As I have noted previously, a bunion is a condition that develops gradually over time, either when the big or little toe starts deviating its position inward, towards the other toes, pushing out your first or fifth metatarsal bone to make a bunion (or bunionette) on the side of your foot.
In addition to discomfort and pain, the development of a bunion can begin to hinder everyday activities such as wearing shoes and exercise. It can also be a source of embarrassment when an affected foot is uncovered (though it shouldn’t be, since bunions are a common condition).
For most people with bunions, non-invasive treatments work well for relieving discomfort and preventing the condition’s progression. However, if your condition has progressed to the point where it is significantly impinging on your daily life, you may want to consider bunion surgery.
How do you know if you’ve reached this point?
You cannot manage your regular activities due to pain discomfort.
- Your foot cannot fit properly into your shoes.
- Your big toe suffers chronical inflammation and is unresponsive to medication.
- Pain medication fails to provide sufficient relief.
A common procedure, bunion surgery will correct your condition and is probably your best opportunity for enjoying long-lasting relief. What usually happens in bunion surgery is an incision on the side or top of the affected toe in order to facilitate the removal or realignment of soft tissue and bone. An apparatus may be inserted in the form of small wires, screws, or plates to secure proper bone placement.
Bunion surgeries are usually not long and performed on an outpatient basis. A regional anesthetic is used on the foot. If a patient requites greater comfort, a sedative may be used.
For bunion surgery, keep in mind that several different procedures may be involved, depending on the particular issue and the best fix for it. They include:
Exostectomy or bunionectomy, which removes part of the metatarsal bone head.
- Realignment of soft tissues around the big toe joint.
- Small cuts in the bones in order to move them into more normal positions.
- Fusion (arthrodesis) of the big toe joint.
- Fusion of the joint where the metatarsal bone joins the mid-foot (Lapidus procedure).
- Implant insertion of all or part of an artificial joint.
If you have a bunion issue that is bothering you, make an appointment with your Lansdale foot doctor to explore your options.