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Wendy Muschett has returned to one of her favorite activities following bunion surgery – running four to five miles several times a week free of pain.

Goodbye bunions, hello comfort

With a family history of bunions, wendy muschett knew foot surgery was in her future. She had the bunion on her right foot removed several years ago, but her doctor retired before she was ready to remove the other bunion. Her search for a new physician led to Michael Clain, MD, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in foot and ankle surgery.

“Dr. Clain knew exactly what needed to be done, which was reassuring,” said Muschett of Fairfield, who runs four to five miles several times a week. “He took the time to explain the procedure and recovery process. It was clear he had a lot of experience. I felt I was in good hands.”

Bunions are a common foot deformity often treated with minimally invasive surgery for significantly less pain and shorter recovery. “A bunion is a genetic deformity that develops over time,” said Dr. Clain. “The protruding bump or bunion is the end of the first metatarsal bone of the big toe, which has drifted out of position. If you have a predilection to bunions, pushing your feet into shoes that don’t fit is not helpful – but it’s not going to cause a bunion.”

Muschett decided to have the elective surgery because it became increasingly difficult to find comfortable and stylish shoes and some daily activities were becoming painful. “I knew it was only going to get worse,” she said.

Dr. Clain encourages patients to take an active role in their health and become educated about the procedure and recovery process. “Surgery isn’t always necessary, unless you are experiencing pain, can’t find appropriate shoes and can’t exercise,” he said. “Then it may be time to consider surgery.”

The surgical approach depends on the severity of the condition. In Muschett’s case, Dr. Clain performed a proximal bunionectomy. This same-day surgical procedure involves making a small incision near the base of the first metatarsal in the midfoot to cut and manipulate the misaligned bone. Patients typically experience a full recovery within six months.

Muschett appreciated Dr. Clain’s holistic approach. He suggested post-op seated exercises during the first phase of recovery and later recommended she have physical therapy. “Dr. Clain knew I was disappointed about not being able to run for six months,” she said. “He suggested I view it as just missing one season. Looking at it that way helped shift my mindset.”

These days, Muschett gives little thought to the bunions that once restricted her way of life. “My recovery was great,” she said. “Now I’m back in action and grateful to Dr. Clain for such a successful outcome.”