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?
A bunion is formed of swollen tissue or an enlargement of boney growth, usually located at the base joint of the toe that connects to the foot. The swelling occurs due to the bones in the big toe shifting inward, which impacts the other toes of the foot. This causes the area around the base of the big toe to become inflamed and painful.
Why Do Bunions Form?
Genetics – Susceptibility to bunions are often hereditary
Stress on the feet – Poorly fitted and uncomfortable footwear that places stress on feet, such as heels, can worsen existing bunions
How Are Bunions Diagnosed?
Doctors often perform two tests – blood tests and x-rays – when trying to diagnose bunions, especially in the early stages of development. Blood tests help determine if the foot pain is being caused by something else, such as arthritis, while x-rays provide a clear picture of your bone structure to your doctor.
How Are Bunions Treated?
- Refrain from wearing heels or similar shoes that cause discomfort
- Select wider shoes that can provide more comfort and reduce pain
- Anti-inflammatory and pain management drugs
- Orthotics or foot inserts