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Foot Bunion Surgery & Treatment

What is a Bunion?

A foot bunion is defined as a more than natural angulation of your great toe. This angulation is typically directed to the outside of your foot. This angulation will cause a noticeable “bump” on the inside of your instep.

What Causes Bunions?

There is some evidence that bunions are indeed a genetic quality and passed from parent to child. However, there is also instances where it develops independent of genetics. Most individuals have a small angulation to their great toe, but it doesn’t cause them any issues. There is no indication to undergo any type of surgery if it doesn’t cause discomfort.

Will My Bunion Get Worse?

There isn’t any definitive evidence that time will cause a bunion to get worse.  Some bunions will progress more than others. There isn’t any way to truly know if a bunion will get worse. Treatment is also not based on if a bunion will get worse, it’s only dictated by the amount of discomfort it causes.

When Should I Consider Bunion Surgery?

You should only consider surgery if the bunion is affecting your daily life.  Typically, treatment will start conservatively with purchasing wider shoes, or custom inserts that allow more cushion over the prominence. Occasionally giving up a style of shoe is necessary as well, for example refraining from wearing high heeled shoes. If all of these techniques have been attempted and still the patient has constant discomfort and pain from the prominence, then surgery can be considered.

What are My Surgical Options for Treating a Bunion?

There are many surgical options to correct a bunion. The type of surgical correction best for you is best dictated by your surgeon. He/she will take into account your anatomy and the amount of deformity you have. There are roughly more than 300+ techniques to correcting a bunion. Usually it is best to stick with the technique your surgeon is most comfortable with and the method that they’ve perfected over years of practice. Bunion correction is a very complex surgery and essentially is a reconstruction of the foot. Many techniques involve releasing the deforming forces/muscles causing the deformity and also making bony cuts to correct the bony alignment. Occasionally smaller surgeries to the lesser toes are necessary after bunion correction as well.  This is determined at the time of surgery by your surgeon.

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Can My Bunion Come Back?

There is always a possibility that the bunion can recur. Overall there is a 1-5% chance a bunion will come back, depending on the literature read. Goals of surgery are mainly to decrease the large width of the foot, which is the main cause of discomfort with bunions. Commonly the great toe will tip back into an angled position, but this is usually minor and does not increase the width of the foot like before.

What’s Recovery Like for Bunion Surgery?

Ambulation is allowed immediately, however, this is only through the heel.  There is no weight allowed through the great toe or forefoot region. A post-operative hard-soled sandal is given and worn for the first 6 weeks. Full weight bearing through the hard-soled sandal is allowed at the 6-week visit.  Progression after the 6-week mark is based on patient comfort.  Swelling is a common issue after bunion correction. You are able to get into regular shoes after the 6-week mark, pending the ability for you to get your foot into a shoe comfortably. Ultimately patients are typically back to full regular activities by 3 months out from surgery.

Why Choose ROC?

Our foot and ankle doctors have extensive experience in treating foot bunions. Our physicians work in concert with other foot and ankle specialists including nurse practitioners, physician assistants, imaging specialists and orthotists to provide our patients with the best treatment plan that gets them back on their feet. To schedule a consultation or appointment, contact us.