Posts for tag: bunion treatment

By Dr. Donna Barrese
January 17, 2017
Category: treatments
Tags: bunion treatment  

feetA bunion is a deformity in which a hardened, bony bump forms on the joint in the big toe. A bunion often causes long-term discomfort such as pain, swelling, and stiffness. While bunion pads, pain medications, and avoiding tight shoes may help to alleviate discomfort, a surgical bunion treatment, known as a bunionectomy, may be necessary to remove the deformity. The extent of the procedure will be determined by degree of the deformity, but it is generally done on as an outpatient surgery. Usually, the patient is given a regional anesthesia but remains awake and possibly sedated.


Who Should Consider a Bunionectomy?

Since potential risks and discomfort associated with post-surgery recovery is possible with surgical bunion treatment, patients should consider non-surgical options for pain relief first. A podiatrist may first suggest wider shoes to allow more room for the toes. Pads and supports placed in the shoe for foot protection and pain relief might also be recommended. However, if the patient finds that they still experience pain and difficulty walking despite the switch to adaptive footwear, they should consider surgery in order to regain their quality of life.

Qualifications for Surgical Bunion Treatment

Candidates for surgical bunion treatment have severe pain that limits their daily activities, inflammation or swelling of the big toe that does not subside with the use of medication or with rest, and stiffness in the big toe that prevents bending. Patients with a big toe that is drifting in toward the smaller toes may also be candidates for surgery.

When to Reconsider Getting a Bunionectomy

Patients should reconsider getting a bunionectomy if their main objective is to wear slim shoes again or to improve the appearance of their feet. In many cases, a person may find that they're still unable to wear the desired shoes after a surgical bunion treatment, and there's always a chance that this deformity may return if the foot is once again subjected to narrow shoes. Also, some patients will determine that fixing a purely cosmetic issue is not worth the weeks or months of post-surgery recovery and rehabilitation. Generally, bunions that are not painful do not require surgery.

Anyone dealing with the discomfort associated with this bone deformity may be a candidate for bunionectomy, but it is important that individuals carefully consider and discusses the best foot treatment options for their personal needs with a qualified podiatrist or physician.

One of the most common reasons patients visit a foot and ankle doctor is for treatment of a bunion, which is a painful condition characterized by swelling of the joint on the big toe. Realignment of this joint causes a bony deformation at the base of the big toe. Fortunately, bunion pain can often be relieved with conservative treatment, but surgery is an option for more advanced cases.


Bunion Causes

The exact cause of bunions is unknown, but certain genetic factors may predispose patients to developing bunions. For example, people born with “flat feet” may be more likely to develop bunions as a result of their abnormal foot functioning. Other potential causes of the deformity include foot trauma, neuromuscular disorders, and limb-length discrepancies, a condition in which patients have one leg that’s longer than the other. Some people mistakenly believe that shoes can cause bunions; while this isn’t the case, uncomfortable or ill-fitting shoes can make bunion pain worse.


Bunion Treatment

Not every patient experiences bunion pain, but it can be debilitating for many. Except in severe cases, most doctors will take a conservative approach to bunion treatment by prescribing anti-inflammatory drugs and icing the joint. Some patients may be administered cortisone injections to relieve inflammation. Doctors may also suggest that patients rest frequently and wear wide shoes with supportive soles. Some patients may benefit from wearing custom orthotic braces that slow the progression of bunions while addressing underlying issues with foot functioning.


Surgery as a Treatment Option

If all of the above bunion treatments fail to address the pain, surgery may be recommended to correct the deformity. A bunionectomy procedure involves removing the bony growth and realigning the joint. For many people, the surgery successfully relieves pain and improves foot function. But as with any medical procedure, there are risks, and some people still experience pain after the surgery.

Schedule an appointment with your doctor to learn what bunion treatment option is best for you.