Bunions, those bony protrusions at the base of the big toe, can escalate from a minor inconvenience to a significant source of pain and discomfort over time. Fortunately, bunion surgery can help to alleviate pain and restore proper alignment of the big toe. Success rates hover around 85%, but perfect alignment and painlessness aren't guaranteed. Reduced joint flexibility, stiffness, and minor foot shortening are potential outcomes. Several surgery types exist, tailored to the severity of the bunion. Osteotomy, a common approach, involves cutting and realigning the bone. Soft tissue realignment may accompany this procedure. Arthrodesis fuses bones in the big toe joint, an option for severe deformities or advanced joint deterioration. Excision arthroplasty removes the bunion and a section of bone, creating a healing false joint. Following surgery, swelling is to be expected for several months. Elevation, crutches, and specially designed shoes will be essential during recovery, which may last approximately six months. If you have a bunion that is impeding you from performing your daily activities, it is suggested that you make an appointment with a podiatrist who can recommend the best treatment options for you.
What Is a Bunion?
Bunions are painful bony bumps that usually develop on the inside of the foot at the joint of the big toe. As the deformity increases over time, it may become painful to walk and wear shoes. Women are more likely to exacerbate existing bunions since they often wear tight, narrow shoes that shift their toes together. Bunion pain can be relieved by wearing wider shoes with enough room for the toes.
- Genetics – some people inherit feet that are more prone to bunion development
- Inflammatory Conditions - rheumatoid arthritis and polio may cause bunion development
- Redness and inflammation
- Pain and tenderness
- Callus or corns on the bump
- Restricted motion in the big toe
In order to diagnose your bunion, your podiatrist may ask about your medical history, symptoms, and general health. Your doctor might also order an x-ray to take a closer look at your feet. Nonsurgical treatment options include orthotics, padding, icing, changes in footwear, and medication. If nonsurgical treatments don’t alleviate your bunion pain, surgery may be necessary.