Commonly affecting the big toe, Hallux valgus, also called “Bunion”, is a very common foot deformity. The condition is characterized by the formation of a bony bump at the base of big toe and the big toe pointing excessively toward the second toe. Bunions can affect both bone and soft tissue, and can be painful at times. If you or a loved one has been experiencing this problem contact Texas Health Spine and Orthopedic Center, an orthopedic referral center in Plano, Texas, committed to connecting individuals with experienced orthopedic participating physician members. The participating physicians specialize in treating conditions of the foot and ankle including bunions. Before we get down to discussing surgical treatment for the problem, it will be helpful to learn the basics. Read on to find out what causes the problem and its symptoms.
Bunion usually has one of two underlying causes: heredity and inapt footwear. The condition is more common in women than men, and people with flexible joints are more prone to it. Shoes that are too tight or narrow, when worn over extended periods, tend to contract the toes, causing a bunion. Wearing high heeled shoes is also known to cause bunions.
Read Related: Foot Bunion: All You Need to Know
Common signs and symptoms of a bunion include:
- A bulging bump on the outside of big toe at the base
- Redness, swelling, or soreness around the big toe joint
- Calluses in cases where the first and second toes overlap
- Persistent or intermittent pain
- Restricted movement of big toe
While remedial steps such as wearing shoes with a wide toe box, and protective pads to cushion the toe are usually a part of bunion treatment, they neither shrink the bunion nor realign the toe. Surgeons participating in the Texas Health Spine and Orthopedic Center referral line, therefore, usually recommend surgical correction for long-term relief. Bunion surgery is prescribed if the patient:
- Doesn’t find relief from medications
- Can’t walk more than a few blocks without feeling pain
- Is unable to perform daily activities due to pain
- Faces discomfort while wearing regular shoes
- Can’t bend or straighten the big toe
Preparation for Surgery
Before a surgeon schedules a bunion removal for foot and ankle pain symptoms, the patient will need to undergo a number of tests, such as x-ray, blood test, and electrocardiogram. The doctor will tell how long the patient should fast, or advise to go off any current medications. It is important that patients follow all the directions given to them by their doctor in order to avoid complications.
Bunion Removal Procedure
Most bunion removal surgeries don’t need a general anesthetic; surgeons generally use a local anesthetic called ankle block to numb the area below ankle. Once the anesthesia takes effect, the surgeon makes an incision of about 2 inches and removes the bunion. Exostectomy, osteotomy and arthrodesis are common types of bunion removal procedures.
At the end of the surgery, the surgeon will apply a bandage to the operated foot. After that, the patient is taken to the recovery room, where their blood pressure and heart rate is monitored as they wait for the nerve block to wear off. Generally, patients can return home the same day and resume routine activities in a few weeks. Patients must talk to their doctor about all the measures they need to take to ensure a fast recovery.
Recovery and Prognosis
While partial recovery after a bunion surgery takes around 6 to 8 weeks, full recovery can take up to 6 months. Patients are usually advised to wear a surgical boot or cast during the first 2 weeks after surgery, to keep the incision area dry. Initially, patients may require crutches to walk, but gradually, they are able to bear their weight. After a week or two, they can even drive if needed. In addition to wearing comfortable shoes to minimize pain and inflammation, patients need to avoid wearing high heels. The surgeon may also recommend physical therapy comprised of foot and ankle exercises.
We hope the above information helps you in your course to choose the right treatment for bunion. If you or a loved one has foot and ankle pain, get in touch with Texas Health Spine and Orthopedic Center, a physician referral line. We can connect you with an experienced participating surgeon specialized in foot pain treatment in Plano including bunion treatment. To schedule an appointment with a referral line member, simply call 888 608 4762 or fill out our contact form and we will take it from there.
NOTE: Physicians who are members of our referral program are independent practitioners and are not employees or agents of Texas Health Spine and Orthopedic.