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Jishui123

Bunions - advice needed!

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Hi, looking for advice regarding bunions in dancers. My daughters is at vocational school and her bunions are now hurting so she is reluctant to do pointe work. 

We were wondering if anyone out there has had an operation to correct them and if they were able to dance professionally afterwards. She does not want a career in ballet but more contemporary, jazz or cruise work ( thinking high heels). If she were to get an operation she would probably take a year out and then go back to complete her third year. Any advice or potential solutions welcome.

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My eldest daughter had a bunion operation earlier this year. Both of her feet are affected but the surgeon will only operate on one foot at a time. My daughter knows that she is facing another operation in about a year or so. Her sugery was very successful but she was off work for two months and won’t be back to normal until next year. She also has to wear sensible shoes during the healing period which is about a year. 

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My daughter has had a bunion for a few years, Jishui.  She used to use ice and ibuprofen gel when it got red and painful.  Her Dance Physio used to show her how to stick a rectangular piece of thick felt (self adhesive on one side) in her pointe and character shoes just above the bunion.  That lifted the shoe off the bunion and really helped with the pain.  

 

Does your dd routinely wear gel toe spacers between the big toe and second toe?  That also really helps.  Dd no longer needs to pad her shoes with felt but she does still wear a toe spacer in all her shoes, ballet and regular street shoes.  She has her pointes fitted while wearing the toe spacer too.  She’s so used to it she feels weird without it.  It keeps the big toe properly aligned and has stopped her bunion getting worse.  Might be worth trying. 

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Hi, yes she does wear toe spacers. I think part of the problem is that she has reasonably flat feet so always prone to rolling in. She had arch supports in her normal shoes through secondary school. Fiz - did your daughter get assessed by a dance physio before deciding to go for the op? Do you think that would be the first step? Just worried that doctors/hospitals may not be sympathetic towards dancers! 

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6 hours ago, Jishui123 said:

Fiz - did your daughter get assessed by a dance physio before deciding to go for the op? Do you think that would be the first step? Just worried that doctors/hospitals may not be sympathetic towards dancers! 

 

I know some of the girls at DD's school see a physio to correct bunions. Seems to involve strengthening the toes/metatarsals somehow (as well as toe spacers etc). I'm not sure of the details, and am sure you'd need to specifically see a dance physio, but it's got to be worth trying before surgery?

Edited by Cara in NZ
missed a bit
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My daughter isn’t dancing now but she’s had bunion problems for years. It was spotted by a chiropractor she worked for and she had orthotics for years but as she worked in a hospital she saw an orthopaedic surgeon who referred her. The referral got lost in internal mail! It was four years before she finally had the operation and by that time she was waking up crying with pain and she rarely cries. 

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I had surgery on bunions in both feet, on the NHS, around 15 years ago. They were done at the same time (my decision, not recommended in any way by the surgeon) and the correction involved pins in both big toes (I was told this was to ensure the operation was a life long solution as otherwise they would come back). Although very successful for some considerable time afterwards I certainly couldn't wear high heels and even now I wear relatively sensible heels at work. I'm not a dancer but I don't think my big toes are very strong and I wouldn't want to take my whole body weight on them. The operation itself was extremely painful and I had very reduced mobility for weeks afterwards. However I now no longer have any pain walking in comfortable flat shoes which was not the case before- pre-op I had pain walking extending into the soles of my feet at just 32 years of age. Incidentally, the GP initially told me he would refer me but highly unlikely the NHS would operate despite the pain. However by the time I saw the surgeon he said my Xrays showed the problem was actually urgent and that my bunions were hereditary. After my successful operation my mother also got hers done. Her surgery was not on the NHS and she did not have pins inserted. She found the whole thing much much less painful than me and was back on her feet much more quickly than me. Her op was about ten years ago but her bunions have not so far returned.        

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She’s had a pointe shoe fitting not that long ago and got a couple of different styles of shoes. She does have on all the spacers etc on when fitting. Im wondering if she got them wide enough. 

I think the dance physio may be the first step but I’m wondering does anyone on the forum know anyone who’s continued to dance successfully after a bunion operation?

 

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On 18/11/2018 at 21:57, Jishui123 said:

Hi, yes she does wear toe spacers. I think part of the problem is that she has reasonably flat feet so always prone to rolling in. She had arch supports in her normal shoes through secondary school. Fiz - did your daughter get assessed by a dance physio before deciding to go for the op? Do you think that would be the first step? Just worried that doctors/hospitals may not be sympathetic towards dancers! 

 

Flat feet can be a sign of hypermobility, as can early onset bunions.  The ankles over-pronate (roll in) giving the appearance of flat feet.  Hypermobility in itself needn’t be a problem and many professional dancers have a degree of hypermobility.  

 

However, hypermobility *can* go hand in hand with skeletal immaturity (hence the bunions if they are not hereditary) and Joint Hypermobility Syndrome.  Before thinking about surgery, i.e. treating the symptoms, it might be well worth seeing a Dance Physio or Rheumatologist to see if there is an underlying cause in the form of JHS - or ruling it out.  

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