery. sym

Bunion--Alternatives to Surgery

June 2007

I am the unhappy possessor of a bunion on my left foot, and, primarily because I cannot be immobile for six weeks, I'd like to put off the surgical solution for as long as possible. I've had The Bunion for seven years (ever since my last pregnancy), but it's lately become more painful, i.e., I'm feeling some pain every time I walk, and my big toe is steadily moving under my other toes. Yes, yes, I need to get shoe inserts, but since my miserable health insurance won't cover anything anyway, I'd like to try some alternative therapies. Massage? Sacro-cranial work? Chiropractic? Has anyone in the BPN group had any success in reducing foot pain through these kinds of therapies--or others that I haven't thought of? Big Toe

Bunions are like bursitis and can be addressed successfully by looking at underlying causes such as contributors to inflammation (which any -itis is). I have used an anti- inflammatory diet, anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements plus body work to address my own bunions which now are non-existent. I may have caught them early on. Two things to mention: standing yoga asana poses help a lot when done with toes lifted (improves circulation) and a form of body work called Jin Shin Jyutsu. I recommend Pam Reynolds, L.Ac, for the latter: 510-548-0126 as she gives you some self-care to continue the healing process. Nori H
try yoga toes, they are available through amazon. juli
Absolutely there are alternatives--I was in the same boat 4 years ago, and am still pain-free (nearly) and surgery-less. I got body work done with Nany Burke 236-1007, and Peggy Dey (don't have her # at hand), got some advice about what kind of shoes to wear (from them), and I go back for a session or two very occasionally (1-2 year). I exercise regularly, go running, and I'm fine. Good luck. writeck
Hi, I inherited bunions from both parents and one foot ended up being extremely painful. The Kaiser doctor I first saw gave me no options but surgery which, like you, I could not manage at the time. I went to see Steven Subotnick for a second opinion and he said we could try cortisone. I was pain-free for six months and he referred me to another Kaiser doctor that he knew. After getting maxed out on cortisone shots I ended up with the surgery (about 3 years later). NOTHING ELSE WORKED. My understanding is the tarsal bone is too long and as it hits the joint, bone grows. My foot is much better now--no pain under ordinary circumstances, but am limited in shoe wear. ds
I have had a bunion on my right foot for at least 10 years, and I have not yet had to have surgery (and my foot does not hurt) because I wear Birkenstocks that allow my foot to spread out flat. [I am sure there are other good shoe manufacturers but I prefer Birkies.] I also wear arch supports when I wear dress shoes (get rid of your high heels!), and a podiatrist can prescribe them or you can buy a custom made pair at one of the stores that sell them (there's a store on College near Telegraph, I believe). ''Orthotics'' are considered durable medical equipment (DME), and depending on your insurance coverage, you may be reimbursed 50 to 100% of cost. You can also buy inexpensive Dr. Scholl's or other arch supports at your local Target, Longs, etc.

Another thing is that feet get bigger as we age (among other things) and you may need to wear a larger/wider shoe. I used to wear 7-1/2 AA and now I wear 8 or 8 1/2 B. The wider the toe box the better. It does sound like your toe is worse than mine, but if you get those aids I mention, you can at least relieve the pain. I would not put off getting an evaluation, though, because you can be doing lots of other damage to your spine by limping around, favoring the other foot, etc. At least you will know whether you can put the surgery off. Kathy

Call Stephen Zuber in Berkeley, on Webster St I think, anyway, near alta bates. Podiatrist extraordinaire...i think he only charges $50 or 75 for an appt and he is REALLY good. not alternative, but just plain REALLY good. Rebecca

Bunion Surgery

Feb 2004

I'm considering having surgery to remove the bunions on both my feet. Has anyone had this surgery? Would you recommend it? I've heard your bones grow back the same way, is that true? I'm also relatively new to the area and don't know of a good podiatrist. Recommendations would be appreciated. I live in the Lake Merritt area, but am willing to travel for a good doctor. Thanks.

Though my bunion surgery story is old, it went so well I had to write. I had both bunions fixed in 1985 at the age of 25. I had had foot problems all my life and I have not had a moment's pain or trouble with bunions since. The podiatrist's name is Eugene Spector and his number is 415-923-3082 (in SF). Definitely worth a call--though I understand he and his practice have probably changed in nearly 20 years! Back then it meant a 3-day hospital stay (which was great), which I doubt is the case today. I had both done at the same time, was in a wheelchair for a while, then crutches. After 5 weeks I had the okay to do aerobics, etc. , but things were still pretty tender. It's not a small deal, but if your problems are major, it's worth it. Everyone's situation is different and there are a variety of different surgeries and I'm sure many new practices have come up. I still wear specially made orthotics in my shoes so the bunions haven't come back. Good luck, Joan
I had my bunion surgery done in Davis so I can't recommend a specific doctor, but I can comment about the effectiveness of the surgery. I have very high arches and had moderate bunions on both feet when I was in my mid-20's. I began wearing orthotics about 5 years before, but still had occasional (but sharp) pain in my right big toe joint. Although I could have waited another 10 years before having the surgery, I decided to have it done then and be done with it. That was 6 years ago and I have not had any pain since. Mine bunion has not come back but I wear my orthotics religiously (actually I have to otherwise I have severe foot pain from plantar fascitis). The surgery I had entailed shaving off the bunion and resetting (ie breaking) the metatarsal (?) to straighten the big toe so it didn't turn in. If you have orthotics, wear them in your surgery shoe from the beginning. My doctor didn't tell me to and I didn't for the first week and my big toe turned in alittle. I was awake during the surgery. It didn't hurt except fot the shot to numb the area. Actually I was alittle bored. I found the recover quite painful though. The way the bone is broken and reset, you can walk on it immediately (there is a metal pin placed in your foot for 6 weeks to stabilize it). I spoke to one person who had both feet done at once by the same doctor and said it wasn't that painful. Since I only had one foot done, I rented crutches and used them for the first week. Cindy

Bunion surgery or Pregnancy ?

March 2003

I am considering having surgery on my poor feet - I have severe bunions on both feet. But I've not yet had children, which we do plan in the next few years. How much will my feet change due to pregnancy such that - if I have surgery now and heal fine, will my feet change while pregnant and I would have been better to wait? If you've had the surgery, how long were you unable to get around - I'm concerned that if we have a couple little ones, I'll be unable to care for them after surgery so really I either get the procedures now or 10 years from now! I've talked with a surgeon who thinks I'll be helped by the surgery but I'm concerned about when to time it with other life activities! thanks! want to be straight toed mama

I am someone who ''didn't have time'' for bunion surgery before I had kids. Now I have no idea when I will be able to make time for surgery - when my kids can drive themselves to school? I can't speak to the medical aspect of your question, but I can just tell you I wish I would have the surgery before I had kids. Helena
By all means, have the surgery before the kids! I almost couldn't walk because of bunion pain when I was in my mid-thirties and decided to have surgery. I have been almost pain-free in that foot for more than 10 years! During that ten-year interval, I had two full-term pregnancies, and of course my feet have spread (everything has ...). With a four and an eight-year-old, I cannot now conceive of having the other bunion fixed, although I would dearly love to. The one week of absolute post-surgical pain and swelling (yeah - it will hurt, and badly), coupled with the six weeks or so of not being able to drive, put surgery out of the question with two kids to take to two different schools - to say nothing of being in a less-than-stellar mood due to the physical limitations of a sore foot. I am SO GLAD that I had the one bunion fixed when I did. And glad that I did so before having kids. My sincere advice is to fix your feet now. footloose
Hi: I had surgery done on both feet at the same time to remove bunions. I was in bed for 2 weeks. Everytime I lowered my feet they throbbed. Even when back on my feet, I had to sit with them elevated. It took a full 6 months before I felt normal again. I do not regret the surgery, my feet are great now and always ached prior to bunion removal. However, recovery process is long and painful. As a mother of a one year old....my advice is to have this surgery b/f you have a child. Unless you have a full time care-giver for your child there is NO WAY to recover from bunion surgery while caring for a new/young baby/child. Good Luck!!! Lisa
I had bunion surgery before going off to college about 15 years ago. I was off my feet for 2 weeks, and had to wear orthopedic shoes for another month or so. I don't think you have to wear the shoes anymore. It felt like a long recovery, and I ended up having a bone spur and had to get it removed. HOWEVER - you really should get the surgery before you get pregnant. My feet have never been so sore as they were when I was pregnant, and I cannot imagine having the pain of bunions on top of the swelling and spreading of pregnant feet. If you do decide to wait on the surgery, make sure you've got a partner who's willing to give you lots of foot rubs! LK