Is Bunion Surgery Right for You?

Published: 13th May 2009
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Why do Bunions Form?

Bunions are generally formed because your foot has unique positioning that puts too much pressure on the joint on your big toe. If this goes on for long enough, the pressure will cause the toe to turn toward the rest of your toes. Sometimes the poor mechanics may be caused by your specific foot type or an abnormal way of using your foot.

Are There Non-Surgical Treatments for Bunions?

Prior to exploring surgery, you should try some home remedies to improve your condition. First, wear comfortable shoes that do not rub or add to the pressure. For women, this may mean wearing low or no heal. Once you see your podiatrist, he or she may recommend some medication or brace to relieve tension. Typically, the bunion will not entirely go away without surgical treatment. If the pain and swelling does not decrease through alternative methods, surgery may be the best option.

What does Bunion Surgery Entail?

When you elect to have surgery for your bunion, you should be prepared for a routine, outpatient surgery. For your bunion surgery, your foot doctor will make an incision near the joint of your big toe where the bunion is causing pain. Your doctor will usually need to remove or realign the tissue that has formed as a result of your bunion in order to better align your toe. In some cases, your foot doctor will place wires or screws in order to align your foot. You will not usually need to go under general anesthetic to have the surgery; a local anesthetic and a sedative may be all that is necessary. Bunion surgery will take about an hour or longer depending on your condition, but it is usually an outpatient procedure.

Is the Recovery from Bunion Surgery Hard?

Since you are having surgery on your foot, bunion surgery may require patience during recovery. You should recover within 6 weeks to 6 months. If your surgery required a more intensive procedure to realign your bunion, your recovery time may be longer. In any case, your foot should be entirely healed within one year. Some things to expect:
 Stitches will remain in your foot for 1 to 3 weeks
 Any pins that are placed in your foot will remain from 3 to 6 weeks
 You may need a cast or special shoes following your procedure for 4 to 8 weeks after surgery
 You may need to keep weight off your foot for some time after surgery
 Your result should be noticeable pain relief and, hopefully, no visible bunion remaining

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