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Video

Dr Pixie V/O: 22 year old Laura Dawson can’t stand her problem any longer.

Dr Pixie: Now then, what can I do for you?

Laura: I’ve got two really, really large bunions growing on either foot.

Dr Pixie: Do you want to slip your sandals off so I can have a closer look. Just pop your foot up.
Well, that’s a big one isn’t it?

Laura: Yeah, it seems to be getting bigger really quickly as well., I’m getting a lot of blisters. It’s like one of those things you’d imagine an 80 year old lady to have or something.

Dr Pixie: Pop that one up for me.

Laura: Yep.

Dr Pixie: You’re a bit of a slave to the high heel I’d say, are you?

Laura: Most definitely.

Dr Pixie: I think, Laura, the bottom line is really that high heels and tight foot wear are the cause of bunions. Your best option is for treats only wear high heels but get yourself some flat shoes, some sensible shoes.

Laura: (Laughing) I hate sensible.

Dr Pixie V/O: Most bunions develop as a result of wearing shoes that don’t fit properly, but people with certain foot types are more likely to get them. Occupations that put stress on feet can also cause bunions and they tend to run in families. And if things go too far treatments include splints, insoles and even surgery.

Dr Pixie: The other thing you can do which you could do every morning and every night is do some exercises. If you stand up for me? All right? And if you put your two feet together and bring your two big toes in and out.

Laura: Oh, that feels funny.

Dr Pixie: It does feel funny as your toe hasn’t been over there for probably about 12 years, that’s why. If you did that twenty times in the morning and twenty times at night time it would really improve the toe and the strength there. If the shoes and the exercises haven’t convinced you, have a look at this (shows photo).

Laura: Eugh.

Dr Pixie: Yes

Laura: That’s horrid.

Dr Pixie: It is horrid, and that’s what happens before this (shows second photo). Do you really, really want your feet to look like that? Your face is a picture.

Laura: I feel ill.

Dr Pixie: Well, that was my intention.

Laura: I think you’ve taught me a lesson.

Dr Pixie: Good.

Read the video transcript

Consultation: Bunions

Bunions are the bane of almost one third of adults lives in the UK. In this consultation from the first series of Embarrassing Illnesses, Dr Dawn Harper explains exactly what bunions are, how to avoid them, and what can happen if they are not treated.

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Comments and Questions

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Are there any podiatric surgeons in Hull who perform keyhole surgery for bunion removal and if so how much do they charge. Also is keyhole surgery suitable if your bunions are very large.





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I had one bunion operated on in Dublin in 2010 - the toe was not set in plaster - I just had a boot and I think it is for this reason that the big toe curves upward like a Nazi salute. I am a 49 year old woman who is now experiencing a lot of pain with the other bunion - my little toe has bad corns resulting from the pressure of rubbing against my fourth toe from the bunion. If anyone has had keyhole bunion surgery, I would be really interested to know how you got on and the price incurred. I would be particularly interested in anyone who got the operation in Northern Ireland as I live in the Republic.





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I have hardly ever worn high heels or pointy shoes in my life as I'm a tall gal , so please tell me why I not only have bunions but also have had several ops for ingrown toenails and even had my nail beds on both big toes removed , this is a familial condition and to blame women who have never worn high heels for a common condition that besets most of men and women is counterproductive , Iv'e known many girls who live in heels and yet never develop bunions and just as many women who for practical reasons , work , height , shorter spouse etc, end up with hideous bunions please set the record straight !!





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Hi Coral, I wore Doc Martens for much of my teenage life with most of my friends wearing high heels and yet I have bad bunions. An aunt of mine had her bunions operated on in her twenties and my twelve year old niece has bunions which cause her pain. It is definitely a genetic thing - you have my sympathy and my empathy! I have had one operated on - the pain is gone but the hammer toe next it is dreadful which they were supposed to operate on as well.

I am a 25 year old female. I've noticed these horrid things growing at the age of 24 and it was first just my right big toe and now I'm horrified to see it now growing out of my left big toe! In only 2 months it seems! I find it alarming that it's a bone, as shouldn't a bone deformation take years to take place? This felt merely in just months! This is very aggravating as I know it's hereditary and my mother has them and I always hoped and prayed that I'd NEVER get them and here I am now with them. *sigh* And like most women, I love to wear high heels. Especially when it comes to my short stature. The higher the heels, the more confident and attractive I feel. Which I already know, is TERRIBLE to put too much pressure on the cursed big toes... I wish you could walk and balance yourself with or WITHOUT your big toes just fine. Because I feel it's your big toes that are the cause of deformation of the metatarsal phalangeal. The big toe bone is responsible for the most recorded accounts of bunions. I wish I could use ointment on these things as if they were just some type of fungal growth. I wish I could go into surgery but. I can't afford it and even that is not a definite reassurance. Because I've heard bunionectomy stories where the hideous things grow back! Bones after you reach a certain age should stop growing. Is it a fungus in the marrow, some type of bacteria in the metatarsal phalanges that causes bunions to deform a lady's feet? This is really what I would like to know. My bunions hurt even if I'm sitting or lying down. I've tried exercises to alleviate the pain. I would like to stunt the bunions' progression on my big toes before they get as bad as other bunions on the feet of some women I know. I need to stop the progression before it gets worse. I do plan on going to see a doctor for this soon. And I can't wait. Even if I can't do surgery, I just want these horrible things to be stunted to where they are now!





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Being a carer my doctor has refused me treatment for my bunions which I have had for most of my life. It's been very painful to get around. All my flat wide fitting shoes have been ruined by the bunions pushing the leather away, hard skin has formed. Interesting in the quick fix of keyhole bunion removal but scared to speak to the GP again in case he refuses to help me. Is there any way I can be free at last, always on my feet because of my daughters disability, need help.





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If you have bunion surgery you will need a caregiver. Do you have someone that could care for you both. I just had surgery on 8-1. I couldn't take care of myself without help. I hope you get the help you need.

Had tailors bunion op six weeks ago, but there is still a hard lump there, will this go down?





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I had tailors bunion surgery nearly 8 weeks ago, at first I was happy with my results but my foot was very swollen so I couldn't see the remaining lump as much. I am actually in more pain now when I walk than before the surgery and not in the same place. I don't know if it will go down I am disappointed as post op was awful. The hospital only changed my dressing once as well I had to go to my gp and ask. Are you having you're other foot done and are you still in pain? My op is next month I'm having doubts whether I want to feel like this and still have a lump.

hi there, yes i still have lump there which is purple in colour, but it does not hurt now unless i make mistake of putting on a tight shoe. i too am disappointed as it looks worse than before, it has been about 8 weeks now, will not have other foot done, but that is not quite so bad anyway. am going to my dr next week for his opinion. I really feel sympathy for what you are going through.

i have the same Problem im also 17 and have Bunions on both my feet i done Karate for 9 years and had to give it due to it, im in extreme pain most the time now, ive seen the doctor and a specialist but only been giving in soles about 12 months ago which made no difference





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im a 17 year old girl and ive got what i think are bunions on both of my feet. i think ive always had toe joints that point outwards- but over the last couple of years the left foot has turned into what looks like an actual bunion. over about the last six months its also started to hurt. at first it was after walking but now it will hurt if ive just been standing. im not sure what to do. obviously i need to get it checked out at the doctors but i cant take time of college for recovery from surgery- especially when im hoping to go to uni next year. this is becoming a worry for me- has anyone been in this situation?





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I was in the exact same situation as you with college and work. I finished college in the summer and had my operation done 15th Aug this year. At first when I noticed it and went to doctors they sent me to hospital for x rays and chat with surgeon etc. I got told if I hadn't had the operation done I wouldn't be able to walk in a few years as the bunion keeps moving the more I walk. I had to get this done I've put work on hold and in my recovery just now. It has been the worst time of my life the pain is the worst I've ever been in they broke my big toe and religned my bones it hurts so bad. I would advise you to get the X-ray and see what they say but it's a serious operation and takes ages for recovery time and learning to weak again. Good luck x

Im 21 years old with bunions on both feet..the left one gives me pain but the right doesn't. Considering surgery but i don't want them to get worse. Im really embarrassed and don't like wearing sandals or anything that show your feet :(





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I have really big bunions and hate showing my feet and am now paranoid that people are looking at them. I was contemplating having the surgery but have mixed feelings because I dance and perform. I now have to wear flip flood in a play I'm in and I'm terrified of what the other actors are gonna say when they see them.

I just turned fifteen and have noticed hard bumps under my toes and where the bumps are they look swollen. I have been told my father has had lot's of bunions and I take after him please help how do I get rid of them?





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