Sailing to Recovery – Lily’s Journey with Lapidus Bunionectomy

August 20, 2019

At nine years old, Lily was having trouble walking long distances. Looking closely, her parents noticed what looked like bunions on her feet, which is highly unusual for a girl so young. They were starting to cause significant problems, as the painful bumps on her big toe were restricting her from every-day activities.

As the bunions grew worse, so did the pain. When she could no longer even wear the shoes that had been prescribed by the podiatrist, Lily’s parents knew it was time to seek the help of a professional at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. After review, Lily was referred to an expanded multidisciplinary team, including Dr. Jill Larson, Attending Physician of Orthopedic Surgery, gaining her own network of support at Lurie Children’s.

Surgical Bunion Removal

Lily had been appropriately counseled to avoid surgery until skeletal maturity, once her growth plates were closed, to maximize the growth of her foot and reduce the risk of recurrence of the deformities. When Lily reached the age of fourteen and had stopped growing, she met Dr. Larson to discuss surgical intervention, which was “perfect from the first meeting.”

Dr. Larson not only evaluated Lily’s foot deformities, but also recognized the importance of Lily’s activities on her quality of life. Thus, Dr. Larson recommended performing staged (left foot, followed by right foot) Lapidus bunionectomy procedures to correct her toe deformities - working with Lily’s busy schedule in mind, making sure she was still able to do the activities she loved. Dr. Larson’s plan for recovery, including taking care of the scar and physical therapy, allowed Lily to continue to be mobile, even continuing her passion for sailing.

Lily’s Progress

“Today she’s doing great,” Lily’s mother, Susan says. “She’s able to keep going, walking and running without the severe pain she had before, even wearing shoes that she enjoys, it gave her back freedom.”

After the operation, Lily no longer has to worry or “plan” before going out, being conscious of her feet and the orthopedic shoes she’s wearing, prescribed by a podiatrist. Instead, she has jumped back into what she loves, participating in activities like sailing, with newfound confidence through Dr. Larson’s reassurance.

Lily also has gained confidence and was able to attend her senior year prom without worry about having to choose from specific shoes or leaving early because of pain. She will confidently continue with sailing in the summer, going on to attend college in the fall.

“I highly recommend Lurie Children’s,” says Susan, “It was a great experience; everyone felt so connected.” “It was definitely the right decision.”

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