A bunion is a sore bump on the joint connecting the big toe to the foot. It may be secondary to a deformity called hallux valgus – the Latin meaning of ‘hallux valgus” is turning outward (valgus) of the first toe (hallux). The bump is most often caused by the prominence of the bone rubbing on the inside of shoes. This rubbing causes inflammation and pain.
Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, infection and gout may all cause pain in the first toe. Therefore, before treatment of a painful bunion can begin, medical evaluation is needed.
Is Surgery the Only Way to Fix a Bunion?
At Sports, Occupational and Knee Surgery, with all of our treatments, we explore conservative options first. In the case of a bunion, however, there are treatments to relieve the pain. However, bunion surgery may be necessary to properly align the bones.
The goal of nonsurgical treatments is to relieve pain and pressure on the bunion. These treatments include:
- Different shoes — You’ll need to wear shoes with more room for the toes.
- Pads, tape, splints — While pads placed in your shoes can help with pressure and rubbing, they are often just temporary relief. Your foot can be taped into the correct position to help alleviate pressure on the bunion.
- Medications — These could include oral medications, topical prescription cream, or injections.
- Shoe inserts — Inserts that redistribute the pressure or improve alignment may slow the progression of the bunion.
Conservative treatments may fail because they do not correct the malalignment of deformity that is causing the bunion. The goal of bunion surgery is to realign and balance the bones and soft tissues to restore normal function.
What are the Surgical Corrections that May be Made with a Bunionectomy?
There are various procedures that can be used, depending on your individual situation. With most bunion surgeries we perform, the procedure involves a combination of soft-tissue balancing of ligaments and tendons as well as bone work to realign the foot structure. These procedures could include:
- Removing the swollen tissue from around your big toe
- Straightening your big toe by removing part of the bone
- Realigning the long bone between the back part of your foot and your big toe to place it in the proper position and remove the improper angle
- Cutting the bone and placing screws to reset the angle (an osteotomy)
- Bone fusion
Will I be Able to Walk Immediately After Bunion Surgery?
There are many types of bunionectomies and the surgeries vary widely, so there is no hard and fast rule about walking. Some bunion surgery options allow you to walk immediately in a bunion shoe, while others will have you in a cast using crutches. The larger bunions that require the bone to be cut and screws placed for support will usually require a period without any weight on the foot. The bone, as well as the skin, must have some time to heal.
Research has shown that over 85 percent of those who have had bunion surgery are satisfied with the final outcome of their surgery. Most of the other 15 percent have strong improvement, but still have some pain and limitations.
But if you’re in daily pain, bunion surgery with Dr. Kathren McCarty, our foot and ankle specialist at Sports, Occupational and Knee Surgery, could be one of the best things you’ve ever elected to do. Together, you and Dr. McCarty will tailor and establish the best strategy for you.
If you are interested in learning more about bunion surgery options in San Antonio TX, Schertz TX or surrounding areas, contact Sports Occupational & Knee Surgery at (210) 696-9000 today.
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