The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Bunion Surgery Helps T.V. Chef Nigella Lawson Lose Weight

Posted by on Friday, January 25th, 2013


Nigella Lawson is known for her sophisticated recipes, her clever kitchen secrets, and her quick British wit. Intelligent, funny, affable, and elegant, she’s a breath of fresh air on the cooking show circuit. But, like many a chef, she’s had some struggles with her weight. In my opinion, a thin chef is a lie: how many real life chefs maintain their girlish figures? Not many. Thin chefs are a product of the entertainment business, where recipes look a whole lot more appetizing presented by flawless, fit hosts. I was kind of excited for Lawson’s weight gain. I thought it made her even more real, personable, and interesting. So, as a T.V. cooking show lover, I was a little disappointed to learn that, in her case, the pounds weren’t the result of too many canapés. Instead, they were the result of a painful bunion that kept her from exercising. Of course, as a podiatry enthusiast, I couldn’t be more thrilled. When foot surgery can correct a painful, debilitating condition, resulting in a full recovery, we’re doing our jobs.



Bunions are extremely common, especially among women who wear high heels and pointy-toed shoes. We’ve talked about them many times before, but as a quick recap: a bunion is a lump that protrudes from the area right below your big toe joint. When the big toe is forced in, either by shoes or by the way your foot strikes the ground (thanks, genetics) the big toe joint may compensate (this can happen to the little toe joint too, forming a bunionette.) Bunions and bunionettes can be extremely painful, preventing you from exercising or, in extreme cases, from walking. If your bunion is severe enough to restrict your activities, it may be time for surgery. This was the case for Nigella Lawson.



If your bunion is on the milder side, you may only need an exostectomy in which the first metatarsal head is thinned, though this is typically only used in cases where there is no angular deformity. The recovery time for an exostectomy is quick, just a couple of weeks. The most frequent surgery used to correct bunions is an osteotomy. During this procedure the metatarsal bone is cut and then held together with screws. Recovery typically takes between six and 12 weeks, including time in a surgical shoe or boot, and on crutches. In severe cases, a lapidus bunionectomy (joint-fusion) is needed. The patient loses movement in the joint but pain is relieved.



Lawson is among the 23% of adults in America suffering from bunions, and, as Lawson can attest, it’s not just an affliction of the old. Many young, active people who wear sensible shoes suffer too. And bunions can impact overall health, causing sufferers like Lawson to gain weight. As we know, weight gain can lead to a host of other health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. If you think you have a bunion, Visit The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900).



If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.