Surgical Treatment for Bunions
Bunions are a type of foot deformity that is commonly seen by our office. They result from the misplacement of bone or tissue at the joint and are defined as a bump on the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint, which is at the base of the big toe. Whenbunions are formed, the big toe is forced to bend towards the others, creating a lump on the foot. When non-surgical interventions aren’t successful in treating bunions, surgical treatment for bunions may be necessary. Bunion removal is a surgical procedure that corrects this deformity of the foot near the big toe.
How do I know if I need bunion surgery?
You may be considering surgical treatment for bunions when non-surgical treatments have not effectively relieved your pain, or you have difficulty with walking or performing your normal daily activities. Many studies have found the patient satisfaction rate related to the outcome of this type of procedure to be 85% to 90%. Reasons you may benefit from having bunion surgery commonly include:
- Relief of chronic big toe swelling and inflammation that didn’t improve with rest or medications
- Correction of a toe deformity that causes your big toe to move towards the others
- Relief of extreme foot pain that limited your daily activities, including walking and wearing appropriate footwear
- Regained flexibility of your big toe by correcting stiff or unable to bend areas
Types of Bunion Surgery
As there are over 100 types of surgeries for bunion removal, your surgery type needs to be specific to your condition. It may be necessary for more than one procedure to be done at the same time to correct your deformity. Some types
of surgical treatment for bunions include:
- Exostectomy or bunionectomy, which are procedures that remove part of the metatarsal head (the part of your foot that is bulging out)
- Realignment of the ligaments and soft tissues around your big toe joint
- Osteotomy, which involves the making of small cuts in the bones and moving them into a more natural position
- A removal of bone from the end of your first metatarsal bone, which joins with the base of your big toe (metatarsophalangeal joint)—a resection arthroplasty will follow, which is reshaping of your big toe and metatarsal bones at the metatarsophalangeal joint
- An arthrodesis, which is the fusion of the big toe joint
- The Lapidus procedure, which is the fusion of the joint where the metatarsal bone meets the mid-foot
- Insertion of all or part of an artificial joint implant
Are there any risks of bunion surgery?
Risks of bunion surgery can include:
- Infection in the bone or soft tissue of the foot
- Side effects from surgical anesthesia or pain medication
- An upward or outward bend in the big toe
- Recurrence of the bunion
- Damage to nerves causing decreased sensation, numbness, tingling, or burning in the big toe
- A shorter big toe if bone is removed
- Stiffness or restricted movement of the big toe joint
What can I expect during recovery?
The typical recovery period following surgical treatment for bunions can be six weeks to six months. This is dependent upon the amount of bone and soft tissue affected during your procedure. It may take up to one year for complete healing to occur.
When recovering at home after the procedure, you can expect the following, although your foot doctor will have more specific instructions based on your health and the exact procedure that is performed:
- During bathing or showering, the foot must be properly covered so stitches remain dry
- Removal of stitches after 7 to 21 days
- If pins are placed in the foot during your procedure they are typically removed in three to four weeks, and in some cases they are in place for up to six weeks
- The use of a walking cast, splint, special shoe, or wooden shoe. This is dependent upon the type of surgery. The ability to wear regular footwear after the procedure can vary from four weeks to four months.
- Many activities can be resumed in approximately six to eight weeks
- After certain procedures, no weight can be placed on the foot for up to six to eight weeks, followed by a few more weeks of partial weight-bearing using a special shoe or boot to keep the soft tissues and bones steady while healing
If you are experiencing any problems with your feet or toes, contact our office as soon as possible for a thorough consultation and a treatment plan that is tailored just for you. If surgical treatment for bunions is necessary, we can easily help you to prepare.