Bunion Surgery Improves Function, Relieves Pain
A bunion is a protrusion of bone or tissue usually around the main, or metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint, of the big toe. A bunion may also develop on the MTP joint of the little toe. Although anyone can develop a bunion, women are more likely to have them.
Bunions can result from inherited conditions, like abnormal bones in the feet, and arthritis, which can affect the big toe joint. The shoes you wear may also cause bunions. These include shoes that are too short, too narrow, and those with pointy toes and high heels, like women's pumps and cowboy boots.
You may need surgery if your bunions have become unbearable and nonsurgical treatments don't relieve symptoms that include:
- Severe pain even when walking in flat, comfortable shoes
- Medicine doesn't relieve inflammation and swelling
- You can't bend and straighten your big toe
What to expect from bunionectomy surgery
Our bunion surgeons may X-ray your foot to check the size and condition of your bunion. The type of surgery you’ll need depends on the type of bunion you have:
- Mild bunion - Your bunion surgeon may remove the enlarged portion of bone and realign the muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounding the joint.
- Moderate bunion - Depending on the severity and location of the deformity, we may cut the bone and shift it to its proper position. We also may reposition the surrounding tendons and ligaments.
- Severe bunion- If your bunion is severe it may require removing the enlarged portion of the bone, cutting and realigning the remaining bone, and correcting the position of the tendons and ligaments.
- Arthritic bunion - Arthritis can damage the joint beyond repair. Our expert orthopedic surgeons may fuse the bones to eliminate movement or use implants to reconstruct the big toe joint.
Recovering from bunion surgery
The initial recovery phase is about six to eight weeks. You may need to wear a cast or surgical boot to protect your foot for part or all of this phase.
It may take up to six months to fully recover from bunion surgery. In rare cases, it can take as long as a year. We will give you detailed instructions before you go home from the hospital.
Your bunion surgeon may prescribe pain medicine and antibiotics to prevent infection.
When your bunionectomy has healed enough, your bunion surgeon may recommend exercises or physical therapy to help your foot recover its strength and range of motion.