Bunions – Understanding A Common Foot Condition In Men And Women

Bunionectomy Surgery and its Benefits

Foot problems plague millions of people every day in one form or another. These people experience symptoms of swelling, tingling, numbness, and pain associated with the heel, ball, arch, and toe regions of the foot because of a specific injury or condition. Although foot problems are common and certainly nothing a person wants to deal with, the good news is that many excellent treatment options exist.

What is a Bunion?

One of the more common conditions impacting the big toe and side of the foot is called a bunion. Formally called Hallux Valgus, a bunion is actually a type of deformity whereby the big toe is deviated. Usually, a bunion is in the form of bone that has grown out of proportion and forced the large toe to slant outwards but it can also involve tissue in this area of the foot.

In most cases, a bunion produces swelling and various degrees of pain. In milder cases, an individual would experience tenderness but when a bunion has grown quite large, pain can become extremely bad. Along with these two symptoms, the issue of a bunion is the unsightly appearance it produces. Because of this, someone with this type of bony structure wears wide shoes that do nothing to boost confidence.


Treatment Options for a Bunion

Once a person notices this type of protrusion and begins to experience any level of symptoms, it would be essential to see a doctor or foot specialist who could provide a firm diagnosis. Knowing for sure the issue is in fact a bunion and not some other type of growth, the various treatments would be discussed. For some people, treatment might consist of choosing different shoes, using cushioned inserts, icing the area, and taking anti-inflammatory medication and using bunion aids or wearing bunion bootie. However, most often a surgical procedure called a Bunionectomy would be necessary.

Although the thought of undergoing a Bunionectomy can a little unsettling, it is important to remember that when performed by a board certified surgeon, the growth would be effectively removed. With this done and healing complete, the person would have enjoy relief from swelling and pain but also have the opportunity to wear better fitting and more stylish shoes. Below we provided information as to what a Bunionectomy is and how it is performed.


Getting Relief with a Bunionectomy

This type of surgery involves the deformity of the large toe area being corrected. In addition to the bone being reconstructed, the surgeon would also reconstruct the joint. Because a bunion that forces a person’s big toe to slant outward puts that individual at risk for developing a bone spur or additional bone growths, surgery is usually the recommended course. However, most doctors will first consider more conservative treatments but if they fail, surgery would be inevitable.

The Bunionectomy surgery typically takes about an hour to complete although the exact method used and the severity of the problem could shorten or lengthen this time. After the person is sedated with anesthesia, which could be nothing more than an ankle block or something more drastic to include general anesthesia or a spinal block, the area of the foot would be sanitized using surgical antiseptic.

Once the Bunionectomy begins, an incision is made over the involved area of the foot. After being opened up, the surgeon would gain access to the growth, followed by skillfully removing it. In cases where the position of the big toe had been extremely modified, the surgeon may also need to move it back into proper alignment. If this is the case, a second small incision would be made.

Now, there are times when the joint has actually been damaged. If this were found during the Bunionectomy, wires, screws, or a metal plate would be inserted to correct the problem. While rare, there are times when the joint has become so severely damaged that an artificial joint would have to be used for replacement. Again, a skilled surgeon would go over the different possibilities before surgery and then make the appropriate decision while in the operating room.


Post-Surgical Care

After the Bunionectomy is complete, a person may or may not be required to stay overnight in the hospital. As with the more severe cases, especially when replacement of an artificial joint is needed, the hospital stay could end up being two to three days. With the incision stitched and the foot properly bandaged, the individual would be sent home to recover. For the first 24 hours, the foot would need to remain in an elevated position and no weight placed on it.

Although a Bunionectomy is not considered “major surgery”, it usually takes up to eight weeks for complete healing. During that time, the person would not be released to work or perform normal activities. To aid in the healing process, the individual would likely wear a special orthopedic boot or shoe to provide support, stabilization, and protection.

In approximately 95% of people who undergo a Bunionectomy, the growth is successfully removed, never to return. However, to ensure a person enjoys a positive outcome of the surgery, it would be imperative to follow all doctor orders but in addition, once the foot heals, wear proper shoes to prevent a new bunion from forming.