When to Consider Bunion Surgery

Bunions can be really painful for some individuals. In a given year, about 4.4 million Americans suffer from bunions and its associated pain. But not all bunions are painful from the start. In fact, some people will not experience any symptoms of pain and remain asymptomatic. Initially, bunions form as a small bump at the joint of the big toe. If left alone, the bump can slowly grow larger thru time.

The size of the bunion does not influence the intensity of pain. There are small bunions that can cause excruciating pain while some large bunions cause only mild pain. Typically, the cause of pain is irritation. This could be due to constant rubbing of the bunion against the shoe, accidental bumps while doing normal activity or irritation due to the awkward position of the joints. Larger bunions easily get irritated versus smaller ones.

Bunion surgery the gold standard in totally eliminating bunion pain, the physician’s goal is to correct the alignment of the joints and toes and try to get all the structure back to their normal anatomical position. This will not only relieve the patient from bunion pain, the surgery will also provide an aesthetic purpose. 

Below are situations where you might want to consider getting bunion surgery.

1.       Severe foot pain that limits your daily activities. If you experience bunion pain when you do normal activities like walking even with supportive footwear, consider getting surgery.

2.       Chronic inflammation and swelling of the bunion that does not improve even with rest and medication.

3.       Severe deformity. When the tip of big toe shifts inwards overlapping the second toe, forming a large, unsightly bump.

4.       Toe stiffness – inability to flex or bend the toes.

5.       Failure of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications to provide relief from bunion pain.

6.       Failure of all conservative treatments like orthotics, exercise, physical therapy, stronger pain medications and steroids to alleviate pain.

The preferred surgical technique to treat bunions to date is called minimally invasive bunion surgery. If you are going to get bunion surgery, make sure your surgeon knows this procedure. 

Minimally invasive bunion surgery requires a very small incision (about 5mm), which is virtually invisible when healed. It provides very minimal pain and swelling, making able you to walk a day after surgery.

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